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Old 11-28-06, 10:33 AM
Faster but still slow
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Jersey
Posts: 5,979

Bikes: Trek 830 circa 1993 and a Fuji WSD Finest 1.0 2006

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Originally Posted by cyccommute
From the stand point of installation, adjustment and maintainence, a threadless headset is head and shoulders above threaded. Lots of people think it's a plot by some bicycle cartel but the threadless really is superior.

Adjusting a threaded headset is a nightmare! You need a minimum of 2 large wrenches and lots of time. First you tighten the upper race by hand to take up slack, then you tighten the lock nut slightly. You want to slightly over tighten because you are going to back the race off against the lock nut. You check to see if the headset is binding or loose, then loosen the locknut (and the race usually), adjust the race, and start again. You have to make sure that the headset isn't binding by turning it from side to side and then check to see if it isn't too loose by rocking the bike against the brake. Trust me, it is a royal pain!

A threadless, on the other hand, requires a single small allen wrench. You put spaces, stem and top cap on after you assemble the headset. Tighten the top cap so that the bearings are tight but don't bind, then tighten the stem bolts. If it takes 5 minutes, you are spending too much time on it

And, in the field, fixing a loose threadless is trivial. Fixing a threaded is next to impossible unless you carry those two big wrenches with you. In my experience, threadless is also less likely to loosen also.
Okay, so it certainly sounds like a pain, but how often and under what circumstances does one have to adjust a threaded headset? I have an MTB with a threaded headset(Trek 830) and have never had to do anything to it in close to 15 years. Maybe I have just been neglecting my bike and I am an idiot(a distinct possibility!), but it certainly performs like near new condition after all those years.

I do see how a threadless set up is much lighter, that is fairly obvious.
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