A silky Velo Orange Grand Cru sealed cartridge bearing headset replaces a gritty old Ritchey with worn races. I know how to install a headset with a Park HHP-2, but I also know how to install the cups when staring at a pile of parts on a back porch, wondering how a bike will ever come of it all. After removing the old cups with a big flathead screwdriver and a hammer, I applied a light steel wool to the inside of the headtube to smooth imperfections and ease the installation. Some grease aids the process, but I stacked 2 x 4s until the headtube was evenly supported and applied a blunt force from above, transmitted through a block of wood with medium hardness. Be sure to apply an even blow to reduce the risk of damaging the cup. Hit it again if it needs some more help. Maybe one more solid blow will assure the cup sits entirely in the frame. Wham. If the cup doesn’t seat by hand or doesn’t give into the frame with the first blow, consider the aid of the proper tools and expertise.
Three blows to each side was enough to fully seat the cups and copious amounts of grease are applied before the cartridge bearings are installed to limit the intrusion of water and grit. Happily, the crown race is a split ring design that allows tool free installation, and avoids the hammer. Below, the Raleigh XXIX now has a Rock Shox Reba fork and a gold On-One Mary handlebar. To come: a derailleur hanger and used XT derailleur, a lightly used 32 tooth Surly steel chainring, a NOS Suntour XC Expert shifter; new cables, housing and 9-speed chain, as well as Ergon grips from the Hooligan. Lael’s gold VP platform pedals have ridden to the Knik Glacier on the Pugsley and across Corsica on the Hooligan, but will find their greatest adventure yet in Colorado. Her grandfather was a gold jeweler and while I can’t afford real gold, she’s easily pleased by gold anodized aluminum. The bike is shaping up.
The bike was sourced from Craigslist. the stem and Surly chainring are from Boulder Community Cycles, and the Suntour shifter(s) are from Big Dummy Daddy, who has a PhD in sharing bikes. Or is it bike-sharing? He can tell you more about bike sharing programs and Denver’s pioneering project than almost anyone. His dissertation entitled “Public bicycle sharing as a population-scale health intervention for active transportation in Denver, Colorado“, is exhaustive. Read some of it.