Nowadays, one of the easiest things to fit is the headset…but also the hardest to get the right part for!
Always check with the frame manufacturer, which type of headset is needed.
In this case, the Sportive frame needs a headset with the following parameters:
- 1 1/8 inch diameter (you can also get 1.5 inch, and 1 inch)
- Completely hidden (you can get integrated or semi-integrated versions)
- 45×45 angles (instead of 36×36, 36×45)
This is probably complete gobble-do-gook to most people, but as long as you pay attention to these 4 parameters, you should be ok. I took the easiest option, and went with a headset recommended by the frame manufacturer. In this case, an “Alpina”. This is brand I’m familiar with, as the fit and bearings are good on our other bikes.
Fit the bottom race to the fork. This provides a “base” for the lower bearings to sit on. It should just slip on, but some steerer tubes need this part to be hammered down.
Fit the bottom set of bearings. Likely the bearing sets are identical, so no need to worry which is which. It should just slide on.
Fit the top bearings. As this is a hidden headset, it relies on the frame having pre-set races for the bearings. Again, this part should just slip in, with little or no pressure. If pressure is required, you might have the wrong type of bearings! (Double check whether 45×45, 36×45 or 36×36 is required).
Fit the pressure cap. This will ensure the steer tube is snugly fitted once it’s all tightened down. Again, no special tools needed here, it should just slip on snuggly.
Insert the fork and previously-fitted bearings from the bottom of the head tube, and push through until the bottom set of bearings are “seated”.
Fit the weather cap. This usually has a tight fit, which conveniently will hold the whole assembly together for now, before we fully tighten it down. We need a stem to do this though, and will be one of the last things we do.
And that’s it for now!