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EDIT: here's a photo. I removed everything except the bearings. enter image description here

Last spring I was annoyed by some front end noise so I disassembled and greased everything from the handlebar clamp and bolts down to the fork.

It may have helped a little but it didn't solve the problem, particularly the gong sound, which I suspect is coming from the head tube since nothing else is big enough to ring like that.

I disassembled the front of the bike all the way down to the bearings in the head tube. I did not remove them because I was afraid of damaging them by pounding them out or trying to pound them back in without a bearing press.

I was able to grease the inner part of the bearings, it was just the interface between the outside of the bearing and the head tube that I couldn't grease.

Do you think I missed something or do I really need to remove the bearings and grease the head tube to silence the front end completely?

Thank you in advance.

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  • Tracking down bike noises is an absolute nightmare. The single best tools are a set of rollers (and the ability to ride on them) and a separate set of ears to stand by the bike, and triangulate the source of the noise. Do you have access to those ?
    – Criggie
    Oct 21, 2023 at 0:11
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    No, I've never used rollers. The noises definitely sound like they're coming from the front end tho. I'm wondering if I should repeat what I already did but use more grease and wipe away what squeezes out. This time I'll be extra careful not to miss anything, but I'll stop short of removing the headset bearings for the same concerns as before. Do you think that's worth trying or just a waste of time since I literally just did it late last spring? TIA
    – user66598
    Oct 21, 2023 at 13:16

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I can't quite tell from your photo if your headset is external cups (bearing seats pressed into the head tube) or if it's an integrated system where the head tube itself is machined in such a way as to create bearing seats within both ends of the head tube. Either way, the cartridge bearings of either system are slip fit. They should be able to be removed by hand, or at most, a gentle persuasion with a lever (screwdriver or something similar). You'll need to make sure that any seals or aspects of the top cover aren't blocking removal.

With cartridge bearings which have the races and bearings balls integrated within the unit, greasing the frame seats and the inner & outer aspects of the bearing are the only aspects one needs to grease. While it's true that one can remove the seal from the cartridge bearings and clean and regrease the inner parts and replace the seal, they are typically wear items and simply replaced with new. Greasing the external parts of the cartridge bearing and it's seat in the head tube deters water ingress and since it's where metal to metal contact is made grease allows for smooth, quiet articulation of the parts, prevents corrosion, protects the frame and other parts from excessive wear.

So,it would be worth it to get those bearings out and freshened up with new grease.

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  • I just did a similar disassembly and regrease as the OP, and I found the bearings came out easily just using fingers. I think the bottoms ones might have popped out on their own even, just from the steerer tube bumping them on the way out.
    – SSilk
    Oct 24, 2023 at 9:10
  • Well I'll be a monkey's uncle cause I didn't even think to try using my finger! I just saw those bearings sitting in the frame and assumed I'd have to pound them out. I'll give it another try with fingers and/or a gentle pry this time. Thank you!!!
    – user66598
    Oct 24, 2023 at 13:34

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