Sunday, March 22, 2009

Headset Remediation

The mailbox seems to be perking up. Don, from sunny San Diego, opines that 37 years of service from a 1972 Fuji Finest headset is not enough and suggests ways to coax a few more decades out of it:

"Greetings! I saw your blog.

I have a 1971 Fuji Finest. It's in rough shape, but the whole bike is there, complete.

I would suggest for your headset, that you try 'lapping' which means putting toothpaste or even rougher abrasives in the headset, tightening it like crazy, then working the balls around to re-polish the races. discard bearings when finished. Start with a rough compound like toothpaste, move to finer ones like automotive rubbing compound.

Another possibility is to try the Tange Levin CDS crown race on your headset. An LBS might be nice enough to let you open a modern headset to see if it fits. Also, try Tange Passage. Crown races for both types of headsets are available separately from e.g.

You can get an ancient steel tange levin headset STILL from tange, see on ebay, or have your LBS talk to wilsonbike in Oakland CA which stocks them (wilson is a major distributor.)

Best wishes!!!

- Don
San Diego, CA, USA"


Since posting about the original Finest headset, I've replaced it with a much lighter NOS Suntour Sprint headset. However, if I ever bring the original out of retirement, I'll try some of your recommendations.

On closer examination of the headset, I found that it wasn't brinnelled, just grooved. For this headset, lapping may be a bit problematic as the bearing surfaces themselves are chromed:

Or it might be just the ticket for this old headset. In any event, thanks for the tips; these are generally useful for refurbishing old headsets or other loose bearing components.

Also, if you get a chance and are so inclined, we'd love to see some pics and learn some more about your 1971 Fuji Finest, a landmark bike from Fuji's inaugural year in the U.S.


Fuji Otaku

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