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Alternative Headsets

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    Alternative Headsets

    I got on the Luna notification list for the Cane Creek headset a couple of months ago and I'm still waiting.
    My headset made some pretty nasty sounds last weekend so I am looking for alternatives.
    I don't know much about them regarding sizing and what I need but while I was researching it I did notice most of all the manufacturers use the numbers.
    I.E. Cane Creek and Hope use ZS44/28.6 (short top) for the upper bearing and ZS55/40 for the lower.
    More searching shows one company having a lower in stock and another company having an upper in stock, whether it is Hope or CC.
    I believe I will be going this route to get what I need rather than wait for Luna to get stock.

    For those who know....Am I missing something?
    Luna says they have their kits custom made by CC but I think that is just mix and matching the upper/lower as a kit.

    JD, I think those numbers on the Hope headset parts indicates traditional size 1.125"/1 & 1/8th" for the top and 1.5"/ 1 & 1/2" for the bottom. This is pretty common for many MTB's...1.125" over 1.5". From reading many of the posts here, and seeing that the S-R uses MTB forks, I was under the impression that S-R uses common MTB headsets.

    JD, can you confirm if the S-R headset bearings are open ball/cage units or sealed bearings?


      I received my SR from Luna is March of 2021, I can say it is a 2021. Realistically, it could prolly be a 2020.
      Regardless, the headset bearings are taper roller, motorcycle style.
      The noise most likely is dirt but I want to be ready for failure.


        JD, that Cane Creek headset number you mentioned looks like an MTB headset. Is this the one you're looking at?

        40-Series - ZS55/40 - Bottom - Black - BAA0737K - Cane Creek Cycling Components

        All the motorcycle units I've dealt with look like this.

        All Balls Steering Bearing Kit | MotoSport

        I'm sure the Cane Creek unit has tapered roller design, just maybe not as burly as the dirt motorcycle units. I'm not questioning you on this, it's just your mention of Cane Creek and motorcycle style headsets got my attention. I'm also curious since S-R uses mountain bike style forks, and therefore I can see how Cane Creek would have suitable headsets.


          TNC, yes. I was under the assumption that they are tapered roller bearings but it doesn't look like enough room for that quality.


            I haven't seen bicycle headsets with tapered bearings, the CC ZS55 is a ball bearing.
            Ya you can have different manufacture's bearings top & bottom, no worries.
            Remember the sur-rons frame is tapered, most forks are straight steer-tube, so a lower bearing adapter is used.
            Last edited by X-Nitro; 08-24-2021, 08:19 PM.


              Stock late model SR. Apparently they changed from caged ball (bicycle style) to tapered roller (MX) in 2019.
              X-Nitro, my SR came with a Killah Fork and straight 1.125 steerer tube. I swapped out for a Fox 40 using the same tube and bearings.
              I did find my bearings were a little loose and after preloading I still get a little creaking.
              I either need to clean and regrease or check for wear.

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              Last edited by JeepinDoug; 08-25-2021, 09:53 AM.


                The above picture of stock heatset bearings is my riding buddy's stock set.
                I'm gonna borrow them this weekend just to nab the numbers off them, bearings and races.
                I will post the numbers here as most bearings are numbered with industry standard part numbers and can be sourced from any bearing house.


                  Originally posted by X-Nitro View Post
                  I haven't seen bicycle headsets with tapered bearings, the CC ZS55 is a ball bearing.
                  Ya you can have different manufacture's bearings top & bottom, no worries.
                  Remember the sur-rons frame is tapered, most forks are straight steer-tube, so a lower bearing adapter is used.
                  All mountain bike headsets use tapered bearings, they just don't look like the typical tapered roller bearing that the Sur Ron uses. Bikes use a tapered ball bearing, it uses balls vs rollers, but the races are angular contact.

                  I haven't measured my SR frame, but it appears to use the EC49 headset cup standard on top and bottom. The top might be EC44.
                  The forks are standard mountain bike interfaces as well; the stock RST and just about any other mountain bike fork that people use has a straight (ie non-tapered) 28mm steerer tube. The very bottom of the steerer tube is 28.6mm where the crown race presses on. The crown race is what contacts the headset bearing.

                  EC = external cup, which means the frame has a cylindrical bore and you press an aluminum cup into the frame, and the bearing drops into the cup. The bearing sits outside the frame. Note, the SR may use EC49 for the lower headset, but still have the bearing sitting inside the frame, as the EC49 standard is meant to fit the larger 1.5" bearings, whereas most dual crown forks (including the RST) use the smaller 1 1/8" lower bearing because of the straight 28mm steerer tube.
                  ZS = zero stack, ZS56 is intended for the same 1.5" bearing as EC49, but the headtube is larger so the bearing can sit inside the frame. EC34 uses 1 1/8" bearing, as does ZS44, but the bearing sits inside the frame.

                  The main purpose of the larger 1.5" bearing on mountain bikes is because they almost all use single crown forks for weight, and the tapered steerer tubes with the larger diameter at the bottom is needed for stiffness with the lack of an upper fork crown. Dual crown forks don't generally use tapered steerer tubes because the top crown and extended fork tubes do that job. There exists 1 or 2 dual crown DH forks with tapered steerers, I believe the original DVO inverted fork used it.

                  On mountain bikes, I've had great experience with FSA/TH headset bearings, fwiw.


                  • X-Nitro
                    X-Nitro commented
                    Editing a comment
                    "I haven't seen bicycle headsets with roller bearings" Would be correct, and what I intended to express.

                  I've had excellent results over years of use with FSA headsets also. I've had a very good experience with the RST Killah on my Nomad. I changed the oil and serviced the fork grease a little differently. I've also been using those air vent holes near the fork seals to periodically shoot about 5cc of Maxima Plush 5wt fork oil into each leg where those foam rings are located...really keeps the fork supple. I got this fork as a cheap experiment as a takeoff from a guy's S-R, and I'm a little shocked how well it works on the Nomad/BBSHD. I've had all manner of high end MTB forks through the shop over the years, even a Monster T back in the day. It's almost embarrassing to be using an RST...LOL! The guys at the shop made some fun over it, but when they rode it over some of the features we have at the shop that acts as a suspension test section, they were!...that fork actually works...LOL!


                    MR, thanks for the nomenclature. I love learning that.


                      Originally posted by TNC View Post
                      ..I've also been using those air vent holes near the fork seals to periodically shoot about 5cc of Maxima Plush 5wt fork oil into each leg where those foam rings are located...really keeps the fork supple. I got this fork as a cheap experiment as a takeoff from a guy's S-R. .that fork actually works...LOL!
                      I assume that guy`s SR might be a Surron X-Light bee forks ??
                      Question.. Air Vent holes near the fork seal. I don`t have fork oil in a spray can.. (Yet)
                      I have PB Blaster, WD-40 and Silicon with that little spray tube. attachment.
                      I was going to take my SRX-LB for a ride today but just as I was about to spray the silicon in the rings.
                      Something told me to stop. I will just wait and purchase 10 wt fork oil and a oil-shooter.

                      TNC ""A cheap experiment as a takeoff from a guy's S-R,""
                      Keep us informed and thank you for the information.


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ID:	136241 dirtman, I would not recommend either of those sprays for lubing the foam rings. Those chemicals have a decent amount of solvent along with some lubrication, and the lubrication will be minimal. I don't think the bushings will appreciate PB or WD40 for this application. I think you'll have difficulty squirting any lubricant into those air vents via a pressurized can. I fiddled around a bit with different options before discovering that anything above lubes heavier than 5wt are very hard to push into that foam ring space. The foam ring tends to sit against that vent hole. This is not a problem using a small plastic syringe with about 5cc of 5wt oil with "very slow" injection pressure. The foam rings easily accept the light oil when slowly injected. Trust me...if you try to spray in any lube under pressure, you're more likely to just get a bunch of blowback...LOL!

                        This 5cc application of fork oil lasts a long time to keep the fork supple. Here's a pic of the setup I use. This plastic syringe is an Avid brand disc brake syringe, but they suck for actual disc brake service. I use better quality systems for brake bleeding. However, these cheaper units work great for certain lube jobs and such. Interestingly, the screw-on brass connector you see that normally goes into the brake master cylinder and/or caliper is the same thread pattern as those air vent holes...ideal. These cheap syringes with the fittings are pretty affordable through Amazon and such, and they are very useful for many applications...just not brake bleeding IMO. The trick to using the fork's air vents for lubing the foam rings is to go slow and having the tip tightly sealed against the hole. An alternative lubing method some use is to slide a zip tie down the outer fork seal and dribble fork oil into the legs and foam rings. I think this is a little hard on the lip seal, but it works. Using this fork's air vents is just a ready made avenue for fork oil. None of this alleviates the need for complete fork tear down for real cleaning and servicing, but this foam ring lubing keeps the fork really supple and helps the bushings until time for the hardcore servicing.
                        Last edited by TNC; 08-28-2021, 02:51 PM.


                          So, here's what I make of this headset fiasco. On a somewhat educated guess from what I've read and have on hand.

                          In 2019 The Surron had caged ball headsets.
                          Luna's idea was to replace the open caged ball system with a sealed ball bearing system, good plan.
                          Since then, Surron made a revision to change the headset to Timkin tapered EC system.

                          Which is a better system?

                          The tapered bearing system is rugged and tough enough for the weight of a Surron.
                          It also uses aluminum caps that separate the bearings further apart allowing for more leverage in the headset.
                          Not to mention stack height which I know nothing about or how important it is.

                          I think the sealed ball bearing system is under rated for a Surron.
                          But it does secure the bearings closer together for better rigidity.
                          And it allows for a shorter stack height, (whatever that means).

                          I know what stack height is, I just don't know it's importance to performance.

                          I am leaning towards the latest version. I like the Timkin style bearings.
                          They seem to be very inexpensive at $10-$14 each
                          Bearing number 32906 ZLBC
                          I still need further searching on this bearing.
                          The outer race may be very hard to remove from the cup, or it may be easy, nothing to grab.

                          Any opinions on which bear system to use?


                            JD, without a doubt the larger, tapered, Timken style bearing setup is superior. Most motorcycles abandoned the simple caged ball design long ago. Over time I've seen a couple of headset designs that used smaller roller bearings instead of balls, but I can't recall brand or model. My FSA units use caged balls in a sealed unit which works very well for the MTB application. MTB's just don't require the integrity of a tapered roller bearing headset. Even motorcycles don't "require" it, but it goes a long, long way toward durability and service intervals.

                            There are some good yt vids on installing and removing the race in the headtube for either bearing design.