Originally Posted by adaycj
Your newly lubed steering head bearing is floating on a film of grease, but the notchy-ness you felt before lube is damage to the race. Some will be happy (like me) with thoroughly greased but damaged steering head bearings. Some will not. Put another way: Some will call it fixed when the bearings are lubed and smooth, some will call it fixed when the damaged bearing is replaced.
I re-grease my bearings too. I agree with the sentiment in this thread that contamination likely kills most bearings. If you can get the contamination out and new lube in before failure you can extend the life of the bearing. Of course this can only happen as preventative maintenance on high speed full rotation bearings since the ways to detect a problem also indicate failure.
The thing is you can inspect the races when you drop the steering stem to clean out the old grease. So just look at them? I am betting they will look good, run some scotchbtite around if need be, regrease and go, sometimes I have to adjust the bearing set a second time cause I get it too tight or too loose. When the machine is up on the centerstand easy to check for notchyness anytime/all the time, I do. I think it is almost impossible to ruin steering head bearings if you relube every 10k.
I think it's always worth a shot to regrease but I get your point. The only bad steering head bearings I ever changed were on my son's BMW 650 single. They were made in Bulgaria. You could see and feel damage to the races.