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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 09-08-09, 04:12 PM   #1
Pikolo
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Decent headset?

Hi

I'm building up a winter bike for commuting in Ottawa, Canada. That means lots of snow, salt, ice, water, and corrosion. Most 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 09-10-09, 05:05 PM   #2
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Hi

I'm building up a winter bike for commuting in Ottawa, Canada. That means lots of snow, salt, ice, water, and corrosion. Most 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
Go with a Cane Creek S-2. It has sealed bearings and is cheap enough that you can ruin it and not be sad about it
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Old 09-10-09, 08:54 PM   #3
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+1 on CC S2
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Old 09-14-09, 03:43 PM   #4
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Thanks, I was looking at the S-8 for the stainless steel bearings but the S-2 sounds like a good option. I just need to throw some good fenders on the front. Past years I had been riding with a front fender, but one that only covered behind the suspension fork and did not protect the headtube or HS. I've ordered a rigid replacement, and that fork has mounts for full fenders.
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Old 09-15-09, 08:08 AM   #5
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Thanks, I was looking at the S-8 for the stainless steel bearings but the S-2 sounds like a good option. I just need to throw some good fenders on the front. Past years I had been riding with a front fender, but one that only covered behind the suspension fork and did not protect the headtube or HS. I've ordered a rigid replacement, and that fork has mounts for full fenders.
Either would do. The S-8 isn't horribly expensive compared to the S-2. Stainless steel is more resistant to salt corrosion but not impervious.

I run a suspension fork with a SKS blade in the winter time. Complete protection of the headset and it's not too heavy. Plus I still get the benefit of the fork in rutted snow pack Here's what it looks like

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New! Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
New! Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.
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Old 09-15-09, 01:57 PM   #6
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I run a suspension fork with a SKS blade in the winter time. Complete protection of the headset and it's not too heavy.
Interesting. How does the fender attach to the fork?
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Old 09-15-09, 02:39 PM   #7
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Interesting. How does the fender attach to the fork?
It uses a threaded insert that goes into the bottom of the shock. The fender slides onto the insert. Here's what the inserts look like



The orange parts of the shock (below) slides onto the adapter



I think the one in the picture is a Planet Bike fender I tried but didn't like. I now have an SKS Shockblade. Works very well.
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New! Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
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Old 09-17-09, 10:32 AM   #8
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Good to know, thanks
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Old 09-30-09, 12:30 PM   #9
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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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