I have a 2010 Specialized Tricross Sport. I've just take the stem, top cap, and spacers off and removed the fork from my bike for the first time in the 12 years/ 20,000km I've owned it. It's never had any maintenance done on this area.
This is what I'm seeing:
I took a look at the bottom side and realized I could actually see all the lower bearings:
Then, while wiping excess grease out of the way, the lower bearing set just popped out in my hand. So I decided I may as well clean up the area (track?) the bearings sit in in the headtube, and pop the upper set out and do the same thing.
So now I've got the two sets of bearings out, and I degreased them as best I could with dish detergent and dried them out. IMO, considering the lack of maintenance ever done on these, I think they both look OK, though not great. One set looks a bit better than the other.
Here's the better looking set:
And the worse looking set:
Unfortunately I lost track of which is which after taking them out, but I'm assuming the worse looking one is the lower.
About 1/3rd of the worse looking set is visibly pitted up close but still rolling reasonably smoothly. The worst bearings look like this:
And most of the rest of the bearings look like this:
So, not spotless but still clean and smooth enough to catch a hazy reflection of myself on the surface.
My questions are:
- Does this more or less look right? I wasn't sure if that ring that's sitting partway up the streerer tube is meant to separate from the bearing assembly. After removing the fork, that ring settled back down inside the bearing assembly.
- Does the overall state of the innards here look OK?
- What, if any maintenance should I do while I have the steerer out? I have a decent collection of bike tools, but nothing bearing-specific. I'm also in Zambia right now so don't have access to a good supplier of replacement parts or tools.
- I do have bike grease (Phil Wood), and straight up dish detergent and hot water for de-greasing. Should I make any attempt to de-grease the bearings, or should I just wipe off the excess old stuff, push some new grease down on top of them, and put it all back together?