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  1. #1
    Senior Member Monkey Face's Avatar
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    What's the problem with threaded headsets?

    I'm buying my first singlespeed and on various other Forums people seem to throw ridicule at threaded headsets. I've got my shortlist down to the Specialized Langster Steel and the Bianchi Pista Via Brera (which I'll convert to drop bar)... both with threaded steerers / quill stems.

    My view on threaded headsets is that:

    a) I like them because quill stems are more traditional, retro and beautiful - ie. Cinelli XE
    b) I like them because I think they give you more control over geometry - ie. you can effectively lengthen the steerer tube/raise the bars - impossible if you had a cut steerer... unless you flip the stem

    So why are people so anti? Is it just youthful ignorance? Maybe I'll find a different - more intelligent - view here.

  2. #2
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    I think the argument is that threadless is more rigid than threaded?

    Also, people are elitists and will tell you that what they have is better than what you have regardless if they have any facts to back it up.

  3. #3
    Senior Member seau grateau's Avatar
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    There's no problem with them, really. Threadless is just a more modern design. Sure there's plenty of reasons that pro cyclists don't use threaded anymore, but that doesn't mean you can't.
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  4. #4
    old legs
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    Threaded forks are traditionally weaker because the steerer tube is both smaller and it's integrity is compromised by the threads and the keyway....plus I don't think you can have an aluminum threaded fork if that's your thing

  5. #5
    Oscillation overthruster Dr. Banzai's Avatar
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    Most people can't keep them tight or get them "perfect". Not the headset's fault. Second, they weigh more. The simplicity of threadless is apparent.

    Invent a better mousetrap and the flaws of the old mousetrap become apparent even though you did fine with said mousetrap for 90+years.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    There are a lot of small differences, that may not matter much in your specific build.

    Threaded forks are weaker, softer,generally are only available in steel, and in limited shapes.

    Threaded headsets are heavier, harder to adjust, and require more matainences.

    Quil stems are heavier, harder to adjust, dont come in modern materials, limit your bar choices, arent as stiff, and move around more.

    Like I said maybe none of the issues matter in your build, but those are all the reasons a threadless system is better.

  7. #7
    AEO
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    Senior Member AEO's Avatar
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    unless you have a frame that uses a fisher evolution headset. That's a pretty sturdy and stiff interface, as good as 1-1/8 threadless.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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  8. #8
    Antarctica awaits WoundedKnee's Avatar
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    What is "modern materials" ?

    In before carleton.

  9. #9
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    Another problem with quill stems is that they must a perfect fit with the steerer tube or they will creak and deflect under load. Then there's the problem of the expander bolt deforming the steerer tube. All in all, there are many technical flaws in the design, which are eliminated with the threadless design. Unfortunately, most threadless stems are bulky looking and ugly as sin.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    Wasnt the evolution the first try at 1 1/4" threadless headset, that is now the standard for downhill bikes?

  11. #11
    SNARKY MEMBER CardiacKid's Avatar
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    I am not sure how quills are harder to adjust. I think the main advantage of the quill is how easy it is to adjust. With threadless, you have to take it apart, and either flip the stem, move the spacers or get a whole new stem. Then you have to make sure you get everything put back together correctly, using a torque wrench. The main advantage of threadless is it is lighter and easier to change bars with. I am fairly hefty and have never had a problem with the strength or rigidity of quill stems on a road bike.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    By modern materials I mean quality aluminium and Ti, and any carbon.

    I mistyped when I said quils are harder to adjust, I ment harder to replace. And while track sprinting I have had issues with the softness of a quill stem.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacKid View Post
    I am not sure how quills are harder to adjust. I think the main advantage of the quill is how easy it is to adjust. With threadless, you have to take it apart, and either flip the stem, move the spacers or get a whole new stem. Then you have to make sure you get everything put back together correctly, using a torque wrench. The main advantage of threadless is it is lighter and easier to change bars with. I am fairly hefty and have never had a problem with the strength or rigidity of quill stems on a road bike.

    Guess I have been doing it wrong all along.
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    because physics has more street cred than tarckstars.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    You might George Hincapie it if you overtighten your stem on your steerer.

  15. #15
    Oscillation overthruster Dr. Banzai's Avatar
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    I've snapped cheap slider bolts in quill stems. Good luck finding one of those in a pinch. New stem it is.
    I've had to hit quill stems with a hammer to get it to release. Adjusting headset preload and wheel alignment is just so dead easy.
    I'd be hard pressed to go back to quills.

    [You] can do whatever you want.

  16. #16
    Senior Member
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    I like the threadless headset too, anything to make the whole process easier. I took a load of heat for throwing on a pair of track end chain tensioners, but at the end of the day, it made rear wheel alignment and chain tension on a problematic and inexpensive bike a one time shot. No hand required to hold a wheel in place, no slippage while tightening down axle nuts. Anyways, whatever you can find to make the maintenance aspect of a bike easier and quicker, I'm all for. I like being a "diy'er", but only to a certain extent, before turning wrenches can become tediously frustrating when it doesn't go together the first time and every time.

  17. #17
    I Like to Bike youngandcurious's Avatar
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    I don't know much but i ****ing hate them i took 3 hours yesterday re greasing it.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Monkey Face's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie View Post
    Another problem with quill stems is that they must a perfect fit with the steerer tube or they will creak and deflect under load. Then there's the problem of the expander bolt deforming the steerer tube. ......
    I guess if that turns out to be the case I'll take it back and let Bianchi/Specialized take care of it.

  19. #19
    yesterday you said tom.
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    Damn this thread is making me second guess my frame purchase that's coming with a threaded fork

  20. #20
    Senior Member LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by youngandcurious View Post
    I don't know much but i ****ing hate them i took 3 hours yesterday re greasing it.
    Hmmm, I recently repacked my FSA Orbit threadless HS and Campagnolo threaded HS bearings. Took about the same amount of time for each.

    Luckily fewer than 3 hours apiece, however.
    Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 08-31-10 at 05:58 PM.
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  21. #21
    Comanche Racing PedallingATX's Avatar
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    threadless is better in every way except one: looks
    skinnytire

  22. #22
    poppawheelie
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    Quote Originally Posted by whitekimchee View Post
    Damn this thread is making me second guess my frame purchase that's coming with a threaded fork
    Some of the best frames in the world have threaded forks. Threaded isn't obsolete. To be honest I am somewhat sketched about threadless stems. I feel that threaded quill stems are more solid.

  23. #23
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    There isn't a problem with threaded headsets, if your forks need threaded headsets, and most vintage forks do. They do what threadless headsets do, i.e. enable stem to go from forks to handlebars. However, they don't grip quite as well as other solutions, hence mtb's use another solution. Oh and they make it much easier to change things if you want to detatch the handlebars, like changing the handlebars, which of course you don't do that often. Mtb's changes the market, as did carbon later on, so threaded is old, threadless new. If you can find good NOS threaded, then good as anything on a road bike, nice...

  24. #24
    poppawheelie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kayce View Post
    By modern materials I mean quality aluminium and Ti, and any carbon.

    I mistyped when I said quils are harder to adjust, I ment harder to replace. And while track sprinting I have had issues with the softness of a quill stem.
    There are a lot of quill stems made with quality materials. I would bet here are a lot of threadless stems made with medicore materials.

  25. #25
    yesterday you said tom.
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    Do quill stems/threaded fork setups really require that much more maintenance than a threadless setup? Does quality of the stem and headset play any role? I want to know cuz I've only been riding threadless.

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