Hope Headset Service
- 30 mins - 1 hour
Allen Keys / hex sockets (8mm and 4mm)
Words and Photos by Richard Fox - posted 10/03/2010
Hope Headset Service
(2007 model specifically but previous models and other A-headsets can be serviced similarly)
What you need
- Allen Keys / hex sockets (8mm and 4mm)
- Synthetic grease (Preferably hydrophobic)
- Cleaning towl
- Soft Hammer (hard rubber)
- Torque Wrench (low torque)
- Old inner tube
- Rubber band
- Bike Stand
- Replacement pair of compatible or hope bearing cartridges
I would recommend using a bike stand or maintenance stand to keep the bike stable as the steerer tube requires removal. Remove the front wheel (and unhook the front brake if using V brakes).
Unscrew the top bolt and remove the cap with an 8mm Allen key.
Using a 4mm allen key loosen bolts clamping the stem to the steerer tube. Hold the crown of the fork as you loosen the last bolt to stop the fork from dropping out onto the floor (with the tight fitting of the seals this is unlikely to occur with this style of hope headset).
Pull the stem off the steerer tube and strap it to the top tube with a thick elastic band or string.
Remove any spacers and keep all of the items in order of removal to help you replace them in the correct order.
If the fork is not loose (most likely) then tap the top of the steerer with a soft hammer or using a block of wood to protect it. To prevent the forks from dropping onto the floor, your can loop an old inner tube under the crown and around the head tube/top tube.
Once the steerer tube is loose remove the remaining parts and again align them in their vertical order i.e. top cap and bolt, Top Cover (with O –ring and seal), Shim (if present), Upper Tapered Ring, Top Bearing.
Remove the fork and thus you can remove the Bottom Bearing and Crown Race (split with seal).
If the bearings do not run smooth (and there is dirt inside the headset) then they can be cleaned. If they are seized or run very roughly they probably require replacement.
Quick bearing service
Hope headset comes with stainless cartridge bearings which means that even if the mud and water has penetrated they are less likely to rust, become seized or have scored races.
Remove the upper and lower seal from each side with a blade or braddle being careful not to deform the seals (plasticised metal ring).
Place the components in degreaser to remove any dirt impregnated grease. Clean and leave to dry off or use an airline to blow out any liquid.
Pack each side with hydrophobic synthetic grease and run the bearing to incorporate the grease inside the bearing. Try not over pack.
Replace the seals (different sizes)
Reassembling the headset
Make sure the remaining components are clean, degreased and dry before reassembly.
Spread a little grease around headset cups before replacing the cartridge bearings. With the grease in place the lower one can be replaced and not fall out whilst reassembing.
Replace the fork crown race.
Replace the fork (making sure of the correct orientation i.e. front and rear and correct cable routing.
Replace the remaining components in the correct order – i.e. Upper Tapered Ring, Shim (if present), Top Cover (with O –ring and seal), Spacers, Stem, Top cap and bolt. Put the wheel back in and rehook the brake if present.
Take the bike off the stand. With the front wheel perpendicular to the frame, rock the bike back and forward. To check for play, grip the lower headset between thumb and forefinger. You can apply the front brake to enhance this. If you can feel movement as you rock the front end, tighten the cap bolt, a quarter of a turn at a time until the play is eliminated. Too loose and the headset with have play, too tight and it will be stiff and cause excess wear to the bearings.It is often best to slightly over tighten the top cap and then back off to preload the bearings and make sure the compression ring (tapered ring) is pushed tight against the stem/bearings properly. This will mean that the headset should not need further tightening after a few rides.
Tighten one stem clamp bolt and turn the bars. Bounce the front wheel on the ground a few times to loosen the headset then check the adjustment. If you can ‘feel’ the bearings then you’ve tightened the cap too much. Loosen the stem clamp bolt and back cap bolt off a quarter of a turn. Repeat the procedure until the headset turns smoothly without any play.
Finally align the stem with the front wheel and tighten the stem clamp bolts preferably with a torque wrench to 5.5nm setting.
Richard Fox - Web Editor
Richard has been mountain biking for over 18 years, 8 years on his local trails, Dartmoor. He also regularly rides away from home – usually riding each year (while doing the mechanics for others) in various events such as the Bristol Bikefest series, Dyfi Enduro and twentyfour12 and a fair few others.
He is also a secret roadie and participates in many sportives including his local Dartmoor Classic 100 and Endura Lionheart to name but a few - Shhhh
All these years of riding (and breaking) bikes, has resulted in Richard acquiring the wealth of experience (and the tools) to keep his, and inevitably all his riding crew's, bikes on the trails.
He also completed John O'Groats to Lands End road ride for charity in 8 days in 2012
Richard is the Cyclist No.1 Web Editor.
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