head set bearings

Anyone ever change their front head set steering bearings. The bottom one is a bitch to get off. any tricks? Also, How do you know for certain it the steering shaft is bent?


You really should have the bottom bearing pressed off and pressed on. Make sure you really need to change them as apposed to just re-packing them. Oh.. make sure and check the races.

If you have a bent steering shaft it should be pretty obvious by just turning it and looking at it. It really is very difficult to bend that piece.

Good Luck!

Mr T

I used a hand held torch (Propane) to heat mine up then tapped it off with a brass drift. To Put a new one on I placed the bearing on the shaft, inserted it back into the steering head and used the upper bolt to press it back on. Didn't take much pressure. You can also put the stem into the freezer over night, the steel will contract enough to slide the new (Room Temp) bearing onto the post, You can always apply a gentle tap with a Brass drift to seat it if necessary.

I checked mine with a lazy susan..Just put it on something that will turn and give it a spin. if it's bent you'll see a wobble at the top end (Threaded end). (Poor Mans Micrometer)

Hope this helps...

Bonzai :)

Thanks Mr T and Yamakazi,

I appreciate the help. How do you get the steering shaft off. Is it threaded onto the tripple clamp? I'd like to try the freezer trick.


the shaft is part of the lower triple clamp so just take off your forks and then loosen the nut on the top of the top triple clamp then take it off. Now you have to take of another nut then the shaft should come out pretty eassy. there you go. You sure you have to change your bearings and not just regreas them. it could save you alot of time and hasle. It isn't that bad though, i did it on my old bike and it took like an hour start to finish!!! good luck and keep it upright!

Thanks man, yeah...the bearings are shot. crushed in a bad get off. I'm looking forward to the dealership being ipen tomorrow. I hope they stock the bearings.



Is the Stem Bent?

If So you're going to have to replace the lower clamp....$289.00 from Yamaha. This is one piece of hardware that I wouldn't mess around with. Inspect it for cracks very closely. You would not want to loose your front end, coming off a big double, or worse yet a big tabletop.

Bonzai :)

Yamakaze...it is not bent. I ordered the bearing sets today. should get it back together by the weekend. Thanks for the help.


Yamakaze, I wish I had the smarts to ask you guys before I set out in uncharted waters as Angelo evidently has. I just jumped head first into the headset bearings about a week or two ago. I was successful but the bottom race was a PAIN. The freezer and the propane would have helped tremendously. Oh well!


If you replace the bearings, also replace the races.....otherwise your bearings will not last too long. You will need a long punch to remove the top & bottom race. I suggest "rounding the bottom of the punch" to the same degree as the edge of the race to remove easier. A trick MX Tuner showed me.

My favorite race removal trick is a bead of weld on the race face.

When it cools it shrinks the race and it falls out.

Michael how you been? I havn't seen you since gerogetown.You doing ok? you up for stonyford on the 26th?

monty :)

[ January 17, 2002: Message edited by: MONTY ]

Doing good Monty, should have the bike all back together by then. I'm mended and taking it much slower these days. Thanks for the Hello.


Michael let me know if you can make it on the 26th, Paul and myself are going I like to show you around stonyford lots of good ridding.

monty :)

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