Rockhopper Headset

The rebuild of my old Specialized Rockhopper continues.  Last week I stopped by my local Performance bike shop, and picked up a Cane Creek 1-1/8″ threadless headset for a little under $25.  It’s a perfect fit for the bike’s head tube.  This morning I pressed the headset cups into the frame, using the nut-and-bolt technique described at http://davesbikeblog.blogspot.com/2007/06/headset-removal-and-replacement.html.  I went to Home Depot and picked up a 5/8″ by 7″ hex head bolt, 5/8″ nut, 4 3/4″ flat washers (outside diameter 2″), and 2 5/8″ flat washers (outside diameter 1.5″).  7″ turned out to be the perfect length for the bolt, and the washers had to be at least 2″ O.D. to fit over the headset cups.  Be sure to get a bolt that’s threaded along its entire length — a lot of the bolts I saw at Home Depot only had about an inch of threading.

Pressing the headset cups into the frame wasn’t all that hard, but it wasn’t completely straightforward either.  I greased the cups and the inside of the head tube, and the top cup went in fairly easily.  The bottom cup went in a little crooked initially, started to bind, and I had to tap it back out a bit to get it straight.  I was then able to get it to fully seat.  No damage done, but if I were to do this again, I’d go a little more slowly and make sure the cup was straight the first time.

When doing this, it’s important not to use too much force when tightening the nut.  If the headset cup doesn’t seem to want to fully seat, back the nut off and make sure the cup is going in straight.  Don’t overtighten the nut or you risk damaging the cup or the frame.

Next up, I need to get a new fork, stem and spacers.  The Surly 1×1 looks like a good, solid fork for not a whole lot of money, so I think I’m going to go with that.

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