Replacing a Specialized Mindset Headset
I know I’m not the only one who rides a Specialized from that era (mid-2000’s – 2010, as far as I can tell, though the models with this abomination seem to vary by year), and thanks to the terrible design of the stock headset, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has trashed it. I spent hours googling and reading and mostly being frustrated at the lack of information. After dozens and dozens of pages and a $20 risk on parts I wasn’t sure would fit, I’ve got the answer. I figured I’d post it here and hopefully save someone else the trouble.
According to Specialized, the Mindset (listed as a “Specialized integrated headset with cage bearings” in the specs on my 2010 Tricross and as a “Mindset” in others) is a proprietary headset and can only be ordered through an authorized dealer. What I found is that it’s basically a pseudo-integrated headet. The head tube is machined according to the Cane Creek IS41 standard, but rather than the drop-in cartridge bearings, a set of cups of the same dimensions are pressed in and hold a set of cage bearings much like a traditional headset. Replacing it is dead simple and far cheaper than paying a shop to order a poorly-designed proprietary part and install. There’s no need to buy a full new headset…any pair of cartridge bearings which fit the Cane Creek standard (45/36, 41.2mm OD, 6.5mm high) will work.
I first disassembled the front of the bike and removed the old races and cage bearings. Then I removed the pressed-in cups. I used a 1″ cast iron pipe and slowly hammered my way around in a circle until the cup popped free (took about 25 minutes on each). Once the cups were free, I just reassembled. The bottom bearing sits right where the bottom race used to be, and the top slides in using the split ring that was inserted in the original top race. That’s it.
The bike now steers again as new, and if I need to replace bearings again in the future, it’ll take five minutes, $20 for a new pair of bearings, and a hex wrench.
-1 proprietary and pressed-in
Glad you found a work-around.
Anonymous 08/15/12 at 2:22am #
Mattre…You saved the day, I just spent the afternoon trying to figure this one out.I called the dorks at spec. and they had no idea what I was talking about.
Before I run out and buy a new headset I just want to get this right. Did you use any parts from the orignal mindset headset,and did you bang out both the bottom and top mindset cups before installing the C.C. headset ??
thx for the help !!
I didn’t install a new headset. I knocked out both sets of cups and tossed the crappy cage bearings and the races that sat on top. The new cartridge bearings replaced all of that, and then I reassembled using the rest of the original headset parts.
What bike are you working on? Specialized seems to have effed around with their headsets quite a bit…I don’t want to steer you wrong.
My situation was specifically a pseudo-integrated headset. The head tube is machined according to C.C.’s IS41 standard, but with pressed-in cups (machined to the standard) and cage bearings and races to match. A lot of Specialized road/cross bikes from the last ten years are the same; if you’re dealing with that, simply knock out the cups, toss the bearings and race, and replace with set of cartridge bearings from Amazon (e.g. http://www.amazon.com/FSA-Micro-Headset-Bearing-36×45/dp/B002P5OSHE/ref=pd_sim_sbs_sg_1…needs to be 36/45). The cartridge bearings replace the cups/cage bearings/races, and then everything gets reassembled as it was.
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Anonymous 08/15/12 at 1:46pm #
mattre…The frame is an 2007 tricross with the same mindset headset as your 2010.Just to be clear did you knock out the cups that have 5 or 6 small holes drill in the sides, and then put them back in place after you pulled the ball bearing races ?? Sorry for the questions but I want to get this right..thx d
When you disassemble, all the pieces are loose except the top and bottom cups which are pressed into the head tubes. Mine did not have any holes drilled into them that I recall (none of the pieces did). Knock those out (it takes time…it can probably be done with a hammer and a screwdriver, but be careful not to muck up the head tube. I used a piece of 1″ black pipe which worked really well) and throw them away. Throw away the cage bearings and the races which fit on the other side of the bearings. The top race has a stainless steel split ring inserted in it. Save this piece and insert it in the new top cartridge bearing.
Reassembly is easy: drop one cartridge bearing onto the fork and slide it all the way down. It’ll sit right where the old race sat. Insert the fork into the head tube. The other side of the cartridge bearing will sit where the old cup sat. Put the split ring into the new top cartridge bearing and slide onto the steerer tube. The other side will sit where the old top cup sat. Reassemble from there using the same parts and in the same order as before.
The only pieces you toss are the cups/bearings/races. These are replaced by the new one-piece sealed cartridge bearings. Everything else stays the same.
Does that make sense?
Anonymous 08/15/12 at 3:41pm #
Matt..Well understood, You should be a techincal writer, you did a very nice job !! I cant beleive that spec would add this b.s. mindset h.s. when they could have just dropped in the cart. bearings !! Well, I think I’m going to give it a shot and many thx for your time…I’m so pumped for the tricross, al least they got everyhting else right !!
Heh…I used to write functional specs for a living….
I love everything else about this bike, but I don’t know WTF they were thinking with that headset. Mine lasted about 500 miles before the steering became “notched”, and by a little more than 1k miles, it was totally trashed. I managed to get by a little longer by pulling the bearings a couple of times and polishing the races, but it hadn’t steered nicely since a few months after I bought it. My wife’s Tricross, fortunately from one of the years that *did* use the cartridge bearings, has slightly more than 1k miles on it and still steers as new. In the event that she does wear out the bearings, it’ll take $10 – $20 and five minutes with a hex wrench to fix.
Anonymous 08/17/12 at 6:27pm #
Matt…I was going to pull the mindset and called cane creek for a part # and they advised ” not to pull out the cups (see pictures on attached link to the roadbike forum ) …sorry for dragging you into this but I dont want to fork it up…the cups that I’m refering to have the holes as stated..thx d
I can’t see the pictures without registering…email them to me at reitzellm (at) gmail.com
From the second link posted to that thread, the lower and upper bearings match the Cane Creek standard (36×45, 41mm OD, 6.5mm high).
What part of town are you in? If you can get it in front of me, I can take a look and show you what my bike looks like after removing them.
Anonymous 08/18/12 at 9:33pm #
Matt…I send off the pictures
Anonymous 08/20/12 at 1:44pm #
Matt..Please let me know if you received my e mail with attached pictures
I got it…haven’t had a chance to look yet, though. I was busy with a long ride (and then recovering from said long ride) this weekend. Look for a response from me sometime this afternoon.
Anonymous 08/20/12 at 5:24pm #
As always, thx for all the help !!
Mattre, thank you for a very helpful solution to a very annoying problem! I have a 2010 Specialized Allez Triple with the same mindset as yours. Before I go ahead and remove the old headset I was wondering if you could advise me how your solution has worked out so far? Have you had any problems? Just wanted to check before I remove and discard the old cups.
My local dealer has told me that a new headset and labour costs will cost about $80. Crazy money to spend replacing a four year old headset. Thanks.
$80 isn’t all that bad if it includes the replacement headset… figure a CaneCreek 40 will run you about $40, so you’re looking at $40 labor which is about average… a total of $80.
You can save a few bucks doing it yourself, but better to have a shop with the tools do the work. It’s not worth building your own tools just to save $40 unless you plan on doing this a lot. FWIW, my homemade cup-press has been useful for other random projects such as repressing a bearing into the wheel-barrow wheel.
Regarding how the solution has worked “so far” for the OP… @mattre would be reviewing the bearings he choose, rather than the method used. The point is that you can ditch the specialized proprietary headset and replace it with a standard setup which is easier to maintain in the future (spending ~$80 now for a standard headset instead of the $80 mindset replacement means you can replace the standard bearing with another standard bearing if/when you need to replace again; a simple bearing swap without replacing bearing cups is a ten minute job and the bearings themselves only cost half of the cost of replacing the entire setup).
Sorry if not incredibly clear, read it a few times and it will make sense. LOL
Thank you Mattre!
I used a regular metal-head hammer and a 9″ long, 3/16 slotted Craftsman screwdriver to remove the Mindset races X 2.
I set my bike in a Feedback work stand to stabilize.
I took me about 30-45 minutes for each race.
These are on the way from Amazon:
SA Micro ACB Sealed Bearing – 36°/45° Cartridge, Fits 1-1/8
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