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  1. #1
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    Integrated or pressed in headsets?

    My newest bike has an integrated headset as did my last. It has been solid but I see that some frames are still using the pressed in headsets.

    I would guess this is due to tradition more than function - any opinions on this?

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    IRL Banhammer idiq's Avatar
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    Integrated headsets allow for a shorter stack height (or higher) from the headset itself and servicing the bearings / cups is much easier IMO. You also don't need a headset press for integrated, you just drop the lower bearing / cup right in, same with the top.
    saddle sores bike club | prepare to be rode

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    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    Chris King thinks the integrated headset and BB concept is one of the worst things that can be designed into a bicycle frame.

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    Enthusiast dougkran's Avatar
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    Why?
    You cant see the bling?

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    IRL Banhammer idiq's Avatar
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    Chris King is overpriced IMHO. The company itself isn't anything to gleam at either. Most dealers have to sign extensive agreements disclosing personal business information, and agree not to sell under certain price points. That's why so many dealers are restricted from ordering King parts through QBP. I don't know if their policy has changed, but that was how it was.

    The Ritchey WCS headset is just as nice, and costs about 1/3 of the price (retail to retail). I'd take a WCS integrated headset over a King any day.

    When you say 'pressed in' headset, do you mean the traditional headset, or actual press-in headsets?
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    Team Beer Cynikal's Avatar
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    King's issue is that the design places all the stress on the headtube of the frame and not on the pressed in cup. In other words, it is possible to destroy a frame with a headset faliure.
    I'm not one for fawning over bicycles, but I do believe that our bikes communicate with us, and what this bike is saying is, "You're an idiot." BikeSnobNYC

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    yes. CK is a bit of an engineer who thinks about bicycling componentry.

    He's got a knowledgable writeup about the three different types of headsets on his site, and considers the 'integrated' headset a step backwards in design for bicycles. read the article. the OP asked if there were any opinions.

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    shoot up or shut up. isotopesope's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by idiq View Post
    Integrated headsets allow for a shorter stack height (or higher) from the headset itself and servicing the bearings / cups is much easier IMO. You also don't need a headset press for integrated, you just drop the lower bearing / cup right in, same with the top.
    my ridley has an integrated headset, yet i still had to press these dumb bearing cups in. seems awfully redundant. i still prefer traditional press in headsets. IMO, bearing service and stack height advantages between the two styles is 6 of one and half a dozen of the other. i'd much prefer to replace a headset over a frame if there was some sort of headset failure.

    Quote Originally Posted by idiq View Post
    Chris King is overpriced IMHO.
    chris king makes top notch stuff, but most importantly it's all made in the usa. so you're paying for quality, but you're also paying americans to work for a decent wage... not paying some company to exploit taiwanese/chinese workforce for pennies a day. that personally means a lot to me, as i am an american manufacturer myself. not that i don't own taiwanese/chinese made products, but i try to buy american or non-slave labor made stuff as much as possible. with all that said, of the two american made headsets i own, only one is a chris king... and it's sweet. but it's on my only taiwanese made frame... hahahahaha

  9. #9
    IRL Banhammer idiq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by isotopesope View Post
    my ridley has an integrated headset, yet i still had to press these dumb bearing cups in. seems awfully redundant. i still prefer traditional press in headsets. IMO, bearing service and stack height advantages between the two styles is 6 of one and half a dozen of the other. i'd much prefer to replace a headset over a frame if there was some sort of headset failure.
    I didn't have to press mine in hardly at all, they went right in. I'm a bit lost on how headset failure = frame failure? If I blow a bearing I just pull out the headset cup... I thought it was the same if you over-tighten the star-nut, the fork isn't trashed, you just have to remove the trashed star-nut.

    Quote Originally Posted by isotopesope View Post
    chris king makes top notch stuff, but most importantly it's all made in the usa. so you're paying for quality, but you're also paying americans to work for a decent wage... not paying some company to exploit taiwanese/chinese workforce for pennies a day. that personally means a lot to me, as i am an american manufacturer myself. not that i don't own taiwanese/chinese made products, but i try to buy american or non-slave labor made stuff as much as possible. with all that said, of the two american made headsets i own, only one is a chris king... and it's sweet. but it's on my only taiwanese made frame... hahahahaha
    I'm a bit skeptical that claiming something simply made in America is of higher quality. Six-sigma processes started overseas with Motorola. There's plenty of things I pay for that come from other countries and are on-par in quality if not higher then their American made counter-part. Also remember, King is a relatively small company, and they may want to keep it that way - this will drive their costs up because of a lack of economies of scale as compared to a larger one. Costs are higher in the US for production because of reasons you mention, this is true and explains why Thomson seat posts are so pricey, but for what I get from a King headset, I believe it to be over-priced. Honestly, my Ritchey WCS headset is just as nice IMO as a King one, traditional vs. traditional.

    I will agree and say that some quality seems to be lost in the mix with more automated processes, so if you were going for that we're in agreement. Lastly, I'm not trying to pick a fight, but your defense is a bit incoherent. You claim that you're keen on buying from American manufacturers (and even state that you're one yourself) but then make a joke about your Taiwanese frameset having a King headset. To me it's like saying "I can make a square circle", it essentially retracts what it puts forth and really says nothing (logically) at all.
    saddle sores bike club | prepare to be rode

  10. #10
    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crossmoto View Post
    My newest bike has an integrated headset as did my last. It has been solid but I see that some frames are still using the pressed in headsets.

    I would guess this is due to tradition more than function - any opinions on this?
    As others have pointed out integrated headsets have the bearings either resting on ledges in the frame or on a sort of internal cup that rests completely on the edges of the headtube. A traditional headset of course has a sleeve that's pressed into the headtube and the bearings rest on cups attached to that sleeve.

    So basically a traditional headset is a lot more substantial.

    Think of a bb in which there's a ledge inside the bb shell that the bearings rest against, it would be a disaster. Because the headtube is up/down and not sideways you can get away with the frame supporting the bearings, but personally if I had a choice I'd always go with a traditional. Plus I don't see any design or fit advantage to a lower stack height unless you're doing something where you need to get really low.
    fun facts: Psychopaths have trouble understanding abstract concepts.
    "Incompetent individuals, compared with their more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability and performance relative to objective criteria."

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    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by idiq View Post
    I didn't have to press mine in hardly at all, they went right in. I'm a bit lost on how headset failure = frame failure? If I blow a bearing I just pull out the headset cup... I thought it was the same if you over-tighten the star-nut, the fork isn't trashed, you just have to remove the trashed star-nut.
    The bearings sit on a machined lip inside the frame, it's not inconceivable that that lip could become damaged or that somehow that lip having to take all the load from the bearings could cause some sort of failure. That's the idea, anyway.
    fun facts: Psychopaths have trouble understanding abstract concepts.
    "Incompetent individuals, compared with their more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability and performance relative to objective criteria."

  12. #12
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    This is all on the assumption we are talking about headsets which have direct contact with the headtube, if not I retract the whole post, except for the king stuff.
    idig-you keep mentioning the hypothetical of servicing the headset or the bearings. I like the idea that the quality traditional headsets I have owned have never needed to be serviced, chris king or not. I primarily ride off road, and aggressively at that, and feel that any issues I might have with dirt, water and sand getting into that headset and potentially scarring the contact surface is reason enough to stay away from integrated headsets. If the seals in a traditional headset are good, it will only be after a long time that the bearings will need to be serviced.

    Chris King.....that debate has happened so often on these forums it should be a banned topic. But a couple short things. American made, especially in this economy should really matter more to people. You say the company isn't anything to gleam over, I beg to differ. Their dealer policy is pretty legitimate, they want only trained staff to be able to work with their product. If a shop is a dealer, their employees get a pretty good deal. And their warranty department welcomes your inquiry and is fast to help and turn around to get you bike rolling again. In my mind you are getting what you pay for with most of what you put on your bike. I would make much of the same argument for Paul, White Industries and Thomson components.

  13. #13
    IRL Banhammer idiq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimJ View Post
    The bearings sit on a machined lip inside the frame, it's not inconceivable that that lip could become damaged or that somehow that lip having to take all the load from the bearings could cause some sort of failure. That's the idea, anyway.
    Thanks for that info, was not aware. Thought isotopesope meant actual headset failure (e.g. the cup snaps in half) as opposed to frame failure causing headset failure.

    Quote Originally Posted by cardstock View Post
    Chris King.....that debate has happened so often on these forums it should be a banned topic. But a couple short things. American made, especially in this economy should really matter more to people. You say the company isn't anything to gleam over, I beg to differ. Their dealer policy is pretty legitimate, they want only trained staff to be able to work with their product. If a shop is a dealer, their employees get a pretty good deal. And their warranty department welcomes your inquiry and is fast to help and turn around to get you bike rolling again. In my mind you are getting what you pay for with most of what you put on your bike. I would make much of the same argument for Paul, White Industries and Thomson components.
    I apologize for bringing up King if it happens so frequently (and was a bit OT to begin with). However, I still stand by my thoughts on the company. I have never seen a dealer contract like theirs before, and with so much private business shop information requested. Being a trained professional and shop profit might show correlation, but that shows no causation for actually being a better trained wrench.

    As far as "getting what you pay for" I think the cost of a product should be summation of the labor, skill, and time that goes into that product - unfortunately this is not wholly the case, the product cost to consumers is often determined by "the market". I'm not sure where you're going with the idea behind more people in America buying more American goods. Presumably, as we have a weak economy our net exports go up as American goods are now relatively cheaper then other goods, or the same goods at an earlier time.
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    I am not saying you should back down from what you believe in. We all have the ability to make our own decisions. It is just that the argument always centers around the price of their products. I am having trouble thinking of an American made component that does not cost significantly more that an overseas counter part. Phil Wood bottom brackets? Paul cantis? White Industries crank sets? They all cost more, but they are all significantly better in my opinion.

    [edit]...buy American, well yeah, you understand what I am saying, but i am also just saying it doesn't hurt to support the American manufacturing economy, nothing more.
    Last edited by cardstock; 06-12-08 at 12:58 PM.

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    shoot up or shut up. isotopesope's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by idiq View Post
    I didn't have to press mine in hardly at all, they went right in. I'm a bit lost on how headset failure = frame failure? If I blow a bearing I just pull out the headset cup... I thought it was the same if you over-tighten the star-nut, the fork isn't trashed, you just have to remove the trashed star-nut.
    i'm just coming from the perspective that TimJ mentioned:
    Quote Originally Posted by TimJ
    As others have pointed out integrated headsets have the bearings either resting on ledges in the frame or on a sort of internal cup that rests completely on the edges of the headtube. A traditional headset of course has a sleeve that's pressed into the headtube and the bearings rest on cups attached to that sleeve.

    So basically a traditional headset is a lot more substantial.

    ...

    The bearings sit on a machined lip inside the frame, it's not inconceivable that that lip could become damaged or that somehow that lip having to take all the load from the bearings could cause some sort of failure. That's the idea, anyway.
    i'm obviously not that concerned if i own a nice frame with an integrated headset.

    whether you think a king component is worth the cost or not is your opinion, and is certainly not my concern. in many ways, i agree king stuff IS too expensive for what it is... though it is certainly nice. also, i'm not belittling your wcs choice over a king or anything else along those lines... i'm not picking a fight either! my point has nothing to do with the QUALITY of king or any other product, but that the higher price is partly due to it supporting the american workforce, which in my opinion, ain't all that bad. i made NO claim what-so-ever that american made means higher quality and taiwanese made of lesser quality... though it usually is... HA!!!! my interest in american made products is fueled by socialist ideals more than anything.

    as for my taiwanese frame with a king headset comment, i mentioned it more as a joke on myself. i didn't want to come off like i'm on a high american-made horse, decked out with high dollar boutique this and that on all my bikes and that everyone else needs to have king everything to not be a freedom hater.
    Last edited by isotopesope; 06-12-08 at 01:26 PM.

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    big ring MIN's Avatar
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    Chris King gives me wood.


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    shoot up or shut up. isotopesope's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by idiq View Post
    I'm not sure where you're going with the idea behind more people in America buying more American goods. Presumably, as we have a weak economy our net exports go up as American goods are now relatively cheaper then other goods, or the same goods at an earlier time.
    your walmart mentality will be the death of us.
    Last edited by isotopesope; 06-12-08 at 03:30 PM.

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    IRL Banhammer idiq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by isotopesope View Post
    your walmart mentality will be the death of us.
    OT but yes, macroeconomic theory will be the death of us. Your GED education will help too.

    Also, you claim to have a 'socialist' mentality - have you read anything by Marx? If so you'd realize that things operate on a global scale, there needs to be a global revolution, uniting the working class. Apparently, you advocate a Stalinist approach of revolution in a sole country, which utterly fails. Simply see the USSR's stance at the time of Spain in the 1930's. In fact, your remark regarding 'socialism' and supporting American manufacturing is actually perfectly in line with what Adam Smith really meant by the invisible hand. Thanks!

    Edit:
    By the way, when I mentioned the disjunction of prices with labor, that's actually a marxist conception. Marx pointed out the contradiction in the production of goods is that workers do not get what they put in. Production of a good, say, a peanut butter sandwich, is socialized, but the earnings from such a sandwich are not. Additionally, the prices of a good should not be determined by the mysterious "market", but by the amount of labor / skill / technology put into a good during production. Rosa Luxembourg gives an introduction to economics pretty well, which can be found in her essays along with "Reform or Revolution?"

    Adam Smith essentially said that given two countries, say, France and England, and those countries produce goods of similar qualities and prices, the members of the home country will purchase that respective country's good, "as if led by an invisible hand". Your comments seem more in line with this when you clamor to "buy American"

    Sorry to fight fire with fire, and this is very OT, but you need to know what you mean when you say things.
    Last edited by idiq; 06-12-08 at 07:03 PM.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by idiq View Post
    OT but yes, macroeconomic theory will be the death of us. Your GED education will help too.

    Also, you claim to have a 'socialist' mentality - have you read anything by Marx? If so you'd realize that things operate on a global scale, there needs to be a global revolution, uniting the working class. Apparently, you advocate a Stalinist approach of revolution in a sole country, which utterly fails. Simply see the USSR's stance at the time of Spain in the 1930's. In fact, your remark regarding 'socialism' and supporting American manufacturing is actually perfectly in line with what Adam Smith really meant by the invisible hand. Thanks!

    Edit:
    By the way, when I mentioned the disjunction of prices with labor, that's actually a marxist conception. Marx pointed out the contradiction in the production of goods is that workers do not get what they put in. Production of a good, say, a peanut butter sandwich, is socialized, but the earnings from such a sandwich are not. Additionally, the prices of a good should not be determined by the mysterious "market", but by the amount of labor / skill / technology put into a good during production. Rosa Luxembourg gives an introduction to economics pretty well, which can be found in her essays along with "Reform or Revolution?"

    Adam Smith essentially said that given two countries, say, France and England, and those countries produce goods of similar qualities and prices, the members of the home country will purchase that respective country's good, "as if led by an invisible hand". Your comments seem more in line with this when you clamor to "buy American"

    Sorry to fight fire with fire, and this is very OT, but you need to know what you mean when you say things.

    WOW I never would have thought my simple question would stir up such politics and theorizing! I see CK as the "gucci" or "prada" headset. A handbag is a handbag except for the label on it. You can argue about the stitching or material quality but as long as your purse isn't exploding once a week - I doubt you will know the difference.

    I have four integrated headset bikes and other than not having to pay my LBS for servicing it, I haven't noticed a thing. Personally I like the clean lines it offers and don't care to be a billboard for my overpriced hunk of headset - but I don't wear designer clothes either so that isn't much of a shock.
    Last edited by crossmoto; 06-12-08 at 11:39 PM.

  20. #20
    Team Beer Cynikal's Avatar
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    CX and Marx, who knew?
    I'm not one for fawning over bicycles, but I do believe that our bikes communicate with us, and what this bike is saying is, "You're an idiot." BikeSnobNYC

  21. #21
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    some of you are confusing 'internal' headsets with 'integrated' headsets.

    buying a bike frame that has the cups built into the frame has inherent weaknesses in its' design, possible flaws in the execution, and the potential of long term issues rendering your pricey bicycle frame worthless much sooner than you would want or expect.


    .....for no tangible benefit except cleaner poseur closer points on the sales floor.

  22. #22
    shoot up or shut up. isotopesope's Avatar
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    jumping jesus on a pogo stick, you are uptight, idig.

    boy howdee, you really socked it to me. congratulations! that'll teach me.

    look man, this whole dumb thing started because i suggested that what the heck is wrong with supporting a local craftsman, rather than a mega factory over seas. sure, i'm all for uniting the workers of the world, but i'd like to start by supporting the folks doing it the way i think it should be done. so i guess i'll be a git er dun edjamacted stalinist that buys local organic produce and american made things. what a f wording turd i am.

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    big ring MIN's Avatar
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    whoa, and I was hear to talk about headsets. nutty.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIN View Post
    Chris King gives me wood.
    No, Cane Creek gives you wood.



    650 dollars and heavier than the normal 110. Choke on that, value nazis!

  25. #25
    Don't smoke, Mike. shapelike's Avatar
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    Really impressive thread deraillment ... good effort. The additional and completely uncalled-for ad hominem attacks were particularly memorable.

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