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  1. #1
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    Headset conversion from cage bearings to cartridge

    I am new to road biking and the site and I'm looking for info on converting a (low cost) caged bearing headset to a cartridge style. I have a 2017 Giant contend and could not locate and model specific info on Cane creek's site or the FSA website. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    hfc
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    It is unusual to have to replace a headset on a one year old bike. Do they even used caged bearings on new bikes now? If you need to replace the bearings, take the old cage out, take it to the bike shop, ask for a similar replacement. As an alternative you can ask for loose bearings in the same same size, add one ball to take of the slack from the cage.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevieray05 View Post
    I am new to road biking and the site and I'm looking for info on converting a (low cost) caged bearing headset to a cartridge style. I have a 2017 Giant contend and could not locate and model specific info on Cane creek's site or the FSA website. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
    Think this through. A cartridge bearing cross section is roughly square, often with chamfered edges. This fits into a matching space in the frame. There is no bearing race in the frame when you have a cartridge headset. When you have a ball bearing headset, the upper and lower cups are pressed into the head tube and when removed, you see the open end of a simple tube - no place for a pressed in cartridge.

    If you don't like having caged ball bearings, then figure out what size you have a buy enough to fill the upper and lower races. You can also buy high quality ball bearing head sets.

  4. #4
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    OP can you post some pics of your bike? I'm pretty sure you have cartridge bearings already and what you may be seeing is that one of them has come apart. Every photo I've seen of the Contend shows what is an integrated headset which would have cartridge bearings. There are no visible headset cups that would hold caged ball bearings.
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  5. #5
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    The headset is not in bad shape. Looks like the bearing were dry though and the lower race has some rust. I cleaned and re greased and the action is smooth....there is a slight creaking though. I figured a new cartridge set would be a nice upgrade, not to mention they hold up better in the wet weather.

  6. #6
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    I have the bike together and unfortunately did not take pics. I went through and took several measurements with my caliper to see if I can get a replacement. There is races pressed into the frame, so from the outside it looks like a semi-integrated cartridge set up. There are two caged bearings and two inner races that all come apart. The cups act as the outer races.
    I cleaned and greased all the surfaces and the headset works smooth but there is a slight creak I would like to get ride of.

  7. #7
    xxl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevieray05 View Post
    I have the bike together and unfortunately did not take pics. I went through and took several measurements with my caliper to see if I can get a replacement. There is races pressed into the frame, so from the outside it looks like a semi-integrated cartridge set up. There are two caged bearings and two inner races that all come apart. The cups act as the outer races.
    I cleaned and greased all the surfaces and the headset works smooth but there is a slight creak I would like to get ride of.
    Stevie, if you haven't, you might try regreasing the handlebar clamp, the stem/fork, and the brake levers; their joinings may be the source of your creak, rather than the headset.
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  8. #8
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    I will give that a try. I grease all the screws but it did not make a difference. Thank you

  9. #9
    xxl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevieray05 View Post
    I will give that a try. I grease all the screws but it did not make a difference. Thank you
    Tracking down creaks can be maddening, as sounds seem to be conducted across the bike. One will swear the creak is coming from one place, and it ends up coming from another. Handlebar creaking is pretty common, due to the leverage one can exert on the bar/stem, while fork creaking, not so much, so I'd start there.

    Also, if you search on "eliminating annoying creaks," there are a number of good tips on narrowing down the sources of creaks. Best of luck, we've all been there.
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