Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 06-23-06, 01:37 PM   #1
sbell1
steve bell
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Chicago, Il
Bikes: Lemond-Nevada City, Raleigh-N/A
Posts: 18
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Can someone demystify headset manufacturers for me?

Hey Mechanics and other dudes who know what they're talking about,

I've searched and searched, trying to find out information on headsets. Particularly why some are better than others, and who's are the best, beyond the hype. So i'm wondering if someone out there can just give me a little tutorial. I know the difference between threaded and threadless, loose-ball and cartiridge bearings, how to overhaul, etc. I'm just not really clear on who makes what and what's good and what's a deal.

Can anyone give me a good breakdown?

Thanks!
sbell1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-06, 02:07 PM   #2
Re-Cycle
<3s bikes
 
Re-Cycle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: CA
Bikes: lots
Posts: 1,054
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The first person that says Chris King is the only way to go gets a kick in the dick.


My personal philosophy is that headsets, if cared for, will last for a long time even if they arn't fancy. I have a $10 ritchey on my all purpose touring/mountain bike. It has a section of innertube around the lower assembly to keep dirt and grime out. I have cane creeks on various other bikes and they work great to.

Skimp on the headset, care for it, and put the extra $ elsewhere on your bike

$10 ritchey:


$30 cane creeek
Re-Cycle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-06, 02:34 PM   #3
Olebiker
Resident Old Fart
 
Olebiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Bikes: Douglas Precision Ti
Posts: 1,299
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Re-Cycle
My personal philosophy is that headsets, if cared for, will last for a long time even if they arn't fancy. ]
The only people I have ever known to have trouble with headsets are the folks who insist on repacking them every year or so. I still have a Campy headset that I used for over 20 years with maybe two repacks. Headsets thrive on benign neglect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Re-Cycle
$30 cane creeek
This is the one on my new Douglas Precision Ti. Works just fine.
__________________
Wag more, bark less
Olebiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-06, 03:48 PM   #4
cohophysh
fishologist
 
cohophysh's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Pacific Northwest
Bikes: Diamondback MTB; Leader 736R
Posts: 1,201
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
so do the bearings usually come with new headsets??
__________________
We cannot solve problems with the same level of consciousness that created them. A.E.

1990 Diamond Back MTB
2007 Leader 736R
www.cohocyclist.blogspot.com
http://www.loopd.com/members/cohocyclist/Default.aspx


cohophysh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-06, 10:57 PM   #5
concernicus
Senior Member
 
concernicus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Santa Cruz
Bikes: doesnt matter. just ride.
Posts: 425
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by cohophysh
so do the bearings usually come with new headsets??
always.

there are a few types of headsets, sealed bearing and loose ball. loose ball headsets are a little more vulnerable to the elements, and need more TLC. sealed bearing headsets, such as chris king or cane creek, can be forgotten about for awhile.

chris king headsets are fancastic, but there are other great ones. i have a few cane creek s-3's, as well as a king. while there is no difference in performance, i know that the king will likely last longer.
concernicus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-06, 12:07 AM   #6
mechBgon
Senior Member
 
mechBgon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Bikes:
Posts: 6,957
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Regarding the inevitable potshots at Chris King as "the" benchmark in headsets... yeah, you can get years of good service from value-priced headsets. I have myself, there's nothing wrong with that. But if you think anyone else is quite like Chris King, then name another headset manufacturer that will make you a custom headset with ovalized cup flanges, to fit your own measurements, in order to save your irreplaceable ______ frame that's suffered an ovalized headtube.

*crickets*

All rightie then. Having sold lots of Kings in my time, and lots of other stuff too, I won't be casting aspersions on people who decide to budget for a King when they're wallowing in $300-$500 cranksets, carbon forks/stems/bars/derailleurs/bottle cages/seatposts. If you're in the Shimano 105 bracket, however, get something like this: Dia-Compe AL-series. Lightweight, forgiving of imperfect frame alignment, cheap and easily serviced. And they don't scrape & drag like I've seen Ritcheys do with their plastic upper overcup. Do watch for that upper seal if it decides to herniate out the edge of the cup during assembly, however.
mechBgon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-06, 06:10 PM   #7
rmfnla
Senior Member
 
rmfnla's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: La La Land (We love it!)
Bikes: Gilmour road, Curtlo road; both steel (of course)
Posts: 5,946
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 119 Post(s)
The best way to ruin a headset is to ride it loose (assuming it wasn't boogered up by ham-handed installation in the first place).

I like my Chris Kings because they piss off people like Re-Cycle...

__________________
Today, I believe my jurisdiction ends here...
rmfnla is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-06, 06:31 PM   #8
DonTx
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Houston
Bikes:
Posts: 108
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Headset

I have old ones that have held up OK.


BUT really Chris King is the way to go. Kick away.
DonTx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-06, 07:03 PM   #9
d_D
645f44
 
d_D's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Oxford, Uk
Bikes:
Posts: 482
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by concernicus
there are a few types of headsets, sealed bearing and loose ball. loose ball headsets are a little more vulnerable to the elements, and need more TLC. sealed bearing headsets, such as chris king or cane creek, can be forgotten about for awhile.
You mean cartridge bearing not sealed bearing. Lots of loose ball headsets also have seals.
d_D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-06, 07:09 PM   #10
top506
Death fork? Naaaah!!
 
top506's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: The other Maine, north of RT 2
Bikes: '71 Gitane Super Corsa, '73 Atala Giro d'Italia, '73 Schwinn Super Sport, '76 Viscount Aerospace Pro, '81 Miyata 710, '81 Lotus Classique, '84 Ross Signature 290s, '85 Miele Gara, '87 Miyata 512, '89 Centurion Ironman, many more
Posts: 3,725
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mechBgon
But if you think anyone else is quite like Chris King, then name another headset manufacturer that will make you a custom headset with ovalized cup flanges, to fit your own measurements, in order to save your irreplaceable ______ frame that's suffered an ovalized headtube.

[
Geeze, why not just ream it out round?
FWIW, my Atala has the same no-name Italian headset it was shipped with 30-odd years ago. Loose balls, non-sealed cups. I've cleaned it out and re-packed it every five years or so, and it rides on.
Top
top506 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-06, 07:36 PM   #11
jhota
blithering idiot
 
jhota's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: beautiful coastal South Carolina
Bikes: 1991 Trek 930, 2005 Bianchi Eros, 2006 Nashbar "X," IRO Rob Roy
Posts: 1,263
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
i like my CK because i was able to get it in pretty colours.
jhota is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-06, 08:17 PM   #12
FarHorizon
Senior Curmudgeon
 
FarHorizon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Directly above the center of the earth
Bikes: Varies by day
Posts: 3,856
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My experience with headsets is pretty much limited to those in use in the early 1970's when I worked in the LBS. In those days, Campagnolo was the "Chris King." Better - but so what... Headsets are the least stressed, most reliable, most overbuilt moving part on any bicycle, period. Any headset that is properly installed, maintained at proper tension, and kept free of grit will last the life of the bike, to the best of my knowledge. I agree with the poster who said "spend your $$ elsewhere."
FarHorizon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-06, 05:31 PM   #13
Re-Cycle
<3s bikes
 
Re-Cycle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: CA
Bikes: lots
Posts: 1,054
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhota
i like my CK because i was able to get it in pretty colours.
Bingo. Also installing it upsidedown gains 2x cool points. SHizaM!!!!1
Re-Cycle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-06, 06:26 PM   #14
top506
Death fork? Naaaah!!
 
top506's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: The other Maine, north of RT 2
Bikes: '71 Gitane Super Corsa, '73 Atala Giro d'Italia, '73 Schwinn Super Sport, '76 Viscount Aerospace Pro, '81 Miyata 710, '81 Lotus Classique, '84 Ross Signature 290s, '85 Miele Gara, '87 Miyata 512, '89 Centurion Ironman, many more
Posts: 3,725
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Re-Cycle
SHizaM!!!!1
That's 'Shazam!" Captian Marvel would not be impressed.
Top
(not quite that old, but a student of comics)
top506 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-06, 01:20 PM   #15
marqueemoon
or tarckeemoon, depending
 
marqueemoon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: the pesto of cities
Bikes: Davidson Impulse, Merckx Titanium AX, Bruce Gordon Rock & Road, Cross Check custom build, On-One Il Pomino, Shawver Cycles cross, Zion 737, Mercian Vincitore, Brompton S1L, Charge Juicer
Posts: 7,020
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I found a Chris King used for my fixed gear. I have to say it's very nice but not worth what they cost new. If I find a deal on another used one I will snap it up though.

The biggest advantage of a higher quality headset in my opinion is you can have it a little tighter and therefore the front end feels more solid. As far as steering smoothness goes, as long as a headset isn't trashed you will not notice that much of a difference when actually riding the bike. For an MTB it would be worth spending more $$$ on a beefy headset since it will be subjected to more abuse.
marqueemoon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-06, 04:08 AM   #16
bellweatherman
Senior Member
 
bellweatherman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Austin
Bikes: Too many to count
Posts: 2,103
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Chris King = overrated
bellweatherman is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:17 PM.