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Old 02-21-08, 02:57 PM   #1
Broom Wagon
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Who makes the best 1" threaded headset?

???.Good quality for a decent price???
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Old 02-21-08, 03:06 PM   #2
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Best = Chris King.

At a more reasonable price both FSA and Dia Compe make good ones. Stronglight is also highly thought of at a moderate price level.

BTW, I have had a $15 Nashbar 1" threaded cartridge bearing headset on my always-abused rain bike for over two years and it's still smooth. Can't beat it for the price.
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Old 02-21-08, 03:28 PM   #3
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Yep, Nashbar sure is cheap. As long as you don't readjust too many times, like I did on my fixie - easy to trash the top race and nut. You can slap 10 of those puppies on there for the price of a King. Not the same bling, though. I feel like you can get a midrange older Shimano headset in the $30 range reliably on Nashbar, usually 105.
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Old 02-21-08, 03:42 PM   #4
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Even the $10 Tange passage headsets will do you fine. If you really have a lot of money to spend and don't want to ever worry about your headset - get a CK. For most people a CK wouldn't be justified.
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Old 02-21-08, 03:44 PM   #5
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Yep, Nashbar sure is cheap. As long as you don't readjust too many times, like I did on my fixie - easy to trash the top race and nut.
Yeah, but the adjustment has been easy. I just turn down the top race until the play is gone and tighten the locknut and it holds it's adjustment no problem. I've overhauled it twice so far, once a year, and never had a problem.

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You can slap 10 of those puppies on there for the price of a King. Not the same bling, though.
Bling is not as obvious as many riders seem to think. I have a CK on another bike and not one other rider has ever commented on it or seemed to notice.

I agree about the Shimano cartridge bearing headsets. I have well over 25,000 miles on an Ultegra HP-6500 and it's still in fine condition. You pretty much have to find them NOS these days as the only headset Shimano still lists is the Dura Ace track version.
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Old 02-21-08, 07:02 PM   #6
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???.Good quality for a decent price???
the best? chris king,...period.

you can spend less, you might be able to spend more, but NO ONE has his quality, or the TEN YEAR GUARANTEE.
either the gripnut or the two nut (the two nut allows spacers or hangers)

the stronglight A9 is also a nice unit, and has needle bearings (very unique), and is a good weatherproof unit, but the stack height (40.2mm) means you might need a new fork, or an extension, if yours is cut for a shorter stack.

those are the only two I'd use after about 4 tange's, and 3 aheadsets, and a couple of no name chrome beach cruiser thingies= the cost of one chris king (learned the hard way)


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Last edited by j0e_bik3; 02-21-08 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 02-21-08, 09:55 PM   #7
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No love for Shimano 600?
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Old 02-21-08, 09:56 PM   #8
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the best? chris king,...period.
I have always heard they are great, but what makes the Chris King so much better than anything else? And is it really noticeable or is it more of a longevity thing?

Honest question. A headset is such a simple part that I don't see how one could be heads and tails above the rest.
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Old 02-21-08, 10:48 PM   #9
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I have always heard they are great, but what makes the Chris King so much better than anything else? And is it really noticeable or is it more of a longevity thing?

Honest question. A headset is such a simple part that I don't see how one could be heads and tails above the rest.

Back when I was mountain biking a lot more than I do now, I was very hard on headsets. I wore out non-cartridge headsets, I wore out cartridge headsets. I had to adjust headsets every few rides, my headsets would make curious noises, etc. etc. One day I had about $100 I decided I just had to spend on bike parts, and so I ordered a Chris King headset from Supergo for $99. I installed the headset, and proceeded to do the same things that had always trashed my headsets in the past. That was several years ago, thousands of hard off road miles, and I've yet to service or even re-adjust the CK headset. The headset still feels as friction-less as it did the day I installed it. I know, I know, I'm way behind on the recommended service interval. But the point is, it really is a better headset. I think it's the closer tolerances, the materials, the design, it all adds up. I would not put a CK on a road bike because for me it would be unnecessary in every way. But for actual mountain biking, I have found that the CK is by far the best I've ever used, and the benefit is tangible.
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Old 02-22-08, 11:48 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by anti.team View Post
I have always heard they are great, but what makes the Chris King so much better than anything else? And is it really noticeable or is it more of a longevity thing?

Honest question. A headset is such a simple part that I don't see how one could be heads and tails above the rest.
It's all about longevity. Any new headset works as well as any other for what a headset does.
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Old 02-22-08, 11:51 AM   #11
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Back when I was mountain biking a lot more than I do now, I was very hard on headsets. I wore out non-cartridge headsets, I wore out cartridge headsets. I had to adjust headsets every few rides, my headsets would make curious noises, etc. etc. One day I had about $100 I decided I just had to spend on bike parts, and so I ordered a Chris King headset from Supergo for $99. I installed the headset, and proceeded to do the same things that had always trashed my headsets in the past. That was several years ago, thousands of hard off road miles, and I've yet to service or even re-adjust the CK headset. The headset still feels as friction-less as it did the day I installed it. I know, I know, I'm way behind on the recommended service interval. But the point is, it really is a better headset. I think it's the closer tolerances, the materials, the design, it all adds up. I would not put a CK on a road bike because for me it would be unnecessary in every way. But for actual mountain biking, I have found that the CK is by far the best I've ever used, and the benefit is tangible.
+1. Same experience here, cracked races included in the other headset failures. For road, not necessary. For mountain, especially on a rigid, it is nice to know I don't have to reach down and retighten my headset.
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Old 02-22-08, 03:40 PM   #12
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Campagnolo Record is pretty and good, and not very expensive:
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Old 02-22-08, 11:11 PM   #13
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Agree on the campy. The Record is pretty nice. I have one and have a Chorus as well. I went back to a threaded headset when I returned to a steel fork on both of my modern steel bikes. I rode carbon threadless for years (AlphaQ and Reynolds Ouzo Pro) but, I find that I eliminated my hands going numb by putting a steel fork on my Mondonico Diamond Extra.
On the vintage side I have a 38 year old Campy on my 1969 Cinelli and it still works perfectly. I am sure I am well north of 200K miles on that bike. Kept it in good shape with regular maintenance on a yearly schedule. Still smooth as silk.
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Old 02-22-08, 11:15 PM   #14
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I agree about the Shimano cartridge bearing headsets. I have well over 25,000 miles on an Ultegra HP-6500 and it's still in fine condition. You pretty much have to find them NOS these days as the only headset Shimano still lists is the Dura Ace track version.
About a year ago I bought a couple of 105 threaded headsets and an ultegra from either bikeparts.com, or bikepartsusa.com, or one of the online stores that specializes in parts, i can't remember now. But they didn't seem too hard to find.
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Old 02-23-08, 01:46 AM   #15
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Rudelli makes some nice headsets - Better than the rest. I have one which uses needle bearing, and will never wear out - you just replace the bearings and the steel inserts.

Very smooth headset. Make sure you buy the correct one for you bike there are two sizes for a standard 1'' steerer.
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Old 02-23-08, 06:26 AM   #16
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Even the $10 Tange passage headsets will do you fine.
+1 IMHO this is the best $-value.
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Old 02-23-08, 06:54 AM   #17
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Didn't Cane Creek just come out with some uber-expensive headset?
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Old 02-23-08, 08:32 AM   #18
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About a year ago I bought a couple of 105 threaded headsets and an ultegra from either bikeparts.com, or bikepartsusa.com, or one of the online stores that specializes in parts, i can't remember now. But they didn't seem too hard to find.
They aren't hard to find but they are only available as NOS since they are no longer in production. I expect Shimano got stuck with quite a surplus when threadless and 1-1/8" headsets took over the market. I still have a NIB Ultegra HP-6500 I bought years ago as a spare and never needed since its predecessor won't die.

A comment on the Tange Levin and similar headsets. I've seen them ruined in 2000 miles of road riding and, yes, I know how to adjust a loose bearing headset. One of these came on a '92 Trek 1420 and was badly brinneled in 3000 miles. The Ultegra (HP-6200?) loose ball headset that replaced it lasted 15,000 miles on the same bike. The Ultegra cost 2-1/2 times as much but lasted 5 times longer.

The most durable cheap headset I'm familiar with is the Nashbar item I mentioned above.
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Old 02-23-08, 08:54 AM   #19
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As others have pointed out, most headsets are just fine. Ritchey WCS is a nice one and cheaper than CK.
http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/pro...s#product=none
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Old 04-14-08, 09:29 AM   #20
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I couldn't agree more. I have one one on a 99 Trek carbon frame and have never had to service it ... until now that is.

I just noticed that the top nut cracked during winter in the garage ... probably due to temperature flexing. Can't find a campy replacement top nut anywhere so I'm looking to replace the headset with the same. How do I determine the proper size: 1 inch or 1 1/8? Is it dependent on the headtube size or the diameter of the steerer tube, and is it the inside or outside diameter?

If anyone has a top nut or knows of a source for one, please let me know.

Thanks.
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Old 04-14-08, 11:30 AM   #21
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I get a good laugh everytime I hear the clones say that King headsets are the best. Yes, they are the most expensive, but not the best. I used to install King headsets on all high end bikes. Not one, would I recommend to a carbon fork steerer user. The King mechanism leaves a scoring mark on a fork steerer. Repeated cycles and abuse would eventually lead to a crack and possibly steerer breakage.

George Hincapie's crash in Paris Roubaix a few years ago was due to a carbon fork steerer break. The mechanics did not blame the crash on the sponsor's componentry. However, if you look at pics of Hincapie's steerer break, it is in the exact location as where the King headsets leave this scoring mark. Granted, people aren't going to ride super light carbon forks over cobblestones at speed, but the King design is flawed in this regard.
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Old 04-15-08, 02:51 AM   #22
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"bicyclists retreat" are now The New-Old-Stock "NOS" Bicycle Shop on eBay.
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Old 04-15-08, 04:56 AM   #23
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I'm a sucker for shimano STX headsets .....about 24.00 at performance and I have 2 on my 4 of my road bikes. Like them alot.....
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Old 04-15-08, 07:19 AM   #24
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George Hincapie's crash in Paris Roubaix a few years ago was due to a carbon fork steerer break. The mechanics did not blame the crash on the sponsor's componentry. However, if you look at pics of Hincapie's steerer break, it is in the exact location as where the King headsets leave this scoring mark. Granted, people aren't going to ride super light carbon forks over cobblestones at speed, but the King design is flawed in this regard.
Wrong! Hincapie's bike had an aluminum steer tube. http://www.cyclingnews.com/road/2006.../hincapie_trek
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Old 04-15-08, 07:33 AM   #25
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I don't know what headset came with the original S-Works road bike (M2 frame, matte steel finish) in the ultegra version but I rode that frame into the ground, swapped components on it 3 times, eventually cracked the chainstay, and I have the original unsealed round bearing headset in there. I was going to replace it when it got brinelled ("indexed") but it never did.

CKs are good but a lot of other headsets are good too. CKs do come in tons of colors so that's kinda cool.

Stronglight (roller bearing) headsets are nice but have a lot of friction. Harder to ride no handed, like if you're putting a jacket on while riding. I used them in all my bikes for a long time, cheap, easy to replace bearings, races were loose also (they dropped out with the bearings). I almost never took both my hands off the bars so I didn't care that the bike was hard to steer no handed.

Any cartridge bearing headset is good because you can replace the bearings without unpressing any cups. Shimano and others. Since headsets generally fail when the bearing surface gets indented, having replaceable bearing races makes headsets last virtually forever.

Finally, properly adjusting (and keeping adjusted!) your headset will do the most for prolonging your headset's life. I repacked all my headsets when I first got them, even bikes where I sold off the group (M2 frame for example). Then I adjusted them, tightened them extremely well, and checked them every time I rode. If the locknut or the adjusting cup started getting play, I'd replace them. A too-loose headset will ruin bearing races faster than you can believe. Ditto a too-tight one.

M2 went for about 7 years of hard use before I cracked the frame. Tons of roof rack miles (think rain/moisture/dirt getting pushed into the headset at high speeds), lots of training on dirt and other dirty roads, etc etc.

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