I always try to keep a new set of tapered bearing and sleeves on hand incase a customer bike comes in with worn old style ball bearings, or even worn tapered bearings. It is too dangerous to ride with bad bearings and I will always recommend replacing them as soon as possible with new bearings. Tapered bearings far outperform the original 23-ball-race factory bearings.
Tear down on this R60/2 showed me that the head bearings need to be replaced. They had a notch at the center position. You can check this when the front wheel is off the ground and the steering damper all the way loose. Move the steering left and right through its travel and if you feel a "notch" or drag at the center position, the bearings are probably shot. Later in this article, I will also tell you how to determine if your steering bearings are too tight or loose.
|Before repacking with grease, I did spin the bearings dry to get a feel if they were smooth. They were.|
|Upper lower race. Rusted and detented. There was only a little dried grease here. These may have never been serviced in 50 years.|