The 101 Association, Inc.
For the preservation and enjoyment of 1928 to 1931 Indian Scout Motocycles
"You can't wear out an Indian Scout"

Fork/Headset Bearings

  • 08 Jan 2018 4:37 PM
    Message # 5667901

    Hi All,

    I had a question about the upper and lower headset/fork bearings on my ‘28. Do they manufacture a closed set up?  I have my special bearing grease and bearings, but I’ve got to think  there’s a better way than repacking the ball bearings by hand?  



  • 09 Jan 2018 3:02 AM
    Reply # 5668495 on 5667901

    I don't think it is possible to find solution for a closed bearing as the space for it is so confined. It would take a reconstruction of the head stock. Indian Parts Europe has stock reproduction bearings in good quality, and also these stainless taper roller bearing sets for 1928-31 101. ( 

    The original bearings are just open with loose balls. Old bearings are very suspectible for contact wear. Balls makes indentation in the races caused by vibrations, and in time from rust/dirt on bearings just standing still. This makes proper adjustment of the headstock impossible and can not be fixed by just changing balls in the bearings. Refurbish the races is a bit difficult as the grinding must be precise and the hardening can be broken through, and one of the race is in the head adjusting cone. 

    Some marine type of grease contains a special anti-rust additive for enhanced protection against rust and corrosion in marine and salt water environments. It also contains tackiness additives to allow it to stay in place providing excellent water resistance and shock loading under all operating conditions. Suitable for applications in trailer, chassis lubrication, wheel bearings and outboards.

    Last modified: 12 Jan 2018 7:00 PM | Carl-Erik Renquist
  • 10 Jan 2018 8:57 AM
    Reply # 5674492 on 5667901
    Tim Raindle (Administrator)

    hey Scotty, hows things ? 

    If the bearing races are pitted, you will always have notchy steering. If they are clean and a matching set, the best way to check if they are good is to but the balls in each set on the bench and apply downward pressure. A good matching set will have virtually no sideways play when light hand pressure is applied vertically. As a matter of interest, you can sit down wth a pile of original races and try 20 or 30 combinations before finding a good matched set, possibly ground as sets ?? ANyone here with bearing manufacture experience able to answer that ? 

    Easiest way to install balls in fork and keep them there during assembly is to grease the top and bottom set of balls heavily. Bottom set on the bottom race on the fork, and top set in the cup in the steering head. The carefully start threading the top race cone nut onto the fork stem, and once the thread is started, locate the nut on the bearings. Wind the fork into place by screwing this thread down, keeping the weight of the fork on the top bearing set, that way you will not lose all the top ball bearings down the steering head neck :)

    Some pretty nice complete sets of races were being made in Sweden, I think Randy has them in stock if yours are shot.

    Ideal adjustment, when fully assembled with front wheel in place etc, you should be able to tap the wheel lightly with your hand and it should slowly move to full lock by itself. If it sticks, it may be too tight, and the bearings will get damaged, if it slams to full lock too easily, its too loose and may affect handling adversely.

    You will probably find that the top bearing may loosen itself off a touch at first use, and all nuts will need nipping up. Bear in mind also that the handlebars also act as the top triple tree, to the nuts thru the bars to the dash panel need to be TIGHT , otherwise the whole front end will be sloppy. The top domed locking nut also has a tendency to come loose easily, a knurled locking washer is a good idea here. 

  • 15 Jan 2018 1:30 AM
    Reply # 5683184 on 5667901

    "As a matter of interest, you can sit down wth a pile of original races and try 20 or 30 combinations before finding a good matched set, possibly ground as sets ?? ANyone here with bearing manufacture experience able to answer that ? "

    Hi Tim,

    If bearing balls are say 1/4" or 3/8" diameter they will be spot on 0.250"

    or 0.375"  from the manufacturer ,but the races could easily differ in depth which would make the race wider and you would then get side play.


 AMCA Chapter WebRing AMCA National 
Next >>       Random       Hub       << Prev
Classic Motorcycle Webring

Classic Motorcycle Webring

Join Now | Ring Hub | Random | << Prev | Next >>

Indian Motorcycles Webring
<< Prev | Hub | Rate | Next >>

Copyright © 2009 The 101 Association, Inc. All rights reserved. 

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software