Re: [CR] Campy NR Headset & Brinelling

(Example: Framebuilding)

References: <>
To: <>, <>
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 2009 01:29:32 -0500
From: <>
Subject: Re: [CR] Campy NR Headset & Brinelling

essage: 5 ate: Sun, 22 Nov 2009 20:36:48 -0500 rom: jeff holt <> ubject: [CR] Campy NR Headset & Brinelling o: <> essage-ID: <SNT107-W289548703935AA1E218C4CB09E0@phx.gbl> ontent-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

eed some CR advice.... ade the "mistake" of installing an Campy NR headset using the ball bearing etainer v. loose balls when I re-assembled my Cinelli this summer. The result, rinelling (a/k/a indexed steering). 've received some conflicting advice: ption A) Simply replacing the ball bearing retainer with loose balls can liminate the problem. Option B) Replace the entire headset as the only way to liminate the problem. ption C) Leave it alone & ride the bike. (This option seems plausible, as when actually ride, I don't notice a problem.) houghts & Opinions? eff Holt est Deptford, NJ

Jeff - It isn't really a problem of having assembled it with the retainers. Campy made them that way after all. A properly adjusted headset should never get brinelled. The problem is, they are hard to adjust because they are made so precisely. Even when it feels smooth, it can be too tight, and when you do that you pre-load the bearings, and then all you need is a good hard ride on a bumpy road with 100 psi in the tires and you have brinelling. The way to adjust it is from loose to not loose, not from tight to not tight. Do you see the difference? When you just have the slack out of it, you don't get preloading, and with proper air pressure it should never get brinelled. I have the original headset in my 1978 Davidson with no brinelling. I rode it a lot in the early days touring, then commuting for 18 years before restoring it and pretty much retiring it about 5 years ago. Now, what to do with the headset now that it is brinelled. Since you say you can't feel it when riding (you can really ride no hands still?) then you may be able to just back off the adjustment a little and it will be fine. If that doesn't work, then removing either the crown race or the lower cup and resetting it in a different place will usually offset the notches enough to make it unnoticeable. Substituting loose balls will also help, because you can put in one more than the retainer had, which means they no longer line up with the notches. The upper races rarely get the brinelling, as the weight is all on the lower ones.


Bob Freeman
Elliott Bay Bicycles
2116 Western Ave
Seattle, WA 98121