Installing the bearing on the steering column of a bicycle

Bicycle steering column

The steering column of a bicycle is a bearing system that allows the fork and handlebars to rotate, designed to allow the bicycle forks to rotate easily in the head tube of the frame. It consists of an upper and lower cups, two bearings and thrust washers.

The steering column of the bicycle is arranged as follows: the cups are pressed into the frame, and the lower ring is pressed onto the steering tube of the fork. Bearings can be bulk, cartridge, ball, needle. Some manufacturers place several different types of bearings in one steering column.

The steering columns are available in three sizes. 1 “, 1-1 / 8” and 1.5 “. There is also a 1-1 / 4 ″. Cannondale proprietary size for Headshock forks. By type, the steering wheels can be threaded and threadless. 1 “columns are usually threaded, 1-1 / 8” and 1.5 “- threadless. 1 “threaded headsets are found on cheap mountain bikes and most road bikes. The most common are 1-1 / 8 ″ threadless handlebars, which cover most mountain bikes and hybrid bikes other than entry-level bikes. 1.5 “headset only applies to long travel single-sided downhill forks.

  • threaded Threaded
  • threadless threadless
  • threadless Columbus
  • semi-integrated Campagnolo
  • semi-integrated Perdido
  • semi-integrated Columbus
  • integrated Integrated System
  • one and a half inch

The steering column assembly must be pressed into a pre-cut frame, in no case should it be hammered in with a hammer, because you can damage the steering column itself, even if you hammer it with a wooden or rubber hammer. the frame could be damaged or not installed evenly. Therefore, the hammer should be discarded immediately. The steering column must fit freely into the frame; before immersion in the inside of the frame, the steering column must be lubricated with a special grease. After pressing the steering column, check the head tube for cracks, especially on aluminum frames.

Threaded steering columns are adjusted by screwing the top cup onto the steering tube. Threadless steering columns are adjusted by armature tension with the side stem bolts released. The correctness of the adjustment is indicated by the absence of backlash while maintaining softness and evenness of the stroke. After adjustment, the stem bolts are tightened. The adjustment is carried out until the backlash in the fork completely disappears, while maintaining a slight rotation of the handlebar: the wheel should turn freely under its own weight with slight inclinations of the bike. The absence of backlash is checked by pressing the front brake and rocking the bike back and forth.

Threaded steering column

A threaded steering column is still one of the most common standards for attaching a fork to the frame. Although this circuit is now largely abandoned on professional road and MTB bikes, due to its unpretentiousness it is still often found on entry-level touring, road and ATB bikes. The word “threaded” comes from the presence of an internal thread on the upper cup and lock nut, due to which the fork actually holds.

The bearing cups are pressed into the head tube, where the bearing balls from above and below hold separate rings with rolling grooves. The final strength of the structure is given by the fork, which is attracted to the bearings by means of a locknut. At what moment you set the stem, it does not matter anymore.

Replace Caged Bearings With Loose Bearings In Bike Headset

There are several versions of this mount, sharpened for different diameters of the fork stem. The most common are: 1 “, 1-1 / 8” and 1-¼ “.


Another particular variation on the theme of semi-integrated steering columns. The system consists of cups pressed into the head tube and separate industrial bearings.

The main difference from the semi-integrated Zero Stack is the special bearing size and, of course, precision design. The outer diameter of the Perdido cup is 44.5mm and the required head tube diameter is 44.4mm. As we said earlier, the diameter of the ZeroStack cup is only 44mm, so Perdido is declared as an independent standard, although in principle there is nothing new in it.

In some cases it is possible to re-drill the ZeroStack aluminum frame to the standard 44.4mm Perdido diameter. It should be noted that Perdido cups are more recessed into the frame, therefore, it will be necessary to increase the depth of the seat.

Bicycle headset views, more detailed analysis

The market offers many technical solutions for this unit, different in design and weight. The most common headset types are Threaded, Aheadset or Threadless, Zero Stack, Integrated System, Campagnolo Hiddenset, Perdido, Columbus and Onepointfive. This text does not deal with aspects of reliability, installation and maintenance of steering columns of certain standards. only a brief description, key features and some characteristics of a particular type.

Campagnolo hiddenset

Campagnolo’s own standard requiring a specially treated head tube.

Basically, this is a standardized modification of the semi-integrated headset, which uses tapered bearings installed in tapered cups recessed into the headset. The standard is in no way compatible with the generally accepted varieties of semi-integrated and integrated steering columns.

The fixing of the fork is carried out according to the principle similar to the Aheadset standard.

Integrated systems without cups

Numerous variants and sub-variants of this standard have in common the absence of external headset cups, when the bearings are pressed directly into the head tube, which, of course, requires a compatible frame. Only industrial bearings are used here, since the balls will gradually grind off the rolling groove, and the frame will no longer be suitable for further use.

The most common bearing size has a 41mm outer diameter and a 45 ° bevel (correspondingly, this is the landing angle inside the frame). There are variations of this standard using a 36 ° bearing and frame bevel.

The rest of the fork installation process is similar to the Aheadset standard. it is held in place by the steering column anchor. In general, the name “integrated steering” does not belong to the generally accepted standard. It is applied to the headset class where the bearing is pressed directly into the frame and is typically 41mm in diameter. Sometimes it gives certain difficulties with the search, in the case of replacing bearings on exotic frames.

Classic threadless steering column

Most likely you have this type of headset on your bike. Sometimes referred to as Aheadset (History: Aheadset is just one of the first cup makers of this standard, whose name became a household name for this type of headset), this technical solution dominates modern aluminum bicycles in the middle and upper price range. Unlike the previous standard, this mount is not responsible for securing the fork, so there is no thread.

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The rest of the standards are similar: upper and lower cups (they also have a rolling groove) holding a cage with balls, or an industrial bearing. The cups are installed on the top and bottom of the bike’s head tube, grooved rings or anthers protect the balls from dirt. Simple, easy to maintain and reliable design.

Since there are no threads on the fork now, the pre-fixation of the fork combination of the handlebar stem is provided by an anchor. a small spacer driven into the fork rod. The anchor cover you see in the illustration above rests on top of the stem. When it is pulled to the anchor by the adjusting bolt, it presses on the stem and pulls the entire structure from the crown of the fork to the stem together. The final attachment of the fork stem is done with the stem attachment.

Aheadset is standard for 1-1 / 8 “forks, other options are rare.

Upper steering column bearings

When you removed the steering wheel, there are simple rings next, I have 3 of them (they are used to lower the steering wheel lower). We remove them too, then we remove the anthers of the upper bearings and remove them, remember in what order everything was. And here they are our upper head tube bearings:

We take them out of the seat and lower them into the cover with wd-40.

Unscrew the steering wheel from the bike

To unscrew the handlebar, you will need to unscrew the two mounting bolts on the stem and unscrew the anchor. this is the kind of thing that presses the handlebar with the stem to the fork axis and reliably connects the handlebar and the fork. The photo below shows how I unscrewed the anchor.

Once you loosen the two mounting bolts and unscrew the armature, the handlebars can be easily removed.

Maintenance of the steering column (glass) of the bicycle

And so today we will carry out the MOT of the head tube for the “sunny orange”. Roughly speaking, we will change the grease for the bearings at the top and bottom of the steering column, but before you can get to them, you will need to disconnect the steering wheel from the fork.

Lower head tube bearings

It is quite easy to get to the lower bearings, you need to raise the frame and the bearings will remain on the fork axis:

We also throw these bearings into a container with a pedestal so that dirt moves away from them:

I cleaned each ball with a dry and clean napkin and they began to shine again.

Removing dirt and lubricating the bearing seats in the steering column.

Now we need to remove the old grease and properly clean the bearing seats. In my case, there was practically no lubrication.

I remove the old grease with a regular rag and after that I fill in all the VD-40, wait a couple of minutes and already with a clean napkin I remove the remnants of dirt and vdeshki.

Now that the seats are clean, you can start lubricating them. I took for this. lithol, the one that I use for the bushings.

We lubricate and assemble everything in the reverse order. Steering column maintenance finished.

Please note that when reassembling, you need to correctly set the angle of the steering axis, if this is not done, then when the front brake is pressed, you can feel a backlash. To avoid backlash, you need to loosen the “anchor”, set the correct angle and tighten the “anchor”.


Enter the mark or size (for example: 8227) of the product and the country of sale

What is a bicycle headset.

The column consists of a rudder, which is a conventional crossbar. It looks like a straight pipe with bicycle accessories attached to it. Next is the stem as a short tube and two mounting bolts attached to the handlebar and tube.

The stem (or the handlebar itself) and the crown of the bicycle fork are connected using the handlebar tube. Attaches to the steering column and glass.

The two cups, the bearing on the top and the bearing on the bottom, are the components of the steering column. Special rings are used to make the rudder tube move with sufficient ease over the head tube. An anchor is used to make the outrigger spacer.

installing, bearing, steering, column, bicycle

The column bearings are chamfered, which are cut in the middle of the shortened tube. There are also cups. This frame area is the head tube.

The classic threaded speaker is most often installed on inexpensive, affordable bicycles. It has a fairly low weight, unpretentious in operation. It has been used for quite a long time.

Here, a thread is cut into the upper cup, the lock nut attaches the steering tube to it.

The negative side is the lack of reliability, it is difficult to configure this type of speakers.

Column without thread. The load of the fixing fork does not fall on such a column. The composition includes a cup on top and a cup on the bottom, pressed into the steering glass. In both cups there is a bearing, from above it is covered by a rolling ring. In this case, first of all, the spacer rings and the take-out are installed, and only after that the steering tube is fixed.

The columns are also subdivided into semi-integrated and integrated.

The cups in the semi-integrated column are fully located in the middle of the glass; only anthers are externally observed.

This design is recognized as the best, because there is a height adjustment in the handlebar. This type is rather complicated, and has a slightly higher price than other types of speakers.

And the integrated, unthreaded speaker has absolutely no cups. That is, bearings are directly pressed into the frame. Naturally, there are no rolling grooves. It also uses exclusively industrial bearings.

Despite the apparent simplicity and lightness, these devices are more difficult to repair and maintain.

How to change the bearing in the steering column of a bicycle on your own

In this article, you will learn how you can disassemble the steering column of a bicycle and change bearings without contacting a service center.

We can say that the most complex component in a bicycle device is the steering column. But making an independent repair is not as difficult as it might seem at first glance.

How to replace a bicycle fork bearing yourself?

The movement of the bike is controlled by the steering column. Let’s take a closer look at what this device consists of in order to confidently do quality service, and, possibly, replace any worn out elements.

To install and replace any part in the steering column, no special professional skills and knowledge are required. You just need to figure out how this mechanism works. Sometimes, in order to make repairs, you only need to tighten a few bolts.

There are times when it is necessary to disassemble the device and replace several parts. It might be a broken bearing. Often referred to as fork bearing.

How to make repairs and replace the bearing on the handlebar column in a ZOOM bicycle

The steering mechanism in a bicycle depends entirely on the condition of the column, the so-called fork. The whole mechanism consists of a certain set of elements. When it breaks down, movement is impossible.

In this article, we will look at how to replace damaged bearings on the steering column of a ZOOM bicycle yourself.

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Signs that determine the removal of the fork from the ZUM bike and check its functionality

The front shock absorber system is designed so that there is a spring made of metal and a damper made of rubber. The shock absorber’s performance is affected by shrinkage in the spring and when the rod is elongated elastomeric. All of these elements have a bad effect on the properties in the shock absorber, which becomes very hard. The setting does not affect the sound of the fork when passing obstacles.

If the steering wheel turns very tightly, there is a play, which means that the bearings are worn out, and the O-rings have become unusable. Check the inside of the plug for dirt, this also matters.

When the bike is in motion and you hear an abnormal grinding sound, it may need to be coated with lubricant and may need to be removed.

Any mechanical damage provides for unforeseen breakdowns in the entire system. If you find cracks on the top of the body and in the legs of the fork, it will have to be replaced.

How is the column in the handlebars of a ZOOM bicycle

We disassemble the ZOOM shock absorber ourselves

For such a repair, we need to have some tools. Take care of the different screwdrivers in the set, you will need to use adjustable and wrenches. Use a hex wrench and a small hammer.

Clean and lubricate all parts. To do this, use a can of grease, soft rags and do not forget to use gloves.

Remove the front wheel from the beginning. The bike is turned over with the wheels up, the brake rims are unclenched, before that the clamping bow is folded back. The wheel can be removed immediately after removing the discs. Remove the wings and all existing devices at the same time.

Next, put the bike on the wheels. Take out the steering wheel, the steering column is removed from the glass.

installing, bearing, steering, column, bicycle

The reasons for the creak of the bike fork ZUM

A squeak in the steering column of a bicycle, a knock, all sorts of bumps while the bike is moving means worn out parts, possibly water and dirt, there is no lubricant inside.

  • All impurities are removed from the inside.
  • The fork legs are gently wiped, the spring with seals should also be in order.
  • In case of malfunction, we replace worn parts.

During an external examination of the steering column of a ZUM bicycle, the fork legs are checked for external damage. Oil seals and anthers should not have mechanical damage, oil does not flow.

Check the pressure in the air chamber, and what is the condition and presence in the lateral backlash.

How are the bolts in the pants of the forks and adjusting knobs attached?

Installing the steering column on a bicycle

Bicycle steering column. a part that is necessary in order to move the wheel in the fork using the steering wheel. By type, steering columns are divided into threaded and non-threaded (integrated). The threaded type bicycle headset is considered obsolete, but it is still used on many bicycles today. On modern bicycles, non-threaded types of speakers are usually used, most likely you have an integrated speaker.

Types and design

The steering head consists of two cups (upper and lower), as well as a pair of bearings and thrust rings, which are complemented by a boot, an anchor and an anchor cover, as well as an anchor bolt. All parts should ideally be of high quality in order for the part to work for as long as possible. It is obvious that on cheap Chinese bikes, headset wear will be faster than on expensive models.

During installation, the cups are pressed into the steering tube, and the bearings are pressed onto the steering tube of the fork (in integrated or non-threaded columns, the bearings themselves are pressed together with the cups), where it is held by bearings and special grooves and rings. It is very important that the column is carefully attached and does not dangle, as this will impair the helm operator and the very control of the bike. For this, it is important to use special equipment for installing the steering wheel when repairing a bike, which allows you to qualitatively connect this part with the rest of the skeleton of the vehicle.

Checking the quality of the installation

When you check the quality of the steering column mounting, the first step is to check it for any backlash. If the new one is large, then there should be no backlash, in principle, on old bicycles there is a backlash on the steering wheel due to the deterioration of the components.

The backlash is checked in the following simple way. Park your bike and apply the front brake to prevent rolling. Then push the bike forward. In the absence of backlash, you will not feel anything. If there is a backlash, then there will be a noticeable recoil.

Where does the backlash come from? As mentioned above, on old two-wheeled vehicles, this may be due to worn-out elements, and on a new one, this indicates an incorrect steering installation and adjustment. Correctly adjusting the adjustment is possible only when the cups are pressed in correctly: if they are skewed, then backlash is inevitable. over, it is precisely because of the need for absolutely correct installation of this part that it is important to press it in with the help of special machines, and not to hammer the cups with a hammer (this is not counting the fact that in this way you can simply break the steering column).

When buying a bicycle, there are usually no problems with the headset, but with prolonged use it may become necessary to replace the headset. The easiest and most reliable way to do this. contact specialists who have experience and equipment for work on replacing the steering column of bicycles.

Threaded steering columns

Constructed similarly to a conventional bicycle hub. There is a thread on the fork stem. There is a support cone on the crown of the fork. The lower bearing is slid onto this support cone. The lower bearing rotates in the lower steering column cup. Above, there is an adjusting side that allows you to adjust the tightness of the entire steering column. In this case, the stem of the steering wheel is inserted into the fork rod and secured there with a spacer. The spacer is pulled upward with a long through bolt, which abuts against the top of the stem. Check out the diagram below for a complete understanding. These steering columns are easily recognizable. They have been used for a long time and have always been installed on Soviet bicycles. Unfortunately, this construction is a lottery. If you manage to squeeze it once properly and high-quality materials are used for the manufacture of components, then the steering one looks like without any special problems. However, if any problems arise in its work, then unauthorized unwinding and loosening will constantly occur. In addition, the design itself does not allow such options to be used for extreme skiing. After all, the steering wheel will constantly change the orientation angle, and the entire stem can be pulled out of the steering wheel, under heavy load.

Most often, the diameter of the threaded head is 1 inch. However, among the variety of options produced in China, one can find 1 ¼ “or 1 ½”.

How to repair the steering column?

The spline connections cannot be repaired, in which case the entire column must be replaced. To do this, you need to know how to remove the steering column. This is done quite simply. First of all, you must disconnect the battery. Then the steering wheel and the steering column cover are removed directly. Next, the ignition switch is dismantled, as well as the switch responsible for controlling this system.

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After all the elements have been removed, you need to unscrew the bolts securing the bracket, some of them are almost impossible to dismantle in the standard way, so they should be drilled out. Further, the bolt connecting the control mechanism and the spline connection is unscrewed. And last of all, the steering column shaft is removed, first dismantle its lower seal. The new column is installed strictly in the reverse order, so it is better to add all the removed parts sequentially so that there is no confusion.

In some cases it is necessary to replace the steering column bearing. To do this, according to the above scheme, the bracket assembly with the shaft is removed and installed in a vice, then, knocking the shaft out of the bracket, we take out the bearing itself. Then, inserting the shaft back, it is necessary to knock out with a hammer and the second bearing of the steering column. New bearings are installed with narrow flanges outward and pressed with a mandrel until they stop. The shaft is fixed, and then the second bearing is pressed in. If the steering column crosspiece has become unusable, then the entire part must be replaced.

Threadless screw columns

This is a more modern and very reliable design option that is used on all more expensive bicycles. In practice, it is enough to adjust this unit once and it is able to walk without adjustment for a very long time.

The design of such a helmsman is surprisingly simple. The fixation of the assembly, instead of the nut, is carried out by the removal of the steering wheel. The stem itself is pressed by the steering anchor. The anchor is driven directly into the fork stem and is held there only due to its elastic properties. The stem is not threaded and at the same time is used as a base for the handlebar stem. Which, by the way, fundamentally distinguishes it from the threaded version, where the stem along with an additional tube is inserted into the stem.

Threadless head design

Most often, threadless headsets are 1 1/8 inches in diameter. However, variations from 1 “to 1 ½” are possible.

Steering column adjustment and possible damage to the mechanism

Repairing and adjusting the steering column is not a very difficult procedure, therefore it can be carried out independently. In order to adjust the position of the steering wheel, you must press the lever of the special lock, then set the steering wheel in a position convenient for you and release the lever. Thus, the steering wheel will remain in the desired position.

Automatic adjustment is provided by an electronic device, which, having memorized all the settings, recreates them as soon as the driver gets into the car. At the same time, when you need to go out or go in, the steering wheel is automatically pushed back. Be sure to remember that the adjustment cannot be carried out while the vehicle is moving, as this can lead to loss of control of the car and cause an accident. After setting the steering wheel in the desired position, be sure to check how securely the lever is attached.

A column is a fairly simple element, so there may not be so many breakdowns in it. However, in view of all the responsibility that is assigned to this car unit, it is not worth ignoring the signs of impending malfunctions.

The main worrying moment may be a knock on the steering column. This may indicate possible deformation of the cladding and cladding panels, as well as the fact that some parts of the switch block have become unusable. The play of the steering column in the plane indicates that some elements of the bracket are weakened or even worn out. The weakening of the spline joints is evidenced by the axial play.

Assembly and repair

Due to its simplicity and low overall load on the steering gear, it does not often require repairs or maintenance. Nevertheless, some operations can and should be done by hand:

  • Regular maintenance. at least once a season you should disassemble the steering unit and check the condition of the bearings, clean it if it appears by abrasive from the rolling grooves, lubrication may be useful. Change parts in a timely manner if required.
  • Height Adjustment. If spacer rings are needed for threadless options, even handlebar extensions are used on threaded steering columns. about this in the article on how the steering wheel is adjusted and how to remove it.

There is nothing difficult in independent work with the steering column. The main thing is to clearly follow the assembly sequence, because the diagram is quite simple, and not to allow distortions during pressing. There is a special tool for this, but it is quite rare, and almost everyone uses simple hammers and mallets, although an unbalanced blow can not only damage the cup or bearing, but also crack the frame.

As a result, after each session of working with the steering mechanism, you should check the integrity of all parts and the absence of backlash on the wheel, because it is quite simple to disassemble and fix them.

2.1. Traditional steering columns

The cups are firmly squeezed into the head tube, and the bearings are eventually located outside the glass with these cups. No need to be intimidated by the words being squeezed in. in practice, this is neatly done with an ordinary hammer (unless of course the frame is made of carbon).

Steering column functionality

Such a simple element of the design of the steering of a car as the steering column, as the complexity and weight of cars has acquired many different functions, some of which are not directly related to the ability to change the direction of travel. The additional functionality of the column is based on:

How to Remove and Install Headset Bearings

  • safety;
  • comfort;
  • simplification of the driver’s work;
  • increased service life.

The steering column is an integral part of the vehicle’s steering. This mechanism is sensitive to the slightest movement of the steering wheel, moving the wheels in the right direction. The safety of the driver and passengers will depend on its serviceability. Fortunately, the steering column does not fail as often as, for example, the fuel filter. However, this does not mean that its breakdown is completely excluded. Sooner or later, it may stop functioning. And in order to make a quality repair of this device, you need to fully know its design. Today’s article will help you with this.

The steering column is a special casing that contains the steering wheel shaft. The main functions performed by the steering column include the transmission of forces applied to the steering wheel, ensuring reliable fastening, easy and unhindered rotation of the steering wheel fork, as well as ensuring the safety of the driver when the car collides with an obstacle.