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  1. #1
    fugly xavierjaguilar's Avatar
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    EighthInch.com Head Tube Extender Review

    EighthInch.com posted a couple weeks ago about some new head tube extenders they'll be selling soon. For those of who you don’t know what I mean, head tube extenders are installed in the bottom of the head tube inside the lower head race (pictures below), effectively extending the head tube by about an inch and a half. “Why do this” you ask? Isn’t it obvious? Barspins, friends. I sh*t you not. Since the recent boom in fixie trickster culture, barspins have become more and more of a commodity, but the geometry of most frames running 700c wheels prevents 360-degree wheel-downtube clearance. Common workarounds are to replace the fork with a lower-rake option and/or throw on a front 650c wheel, but both of these options are a little on the spendy side for many trick-seeking cool kids out there. And so the head tube extender is born, and Eighth Inch has decided to supply where demand is high.

    Eighth Inch isn’t the first bike shop to propose this kind of head tube extender; this concept has been marketed before and the idea has always been met with pretty sharp criticism, as was the case with Eighth Inch’s post a couple weeks back. Critics of the extender posted reply after reply about how it’s bound to result in personal injury and/or bicycle damage, but not a single one of its opponents could provide an example of such a failure, nor had anybody ridden on a bike equipped with a head tube extender. So...I was curious. I’m a big believer in the “You can’t knock it til you’ve tried it” maxim. James over at Eighth Inch was kind enough to send me one of these extenders and let me evaluate it for those interested. I’ve ridden around on it for a week now, and have some things to say FROM ACTUAL PERSONAL EXPERIENCE (a lot of you on these forums should try this some time). So here we go:

    We’ll start with the bad, the obvious:
    There’s no getting around a simple fact: installing an aluminum extender in the bottom of your head tube tweaks your geometry and weakens the point of contact at your head tube; that’s just obvious from an engineering perspective. But taking real-world experience and actually riding around, these issues are less problematic than I expected. You’ll feel a change in the twitchiness of your front wheel, especially during climbs, but I was able to adjust to the change and forget about it within thirty minutes. As for the potential weakening of the head tube, I felt a slight difference in the front end of the bike when dropping curbs, it did feel a little less secure. But after a week of riding around on it and giving it a decent amount of abuse it’s holding up fine. Not sure how I feel about it being made from aluminum - doesn’t bode well for longevity. We’ll see. If it causes trouble later I’ll post a follow-up, but as of this review I have no cause for complaint.

    The good, the obvious:
    It does what it’s supposed to. If you want to barspin and couldn’t before...you can now. Something I’ll point out though: installing the extender doesn’t mean you’re completely in the clear to do unlimited spins to your heart’s content. Why? I’m on a 53cm Mark V with 165mm cranks and a 700c wheel clears the down tube but hits the crank when the cranks are horizontal (not the pedal, the CRANK, ie tons of overlap). Some overlap is common on a lot of barspin-able bikes and can be overcome with timing your spins and gaining skill at the trick, but be aware that this extender doesn’t account for your crank length and other aspects of your frame’s geometry.

    The BEST FEATURE of this extender in my opinion is for those of you who have 650c front wheels installed (see picture below). Putting on a 650c front wheel drops the height of your bike about an inch in the front...and installing this extender raises it about an inch. So you can retain your bike’s original(ish) geometry using a 650c wheel in conjunction with this part (and get even MORE wheel clearance). What a deal.

    The Verdict, after riding around for a week
    Here’s the tradeoff: you want to do something your bike isn’t meant to do, so while altering it will help you achieve that it’ll also cost you some things. First, it DOES tweak your geometry slightly, but so does a 650c front wheel or a lower-rake fork, and the extender costs much less money than those options. So if you want to barspin, this is the cheapest solution. Is it the safest? Well...be aware of the fact that even though the extender didn’t fail on me, it’s only been a week and the bottom line is that altering your bike in this way weakens your head tube joint, that’s a non-negotiable fact. Are you in immediate catastrophic danger? Unlikely. But be cautious. Weigh the risks yourself, have fun, and enjoy those spinzzzzz.

    UPDATE: two months have passed and the extender is still holding up. I ride almost every day and it's usually pretty aggressively, dropping and hopping curbs at fairly high speeds, and occasionally going down staircases. I'll be taking the extender out now, as the experiment is finished as far as I'm concerned. I can't promise this or any other part won't EVER fail, but I have enough data in this case to conclude that this thing is relatively safe. Again, that opinion is based on MY personal experience with the part, don't sue me if yours breaks and you need new teeth now.






    Last edited by xavierjaguilar; 07-31-09 at 06:50 AM.

  2. #2
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    The last pic seems downright scary. I would much rather spend money on a 650c than to put myself in danger.

  3. #3
    No plan. peabodypride's Avatar
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    lol at the crap you kids do.

  4. #4
    bike bike bike lattanzio's Avatar
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    re-review after 3-6 months. i don't feel like a week of casual use is going to be able to accurately represent any product. this may be a fine product for a quick fix, but i think a fork and/or frame made for this is a much better option. learn some patience, save some money, and get something designed for this instead of potentially snapping forks and necks.

  5. #5
    partly metal, partly real sp00ki's Avatar
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    why don't you wait 3-6 months before attempting to predict what's going to happen with a part you've never installed/held/ridden/seen/touched/been in the same room with?
    people have ridden these (the serotta ones specifically) without any issue.
    more importantly, they've seen what happens after riding them for months without guessing and speculating.
    Quote Originally Posted by bonechilling View Post
    Road [racing] is one of the only sports where adult men can compete in a non-scholastic setting, so inevitably 8/10 racers are fiercely-competitive nobodies. It's fun as hell, but it's also the foremost refuge of defeated and aging jocks, turned middle-management types.

  6. #6
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    I think it's great that your handlebars are now suddenly an inch closer to your headtube/toptube

  7. #7
    fugly xavierjaguilar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sp00ki View Post
    why don't you wait 3-6 months before attempting to predict what's going to happen with a part you've never installed/held/ridden/seen/touched/been in the same room with?
    people have ridden these (the serotta ones specifically) without any issue.
    more importantly, they've seen what happens after riding them for months without guessing and speculating.
    Easy, sp00ki. I did all I could to write a fair, unbiased review. I didn't speculate AT ALL about what would happen in the future, I only said to be cautious. And I've seen the Serotta extenders you're talking about, made for going on the top of the head tube, but people have recently been using them (upside down) for barspin clearance. The Serotta extenders may have been ridden for months without any issue...but this isn't a review for the Serotta extenders is it? I'll post back in a few months if I'm still using this extender and give an update.

  8. #8
    its that damned rap music oneangrytoast's Avatar
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    how involved is the install. is this something you can throw on when you want to mess around and take off when its time to really ride?

    i really have no intention in getting one but i feel like this would be a relevant question.

    sp00ki, i cant believe your somewhat supporting a trick related component. i know you stand for reason always, and im guessing thats where your comments are coming from. good stuff.

    EDIT: xavier, you TOTALLY misread his response. give it another shot.
    -bread for destruction-


    Quote Originally Posted by Thetank View Post
    any way you can prove this or did you pull this out of your @$$?

  9. #9
    Comanche Racing PedallingATX's Avatar
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    ur bike gives me lulz
    skinnytire

  10. #10
    bike bike bike lattanzio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xavierjaguilar View Post
    Easy, sp00ki. I did all I could to write a fair, unbiased review. I didn't speculate AT ALL about what would happen in the future, I only said to be cautious. And I've seen the Serotta extenders you're talking about, made for going on the top of the head tube, but people have recently been using them (upside down) for barspin clearance. The Serotta extenders may have been ridden for months without any issue...but this isn't a review for the Serotta extenders is it? I'll post back in a few months if I'm still using this extender and give an update.
    yeah serottas are top of headtube. a bit different stress level.

  11. #11
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    I had lots of experience with Barspins in college, mainly after the $1 pitcher nights. The Barspins and the puking was just part of freshman year in a state that had just decided to make it legal for 18 year old idiots to drink. I think they want us to flunk out, and get drafted.

  12. #12
    fugly xavierjaguilar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oneangrytoast View Post
    how involved is the install. is this something you can throw on when you want to mess around and take off when its time to really ride?
    No, it's not a simple install unless you have a headset press. It presses into the bottom of the head tube like the lower head race of a headset, then the lower head race itself presses into the extender. It'd be a pretty big hassle to un- and re-install every time, plus it's aluminum so I imagine taking it out and putting it in would start to wear on it pretty quick.

    Quote Originally Posted by oneangrytoast View Post
    EDIT: xavier, you TOTALLY misread his response. give it another shot.

    I'm bad with picking up sarcasm in forum posts... Did I misread sp00ki? I wasn't exactly sure if he was serious, or what his point was. Sp00ki, care to clarify?

  13. #13
    Senior Member Steev's Avatar
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    Looks like you need at least 1" of excess steerer before you install or you're up for a new fork anyway.

  14. #14
    fugly xavierjaguilar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steev View Post
    Looks like you need at least 1" of excess steerer before you install or you're up for a new fork anyway.
    Oh, thanks. I completely forgot to mention that and it's really important. The extender won't work unless you've got some extra fork up top to accommodate it. For all you kids who have no spacers under your stem....sorry. PS, Eighth Inch also makes extenders for 1" headsets.

  15. #15
    Senior Member 2wheelsgood's Avatar
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    So if you have a headset press, a perfectly sized steer tube and have already purchased a 650c wheel(to avoid toe overlap) this an inexpensive solution to barspin? Sounds ideal to me.

    p.s. I wouldn't trust a review from someone who doesn't even have straps.

  16. #16
    fugly xavierjaguilar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2wheelsgood View Post
    p.s. I wouldn't trust a review from someone who doesn't even have straps.
    Lol, dude....you're funny. I hope you're joking about the straps though. You can't run straps on a trick bike, you need to be able to bail as fast as possible when you screw up (and you WILL screw up, as sure as my IRO is made in Taiwan). It'd be like running clipless on a BMX bike. Plus, trick bikes have loooow ratios (I'm running 39/20T) which tops out your speed at...i don't know, 4 mph or some god-awful slowness, so the stopping power of straps isn't necessary, but you need SOME kind of clip. MKS half-clips are perfect for this.

    I have a Surly Dingle cog in back w/ a 17T for when I wanna actually go somewhere. It's still a little on the spinny side, but I live with it. I change out my stem/bars and pedals too for longer rides, only takes a couple minutes.

  17. #17
    Senior Member 2wheelsgood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xavierjaguilar View Post
    It'd be like running clipless on a BMX bike.
    it'd be like doing bmx tricks on a track bike.

  18. #18
    fugly xavierjaguilar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2wheelsgood View Post
    it'd be like doing bmx tricks on a track bike.
    A good point's been brought up here. For any of you kids who ride track bikes and speak ill of fixie tricks: If you ride your bike anywhere besides a velodrome, I don't wanna hear you piss and moan about non-intended purposes.

  19. #19
    partly metal, partly real sp00ki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xavierjaguilar View Post
    Easy, sp00ki. I did all I could to write a fair, unbiased review. I didn't speculate AT ALL about what would happen in the future, I only said to be cautious. And I've seen the Serotta extenders you're talking about, made for going on the top of the head tube, but people have recently been using them (upside down) for barspin clearance. The Serotta extenders may have been ridden for months without any issue...but this isn't a review for the Serotta extenders is it? I'll post back in a few months if I'm still using this extender and give an update.
    i wasn't writing that to you, i was writing that to him. trust me-- i appreciate when people do what you do.
    Quote Originally Posted by bonechilling View Post
    Road [racing] is one of the only sports where adult men can compete in a non-scholastic setting, so inevitably 8/10 racers are fiercely-competitive nobodies. It's fun as hell, but it's also the foremost refuge of defeated and aging jocks, turned middle-management types.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by xavierjaguilar View Post
    h. You can't run straps on a trick bike.
    Seems like most of the guys all over the internet do. It seems like a big BMX pedal with a power strap type set-up is most popular.

  21. #21
    its that damned rap music oneangrytoast's Avatar
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    truth.
    -bread for destruction-


    Quote Originally Posted by Thetank View Post
    any way you can prove this or did you pull this out of your @$$?

  22. #22
    bike bike bike lattanzio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sp00ki View Post
    i wasn't writing that to you, i was writing that to him. trust me-- i appreciate when people do what you do.
    i don't even know why you were pissed at what i said... i'm NOT saying that this is necessarily a **** product or anything about the OP or fixed tricks at all. i'm saying that one week is a short amount of time the write a review based on a product that does what this does. this is a high stress area, and this product adds alot of extra leverage to frames that may not be able to take it. this is why companies like indyfab put gussets there on almost every bike they make. and even if people have been using the serotta extenders under their headtubes, they are a much smaller size than the eighthinch extender (as far as i know). seriously, if one kid gets hurt on this thing because of failure, it's too many.

    all that said, in 3 or 6 months, if this product is still ticking, as well as the frame, awesome. and i do not personally know how thoroughly this product has been tested by the manufacturer... it could be the greatest single product ever made in the history of mankind. HOWEVER, i still think it's a much better idea to buy an entire frame that's made for this sort of stress and abuse, instead of buying a quick fix product because you want to do wicked spinz NOWNOWNOW.

    we all appreciate when people take time out of their day to tell us their personal experience with a product, but i think this specific product warrants more time used.

    proceed!

  23. #23
    fugly xavierjaguilar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rudetay View Post
    Seems like most of the guys all over the internet do. It seems like a big BMX pedal with a power strap type set-up is most popular.
    I've been meaning to give power straps a try...anybody have good experiences with those on fixed bikes? Or bad experiences too I guess, either would be helpful.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xavierjaguilar View Post
    I've been meaning to give power straps a try...anybody have good experiences with those on fixed bikes? Or bad experiences too I guess, either would be helpful.
    I've used them for about 15 years with and without fixed bikes and think that they are great.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by xavierjaguilar View Post
    Lol, dude....you're funny. I hope you're joking about the straps though. You can't run straps on a trick bike, you need to be able to bail as fast as possible when you screw up
    Why the hell do you have clips then? If you're only going 4mph, those noodly little bits of metal aren't helping or hurting, just getting in the way when u have 2 bail fr0m ur sicc triccs.

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