Headsets rotate, but are also subject to vertical forces caused by bumps in the road. These impacts are transmitted through the fork, into the frame via the headset. Precise bearing adjustment is critical.
Headset should turn freely from side to side. Binding indicates insufficient lubrication, too much friction caused by over-tightening or pitting of the races. To check, squeeze the front brake lever hard and rock the bike from front to back. There should be no play or looseness. Take into consideration that brake arms can have horizontal movement, and check to see if the play comes from there or from the headset.
Play or wiggle in these vital moving parts indicates a need for professional attention. Take your bicycle to your local bicycle shop for service or get help doing it yourself at a local bicycle co-op. Tell the mechanic where the problem is.
- Hex wrenches
- Headset wrenches for threaded headsets only
- Large adjustable wrench, for threaded headsets only
Click HERE to go to Park Tools Threaded Instructions
Click HERE to go to Park Tools Thread-less Instructions
Click HERE to view video