Since a while my racing bike seems to have delopped a little crackling noise in my headset. I thought servicing the headset bearings might be a logical first step. Unfortunately, when I opend it up I don't seem to be able to access the bearing themselves. It seems like it is a zero stack headset with loose bearings, but I cannot remove the upper race, even with some force since it seems covered by some washer:

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I've tried googling a bit and it seems a bit similar to the bearing described in this post. However, I don't see an easily removable circlip in my situation.

Does anyone have any idea how I would be able to remove this race to access and service the bearings? Many thanks in advance!

  • What kind of frame is this?
    – Vladimir F
    Apr 25 '20 at 14:55

I'm not completely sure, but those bearings look like sealed units. They likely get replaced rather than serviced.

I would start by getting more information on the specs of your bike frame. The manufacturer will have details about the size of the bearings, and should be able to show how to get into it further.

Your last resort is to take the bike into an LBS for a service, and ask if you can assist/watch. Can be a great learning experience.

To remove them, you probably need a drift to push them out from below/inside-the-frame.

enter image description here

This goes through the bearing, the four legs click out, and then you tap it from below with a rubber hammer. You will probably need a headset press to reinstall them, and maintain parallelism.

enter image description here


Thanks for the great tip above. I turned out that there was a little plastic ring on top that I could peal of by using a utility knife. Then I could remove the race and access the bearings!

Unfortunately cleaning those did not remove the crackling noise. So I ended up removing the cups as mentioned above anyway and taking it all apart. It turned out it was a small pipe inside the headset mount that was a bit dry an causing the noise.

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