[CR]FT Bologna headsets . . . for display only !

Example: Production Builders:Peugeot:PY-10

From: <emeneff@earthlink.net>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2005 21:56:40 -0700
Subject: [CR]FT Bologna headsets . . . for display only !

I worked for a framebuilder in 1984 who imported a large number of those headsets to install on his frames. They certainly looked nice enough - they had an anodized aluminum exterior that was exposed where they had been machined and the effect was FANCY. (OMAS had a similiar style to some of their headsets.) The steel bearing surfaces were ground and the headsets used ball bearings that were on the small side - I think 1/8".

They may have looked nice enough, but in use they suffered dented races VERY quickly. This was even with a proper install, loose bearings, and a careful adjustment. The numerous problems with these headsets led us to start referring to FT as, well, I'll let you guess what the F was, but the T was TERRIBLE ! It was a well-deserved nickname and I'll leave it at that.

They did perform adequately for display purposes !

FT also made bottom brackets that were very similiar to the OMAS ones - with inadequate support to the bearings (i.e. no solid center sleeve) and these suffered a poor lifespan due to bearing side-loads and mis-alignment of the separate cups. Like many components of its day, it was poorly designed around the idea of simply substituting an undersized cartridge bearing for a cup and cone loose ball bearing, without taking into account the often sloppy and naturally innaccurate threaded mountings (i.e. the bottom bracket shell.) that the bearings would face. An old machinist saying goes "a bearing is only as good as its mounting " and there is much truth to that.

Effin' Terrible ! Now THERE is a name you can TRUST ! I wonder if its been trademarked ?

Mike Fabian
San Francisco