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Old 09-08-09, 04:02 PM   #1
Pikolo
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Winter commuting -- is there a decent, durable headset?

Hello

I am building up a bike for winter commuting in Ottawa, Canada. That means lots of snow, salt, ice, water, and corrosion. Many components do not last more than one or two winter seasons.

My question is, which headset is well suited for these conditions? There are expensive HS's on the market with excellent seals (cane creek 110, chris king, etc); they are designed to be a durable investment, but I'm not sure they will hold up to salt and extreme temperature fluctuations well enough to warrant the price. On the other hand, I don't want to replace a cheap HS every season. Is there a good compromise? What will hold up for at least a few years but will not break the bank?

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 09-08-09, 04:14 PM   #2
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Have a Cane Creek S3 on my SUV, had stood up quite well to bad weather and all seasons.
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Old 09-09-09, 09:16 AM   #3
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I'd be more concerned about the BB, I've never thought about what winter is doing to my HS.
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Old 09-09-09, 09:34 AM   #4
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Fenders will do wonders with saving a headset. Really good fenders with mudflaps will help with the BB also.

You probably already have a set, but it's worth mentioning in case you don't. That, plus a good wipedown when I get off of the bike, has always been fine for me, even in the desolate snow/ice/salt/death winters of the Midwest.

And FWIW, I run a Chris King headset and a UN52 bottom bracket on my winter bike.
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Old 09-12-09, 11:01 PM   #5
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Chris King comes with a 10year warranty but I have never seen a failure in a couple years at a shop, even on bikes where I have pulled the fork and water poured out of the head tube. The Cane Creek comes with a 110 year warranty...I think if your buying 1 headset every year or two with the other guys it is easy to justify the cost of something of the highest possible quality like king or cane creek. I have seen and used both, they are both amazing products but King is the time tested, proven to the extreme headset and they have great morals as a company. All good reasons to run them in my mind.
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Old 09-14-09, 02:38 PM   #6
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Check with some of the guys at OBC, they might be able to help you out. I have been riding with a stock headset on a 2001 Trek X01. The bike has seen 5 winters here in Montreal... so far... & the headset hasn't missed a beat, nor has the BB (FSA ISIS).
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Old 09-14-09, 03:45 PM   #7
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Luckily I haven't had any problems with the BB yet, even though lots of salty snow swamps it regularly over the winter. As for HS, I've gone through 2 in as many seasons.
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Old 09-15-09, 12:05 AM   #8
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I didn't read any thing yet. BUt reading the title I have this to say.

IF it see's snow, every bearing and parts are all going to be rusted out soon any ways.

Takes alot of cleaning.
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Old 09-15-09, 02:00 PM   #9
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Yes thank you, that's the point.
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Old 09-30-09, 12:32 PM   #10
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Alright, in the end I went for a CC S-3. It appears well designed for keeping junk out, and though the sealed bearings aren't stainless, they're easily swapped. With a good set of fenders and the lizardskins / innertube condoms, the inexpensive (sub-$40 with shipping, from Cambria) HS should last. I'll post updates after the first big test this winter. Thanks for all your helpful comments.
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