My XC MTB has open type headset bearings, is it possible to replace them with closed type?

The main problem is that I live in a flat and only place where to wash my bike after a muddy or dusty race is self-service car wash nearby. that results in sands being pushed into headset bearings and I have to clean them basically each time I wash my bicycle.

  • Can you tie a piece of cloth rag around the headset before you wash it. Or apply a length of tape to divert water from the gap? Avoid blasting that part with the water too.
    – Criggie
    May 14, 2016 at 21:05
  • 2
    Don't be deceived. Closed-type bearings, wherever mounted (hub, headset etc.) are not high-pressure water resistant. You wash out grease out of them. It's not a best idea to clean your bike like that. It's even more common mistake amongs motorcyclers. Use cloth instead.
    – krzyski
    May 14, 2016 at 21:43
  • I'm not blasting water directly to them, it just gets in bearings past dust guard.
    – pankijs
    May 14, 2016 at 22:03

1 Answer 1


You will very likely be able to buy a new, sealed bearing headset for your bike. Without more information I can't tell you any more than that. It's not a particularly difficult job for a bike shop, but it can be tricky if you don't have the right tools.

Also, as pointed out in the comments, "sealed bearings" are better at resisting water and muck, but they're not waterproof and definitely not water-jet-proof.

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