[CR] What have I got here? (weird Campi headset part)

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Content-class: urn:content-classes:message
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 2010 22:48:32 -0700
Thread-Topic: What have I got here? (weird Campi headset part)
thread-index: AcraA8kUF/Lh8l3VSWKNN5cTKsWzAg==
From: "Mark Bulgier" <Mark@bulgier.net>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Cc: John Barron <john@velostuf.com>
Subject: [CR] What have I got here? (weird Campi headset part)


John Barron of Velostuf, who knows more about classic Campy parts than almost anyone, wrote:
> I learned a while ago, that just when you think [you've seen]
> pretty much everything about Campy, something else pops up...

May I humbly submit this as an example? http://bulgier.net/pics/bike/Campy/Strange_Campy_Headset_part/

(oh um, sorry about all that "fiber evidence" in the photos, I didn't notice how dirty the part was until I looked at the close-up pix.)

It was sold to me by an eBay seller who said it was the headset for an early-60s Bianchi Specialissima. Well it's not like any Bianchi headset I've ever seen, but it almost might work -- the cylindrical part is the right diameter to press into the special bulged head lug on my Specialissima. But it would look all wrong, jack the front end of the bike up (taller stack height), and anyway what crown race would I use with it?

If you want a refresher of what a Specialissima/Competizione/Folgore (among others) with the bulged lugs and integrated headset looks like, try this:

http://bulgier.net/pics/bike/CoolBikes/Bianchi/CelesteSpecialissimaHeadT ube.jpg (or http://tinyurl.com/specialissima-HS)

Look at the lower headset bearing on that bike. The fork crown race, which on almost all normal headsets is a _cone_, on my Specialissima is a _cup_ instead -- and the thing pressed up into that sexy lower head lug is the cone.

The weird chrome-plated part I'm asking you all about would indeed press into the lower head lug, but it is a _cup_, and no normal Campy crown race cone I've found will fit inside it. Certainly the existing crown race will not work, because a cup-and-cone bearing can't have two cups and no cone.

Now, if you've had the headset apart on an old Bianchi, you may have found not a cup-and-cone bearing at all but rather a V-groove arrangement much like a Stronglight V-4. Most Bianchis with integrated headsets used the V-groove style. As far as I know only some Specialissima and team-issue bikes in the early 60s got the Campy cup-cone headset. I believe it's safe to say Campy made this headset just for Bianchis, because to my knowledge all the other bikes that used this bulged-lug integrated headset style (Maino, Gloria, Umberto Dei I think, probably others) had stopped doing so before 1960. The V-groove style headsets like on Folgore/Folgorissima were made by several different component makers, Steven Maasland told us a few years ago when this subject came up.

I have a folder showing the differences between these two types of Bianchi headsets (V-groove vs Campy cup-cone) here: http://bulgier.net/pics/bike/Parts/Forks_Headsets/BianchiHeadsets/ (or http://tinyurl.com/BianchiHeadsets)

Grateful for any info on my mystery part. Wild speculation is also encouraged!

Mark Bulgier
Seattle, WA USA