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the difference with headsets

Old 09-28-09, 07:22 PM
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herrflick
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the difference with headsets

Hello, forgive me if this is a redundant question but i did a search and only came up with the difference between threadless and threaded headsets, what i would like to know is, if i pay a premium for say, a Chris King or a Dura Ace headset, what benefits will i get compared to say a more sensibly priced Ritchey ? from what I understand after reading up, as long as bearings are sealed for easy servicing, a headset is just... a headset, right?
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Old 09-28-09, 07:32 PM
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If it's anything lower than a CK, there is a very likely chance it will explode while riding, and will seriously maim or kill you . . .

Just bling that's all.
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Old 09-28-09, 07:35 PM
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My own take on the subject is this: If I were building a really nice bike where cost was not so much a concern or had a bike that had top of the line components, then I would probably spring for the Chris King. But on a "normal" bike for me, the added cost wouldn't seem justified. A Chris King would probably last longer than the Ritchey, but you could buy several Ritchey's for the price. If you just need a headset and nothing more, get a Ritchey or similar.
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Old 09-28-09, 08:14 PM
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operator
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If you put a chris king on you will never really have to worry about your headset, ever.
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Old 09-28-09, 08:29 PM
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herrflick
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thanks guys, think i'll stick with a Ritchey for now and spend the rest on a nice dinner heh
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Old 09-29-09, 02:06 PM
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most headsets wear out at the lower-race bearings. because dirt etc. spraying off the front wheel eventually makes it through most seals. Of course some headsets have better seals than others.
But a nice accessory which will extend the life of almost any headset is the Lizard Skins neoprene headset protector. Just velcros around the lower headset race. I've got them on most of my bikes. Here's a sample:
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Old 09-29-09, 02:27 PM
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They are just bling. You will find several people anxious to justify why they spent $100+ on their headset, but the are full of hot air and hype.

Any $30-60 sealed bearing headset will perform just as well as a king. In fact King headsets have a reputation of not working well for suspension forks.
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Old 09-29-09, 06:22 PM
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The shimano and CK headsets solve a problem with road bike headsets. I use the shimano threaded type and they last for years with little or no maintainece and I ride over 14k miles a year (no job).
https://draco.acs.uci.edu/rbfaq/FAQ/8f.13.html

Last edited by davidad; 09-29-09 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 09-29-09, 06:38 PM
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Durability would be the most important factor, and sealed or non-sealed would fit into that category.

But weight should be the most obvious answer--a few nicer Campy and Tange headsets are around 100g, a Chris King Nothreadset is around 120. A $20 Ritchey that I have is 170g, and an unmarked generic headset on a beater is 160g.

I'm not a weight weenie at all, but my new roommate has a shop scale so I went nuts. Whatever parts I ever want to sell will have their true weight in the listing.
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Old 09-29-09, 07:02 PM
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The King is a beast.

Maybe a $45 headset will last just as long, but you get what you pay for in life. Sometimes it not all about function. King is a great blend between form and function. If it lacked either, people would not pay $100+ for a headset....
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Old 09-30-09, 12:29 AM
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+1

Originally Posted by operator View Post
If you put a chris king on you will never really have to worry about your headset, ever.
Yes, and there's not many bike parts you can buy and have that kind of security. The headset and hubs are parts that are always in use, whether your grinding up a hill, or coasting down, whether your seated or standing.
Considering it's only $60 more, and the headset is a part that pretty much stays with the frame for life, it's a wise investment. And it automatically adds to the resale value of the frame.
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Old 09-30-09, 06:38 AM
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If you want an inexpensive, good headset, get a Tange-Seiki Passage or Levin. The Ritchey's are not very good. Tange makes great headsets, even the inexpensive ones.

Here you can get a Passage for $10 with shipping. You can buy what ... 12 of these for the price of a King !
https://www.tullios.com/Headsets.htm
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Old 09-30-09, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Samwiches View Post
Durability would be the most important factor, and sealed or non-sealed would fit into that category.

But weight should be the most obvious answer--a few nicer Campy and Tange headsets are around 100g, a Chris King Nothreadset is around 120. A $20 Ritchey that I have is 170g, and an unmarked generic headset on a beater is 160g.

I'm not a weight weenie at all, but my new roommate has a shop scale so I went nuts. Whatever parts I ever want to sell will have their true weight in the listing.
My Stronglight A9s weigh 89 grams and they have roller bearings that will not index. I bought mine when you could still get them from France for $26. The price has gone way up since they stopped making them. I've seen them for as much as $200 on eBay. Too bad. I'd use nothing else if I could still get them cheap.
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Old 09-30-09, 07:30 AM
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For a 1" threaded headset, the real bargain was the now discontinued Shimano Ultegra (HP-6400) sealed bearing headset. They sold for about $40 and are extremely smooth and durable. Almost all of the advantages of the CK at 1/3 the cost. Unfortunately 1" threaded isn't the big thing these days.

FSA makes some good 1-1/8" threadless sealed bearing headsets these days. Prices are good and they are smooth and seem to be long lasting. I have an "Orbit X" with over 12,000 miles on one of my bikes and it's still smooth as glass and seems it will last for many more years. If it does ever die, replacement bearing cartridges are available so the cups and crown race (actually just a support plate) will stay with the frame forever.
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