How to: Headsets


Headset installation instructions from The shadow conspiracy.

What are the different types of 1 1/8" Threadless Headsets?
1 1/8" Threadless Headsets are available in three different styles. There are Standard, Integrated and Internal headsets.


A standard 1 1/8" headset uses two cups that have to be pressed into the frame. These cups are smaller and usually heavier than an internal headset cup. The cups on a standard 1 1/8" headset can serve two purposes. The first purpose is to be the surface that an unsealed bearing rides on the second is a mating surface for a sealed bearing.

The integrated headset has no cups. An integrated frame actually has the angles needed for the integrated bearing machined into the head tube. The bearing of an integrated headset can be placed directly into the head tube of an integrated frame. Integrated headsets are designed to be easy to install and have a very clean look.

An internal headset uses two aluminum cups that have to be pressed into the frame. These cups are similar to the standard 1 1/8" cups but they a larger in diameter and usually weigh less. The cups on an internal headset provide a mating surface for a sealed cartridge bearing. Once the cups are pressed into the frame, the bearing can be simply placed in its location.

How do I adjust the play in my headset?
Loosen the bolt(s) on the stem that clamps the stem to the fork steerer tube. Slightly tighten the compression bolt to remove any play in the headset or slightly loosen the compression bolt if the headset is too tight. The compression bolt is used only to adjust the amount of play in the headset. Do not over tighten it, you can damage the headset and / or the fork. Once you have the headset where it feels just right, align your stem and tighten the bolt(s) that clamp the stem to the fork.

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