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-   -   Why did they do away with quill stems? (https://www.bikeforums.net/general-cycling-discussion/248547-why-did-they-do-away-quill-stems.html)

slowandsteady 11-28-06 09:13 AM

Why did they do away with quill stems?
 
Okay, so many of the changes in the biking world have been good ones including STI, carbon fiber, aerodynamic improvements and so on. But why did they do away with quill stems? They are more adjustable than the new stems. I can understand the issues with not having an open face plate, but new replacement quill stems now have the open face plate. Can someone please enlighten me as to why quill stems are not standard items on new bikes?

Falkon 11-28-06 09:39 AM

cutting and threading a threaded fork really really sucks.

slowandsteady 11-28-06 09:43 AM


Originally Posted by Falkon
cutting and threading a threaded fork really really sucks.

My MTB has a threaded fork. I have never had to cut nor thread it. Unless you are buying a new fork, no one has to mess with their existing fork. It is a solution to a problem that affects a very small group people and inconveniences the rest of us.

PhattTyre 11-28-06 09:44 AM

Threadless headsets and stems don't flex as much as quills.

MichaelW 11-28-06 09:51 AM

Threadless systems are lighter, stiffer, can be adjusted using lightweight allen keys. You can make steerer tubes out of lighter materials such as Al and carbon.

cyccommute 11-28-06 09:52 AM

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 :D

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.

slowandsteady 11-28-06 10:33 AM


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 :D

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.

Treespeed 11-28-06 10:47 AM


Originally Posted by slowandsteady
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.

You are not an idiot, but it would be hard to believe that there is any grease left in that headset after 15 year or that the races aren't shot.

Mariner Fan 11-28-06 11:01 AM

Your point about Threadless stems are well taken. I still like the classic looks of a quill stem. :)

ajay677 11-28-06 11:16 AM

Threadless headsets are easier/cheaper for manufacturers.

digger 11-28-06 11:37 AM


Originally Posted by slowandsteady
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.

You should service your headset once per year (new grease at least). As for threaded Vs threadless, threadless is less maintenance and easier to adjust as stated and somewhat lighter.

ALL my bikes have threaded quill stems...except for my 1 year old MTB bike. I've been adjusting threaded for so long now I don't think twice about it.

bbattle 11-28-06 12:25 PM

Who says they did away with quill stems?

http://www.universalcycles.com/image...dium/11152.jpg
Kalloy mtb quill stem

http://www.universalcycles.com/image...edium/7423.jpg
Nitto road quill stem

http://www.universalcycles.com/image...dium/11184.jpg

http://www.yellowjersey.org/stemz2.jpg
Try Here for lots of quill stems

TMB 11-28-06 12:54 PM


Originally Posted by ajay677
Threadless headsets are easier/cheaper for manufacturers.

+2

And in addition, they do not have to bear the cost in time, equipment and money to thread the steer tubes.

Straight gauge tube welded or bonded to the fork, stick it in a box and out the door. No "down time" to thread the tube.

cyccommute 11-28-06 01:14 PM


Originally Posted by slowandsteady
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.

Back when I had threaded headsets on mountain bikes, they used to come loose all the time, especially when used for rugged off-road riding. Fast, rocky downhills with rigid forks pounds the headset pretty hard. Suspension forks help since the force isn't driven directly to the headset.

15 years is way too long a maintainence interval for any bearing. Do it every year is probably a little bit of overkill but pick a happy median like 2 or 3 years. Your grease has probably polymerized by now and resembles teflon more than grease ;)

roadfix 11-28-06 01:29 PM

I use both systems and I will continue to build bikes using both threaded and threadless headsets. But strictly from a tinkerer's point of view, the threaded system is a bit more of a pain in the A to work with........especially if you're hunting for a new or used threaded fork with the correct steerer length.

slowandsteady 11-28-06 02:55 PM


I meant on new bikes.

catatonic 11-28-06 03:13 PM

Because they aren't as easy to wrk with?

Remove handlebar from threaded: remove bartape, brifters, and all other accessories, pull bar though stem.

Remove handlebar from threadless: Remove cables from brifters, remove two bolts...don't let the bars fall and hit your toes.

One fork does it all, none of this "We have size x and size z, bu none of the size y you need".

Less tools needed for a job is always a great thing.

If you want a new bike with a quill stem, there is always Rivendell.

operator 11-28-06 03:25 PM


Originally Posted by cyccommute
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!

The only reason you have all this guessing and checking is because you're not using the other wrench to hold the element in place. This is why you are using TWO headset wrenches.

Seriously, it takes about 2 minutes to adjust a threaded system. All this fear mongering for no reason.


Originally Posted by catatonic
Because they aren't as easy to wrk with?

Remove handlebar from threaded: remove bartape, brifters, and all other accessories, pull bar though stem.

Oh please. They make quill stems with removeable face plates. The other option is getting a threaded/threadless adapter. More fear mongering.

MKahrl 11-28-06 03:48 PM

I've not had a threaded headset loosen for several decades. And setting them up is not very difficult for anyone who has experience working on their own bike. Manufacturers created the threadless headset for their own convenience and are not ashamed to admit it. The removable faceplate is certainly a convenience especially now that there are so many cables up on the handlebars these days. We lost the handy vertical adjustment but that wouldn't have registered with new bike buyers anyway.

I used to think that threadless stems were just about the ugliest thing ever put on a bike but they match modern bikes quite well now.

cyccommute 11-28-06 04:10 PM


Originally Posted by operator
The only reason you have all this guessing and checking is because you're not using the other wrench to hold the element in place. This is why you are using TWO headset wrenches.

Seriously, it takes about 2 minutes to adjust a threaded system. All this fear mongering for no reason.

Not fear mongering, just reality. A threadless is much easier to adjust than threaded. As for the adjustment, I do (or did) use two wrenches. It's always a game of trial and error with a threaded headset. If you get the bearings right when the race and locknut are loose, tightening them against each other would throw the headset out of adjustment. I

Threadless just doesn't have the same level of futzyness. Take the play out of the bearings and keep them from binding and tighten the stem bolts. Done and on the road. It takes longer to find a 5mm allen wrench then to adjust the headset...and my allen wrenches are right on the repair stand ;)

cyccommute 11-28-06 04:20 PM


Originally Posted by MKahrl
I've not had a threaded headset loosen for several decades. And setting them up is not very difficult for anyone who has experience working on their own bike. Manufacturers created the threadless headset for their own convenience and are not ashamed to admit it. The removable faceplate is certainly a convenience especially now that there are so many cables up on the handlebars these days. We lost the handy vertical adjustment but that wouldn't have registered with new bike buyers anyway.

I used to think that threadless stems were just about the ugliest thing ever put on a bike but they match modern bikes quite well now.

There used to be a whole cottage industry for making locking mechanisms for mountain bike headsets. Shaft collars, special locking locknuts, special keyed races were just some of the attempts made to keep the headset from loosening. This wasn't too much of a problem with road bikes but it certainly was with mountain bikes. I've seen, and had, many headsets ruined in the course of a day's worth of riding because you couldn't tighten the headset in the field.

The threadless headset might have been created for convenience (although I have my doubts) but it certainly is easier to adjust and install for the consumer. All of my bikes are, finally, threadless and I wouldn't go back. Changing a fork is trivial now, as is adjusting one out on a ride...if it happens to come loose, which they just don't now.

catatonic 11-28-06 05:56 PM


Originally Posted by operator
The only reason you have all this guessing and checking is because you're not using the other wrench to hold the element in place. This is why you are using TWO headset wrenches.

Seriously, it takes about 2 minutes to adjust a threaded system. All this fear mongering for no reason.



Oh please. They make quill stems with removeable face plates. The other option is getting a threaded/threadless adapter. More fear mongering.

Adaptors are not a solution, it's a bandaid. As for removable faceplates...I have yet to see one that looked nice enough to use on a "new" bike like the OP was asking about.

Seriously, it's not fear mongering...I have one, and know how to adjust it....it's a far bigger pain in the rump than using a threadless setup.

KnhoJ 11-28-06 08:09 PM


Originally Posted by waytoomanybikes
+2

And in addition, they do not have to bear the cost in time, equipment and money to thread the steer tubes.

Straight gauge tube welded or bonded to the fork, stick it in a box and out the door. No "down time" to thread the tube.

+some more.
It's lean. Threadless eliminates manufacturing process steps and the need for a special set of skills. Any idiot can put together a threadless set at the bicycle mill, preferably for minimum wage while pressing the buttons on the automated Fork-o-Matic.
Manufacturers can generally be trusted to not make production decisions based on servicability over years of service.

pmseattle 11-28-06 09:15 PM


Originally Posted by cyccommute
There used to be a whole cottage industry for making locking mechanisms for mountain bike headsets. Shaft collars, special locking locknuts, special keyed races were just some of the attempts made to keep the headset from loosening. This wasn't too much of a problem with road bikes but it certainly was with mountain bikes. I've seen, and had, many headsets ruined in the course of a day's worth of riding because you couldn't tighten the headset in the field.

The threadless headset might have been created for convenience (although I have my doubts) but it certainly is easier to adjust and install for the consumer. All of my bikes are, finally, threadless and I wouldn't go back. Changing a fork is trivial now, as is adjusting one out on a ride...if it happens to come loose, which they just don't now.

I agree 100%, even though I disagree 100% with your often-stated views on disc brakes. :D

pigmode 11-29-06 07:53 AM

Its true that threaded headsets take a little more time, dexterity, and concentration to adjust properly. You need to be able to tighten the locknut sufficiently without having the upper race budge from its new adjustment. I've found some headsets to be a little easier to fine tune than others--it may or may not have something to do with tighter tolerances or quality of materials. Seems like they can get indexed in a certain position, and become a little harder to adjustment from that position. One thing that can make the task more difficult is crappy HS wrenches. The Park wrenches from the early 90's had terrible tolerances. The old Campy wrenches were much tighter, and made the job much, much simpler.

I did have a MTB in the early 90's, a rigid Cannondale/w rigid pepperoni fork that was hard-ridden exclusively for 4 years. The cheapy OEM Ritchey 1-1/4" threaded HS never lost adjustment on the trail, and lasted the life or the bike.


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