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The advantages of threadless forks

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The advantages of threadless forks

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Old 12-08-16, 10:40 AM
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The advantages of threadless forks

Some have said they really feel the difference between a threaded fork and a threadless fork. The stem is attached much more firmly, so the fork/stem/handlebar assembly flexes less, which you can feel under heavy pedaling. I can easily believe this but I wonder how much the appreciation is a function of strength and rider mass. I'm down to 153 pounds (70 kg) and working on strength. I might build a little upper body mass but not much, I expect. I suspect fork type is not likely to be as big a deal for me as it is for bigger and stronger riders. (I'm a hair over 5'9" tall [176 cm], for what it's worth.)

Thoughts?
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Old 12-08-16, 10:50 AM
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It's not that the stem is attached more "firmly", it's that a 1 1/8 steerer tube clamp diameter is much larger than a quill stem. Along with the fact most modern bars have a larger diameter. It also depends on how high you have a quill stem exposed from the steerer. But comparing my modern and vintage bikes by physically seeing how much I can move the bars, the difference isn't all that much. It certainly won't make a difference in anyone's speed. And another way to look at it if a quill setup flexes more it theoretically will ride smoother on rough roads. That's my idea, anyway.
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Old 12-08-16, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Thoughts?
Although the threadless fork's stem choices are less elegant in appearance than the classic Cinelli 1A and cutting to fit the correct stack height is a one-shot-deal they make sense for me.
The 1 1/8" standard mated to a quality stem & bars makes for a really solid feeling front end on my Soma Stanyan.
Dealing with injury recovery I've changed stems three times to dial fit in, a simple ten minute job w/ threadless, not so much w/ a classic set-up.

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Old 12-08-16, 10:57 AM
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Everyone has their own criteria. For me, it would have to at least 300% stiffer to overcome the disadvantage of being 300% uglier.
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Old 12-08-16, 11:20 AM
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I tried a conversion for myself. Unacceptable, period, whatever % metric/goal you want to pick.
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Old 12-08-16, 11:33 AM
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I may be one of the ones who has espoused the use of the threadless setups you are talking about.

We have a thread going on our favorite c&v riders, in it i posted a pic of 2 Italian bikes both with quite similar geometry , And using the same handlebar design. (Salsa Bell lap) But one uses standard 26.0 bars and a Technomic stem for comfort, the other uses 31.8 bars and a Thomson MTB stem mated to a threadless adapter- the 26.0 bars with the technomic are 44c and i have 46's mated to the Thomson setup so the wide bars on both do lay down some extra leverage

There is no comparison - i can feel a lot of deflection with the technomic setup when standing, so much so that i feared i was going to tweak the stem if i had to keep standing on a long climb once---- the flip side is the Thomson setup that makes the other bike feel as solid as anything put out by the S Works guys lately

Probably a more fair comparison would not be a Technomic, but maybe a regular 1A stem or a tig welded stem, but i have a box of tig welded stems that are damaged beyond repair also from flex, to include a Cinelli TIG welded track stem that flexed so much the chrome was flaking off in little strips

Rider size, weight and riding style has a lot to do with this though --- im a trackie, and was built like a stereotypical track sprinter of the mid 90's (5'9 210 at the time at <12% bf ) - Leaning hard into the bars and trying to get 12 or 1300 watts or more funneled into the back wheel is hard on equipment

That said, we all used 1" quill stems back then and lived to tell the tale, ----- but a lot of the little short, steep forged NJS Nitto stems are steel, as are the bars, and a lot of Tig welded mtb stems were used on the track then too

My physique has since evolved, thanks to the liberal application of Anheuser Busch products and leisure time, -- so i am not putting out any real power now, but being larger than average causes me to notice differences in stiffness or flexiness ,

That said, i greatly prefer the look of the Technomic equipped bike, and it doesnt get any better than a traditional Cinelli setup, with the deep graceful round drops, - but progress is progress and the new stuff works better. (Edited -- should say --"works better for my needs")

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Old 12-08-16, 11:33 AM
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I definitely notice a difference. Quill stems and 26 bars are considerably more flexible, even in non-sprint circumstances. Of course I weigh 200+ so that likely affects it. I do hate how thick stems look on 28.6 tubes though. FYI my bikes have quill adapters and threadless stems with 31.8 bars.
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Old 12-08-16, 11:42 AM
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From what I understand the functional advantages of a thread less fork is a stiffer setup due to increased diameters as discussed above, and secondly, the ease of changing a cockpit out when setting new bars, stem, levers, etc.

I was staunchly anti-thread less, that is, until I tried a well setup thread less cockpit on my new Lemond. The wide diameter of the bars makes for a very comfortable setup. Will I be changing all my bikes to threadless? Heck, no. Once a bike is setup, I don't feel the need to change it. However, a new, especially go-fast builds, I would consider going threadless.
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Old 12-08-16, 11:51 AM
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There is also the advantage to the manufacturer in terms of supply chain management: One model of fork works for the full range of frame sizes.
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Old 12-08-16, 12:12 PM
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I really like threaded forks , but on this bike I had no choice but to go 1- 1/8 threadless . It was a fun build and what a ride , practically no vibration and super stiff .

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Old 12-08-16, 12:22 PM
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155 lb, 6' slow twitch climber here. I have owned one threadless 1" steel steerer'd bike. I see no gain, just bars that are nowhere near as simple to just raise ans lower, something I did many times a season as a racer. Winter miles - up going down as I came into form. Slammed for criteriums, up most of an inch for long races.

I took it for granted I could do this anywhere. (I've even been known to raise them when I was whacked just to get home.) Tools required: a 6 mm hex and something heavy. Crescent wrench, rock or big branch. Skill and attention level required: close to zero. Apply hex to tighten, don't honk on it. Done. (In general, slim quills are a lot easier to eyeball straight then threadless so that's also a plus, esp when you are stupid as happens late in rides.)

My one threadless will get threaded and quilled with a Nitto Pearl when it needs its next HS. I have a near sister bike with threaded and quills (yes, plural; two complete sets of cockpits and calipers. A 5 minute change takes it from a road bike to a climbing specialist. Takes fixed gear riding to new levels. I can do the change after riding myself stupid or just before I head out the door.

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Old 12-08-16, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jeirvine View Post
Everyone has their own criteria. For me, it would have to at least 300% stiffer to overcome the disadvantage of being 300% uglier.
+1 and the ability to fine tune height
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Old 12-08-16, 12:59 PM
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Threadless is noticeably more rigid to me. Lighter and stiffer. I prefer it by a large margin. Most threadless stems are ugly, but they don't have to be.

Quills were good enough in the old days. You still are not going to get dropped if you have a quill stem. Obvious advantages are up/down adjustability, sleek look, and easy to align. Steer tubes can sometimes bulge from both corrosion and normal preload IME - in spite of prevailing wisdom. Sliced wedge stem design is superior to the Cinelli conical wedges IMO.

AFA handlebars - I went to 31.8 accidentally on my new bike, because the only bar I found with the bend I wanted in silver only came in 31.8. I'm glad, as it's really nice when climbing, and I'm surrounded by hills. I didn't realize how much my old stem/bars flexed till I got this.
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Old 12-08-16, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by DiegoFrogs View Post
There is also the advantage to the manufacturer in terms of supply chain management: One model of fork works for the full range of frame sizes.
I have read this opinion many times and never understand it.
The fork on threadless bikes needs to be cut down which adds a step to the build process. Yes, it allows for the same length fork to be selected for 54 or 64cm bikes which lowers the cost of specific inventory, but it also increases the build process.

Is one really that much cheaper than the other so there is a significant savings over time?
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Old 12-08-16, 01:09 PM
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threadless-
- advantages
- stiffer due to wider diameter materials(i think)
- easier to swap stems
- disadvantages
- not as elegant
- more difficult to adjust height




threaded quill-
- advantages
- easy to adjust height
- elegant
- disadvantages
- difficult to swap stems
- incredibly limited stem angle selection
- flexible


I have threadless quill adapters on 2 bikes for utility over beauty. If quill stems came in a 7degree rise, I would own 2 of them. Unfortunately, almost all were/are limited to -17deg. The rare one that isnt, the Nitto dynamic II, is 65mm from the min insert to the top and seems to only be 110mm or longer. More legit quality angle options back in the day woulda been nice for the secondary market now.
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Old 12-08-16, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I have read this opinion many times and never understand it.
The fork on threadless bikes needs to be cut down which adds a step to the build process. Yes, it allows for the same length fork to be selected for 54 or 64cm bikes which lowers the cost of specific inventory, but it also increases the build process.

Is one really that much cheaper than the other so there is a significant savings over time?
Ever threaded a steertube? Kind of labour intensive.
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Old 12-08-16, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by tombc View Post
Ever threaded a steertube? Kind of labour intensive.
No. I genuinely figured that was done ahead of time.
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Old 12-08-16, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
- advantages
- easy to adjust height
- elegant
- disadvantages
- difficult to swap stems
- incredibly limited stem angle selection
- flexible
But if you can fine-tune the height, what advantage does having a wide choice of stem angles offer?

And the difficulty in swapping stems is not inherent in the quill design. One could use a quill stem with a removable faceplate. It's just that most (but not all) quill stems do not have removable faceplates.
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Old 12-08-16, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
No. I genuinely figured that was done ahead of time.
Someone still has to do it so it's cheaper not to.
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Old 12-08-16, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by tombc View Post
Ever threaded a steertube? Kind of labour intensive.
Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
No. I genuinely figured that was done ahead of time.
In most cases it is, but there are times when you may need to cut new threads, e.g. extending the threads on a replacement fork to fit a small frame.
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Old 12-08-16, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by tombc View Post
Someone still has to do it so it's cheaper not to.
The threaded steer tubes provided by tubing manufacturers were not cut by hand with a die, but instead rolled on by a machine, so there's not a great deal of labor to be saved in eliminating that step.
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Old 12-08-16, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
But if you can fine-tune the height, what advantage does having a wide choice of stem angles offer?

And the difficulty in swapping stems is not inherent in the quill design. One could use a quill stem with a removable faceplate. It's just that most (but not all) quill stems do not have removable faceplates.
You mention the quill design isnt inherently difficult for stem swapping because a stem with a removable faceplate would allow for stem swapping, but then say that such a design wasnt used. That kinda makes it the very thing you say it isnt.
I have seen a quill stem with removable faceplate, but it was an ugly riser thats new by Sunlite. I used it for a hybrid refurbishment. I havent seen, in person, nice looking quills with a removable faceplate and that'd be neat if they existed.

As for the height adjustment negating the need for different stem angles...well yes that is true, but I would prefer a lower stem with a 0deg rise rather than a tall stem with a -17deg rise. Its why I finally swapped a bike of mine over to a Nitto dynamicII. My stems will never be low and sleek looking, but if I can keep them from being geeky tall, thats a win.
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Old 12-08-16, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
The threaded steer tubes provided by tubing manufacturers were not cut by hand with a die, but instead rolled on by a machine, so there's not a great deal of labor to be saved in eliminating that step.
Yeah, they just grab one from the bin.

This argument that only one fork size is needed is somewhat overstated IMO.

Manufacturers still need to make multiple frame sizes, and every single tube of a frame has to be cut to different sizes and mitred differently depending on the frame size. That's 8 tubes not including fork blades or bridges. Cutting one more tube (steer tube) is not that big of a deal. Sure, it does save a little bit. 1 of 9...
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Old 12-08-16, 01:45 PM
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The cost of inventory can be high if you have to keep many sizes. This may shift cost from manufacturer to retailer, but it does reduce manufacturing cost.
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Old 12-08-16, 02:18 PM
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Can't speak with any authority w/r/t flexibility, but I find myself torn between the aesthetics of quills and the convenience of pop-top threadless. Wish I could combine the two, but my (110 mm) size seems to be AWOL
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