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  1. #1
    loser
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    touring bike headset qestion

    I'm thinking about picking up an older bridgestone touring frameset from a local shop but it's a bare frame and fork. I figure that the loads on a touring rig headset are considerably more than your average roadbike (esp wthi front panniers) but I'm at a loss when it comes to picking a headset. Cartridge or ball or needle.... hmm.

    Anyway, I'm kind of a cheapskate but not a total cheapskate so I'm thinking (cartridge) shimano 105, but am nagged by the thought of a (needle bearing) stronglight. Any thoughts?

    And no, I won't quadrouple the cost of the frameset by getting a king, at least, not till I find me a sugar mama.

  2. #2
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Stronglight A-9. Lightweight, durable, repairable and affordable. How can you beat that?

  3. #3
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thechamp
    I'm thinking about picking up an older bridgestone touring frameset from a local shop but it's a bare frame and fork. I figure that the loads on a touring rig headset are considerably more than your average roadbike (esp wthi front panniers) but I'm at a loss when it comes to picking a headset. Cartridge or ball or needle.... hmm.

    Anyway, I'm kind of a cheapskate but not a total cheapskate so I'm thinking (cartridge) shimano 105, but am nagged by the thought of a (needle bearing) stronglight. Any thoughts?

    And no, I won't quadrouple the cost of the frameset by getting a king, at least, not till I find me a sugar mama.
    Unless you are considering doing months or years long trips, the 105 or a Cane Creek or the Stronglights should all work well. Most of us only tour for a few weeks at best so the stress on the headset is probably not that much greater then a regular road bike. With bags on the front it may even be a little less because the inertia of the bags serves to dampen the shock to the bearings. (A bit of handwaving there)
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  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    I ride Chris King's on every bike I can get them on. Before you get all "that's exactly what I said I didn't want, bonehead!" on me think about it this way. A good headset can be moved from bike to bike, and a good headset should last over ten years. So, if you amortize the cost of the King over that timeframe you're paying 10 or less dollars a year for your headset. I think that's a pretty good price for never having to worry about it. And, should you choose to switch back and forth between threaded and threadless when switching forks you can leave the cups pressed and just buy the conversion kits, which are pretty cheap.

    That's just me though, I don't skimp on something that carries me down the street.

  5. #5
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  6. #6
    loser
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    thanks guys. I'm still bouncing between the a9 and the 105 but it's nice to hear cycco say that touring headsets aren't really going to be brutalized in most circumstances.

    And I know what you mean bandregg. I'm a carpenter and I don't skimp on my tools. And I like buying American and chrisking is right here in portland. But I've got about 10 bikes, six of which are running at any one time. There's only 2 that I ride enough to justify a CK and they're both odd size. I also have maybe $250 or less in each bike total, so buying them all chriskings is a little silly. I suppose if you've got money to burn though, king hubs and headset for all around!

  7. #7
    loser
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    Actually. having said that, who ever died from a headset wearing out? If I'm going to spend big money to carry me down the street, it's probably going to be on hubs and brakes.

  8. #8
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    Any of you know a good place to buy a Stronglight headset? I want to put one on my wife's touring bike. Also want to replace the needle bearings in mine before the next "big" trip. Have you seen replacement bearings for sale anywhere?
    Thanks,

  9. #9
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by racpat_rtw
    Any of you know a good place to buy a Stronglight headset? I want to put one on my wife's touring bike. Also want to replace the needle bearings in mine before the next "big" trip. Have you seen replacement bearings for sale anywhere?
    Thanks,
    Harris cyclery sells the a9. I think it's also in the QBP catalog so any shop can order it. Replacement bearings are available from french shop http://www.xxcycle.com/. They can handle exchange rates and are surprisingly reasonable for shipping.

  10. #10
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bandregg
    I ride Chris King's on every bike I can get them on. Before you get all "that's exactly what I said I didn't want, bonehead!" on me think about it this way. A good headset can be moved from bike to bike, and a good headset should last over ten years. So, if you amortize the cost of the King over that timeframe you're paying 10 or less dollars a year for your headset. I think that's a pretty good price for never having to worry about it. And, should you choose to switch back and forth between threaded and threadless when switching forks you can leave the cups pressed and just buy the conversion kits, which are pretty cheap.

    That's just me though, I don't skimp on something that carries me down the street.
    All headsets need to be maintained (even CKs). Any good headset will last indefinitely if it is properly maintained. A Stronglight A9 costs $50. The one on my touring bike is 20 years old. The needle bearings can't index the races (which are replaceable anyway). The A9 weighs less than every CK made. It's a FAR better value.

    I just don't see an economic justification for CK headsets or PW hubs either for that matter. If somebody wanted to buy me a CK, I'd take it happily but I couldn't spend my own money on it.

  11. #11
    WATERFORD22
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    I have three bikes with xt, 2 steel campys, 2 Chris King,and a Raceface - all are fine if maintained properly

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