Integrated Headsets?



W

Wayne

Guest
Hi,
I'm doing some research before buying myself a road bike and looked up
integrated v semi-integrated headsets.

If I understand correctly, the bearing race is machined into the frame and
therefore once worn /pitted makes the frame useless, is this true?

A couple of bikes I was looking at, like the Specialized Allez and the
Giant OCR2 both have them which is a real shame if this is true.

Regards

Wayne.
 
Wayne wrote:

> Hi,
> I'm doing some research before buying myself a road bike and looked up
> integrated v semi-integrated headsets.
>
> If I understand correctly, the bearing race is machined into the frame and
> therefore once worn /pitted makes the frame useless, is this true?


It is a potential problem for the fully-integrated types (note the ball
or needle bearings don't actually run on the frame - it's not hardened
and just provides a seat for the races).

Depending on how much head tube has been left above and below the welds,
I suppose a new bearing seat *could* be machined in the event of a
disaster. It's not something I'd want on a bike, anyway.
 
Chris king's web site has a discussion, "sales pitch" on integrated
headsets. There seem to be some validity to the claims made, where the head
tube bearing seat will wear through motion of the outer bearing race on the
seat. This is due to the motion of the steering tube bending from forces
such as braking and hitting bumps. The design is far from ideal in terms of
durability. I would say that if you ride a lot and want the frame to last a
life avoid integrated headsets. If you want a lighter frame and don't mind
if it wears out after a few years of hard riding (~3 to 10 just a guess)
don't worry about it.

cel


"Wayne" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:p[email protected]...
> Hi,
> I'm doing some research before buying myself a road bike and looked up
> integrated v semi-integrated headsets.
>
> If I understand correctly, the bearing race is machined into the frame and
> therefore once worn /pitted makes the frame useless, is this true?
>
> A couple of bikes I was looking at, like the Specialized Allez and the
> Giant OCR2 both have them which is a real shame if this is true.
>
> Regards
>
> Wayne.
 
I have a Look KG3686i with an integrated head set. The bearing race is
removable and replaceable. I have 4200 miles on this bike, most of the roads
here in the northeast are very rough and have had problems at all. And they
look much better.

"Wayne" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:p[email protected]...
> Hi,
> I'm doing some research before buying myself a road bike and looked up
> integrated v semi-integrated headsets.
>
> If I understand correctly, the bearing race is machined into the frame and
> therefore once worn /pitted makes the frame useless, is this true?
>
> A couple of bikes I was looking at, like the Specialized Allez and the
> Giant OCR2 both have them which is a real shame if this is true.
>
> Regards
>
> Wayne.
 
Zog The Undeniable wrote:

> Wayne wrote:
>
>> Hi,
>> I'm doing some research before buying myself a road bike and looked
>> up integrated v semi-integrated headsets.
>>
>> If I understand correctly, the bearing race is machined into the
>> frame and therefore once worn /pitted makes the frame useless, is
>> this true?

>
> It is a potential problem for the fully-integrated types (note the
> ball or needle bearings don't actually run on the frame - it's not
> hardened and just provides a seat for the races).
>
> Depending on how much head tube has been left above and below the
> welds, I suppose a new bearing seat *could* be machined in the event
> of a disaster. It's not something I'd want on a bike, anyway.


There are a few companies making inserts for these frames so you can use regular
headset cups. Reset Racing in Germany makes them for Klein frames, for example.

Integrated headsets certainly aren't my first choice. But if the one in my
Klein ever dies, I'll probably have a solution.

Matt O.
 
Wayne wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm doing some research before buying myself a road bike and looked up
> integrated v semi-integrated headsets.
>
> If I understand correctly, the bearing race is machined into the
> frame and therefore once worn /pitted makes the frame useless, is
> this true?
>
> A couple of bikes I was looking at, like the Specialized Allez and the
> Giant OCR2 both have them which is a real shame if this is true.


For Giant's bikes, the bearings are replaceable, as are the cups. In fact,
the entire replacement headset costs $20-$40, and if you want just the
bearings, it would be around $5. Not only do you get brand-new races and
balls, but any roughness that may have occurred instantly disappears. I've
had three Giants with these internal headsets, and none of them have ever
had any problems. They're not pressed in, either, so installation/removal
is a snap.

--
Phil, Squid-in-Training
 
Are the cups replaceable, or do you just mean the fork race and similar item
on the top side? On the integrated headsets I have seen the cartridge
bearings are placed, "loose fit", not press fit, into a sleeve that is
either part of the headtube or glued or press fitted into the headtube. The
bearings can move and fret the surfaces of the sleeve wearing it out over
time. I can imagine that on some bikes the sleeve can be replaced if it were
press fitted into the head tube. Glued version or those machined into the
head tube cannot be easily replaced. If you cups are "loose fitted" into the
head tube, i.e. they can be removed without any tools, then they will fret
the head tube as well to some degree.

Just imagine in 10+ years when the cups are damaged trying to buy one for an
old frame.

cel


"Phil, Squid-in-Training" <[email protected]> wrote in
message news:[email protected]...
> Wayne wrote:
> > Hi,
> > I'm doing some research before buying myself a road bike and looked up
> > integrated v semi-integrated headsets.
> >
> > If I understand correctly, the bearing race is machined into the
> > frame and therefore once worn /pitted makes the frame useless, is
> > this true?
> >
> > A couple of bikes I was looking at, like the Specialized Allez and the
> > Giant OCR2 both have them which is a real shame if this is true.

>
> For Giant's bikes, the bearings are replaceable, as are the cups. In

fact,
> the entire replacement headset costs $20-$40, and if you want just the
> bearings, it would be around $5. Not only do you get brand-new races and
> balls, but any roughness that may have occurred instantly disappears.

I've
> had three Giants with these internal headsets, and none of them have ever
> had any problems. They're not pressed in, either, so installation/removal
> is a snap.
>
> --
> Phil, Squid-in-Training
>
>
 
[email protected] wrote:
> Are the cups replaceable, or do you just mean the fork race and
> similar item on the top side?


The cups/sleeve that you mention below are replaceable.

> On the integrated headsets I have seen
> the cartridge bearings are placed, "loose fit", not press fit, into a
> sleeve that is either part of the headtube or glued or press fitted
> into the headtube. The bearings can move and fret the surfaces of the
> sleeve wearing it out over time.


Good point. The bearing is compressed in the conically-contoured cups, so
the retaining force is provided by tightening the headset.

> I can imagine that on some bikes the
> sleeve can be replaced if it were press fitted into the head tube.


Yes. The cups/sleeve are press fit identically to how a conventional
headset is.

> Glued version or those machined into the head tube cannot be easily
> replaced. If you cups are "loose fitted" into the head tube, i.e.
> they can be removed without any tools, then they will fret the head
> tube as well to some degree.


Not the case in Giant's bikes. The headsets you mention are true integrated
headsets. Internal headsets (like Giant's) have the replaceable cups.

> Just imagine in 10+ years when the cups are damaged trying to buy one
> for an old frame.


I have a feeling they'll be around.

--
Phil, Squid-in-Training
 
On Wed, 18 May 2005 12:41:43 -0400, Phil, Squid-in-Training wrote:

> Not the case in Giant's bikes. The headsets you mention are true integrated
> headsets. Internal headsets (like Giant's) have the replaceable cups.
>
>> Just imagine in 10+ years when the cups are damaged trying to buy one
>> for an old frame.

>
> I have a feeling they'll be around.


So all Giants including the OCR2 has these internal headsets that are
replaceable?
I guess it's a specialist job to press them into place but that's not so
bad as long as they are replaceable.

Thanks
Regards

Wayne.
 
In article
<[email protected]>,
Wayne <[email protected]> wrote:

> On Wed, 18 May 2005 12:41:43 -0400, Phil, Squid-in-Training wrote:
>
> > Not the case in Giant's bikes. The headsets you mention are true integrated
> > headsets. Internal headsets (like Giant's) have the replaceable cups.
> >
> >> Just imagine in 10+ years when the cups are damaged trying to buy one
> >> for an old frame.

> >
> > I have a feeling they'll be around.

>
> So all Giants including the OCR2 has these internal headsets that are
> replaceable?
> I guess it's a specialist job to press them into place but that's not so
> bad as long as they are replaceable.
>
> Thanks
> Regards
>
> Wayne.


So can all parts of integrated headsets be replaced?
If yes, how do they differ from headset design up until the
introduction of integrated headsets?
Do integrated headsets confer an advantage?

--
Michael Press
 
Michael Press wrote:
> In article
> <[email protected]>,
> Wayne <[email protected]> wrote:
>
>> On Wed, 18 May 2005 12:41:43 -0400, Phil, Squid-in-Training wrote:
>>
>>> Not the case in Giant's bikes. The headsets you mention are true
>>> integrated headsets. Internal headsets (like Giant's) have the
>>> replaceable cups.
>>>
>>>> Just imagine in 10+ years when the cups are damaged trying to buy
>>>> one for an old frame.
>>>
>>> I have a feeling they'll be around.

>>
>> So all Giants including the OCR2 has these internal headsets that are
>> replaceable?
>> I guess it's a specialist job to press them into place but that's
>> not so bad as long as they are replaceable.
>>
>> Thanks
>> Regards
>>
>> Wayne.

>
> So can all parts of integrated headsets be replaced?
> If yes, how do they differ from headset design up until the
> introduction of integrated headsets?
> Do integrated headsets confer an advantage?


First off, an advantage is debatable.

The headtube is significantly larger on Giant's internal headsets. The
outer diameter of the upper and lower parts of my Giant STP2 are 50mm. As
an urban stunt bike, the STP is meant to take some heavy abuse with
suspension forks up to ~130mm of travel. Oversizing the headtube makes it
stronger in theory, but whether it's stronger in practice remains to be
seen.

I will say this, however. We have seen no less than one bike *per month*
with cracked headtubes from customers who bought our Specialized (our other
major brand) bikes with conventional headsets. All of them have been
low-mileage road or performance hybrid bikes. All the cracks had been
initiating either from the very bottom of the headtube on the front or at
the back of the top of the headtube, the point of highest stress.

Since I've begun working at the shop that I do, I haven't seen one Giant
come back with what appears to be a manufacturing defect. Those that buy
our Giants, however, are either mid-range road riders or entry-level
mountain bikers. The entry-level Giant mountain frames are hefty but use
conventional headsets.

Detractors from internal/integrated headsets (Chris King) say about
integrated headsets: "Yup, it will be easier to replace your headset
bearings now. You won't need to knock the cups out of the frame. But why
should you need to replace your bearings at all? A properly designed headset
should last the life of the frame." Quoted from
http://www.chrisking.com/tech/int_headsets_explained/int_hds_explain_7.html

That a headset should last the life of the frame is an extravagant claim.
If that were true, why would we even have separate headsets in the first
place? They would just be part of the frame. This comes from a company
that warrantees their headsets for 10 years but makes you pay $180 for it.
Although their products are superb, one asks if it's really needed. A $15
headset will last many miles with proper care, especially if it's a mountain
bike.

I don't mind that the STP has a internal headset, but I don't keep my bikes
for long enough for it to make a significant difference. Integrated
headsets seem like a bad idea overall.

--
Phil, Squid-in-Training