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Old 07-12-14, 10:22 AM   #1
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2 Part Vintage Mountain Bike Question

I was wondering when manufacturers switched to 1 1/4"-1 1/8" headsets from 1"? I figure abou 1989-ish? Also what were considered the higher end from the major brands that came with 1" headset? I know Schwinn offerings (Cimarron, High Sierra) Trek 900 series, Miyata, Specialized. What else am I missing?

The reason I ask is that I am putting a 1986 High Sierra back on the road with a pair of the Rivendell/Nitto alloy Bullmoose bars. They suit me really well but are for 1" threaded steerer only. The High Sierra seems like it will perform well but the Roller Cam brakes can make tire swaps a bit more time consuming and can be a limiting factor in tire size. Also, the frame is straight gauge CroMo, so it is heavier than it has to be. Just wondering what other models to look for as I continue my never ending scan of craigslist.
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Old 07-12-14, 10:47 AM   #2
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I think maybe '90/91. I think Bianchi may have been late to the party so Grizzly may be 1"threaded to mid '90s but I double check later.
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Old 07-12-14, 11:02 AM   #3
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Klein ' s first oversize HS came out in 1990. Not sure when Fisher first had em. By 1996 most $500+ mtbs had them.

There were also some threaded 1-1/8" and threadless 1" mtbs during the transition.
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Old 07-12-14, 11:10 AM   #4
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@fender1- wondering how roller cams limit size? How is it more time consuming? I have roller cams so I want to know for future reference. I know on some bikes I have to let the air out of my tire to get the wheels off to clear brakes. If adjusted well the cam can easily be removed from the rollers so as to open the caliper arms to remove wheel. Am I missing something? As to your original question, I don't know.
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Old 07-12-14, 01:34 PM   #5
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FWIW, I bought an 87 Douglas (Canadian bike) with a 1 1/4" headset.
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Old 07-12-14, 02:02 PM   #6
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Not totally sure but I think lugged Bridgestone MB-3 were all 1" through 1994. There are just a handful of TIG'd MB3s out there which I think were 1-1/8. MB3 is the lowest Bridgstone I'd look at. Sometimes reasonably priced MB2s can be found also but you usually have to spend big for MB1 or MBzip.
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Old 07-13-14, 05:59 AM   #7
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Gary Fisher was the guy that pushed oversized headsets - which is why late '80s iterations of his bikes are equipped with 1 1/4" "Evolution" type headsets. They were proprietary to Fisher Mountainbike, so Tioga split the difference, and the majority of the bike industry (trend followers as they were) went with the 1 1/8". Initially, those were conventional/threaded types, but they eventually all went threadless. Once that happened, Evolution was a dead headset walking.

The benefit to all these extra-sized headsets was supposedly better bearing support, better bearing life and a stronger mountain bike front end. The drawback was the increased weight. In the case of the Fisher Evolution headset, the proprietary nature of the design meant that headsets and stems were more rare, and therefore more expensive than the 1" or 1 1/8" headsets.

Bridgestone fought the move to oversized headsets tooth-and-nail (as might have been expected from a Grant Petersen retro-grouch-managed company). They were committed to the lower weight inherent in the original 1" headset. Bridgestones of that era tended to weigh less than other competitor's bikes - the MB-0 being a particularly lightweight example (sub-24 lbs). Unfortunately for them, the mountain bike industry was fad-driven, and it wasn't that long before the available supply of 1" threaded headsets ran low. And then came endaka (yen shock), which decided the issue. The trees were all kept equal by hatchet, axe and saw.

Bianchi was another stubborn holdout, probably due to their Italian racing background and the desire for similar lightweight platforms with similar fast handling in tight singletrack.
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Old 07-13-14, 09:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Velocivixen View Post
@fender1- wondering how roller cams limit size? How is it more time consuming? I have roller cams so I want to know for future reference. I know on some bikes I have to let the air out of my tire to get the wheels off to clear brakes. If adjusted well the cam can easily be removed from the rollers so as to open the caliper arms to remove wheel. Am I missing something? As to your original question, I don't know.
Depending on the position of the roller cam plate and the curvature of the arms, the wider/ higher profile tires seen today (2.3" +) might rub against the cam or the brake arms. back in the day, there weren't very many high profile, fatter MTB tires on the market, save for the 2.2" Specialized Hardpack.

One way to set the Cam up in order to release the brake, and get the wheel out without deflating the tire is to set up the Cam just loose enough to remove by hand, then take up the cable slack by using the adjusting barrel on the brake lever.

Not as easy as having a brake QR; one of the things that made the Shimano U-brake more user friendly.

Last edited by oldskoolwrench; 07-13-14 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 07-13-14, 09:39 AM   #9
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@oldskoolwrench- thanks for that info. I hadn't thought about higher profile tires affecting the ease of removing wheels. I do know that prior to finding online printed instructions for setting up my roller cams it was trial & error (hours!). I had them set up pretty well, then found Suntour specific instructions to fine tune. The instructions, however, neglected to mention the 33mm between the center of the rollers. I found that out here on the C & V sub forum.
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Old 07-13-14, 12:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen View Post
@oldskoolwrench- thanks for that info. I hadn't thought about higher profile tires affecting the ease of removing wheels. I do know that prior to finding online printed instructions for setting up my roller cams it was trial & error (hours!). I had them set up pretty well, then found Suntour specific instructions to fine tune. The instructions, however, neglected to mention the 33mm between the center of the rollers. I found that out here on the C & V sub forum.
And hopefully you found one of those handy 3rd hand tools that fit in the center of the roller, it holds the rollers 33mm apart.
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Old 07-13-14, 12:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fender1 View Post
The reason I ask is that I am putting a 1986 High Sierra back on the road with a pair of the Rivendell/Nitto alloy Bullmoose bars. They suit me really well but are for 1" threaded steerer only. The High Sierra seems like it will perform well but the Roller Cam brakes can make tire swaps a bit more time consuming and can be a limiting factor in tire size. Also, the frame is straight gauge CroMo, so it is heavier than it has to be. Just wondering what other models to look for as I continue my never ending scan of craigslist.

I think the 1986 High Sierra was triple butted CrMo

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d7.../1986ATB11.jpg
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Old 07-13-14, 03:46 PM   #12
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@The Golden Boy - I saw one of those tools on ebay after the fact. I got it all worked out and was a great learning experience. I think my particular variety of roller cam brakes look like sparkly jewelry on my bike!
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Old 07-13-14, 04:07 PM   #13
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@The Golden Boy - I saw one of those tools on ebay after the fact. I got it all worked out and was a great learning experience. I think my particular variety of roller cam brakes look like sparkly jewelry on my bike!
Seeing Roller Cams on the front end: Looks Like Business.

Those little tool things are usually on the eBay for like $3, sometimes with free shipping. For the next time you decide to take them apart!
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