Headset vs. Seattle rain: recommendation please

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by [email protected]com, Jan 14, 2006.

  1. Hi, I was wondering if anyone has a recommendation for a 1" threadless
    headset to replace a threaded one I have on my commuter fixie. The
    Seattle rain has started rusting/pitting out the bottom race, and I am
    replacing the threaded fork with a threadless anyway, so it seems like
    a good time to do it.

    I would like something that has a great seal. I do not care about
    weight, and hate replacing headsets so would like it to be as
    indestructible as possible. But it seems silly to pay $100 for a
    headset for my commuter bike.

    I look forward to any suggestions.

    A somewhat related question: I have never used a front fender, as the
    water projecting from the front tire never bothered me. But it seems
    like that jet of water can't be good for the bottom headset race, which
    is the one carrying most of the load. Thoughts on this?

    If it seems like my questions revolve around rain, maybe it's becase
    today was the 26th straight day of it here.

    Thanks in advance,

    Harrison
     
    Tags:


  2. Nate Knutson

    Nate Knutson Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    > Hi, I was wondering if anyone has a recommendation for a 1" threadless
    > headset to replace a threaded one I have on my commuter fixie. The
    > Seattle rain has started rusting/pitting out the bottom race, and I am
    > replacing the threaded fork with a threadless anyway, so it seems like
    > a good time to do it.
    >
    > I would like something that has a great seal. I do not care about
    > weight, and hate replacing headsets so would like it to be as
    > indestructible as possible. But it seems silly to pay $100 for a
    > headset for my commuter bike.
    >
    > I look forward to any suggestions.
    >
    > A somewhat related question: I have never used a front fender, as the
    > water projecting from the front tire never bothered me. But it seems
    > like that jet of water can't be good for the bottom headset race, which
    > is the one carrying most of the load. Thoughts on this?
    >
    > If it seems like my questions revolve around rain, maybe it's becase
    > today was the 26th straight day of it here.
    >
    > Thanks in advance,
    >
    > Harrison


    Yes, a front fender with part of it's length in front of the fork crown
    will decrease the amount of water getting in that area. Whether this
    will make a difference in terms of needing to maintain your headset is
    questionable.

    These are your choices:

    Pay about $130 for a King which you probably won't have to maintain or
    think about in any way for many, many years of constant use.
    Pay about $25 for a basic ball bearing headset such as a steel-flavored
    Aheadset, which will last a very long time as long as it gets
    overhauled regularly enough. For a PNW commute bike this will be an
    overhaul about every 6 months to a year.
    Pay various amounts in between for a cartridge headset that will have a
    longer maintenance cycle than the BB headset but still will need
    maintenance eventually, at which point you really have very little
    guarantee that a replacement bearing will be available, although this
    is much less of an issue with some headsets than others.

    I'd either go with the King or the basic one myself.
     
  3. JeffWills

    JeffWills Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    > Hi, I was wondering if anyone has a recommendation for a 1" threadless
    > headset to replace a threaded one I have on my commuter fixie. The
    > Seattle rain has started rusting/pitting out the bottom race, and I am
    > replacing the threaded fork with a threadless anyway, so it seems like
    > a good time to do it.
    >


    In my experience, cheaper, all-steel headsets last just as long if not
    longer than more expensive cartridge-bearing headsets. A Dia-Compe STS
    might be the ticket:
    http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cgi?id=33825280673&d=single&item_id=DC-STS1

    On the other hand, King headsets have a following, and they support the
    Portland Cross Crusade cyclocross series:
    http://www.chrisking.com/events/events_races.html .

    Jeff, near Portland, where it actually didn't rain for one day last
    week.
     
  4. Chalo

    Chalo Guest

    Nate Knutson wrote:
    >
    > These are your choices:
    >
    > Pay about $130 for a King which you probably won't have to maintain or
    > think about in any way for many, many years of constant use.


    I have seen relatively new King headsets in pretty sorry shape from
    water infiltration. I don't think their stellar reputation is earned
    with real results as much as with a successful guerilla marketing
    campaign. (Headsets last so long with so little care that just about
    any one of them could develop a reputation for phenomenal longevity if
    sufficient "buzz" to that effect were circulated.)

    If I remember correctly, King headsets use stainless steel bearing
    cartridges, which makes them less of a conspicuously corroded mess
    after they've taken on water than a headset with steel races would be,
    but their bearing races become ruined just the same. There may be
    headsets that are worth such a breathtaking price, but the King isn't
    one of them. You can get a Woodman headset-- a much better headset
    IMO-- for half the price.

    Chalo Colina
     
  5. New headset and a heavy grease job works. I spent
    allmost all day light hours in the rain yesterday and it works for me.
    And by the way I ride in New England in rain,ice,snow,and whatever
    mother nature can knick at me.
     
  6. [email protected] wrote:
    > Hi, I was wondering if anyone has a recommendation for a 1" threadless
    > headset to replace a threaded one I have on my commuter fixie. The
    > Seattle rain has started rusting/pitting out the bottom race, and I am
    > replacing the threaded fork with a threadless anyway, so it seems like
    > a good time to do it.
    >
    > I would like something that has a great seal. I do not care about
    > weight, and hate replacing headsets so would like it to be as
    > indestructible as possible. But it seems silly to pay $100 for a
    > headset for my commuter bike.



    Get an inexpensive 1 inch HS, like a Ritchey cup and ball($22), install
    with a ton of boat grease and fashion a section of old MTB inner tube
    that will cover the lower cup and top of fork. Slide it on before
    installing the fork.
    >
    > I look forward to any suggestions.
    >
    > A somewhat related question: I have never used a front fender, as the
    > water projecting from the front tire never bothered me. But it seems
    > like that jet of water can't be good for the bottom headset race, which
    > is the one carrying most of the load. Thoughts on this?


    Yep, get a full front fender. It will not only help the HS but also
    help to keep you feet dryer.
    >
    > If it seems like my questions revolve around rain, maybe it's becase
    > today was the 26th straight day of it here.
    >
    > Thanks in advance,
    >
    > Harrison
     
  7. The "install it and forget it" concept of Kings is a falicy. They will
    not warrantee HS's that have not been properly maintained. When I
    asked about my "indexed steering" I got on a King HS - they asked me
    how old, and when was the last overhaul. I said 5 years...and 5 years.
    They said they would sell me replacement parts, but that I needed to
    re-pack bearings every year to get their replacement warrantee.
     
  8. Robin Hubert

    Robin Hubert Guest

    Andrew F Martin wrote:
    > The "install it and forget it" concept of Kings is a falicy. They will
    > not warrantee HS's that have not been properly maintained. When I
    > asked about my "indexed steering" I got on a King HS - they asked me
    > how old, and when was the last overhaul. I said 5 years...and 5 years.
    > They said they would sell me replacement parts, but that I needed to
    > re-pack bearings every year to get their replacement warrantee.
    >


    Just like they tell you in the instructions.

    "Maintenance CHRIS KING HEADSETS are designed to provide the maximum
    life of any headset with a minimum of maintenance. Besides an
    occasional adjustment, the only service necessary is an occasional
    cleaning and regreasing of the bearings. Riding conditions will dictate
    how often to service your headset. In wet conditions, service may be
    necessary as often as every 6 months; in dry conditions, up to every 5
    years."

    Most people would rather believe what they heard as opposed to the
    straight dope.


    Robin Hubert
     
  9. Robin Hubert wrote:
    > Andrew F Martin wrote:
    > > The "install it and forget it" concept of Kings is a falicy. They will
    > > not warrantee HS's that have not been properly maintained. When I
    > > asked about my "indexed steering" I got on a King HS - they asked me
    > > how old, and when was the last overhaul. I said 5 years...and 5 years.
    > > They said they would sell me replacement parts, but that I needed to
    > > re-pack bearings every year to get their replacement warrantee.
    > >

    >
    > Just like they tell you in the instructions.
    >
    > "Maintenance CHRIS KING HEADSETS are designed to provide the maximum
    > life of any headset with a minimum of maintenance. Besides an
    > occasional adjustment, the only service necessary is an occasional
    > cleaning and regreasing of the bearings. Riding conditions will dictate
    > how often to service your headset. In wet conditions, service may be
    > necessary as often as every 6 months; in dry conditions, up to every 5
    > years."
    >


    IMO, *any* half decent headset will last a long time if maintained as
    CK suggests. I think the high price of CK headsets tends to make people
    pay attention to maintaining them. Which leads to a longer life and
    feeds the "legend" of their longevity.


    > Most people would rather believe what they heard as opposed to the
    > straight dope.
    >
    >
    > Robin Hubert
     
  10. jim beam

    jim beam Guest

    Qui si parla Campagnolo wrote:
    > [email protected] wrote:
    >
    >>Hi, I was wondering if anyone has a recommendation for a 1" threadless
    >>headset to replace a threaded one I have on my commuter fixie. The
    >>Seattle rain has started rusting/pitting out the bottom race, and I am
    >>replacing the threaded fork with a threadless anyway, so it seems like
    >>a good time to do it.
    >>
    >>I would like something that has a great seal. I do not care about
    >>weight, and hate replacing headsets so would like it to be as
    >>indestructible as possible. But it seems silly to pay $100 for a
    >>headset for my commuter bike.

    >
    >
    >
    > Get an inexpensive 1 inch HS, like a Ritchey cup and ball($22), install
    > with a ton of boat grease and fashion a section of old MTB inner tube
    > that will cover the lower cup and top of fork. Slide it on before
    > installing the fork.


    yup, that works! cartridge headsets are good though if the expense is
    acceptable.

    >
    >>I look forward to any suggestions.
    >>
    >>A somewhat related question: I have never used a front fender, as the
    >>water projecting from the front tire never bothered me. But it seems
    >>like that jet of water can't be good for the bottom headset race, which
    >>is the one carrying most of the load. Thoughts on this?

    >
    >
    > Yep, get a full front fender. It will not only help the HS but also
    > help to keep you feet dryer.
    >
    >>If it seems like my questions revolve around rain, maybe it's becase
    >>today was the 26th straight day of it here.
    >>
    >>Thanks in advance,
    >>
    >>Harrison

    >
    >
     
  11. Robin Hubert

    Robin Hubert Guest

    Ozark Bicycle wrote:
    > Robin Hubert wrote:
    >
    >>Andrew F Martin wrote:
    >>
    >>>The "install it and forget it" concept of Kings is a falicy. They will
    >>>not warrantee HS's that have not been properly maintained. When I
    >>>asked about my "indexed steering" I got on a King HS - they asked me
    >>>how old, and when was the last overhaul. I said 5 years...and 5 years.
    >>> They said they would sell me replacement parts, but that I needed to
    >>>re-pack bearings every year to get their replacement warrantee.
    >>>

    >>
    >>Just like they tell you in the instructions.
    >>
    >>"Maintenance CHRIS KING HEADSETS are designed to provide the maximum
    >>life of any headset with a minimum of maintenance. Besides an
    >>occasional adjustment, the only service necessary is an occasional
    >>cleaning and regreasing of the bearings. Riding conditions will dictate
    >> how often to service your headset. In wet conditions, service may be
    >>necessary as often as every 6 months; in dry conditions, up to every 5
    >>years."
    >>

    >
    >
    > IMO, *any* half decent headset will last a long time if maintained as
    > CK suggests. I think the high price of CK headsets tends to make people
    > pay attention to maintaining them. Which leads to a longer life and
    > feeds the "legend" of their longevity.


    My shop experience tells me otherwise. People believe the hype and
    wonder what happened when the bearings go south.

    >
    >
    >>Most people would rather believe what they heard as opposed to the
    >>straight dope.
    >>
    >>
    >> Robin Hubert

    >
    >
     
  12. Chalo

    Chalo Guest

    Robin Hubert wrote:
    >
    > Ozark Bicycle wrote:
    > >
    > > IMO, *any* half decent headset will last a long time if maintained as
    > > CK suggests. I think the high price of CK headsets tends to make people
    > > pay attention to maintaining them. Which leads to a longer life and
    > > feeds the "legend" of their longevity.

    >
    > My shop experience tells me otherwise. People believe the hype and
    > wonder what happened when the bearings go south.


    A fortunate (for King Cycle Group) result of their being the first
    headset on the market with replaceable cartridge bearings was that
    Chris King headsets were the first that folks were able to keep after
    the bearings failed completely. I bet this contributed greatly to
    their perception of unusual longevity, notwithstanding the fact that
    King headset replacement bearings cost more than most entire headsets.


    Chalo Colina
     
  13. Per [email protected]:
    > The
    >Seattle rain has started rusting/pitting out the bottom race, and I am
    >replacing the threaded fork with a threadless anyway, so it seems like
    >a good time to do it.


    Depending on what's on the surface you're riding on, breathing that aerosol
    might not be the best thing for you. The second or third sickest I ever got
    was immediately after paddling a kayak in 30-45 mph winds down in Hatteras - and
    inhaling the spindrift...
    --
    PeteCresswell
     
  14. Per Ozark Bicycle:
    >IMO, *any* half decent headset will last a long time if maintained as
    >CK suggests.


    My utility bike is an original Stumpie. Maybe not ridden continuously for all
    those years, but ridden plenty nevertheless. Original headset bearings, no
    problems.
    --
    PeteCresswell
     
  15. Thanks for the advice all.
     
  16. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    On Sat, 14 Jan 2006 18:26:16 -0800, harrisonm wrote:

    > A somewhat related question: I have never used a front fender, as the
    > water projecting from the front tire never bothered me. But it seems
    > like that jet of water can't be good for the bottom headset race, which
    > is the one carrying most of the load. Thoughts on this?


    Others have made good suggestions about which headset. Any headset that's
    reasonably well sealed and serviced regularly should do. But have you
    tried a cover? It won't be a perfect waterproof seal, but it will help
    keep dirt out. Neoprene covers with velcro (Sealskins?) used to be
    common, but a section of old mountain bike innertube is a good substitute.

    Also, use Phil Wood, boat trailer wheel bearing grease, or marine grease
    from a marine hardware store. These will resist washing out much better
    than others.

    Finally, you might try to find an old WTB or Suntour headset with grease
    ports. It won't keep dirt from washing in, but if you lube frequently it
    will push most of the dirt out.

    Matt O.
     
  17. Jay Beattie

    Jay Beattie Guest

    "Matt O'Toole" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:p[email protected]
    > On Sat, 14 Jan 2006 18:26:16 -0800, harrisonm wrote:
    >
    > > A somewhat related question: I have never used a front

    fender, as the
    > > water projecting from the front tire never bothered me. But

    it seems
    > > like that jet of water can't be good for the bottom headset

    race, which
    > > is the one carrying most of the load. Thoughts on this?

    >
    > Others have made good suggestions about which headset. Any

    headset that's
    > reasonably well sealed and serviced regularly should do. But

    have you
    > tried a cover? It won't be a perfect waterproof seal, but it

    will help
    > keep dirt out. Neoprene covers with velcro (Sealskins?) used

    to be
    > common, but a section of old mountain bike innertube is a good

    substitute.
    >
    > Also, use Phil Wood, boat trailer wheel bearing grease, or

    marine grease
    > from a marine hardware store. These will resist washing out

    much better
    > than others.
    >
    > Finally, you might try to find an old WTB or Suntour headset

    with grease
    > ports. It won't keep dirt from washing in, but if you lube

    frequently it
    > will push most of the dirt out.


    I think a front fender goes a long way to keeping the headset
    clean. If the OP is riding regularly in Seattle, he should make
    the investment in fenders -- especially this year. -- Jay
    Beattie.
     
  18. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    On Mon, 16 Jan 2006 09:31:49 -0800, Jay Beattie wrote:

    > I think a front fender goes a long way to keeping the headset clean. If
    > the OP is riding regularly in Seattle, he should make the investment in
    > fenders -- especially this year. -- Jay Beattie.


    Agreed. I can't imagine not having fenders if I rode in the rain
    regularly.

    Matt O.
     
  19. In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] says...

    >A somewhat related question: I have never used a front fender, as the
    >water projecting from the front tire never bothered me. But it seems
    >like that jet of water can't be good for the bottom headset race, which
    >is the one carrying most of the load. Thoughts on this?


    I've been told that the way to make your headset last a really, really long
    time is to use a front fender. I use one on my commuter to keep me cleaner
    than I would be without one. The headset has about 3k miles, not alot, on it
    with no signs of a premature death.
    ----------------
    Alex
     
  20. Dane Buson

    Dane Buson Guest

    Jay Beattie <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > I think a front fender goes a long way to keeping the headset
    > clean. If the OP is riding regularly in Seattle, he should make
    > the investment in fenders -- especially this year. -- Jay
    > Beattie.


    I'll add a "Me too" to that. Having no fenders in Seattle in the
    winter is daft. Even if you avoid riding in the rain, riding on wet
    roads will get spray and road junk everywhere.

    I'm a year round commuter here and I haven't had headset problems yet.
    I can't claim any particularly good maintenance as the reason either,
    since I overhaul my headset very infrequently.

    --
    Dane Buson - [email protected]
    Imagine that Cray computer decides to make a personal computer. It has
    a 150 MHz processor, 200 megabytes of RAM, 1500 megabytes of disk
    storage, a screen resolution of 4096 x 4096 pixels, relies entirely on
    voice recognition for input, fits in your shirt pocket and costs $300.
    What's the first question that the computer community asks?

    "Is it PC compatible?"
     
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