Wow!

I wish I'd done this a year ago. Better yet, I wish I'd built the bike this way.

The Aheadset SAS Headset and Soma Double Cross Fork just weren't cutting it. The brake squeal was just enough to drive me nuts. I could always get rid of it but it always came back. Tightening the headset helped but it always worked itself a little loose again. Four different brake pad compounds, pads toed in to varying degrees, long drop cable hangers, etc. Nothing would quite make it go away and stay that way.

I decided I was never going to use the front rack mounts anyway and figured if I was going to invest in a better headset, a stiffer but slightly lighter fork couldn't hurt. Picked up an FSA Orbit X headset based upon reviews and recommendations along with an IRD Straight Blade Unicrown fork that Soma support indicated was a much stiffer design.

I had the LBS press the cubs and set the crown race before finishing the job at home last night.

The front end now feels so solid it's like I have a whole new bike. And the brake squeal has gone from just enough to be annoying to practically nonexistent. I'm pretty sure most of the change is attributable to the headset but between it and the fork, the front end almost qualifies as burly. (Nowadays, "burly" implies Surly LHT or six inches of travel )

Two thumbs up for FSA Orbit headsets and IRD steel forks.