Colnago V1R headset replacement - any tips?

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trex
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:42 pm
Location: Catalonia

by trex

Hi,

After only 2000km of dry and sunny rides the lower bearing of my Colnago V1R has given up :evil:

What is the recommended way to replace it? Remove bearing only or whole cup with a bearnig?
Something to watch out for (taking into account, for example, it's delicate paint job)? Is there alloy sleeves at either end of the headtube like in C60?
Has anyone already had the so-called pleasure of doing something similar? Any advice and suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

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PJCM
Posts: 198
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 6:44 am

by PJCM

Related thread here https://weightweenies.starbike.com/foru ... p?t=140243 whereby Calnago is familiar with the hardware.

by Weenie


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Calnago
Posts: 8159
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:14 pm

by Calnago

Hi @trex: Yes, you want to replace the entire cup/bearing assembly. The bearing itself is actually pressed into the cup at the Acros factory, then Colnago presses the cup/bearing assembly into the headtube. Installing the cup is the easy part. Removing it is a little more complex. Normally, removing a headset cup like this is the same process as when removing any pressed in headset... just use a headset removal tool like the Park RT-1 or RT-2 (depending on size of the headtube and bearing) and knock it out. What is unique here, and what you really need to be careful of, is that the prongs of the tool can spring out and catch the lip of the alloy sleeve that is actually a part of the frame. In some cases that sleeve is only 10mm deep, which is fine, but with the bearing flange being 9mm, that leaves only a 1mm surface that the prongs of the tool have to spring against as they sit on the on the backside of the bearing. I'm assuming you understand what I've just said there and are familar with using the headset tool. For the size of the lower bearing, the RT-1 tool is a bit undersized, and the RT-2 tool is a bit oversized. Initially, no matter how many times I tried to get the tool seated properly against just the backside of the bearing (not the lip of the alloy sleeve in the headtube), it would always spring apart and rest on the lip of the alloy sleeve. Finally, I cut a piece of a polysomething thin food cutting sheet to a shape that I could insert down and tight against the slight bevel between the bearing cup surface and the sleeve, to make sure that the tool prongs could not catch the sleeve. This last part is really hard to explain but when you start looking at things in detail around the edge of the bearing cup and the alloy sleeve of the frame I think you'll understand what I'm saying. Anyway, that's the really imprortant caution in removing the bearing... just to make sure you don't catch the lip of the alloy sleeve instead of the backside of the bearing cup. Oh, and make sure you get the tool seated on the actual bearing cup surface and not the inner race of the bearing itself, else you will just punch out the inner race of the bearing, leaing the outer race and the cup still firmly in the frame.

The process was involved and tricky enough that I decided to bend the prongs of one of the tools so it would be a little easier if I have occasion to ever do this again in the future. I can't remember which way I went, but I actually bent the prongs on one of the tools to perectly match the backside of the bearing surface without there being too much force against the walls of the frame (the sleeve), but mostly making it much more difficult to catch the lip of the alloy sleeve and much easier to just get the tool seated where it should be, on the bearing cup backside. I think I used the RT-2 tool for the lower bearing. I'd have to go check to be sure, but hope you understand.

I'm surprised that your bearing gave up after only 2000Km. I would expect these to last pretty long, even the life of the frame, much like a good Chris King external headset. But becasue it didn't, when you get the bearing cup out, check the surface of the headtube edge. They get faced at the factory for sure, but they also get painted before the headset cups get pressed in. If there is any more than just a fine mist of overspray on the faced edge, like a dried drip of paint, that can be enough to mess with the alignment of the bearing cup once pressed in, and could lead to premature bearing wear. That's exactly the reason I decided to do this to my brand new C60 when i got it... the lower bearing wasn't as perfectly smooth moving (by hand) as I would have liked, and I knew it would have bugged me down the road, so I actually removed the cups and faced the headtube myself.


I'm going to include a section from a post out of my C60 Build Thread below that might help you a bit to at least understand the process a bit better. I never talked about the actual removal of the cups in that thread, but hopefully the above stuff will help you there with the tricky part. Anwyway, here's the relevant section from my C60 Build Thread....

The Build:
Ok, upon taking delivery of the frame, I noticed the headset bearings were already in the frame right out of the box. They are supposed to be, but I kind of assumed they'd be pressed in cups with slipfit bearings like in my C59 at first, and was curious why they hadn't fallen out. Turns out they use an Acros high quality headset that have the bearings prepressed into cups, then the cups are pressed into the headset. Ok... but the lower one seemed just a tad rough to me. A bit like a misaligned pressfit bearing in a bottom bracket shell. Anyway, long story short, that would never do, so out they came so I could inspect things and maybe just press them in again carefully thinking that had somehow just got pressed in a bit askew. Well... the paint is so thick, and they get painted prior to pressing in the cups, that a ridge of paint had dried under the lower cup....

Note the ridge of paint along the lower right edge of the headset. While we're at it, notice the alloy rings about a centimeter deep into the headset. Makes for a good pressfit of the headset cups... so long as the ends are perfectly faced... Clearly, as a minimum I needed to face the headtube to remove the excess paint etc...
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Facing process.... While I've never built a Colnago where I haven't faced the BB shell, since the move to pressed in headset cups/bearings from the factory I have not faced a newer (since the EPS model) headtube until now... or even removed the cups/bearings on any C59 or EPQ. Models prior to the EPS used an external headset. These are much the same in principal, just a little cleaner in that they are buried in the headtube. Colnago could have done a better job of marketing this, as I think it's a significantly better design than just carving/molding a race into a carbon shell that you just pop a couple slip fit bearings in, and then squeeze everything together with preload. The logo on my C59 top tube says C-HS, spelled out underneath as "Colnago Headset System". Kind of a silly graphic especially when virtually no one knew what was special about it and it appeared that they were just adopting an "integrated headset" like everyone else had seemingly already done. And really, there wasn't anything "special" except that it was not at all a case of adopting the "integrated headset" trend. Rather, it retained the durability and longevity that external headsets enjoyed, versus the "new standard" of just dropping the bearings directly into your frame shell, which could be subject to wear and damage.

Setting up...
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The actual facing operation...
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Checking progress...
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Final Result... smooth and square... repeated the process for the top of the headtube, although it probably wasn't necessary.
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I forgot to photograph the pressing in of the headset cups, but once in they were perfectly silky smooth, and I was now completely happy. I used Morgan Blue Aquaproof Paste as an anitseize compound between the headset cups and the inner diameter of the headtube.

So, now that I was satisfied that all was good with the headset area, I wanted to turn my attention to the Bottom Bracket. I understand fully how the new Threadfit System works etc., but this is the first time I've had one in my hands to be able to do what I want with it. Having experienced a whole lot of anguish fixing bikes with pressfit bottom brackets... and having just had to face the headtube, I wanted to make sure that the threadfit cups in the BB were actually sitting on edges of a square, faced, BB shell. So...

Down to the BB shell... First the Threadfit cups have to be removed. There's a special tool to do this that was initially supplied with C60's when you bought them. Now it's a special order item, which makes sense since most people would not be removing the cups on anywhere near a regular basis... But inquiring minds want to know... so...

A shot of the shell before removing the Threadfit cups... very clean and I checked tolerances with a really good set of Vernier calipers and was very pleased, especially compared with most carbon shells that take pressfit BB's...
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Here's a pic (not mine) that I found of the actual alloy sleeve that gets bonded into the C60 BB lug... and the tool to remove the Threadfit cups...
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The Threadfit cups themselves...
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Pleasantly confirmed that both sides of the BB shell were clean and faced properly underneath the Threadfit cups...
Drive side... notice the two notches which ensure there's no chance this alloy sleeve is going to come loose and start spinning in the shell..
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and Non-Drive side.... clean as a whistle as well...
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Ok... once I confirmed all was well here, I coated the threads with the same paste as the headset, to prevent any oxidation etc, since these cups will probably only get removed very rarely, if at all, then torqued them back into the shell. Ok, the heavy lifting of inspecting and prepping a new frame is largely done.

But before I move on, I want to spend a moment just to say how impressed I am with this setup compared to most other big manufacturers of carbon frames. It's no secret that I have a disdain for bottom bracket shells that are not up to snuff and creak more often than not. With Colnagos Threadfit system... 1) the sleeve is bonded to the BB lug, and then Threadfit cups are threaded into it. It is not moving. It is alloy. It is much easier to manufacture to fine tolerances with alloy than carbon, at least judging by the crap out there these days. 2) It is threaded. Praise whoever almighty!! Threaded. Let me say that again. It's threaded. Ok, "so what" you might ask, you're still pressing in some kind of adapter into that smooth shell. And that is true. However, the Threadfit cups themselves are alloy and very tightly machined... again I took the calipers to them and was impressed. So, while you still have to press in whatever BB solution you want to use (I used the Campagnolo Cups for Ultratorque cranks), the whole assembly is solid and reliable, and hopefully creak free if installed properly. The Threadfit cups are actually another layer between the BB solution and the frame, but if they ever get damaged, they can easily be replaced rather than having your entire frame rendered a throwaway. Someone asked "well why do you need the Threadfit cups at all... why not just thread a BB directly into the alloy sleeve." Good question and it could probably be done, but what manufacturer is going to produce a BB just for the small numbers of Colnagos with the Threadfit system out there. Probably none. So... in my opinion, Colnago's Threadfit System is making the best of a bad situation bestowed upon us in the form of the Pressfit Bottom Bracket that we've all come to know and love. Ugh!

Before I leave this area, I wanted to share what can happen with a pressfit BB that gets pressed into a raw carbon shell.
The shell...
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The cups that ended up spinning and grinding away the shell edge as well as "coning" the cups themselves...
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For a more complete description of the debacle above... here's a link...viewtopic.php?f=3&t=135742&hilit=praxis ... 5#p1270718

Ok... now to press in the Campy Ultratorque cups... (to be continued in a separate post, as I can see this is going to get unwieldy for me very quickly if I keep coming back to this one to edit it)...
Colnago C64 - The Naked Build; Colnago C60 - PR99; Trek Koppenberg - Where Emonda and Domane Meet;
Unlinked Builds (searchable): Colnago C59 - 5 Years Later; Trek Emonda SL Campagnolo SR; Special Colnago EPQ

trex
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:42 pm
Location: Catalonia

by trex

Dear @Calnago.
Thanks for you help and time! Much appreciated!

I understand everything - the basic thing is to be careful not to rest the tool on the lip sleeve.
The idea of making a collar to be sure that the tool prongs could not catch the sleeve is more than great. I will do it this way too.

I will also check the surface of the headtube edge. Indeed, there may be a problem here. Knowing the quality of these framesets is certainly not perfectly smooth there.

Thank you once again! I owe you a good beer :)

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Calnago
Posts: 8159
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:14 pm

by Calnago

@trex... I sort of feel I left my post a tad incomplete. I said I "bent" the prongs of one of the Park Headset tools but I couldn't remember which one. It was the RT-2, and I bent the prongs inward until they perfectly fit the backside of the bearing cup. The thing is, you need a bearing/cup assembly outside of the bike to really be able to do this properly. But if that pic you showed is from a bearing you have then you could do that.
Some pics... first, the RT-1 tool, while perfect for removing the upper headset/cup assembly, is too small in diameter as is to work on the lower bearing. If you try it, it will just punch out the inner race and the balls/cage, leaving the outer race and cup still intact and destroying the assembly in the process. Here's how it would fit, and you can see it is inside the cup. The picture below is what you would see from the inside of the headtube obviously, with the walls of the headtube tight around the flange...
Image

Next is the RT-2 tool, with bent prongs so that it naturally fits this bearing. Without the bend, it springs out way too much and just snaps out when you try to insert it making it impossible to seat nicely on the bearings cup's backside. In your case, it would snap and be seated against the walls lip of the alloy sleeve which is a part of the frame and you obviously don't want to be pounding on that....
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Since the first time I did this was an exercise in frustration, thinking and experimentation, I eventually used some propylene cutting sheet, cut and curled like a cone to jam inbetween the bevel of the bearing cup and the alloy sleeve (this is the hardest part of the entire process). Once you get the tool seated where it needs to be and NOT on the lip of the alloy sleeve, you're golden. You just tap the bearing/cup assembly out of the frame per normal... probably going to have to use your imagination a bit on this pic below, but if you've gotten this far I think you'll be able to visualize inside perfectly...
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So.... tap tap tap... and out it comes....
I'm just showing the upper bearing/cup assembly on the right with the RT-1 tool on top of it to show how well it fits with no bending at all....
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There, now I feel I've shown you all I can for the process. I'm still very curious as to what caused the bearing to fail in the first place as it's way too soon for that to happen. I hope you are sure the bearing is in fact destroyed before you go pounding it out and replacing it. Oh, I also used a thin film of Morgan Blue AquaProof Paste to prevent oxidation, galvanic corrosion etc, on the outer surface of the bearing cup that mates with the alloy sleeve in the headset before pressing back in. The other thing I checked was the actual bore of the headset collars. If those were tight in spots, that can very easily kind of squeeze the bearing enough to cause premature wear. But in my case, it was just that little ridge of dried paint on the faced surface that threw things out of alignment slightly.

Good luck... let me know if you can definitively pinpoint what might have been the cause for the bearing failure. If you can't you can't, in which case you just replace it and hope all is good going forward.
Colnago C64 - The Naked Build; Colnago C60 - PR99; Trek Koppenberg - Where Emonda and Domane Meet;
Unlinked Builds (searchable): Colnago C59 - 5 Years Later; Trek Emonda SL Campagnolo SR; Special Colnago EPQ

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