Sunday, June 12, 2016

Getting my bearings.. (Raleigh Super Course Part V)

Today was headset day, but before I get ahead of myself I need to do some waxing first.

Last week I did the paint cleaner coat and this week I finished off with the polish and finally the carnauba wax, I haven't done the chrome polish yet but will before we get to the wheels.

So with the wax done it was time to get the headset back together.  First a light greasing of the parts..

Then I use the headset press to get them back in the frame, oh sure I could use a piece of 2x4 and a hammer but I paid good money for this tool and I am going to amortize it!
And just like that the upper bearing race and lower bearing cup are back in the frame.

Then its on to getting the lower race back on the fork.

And once again I could go all DIY with getting the fork crown race seated, but I have another bike tool to amortize so bring in the bearing race setter.

Raise up the long piece and bring it down sharply!

And now its time to put those bearings to work, I got this park tool magnetic bowl as a novelty and if I recall as a way to boost an order total up to the free shipping mark many moons ago.  I am glad I did as it comes in handy especially for bearings as they stay where you put them.

Then I like to put down a nice bead of grease because grease is the lifeblood of bearings and it also helps them stay in place while you put everything back together.
Upper race

Lower race

And then it was time to get things all back together grease the cups, especially the top one so its ready to screw back on after you thread the fork through the head tube.

My friend Joe also asked me last week about going to more upright "north road" type bars so we are going to switch from a road racer drop bar bike to more of a sophisticated upright gentleman's urban bike.  As I talked about last week I had procured a different bar and stem for the drop bar look but I can use those on a couple projects I have in the queue so I got a new Origin8 stem for this bike that was a little longer with a slightly shorter reach to work with the upright bars.  I find that the stem plug is often rusty when I work on older bikes so I like to make sure that part gets a generous coat of grease.

Its also important to make sure you get the stem down so that the writing and the minimum insert line aren't showing.

All snugged up including the new cable guide.

Since I was on a roll and I had all the parts of the bottom bracket cleaned up I got it reassembled too.  I like to grease the threads in addition to the cups.

Same deal as the headset you want to be generous with the bearing grease and it helps hold the bearings in place while you are reassembling everything.  The spindle is degreased, cleaned up and ready to get new grease to the bearing races before reassembly - the long end goes on the drive side as it allows room for the chain rings.

The drive side cup gets screwed all the way in, and yes that's another bike specific tool getting put through its paces.

The non-drive side cup is called the adjustable cup, and it's where you make your um.. adjustments. Once everything is where you want it you finish it off with the lock ring, yep got a tool for that too.

I have come across some different approaches to adjusting bearings.  My friend Hugh, a bike refurbisher in Michigan refers to it as "no slop, no grind".  My version of this is "the Goldilocks principle" not too tight, not to loose but juuussst right.  It takes some practice but eventually you get a feel for it.  Some folks advise tightening until things stop turning freely then back off a bit.  Any way you slice it, you don't want the adjustment so loose you have play or so tight things don't turn freely. 

coming together

I have received a number of new parts in the mail this week including this set for the cockpit. The two on the right, stem and brake cable guide already got mounted.

I also realized that with the new handlebar set up I would need an upper cable stop for the down tube.  In the stock set up you don't need one because that's where the shifters go, but I am moving the shifters up with the new configuration so I needed a cable stop.  In addition to making nice stems Origin8 also makes a nice silver cable stop in the right size and since it had arrived, I put it on.

all snugged in place
So some nice progress this week, next on the list will be the wheels to complete the round of replacing the rebuilding the main bearings, two down and two to go.  Until then....Ride.Smile.Repeat.


  1. Wow! This is going to be such a nice ride when you are finished. I hope you are keeping this for yourself???
    Your attention to detail is so impressive. I have not worked on bikes except for general maintenance in a while. I have forgotten the patience you have to give projects like this. I have all the parts to change out the handle bars and shifters on my Schwinn roadie but I just can not seem to make myself sit in the garage and work. Too busy riding, which is good!!
    I really like the clamp on cable stops. that gives it a classy look.
    Way to go Ryan

    1. Hey Jim, thanks, this bike is for my friend Joe who as of next month I will have known for 30 years. He is the second owner of this bike and bought it from the original owner back in about 1970. I can definitely relate to having everything needed to work on a bike project, but not being able to get started. What I find though is that once I get started it tends to open the floodgates and I really enjoy doing the work and getting things done and seeing progress fuels my desire to keep going and see the finished product. You do have the best excuse ever though- too busy riding! don't stop.