The headset surgery on Matt Clark’s Specialized Langster was a success. Though I couldn’t get those pesky cups out of the head tube myself, Mike at Bicycle Station succeeded pretty quickly (in my defense, Mike has a stand to work in AND a punch tool that he uses specifically for this kind of thing). With the cups out things fell into place pretty easily.
Pictured in this post is the removed cups, the bearings, the internally machined head tube without cups, the head tube with a bearing dropped into place and perhaps most interestingly, the top of this bike’s fork that has an integrated crown race. This is not super normal but it was definitely a pleasant surprise as it meant I would not have to remove the old crown race and install a new one. For those unfamiliar with what that is, a crown race is a small metal piece that sits on the crown of the fork (or the top of the fork where the fork arms end and the steer tube begins) and functions as one of the two races for the bottom bearing in a headset (so it provides a properly angled, smooth surface against which the bearing can rotate). Crown races are usually changed along with headset bearings because angles and dimensions often vary between manufacturers. However, this forks integrated crown race works perfectly with the sealed bearings I bought for the bike. It even has a sort of “second shelf” cut into it a little bit lower so that it interfaces with the machined head tube really nicely.
Given that the head tube AND the fork are machined to use an integrated headset, it’s very strange that Specialized sells this bike with a steering bearing that utilizes neither of these features (both of which demand an enormous amount of precision to manufacture). They put money into an expensive process only to try save money by then press fitting cups into the head tube that allow the use of an inferior bearing.
I’ve always kinda hated Specialized. Now we’ve become mortal enemies.
See you in Hell Specialized