facing and reaming a headtube for a CK headset-necessary?

looking for an answer. I don’t want to pay for facing and reaming.


[quote=bicycole]looking for an answer. I don’t want to pay for facing and reaming.


Generally no. Unless the headtube looks like it has a bunch of paint or other shoddiness in it. I’m sure someone will disagree but I have always just pressed them in with the recommended tools and called it a day. Never had a problem.

If I don’t want to face and ream, I’ll draw-file the faces a bit unless they look really clean and flat. I’ll do the same for bottom brackets. See google for details about draw-filing.

Has the bike had a headset in it before? If yes, and you think the other headset was installed properly, then no. If no, then maybe.

yeah it’s had a cane creek and aheadset in it for the past couple years. i haven’t actually checked out the inside of the head tube, which might be a good idea before determining whether or not it’ll need it.

edit: i’d like to hear from people who advocate facing and reaming.

I’d advocate it if it were a really nice frame the justified the expense. Assuming the surfaces were manufactured to reasonable tolerances, the bearings in the headset will likely last several years. If you face and ream the head-tube, the bearings might last quite a bit longer assuming they’re not killed by environmental conditions.

mmm. very helpful. it’s a swobo sanchez frame. so-middle ground in my mind.

mmm. very helpful. it’s a swobo sanchez frame. so-middle ground in my mind.[/quote]

Two things. The first is that might be an extraordinarily decent frame, but it’s not really middle-ground relative to the cost of the machining operations we’re discussing. Head tube facing generally runs around $40 and reaming tends to be much more than that. Reaming is an operation that normally gets performed when the bike is built. You’re talking about spending 10-20% the cost of the frame for zero discernible improvement in function other than bearing life. Just make sure there’s no paint on the head tube and clean up the surfaces with some emery cloth. The second thing is that this frame was likely mass-manufactured in a large factory that turns head tubes and bottom bracket shells on CNC machines. Facing and reaming the head tube as well as facing and chasing bottom bracket shells was a practice that began when machining tolerances were not that great. At this point, I suspect you’d be hard-pressed to find a decent frame with head tube surfaces more than a few thou out of parallel. I’m recalling some comments that Jonny Cycles made on frame forum last year when he suggested that his BB shells had extraordinarily good tolerances.

Personally, I’d be concerned with paint and debris more than anything else. The bearings will likely last way, way longer than your interest in the bike will.

I am under the impression that this guy has seen and built a lot of bikes. Seriously. I’d trust his opinion.

word, thanks for all the help. i’m confident you bros have more than enough experience to warrant these opinions.

I always face head tubes, especially if I were to put on a King. I figure I’ll never get back to it so I might as well do it right. But that’s for free. If I had to pay for it, I’d probably skip it too.

word. here’s another thing. i have no mechanic friend with facing capabilities here, but a friend in SF said he’ll do it for free. should i wait until he can do it, or just put the king in there and face it when i have a chance?

If I were you I wouldn’t stress about it so long as there weren’t any bubbles or barbs making it clearly uneven. Just pop it in there and if you and your SF buddy get around to it, cool. If not, that’s cool too.

The head mech at my LBS says new parts/frames are designed to more strict tolerances and don’t need machining to get them to fit like they used to

My shop told me that King won’t honor warranties unless the head tube is faced/reamed. I don’t know if that’s true or if it even matters to you, but they did it for free anyways so I don’t really care.