Was: [CR]Riding no-handed, Now: needle vs. ball bearing headsets

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Date: Sun, 03 Feb 2008 09:16:15 -0500
From: "Barb & Dan Artley" <hydelake@verizon.net>
Subject: Was: [CR]Riding no-handed, Now: needle vs. ball bearing headsets
To: "Classic Rendezvous" <Classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>

I've used needle bearing headsets for years with no real trouble. That may be their problem, you can set 'em up and forget them. I've a Richard Sachs tourer with a needle bearing headset, originally a Galli until I tried to take it apart for maintenance (may only be flushed, not taken apart). My only alternative was the Stronglight Delta, very smooth, nice seals. The Sachs was still a beautiful, excuse the expression, 'no hands' machine. After about five or six years ... or so, it started to just not balance w/o hands as well, although steering and balance was was otherwise superb. Whattaya know! The races rusted slightly, I guess you do need to maintain these needle bearing headsets a bit more frequently. At least it never brinneled! (my problem with all those ball bearing sets, Campy included) That said, I cleaned it, put fresh grease into it, and it works at least as well as it did before the maintenance, but maybe not as well as new. Soon, Wayne from down under is sending me that replacement Galli headset, what I consider to be superior to the Stronglight Delta as good as they are. The much more vertical bearings seem to really integrate the fork to the frame much more solidly.

Dan Artley in balmy (19 now, 40's later today) Parkton, MD

Archive-URL: http://search.bikelist.org/getmsg.asp?Filename=classicrendezvous.10802. 0098.eml Date: Sat, 02 Feb 2008 11:12:11 -0500 From: John Betmanis <johnb(AT)oxford.net> Subject: Re: [CR]Riding no-handed

At 08:18 AM 02/02/2008 -0500, Barb & Dan Artley wrote:
>Peter Weigle once told me that needle bearing headsets (which I love)
>sometimes compromise that ability. Once changed over to a ball bearing
>headset, the perfect no hands tracking came back.

Could that be because these needle bearing headsets have more friction than ball bearing ones and act like they're "tight"? I just had a good look at a Stronglight A9 headset I have and the needles look cylindtical, not conical like the rollers in a true taper roller bearing. With a taper roller bearing the surfaces of the cups and cones and the axes of the rollers all converge at a single point. The surfaces of these needle roller headsets are all parallel and the needles only roll at one point on their surface and skid on the rest. I bet it's this extra friction that delays the front wheel from immediately steering in the direction the bike wants to tip.

John Betmanis
Woodstock, Ontario