Road: question about head tube sizes

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Slingshot, May 2, 2003.

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  1. Slingshot

    Slingshot Guest

    I want to upgrade my frame (happy with my current components). I've had this frame for so long it's
    been a while since I've been in the market, and now I'm seeing "1 inch standard head tube" and "1
    1/8 inch threadless".

    What's the difference? Is it the application- the type of riding (racing vs. TT vs. casual)? Is
    there a reason to choose one over the other?

    Thanks
     
    Tags:


  2. In article <[email protected]>, Slingshot
    <[email protected]> wrote:
    >I want to upgrade my frame (happy with my current components). I've had this frame for so long it's
    >been a while since I've been in the market, and now I'm seeing "1 inch standard head tube" and "1
    >1/8 inch threadless".
    >
    >What's the difference? Is it the application- the type of riding (racing vs. TT vs. casual)? Is
    >there a reason to choose one over the other?

    1-1/8" is industry standard now for road bikes. There is nothing particularly wrong with 1" or
    threaded headsets, but most mass produced road bikes don't use them any more. Many road bikes also
    come with "integrated" headsets (bearings pressed into the head tube). There are no significant
    benefits to integrated headsets, many are proprietary designs which will create repair challenges if
    the bike lasts long enough to need a new headset, and many just don't adjust up nice even when new.
    I think threadless is OK (although it does restrict fitting options sometimes) but won't spend my
    money on "integrated".

    --Paul
     
  3. On Fri, 02 May 2003 09:10:16 +0000, Slingshot wrote:

    > I want to upgrade my frame (happy with my current components). I've had this frame for so long
    > it's been a while since I've been in the market, and now I'm seeing "1 inch standard head tube"
    > and "1 1/8 inch threadless".
    >
    > What's the difference? Is it the application- the type of riding (racing vs. TT vs. casual)? Is
    > there a reason to choose one over the other?

    Two things, fashion and cost to the manufacturer. They are related, since manufacturers like to
    promote things that in reality only save them money.

    The 1" threaded fork steerer tube was standard (everywhere but France, of course) for many, many
    years. Threadless headsets offer the manufacturer a need for fewer different fork sizes, and cheaper
    materials, which saves money. The buyer gets bars that are hard or impossible to adjust without
    replacing expensive pieces. But some call this progress. I avoid them when possible.

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a _`\(,_ | conclusion. --
    George Bernard Shaw (_)/ (_) |
     
  4. Chris Neary

    Chris Neary Guest

    >1-1/8" is industry standard now for road bikes. There is nothing particularly wrong with 1" or
    >threaded headsets, but most mass produced road bikes don't use them any more.

    For the most part, the move to 1-1/8" on road bikes is driven by fork manufacturers, who can produce
    a lighter fork when allowed to use the larger diameter steerer.

    Chris Neary [email protected]

    "Science, freedom, beauty, adventure: what more could you ask of life? Bicycling combined all the
    elements I loved" - Adapted from a quotation by Charles Lindbergh
     
  5. Slingshot

    Slingshot Guest

    Thanks, David and Paul- that's *exactly* the kind of information I was looking for!
     
  6. Matthew Reed

    Matthew Reed Guest

    Threadless makes fitting the bike easier, you can do things like flip the stem for a different
    riding position, or swap stems very quickly. You are also less likely to have an issue with a stuck
    stem. I feel like my threadless setups have less flex, but that could be due to many factors other
    than being threadless. Since the future of stems is threadless, it will be a lot easier to replace
    parts if you go that route. "Slingshot" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I want to upgrade my frame (happy with my current components). I've had this frame for so long
    > it's been a while since I've been in the market, and now I'm seeing "1 inch standard head tube"
    > and "1 1/8 inch threadless".
    >
    > What's the difference? Is it the application- the type of riding (racing vs. TT vs. casual)? Is
    > there a reason to choose one over the other?
    >
    > Thanks
     
  7. Chris Neary

    Chris Neary Guest

    >Threadless headsets offer the manufacturer a need for fewer different fork sizes, and cheaper
    >materials, which saves money.

    Also, some steerer materials (such as carbon fiber and aluminum) lend themselves better to
    threadless designs.

    Chris Neary [email protected]

    "Science, freedom, beauty, adventure: what more could you ask of life? Bicycling combined all the
    elements I loved" - Adapted from a quotation by Charles Lindbergh
     
  8. Steve

    Steve Guest

    "Paul Southworth" wrote in message
    > Many road bikes also come with "integrated" headsets (bearings pressed
    into the head tube). There are no significant benefits > to integrated headsets, many are
    proprietary designs which will create repair challenges if the bike lasts long enough to need a >
    new headset, and many just don't adjust up nice even when new.

    I believe that not all integrated designs press in the actual bearings (if any) as opposed to a
    design where the cups that formerly were pressed in, are now part of the actual headtube, with the
    bearings simply sitting inside the "integrated" cups. It seems much is reliant on the frame
    manufacturer to get the tolerances exactly correct in order to use a particular headset, which could
    conceivably limit replacement choices.

    Correct me if I'm wrong

    Still, I see absolutely no advantage to integrated, except a "cleaner" look, for whatever
    that's worth.

    From someone who's about to go to a frame that uses integrated. I'll post some day with any problems
    and or useful experiences.

    Steve Bailey
     
  9. In article <[email protected]>, Steve <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >"Paul Southworth" wrote in message
    >> Many road bikes also come with "integrated" headsets (bearings pressed
    >into the head tube). There are no significant benefits > to integrated headsets, many are
    >proprietary designs which will create repair challenges if the bike lasts long enough to need a >
    >new headset, and many just don't adjust up nice even when new.
    >
    >I believe that not all integrated designs press in the actual bearings (if any) as opposed to a
    >design where the cups that formerly were pressed in, are now part of the actual headtube, with the
    >bearings simply sitting inside the "integrated" cups.

    Correct, some are like that and I still those are sucky for most of the reasons I described.
     
  10. Mark Hickey

    Mark Hickey Guest

    Chris Neary <[email protected]> wrote:

    >>1-1/8" is industry standard now for road bikes. There is nothing particularly wrong with 1" or
    >>threaded headsets, but most mass produced road bikes don't use them any more.
    >
    >For the most part, the move to 1-1/8" on road bikes is driven by fork manufacturers, who can
    >produce a lighter fork when allowed to use the larger diameter steerer.

    That's actually nothing more than an urban myth. In fact, the 1" forks with the same steer tube
    material are invariably lighter than their 1-1/8" brethren. Add in the heavier stem, headset and
    head tube and it's a lot more than "just a few grams" of difference.

    Mark Hickey Habanero Cycles http://www.habcycles.com Home of the $695 ti frame
     
  11. > Two things, fashion and cost to the manufacturer. They are related, since manufacturers like to
    > promote things that in reality only save them money.
    >
    > The 1" threaded fork steerer tube was standard (everywhere but France, of course) for many, many
    > years. Threadless headsets offer the manufacturer a need for fewer different fork sizes, and
    > cheaper materials, which saves money. The buyer gets bars that are hard or impossible to adjust
    > without replacing expensive pieces. But some call this progress. I avoid them when possible.

    And now for a dissenting opinion...

    #1: If something is changed that allows a manufacturer to produce something
    of similar quality for less money (by standardizing, or being able to use less-expensive materials,
    or simply easy of manufacturing or assembly), *and* the world's a competitive place, then the
    customer gets more bang for their buck.

    #2: Why do so many people believe that a threadless headset reduces their
    ability to adjust their handlebars? Most standard quill stems had a very small amount of adjustable
    range; this seems to be ignored in these discussions. Yes, there were/are some very tall (and thus
    more adjustable) stems out there, but they weren't all that easy to find in the quill-stem's heyday,
    and it was a very rare thing indeed to hear discussions about how evil the bike companies were
    because they were spec'ing stems quill stems that allowed for very little leeway in height (and were
    generally low to start with).

    The common practice today of having 4cm of spacers underneath a stem with either an up-angle (from
    parallel) of +7 or +17 degrees gives far more adjustability than the common production bike of
    yesteryear. The stem can be reversed to get lower, and you can also move spacers on top of the stem,
    allowing for additional control over height.

    In addition, there are stems available with up-angles of +25 degrees, sometimes even +40, which can
    get the stem quite high into the air. And if you want to go even higher, you can bolt on a
    lightweight aluminum extension tube and add even more height. My motto? The hard part is defining
    where you want to be. Getting there is easy.

    #3: The threadless system in general has resulted in a dramatic drop in the
    sales of replacement headsets, because they are so much easier to adjust, and hold their adjustments
    better than conventional threaded headsets. The fact that a cyclist who's decided to learn a bit
    about his/her bicycle can manage to keep a conventional headset properly adjusted ignores the great
    many who appear to have no desire to master such skills.

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com

    "David L. Johnson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > On Fri, 02 May 2003 09:10:16 +0000, Slingshot wrote:
    >
    > > I want to upgrade my frame (happy with my current components). I've had this frame for so long
    > > it's been a while since I've been in the market, and now I'm seeing "1 inch standard head tube"
    > > and "1 1/8 inch threadless".
    > >
    > > What's the difference? Is it the application- the type of riding (racing vs. TT vs. casual)? Is
    > > there a reason to choose one over the other?
    >
    > Two things, fashion and cost to the manufacturer. They are related, since manufacturers like to
    > promote things that in reality only save them money.
    >
    > The 1" threaded fork steerer tube was standard (everywhere but France, of course) for many, many
    > years. Threadless headsets offer the manufacturer a need for fewer different fork sizes, and
    > cheaper materials, which saves money. The buyer gets bars that are hard or impossible to adjust
    > without replacing expensive pieces. But some call this progress. I avoid them when possible.
    >
    > --
    >
    > David L. Johnson
    >
    > __o | If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a _`\(,_ | conclusion. --
    > George Bernard Shaw (_)/ (_) |
     
  12. > The fact that a cyclist who's decided to learn a bit about his/her bicycle can manage to keep a
    > conventional headset properly adjusted ignores the great many who appear to have no desire to
    > master such skills.

    So what's your take on the .pdf on the Chris King site, Mike? I'm not slamming you, I'd really like
    to know your opinion. This is the document where they characterize threadless as an invention of
    Satan, and so forth.

    --

    _______________________ALL AMIGA IN MY MIND_______________________ ------------------"Buddy Holly,
    the Texas Elvis"------------------
    __________306.350.357.38>>[email protected]__________
     
  13. Chris Neary

    Chris Neary Guest

    > In fact, the 1" forks with the same steer tube material are invariably lighter than their 1-1/8"
    > brethren.

    Based on Alpha-Q's data (http://www.truetemper.com/performance_tubing/pro.html), that appears to be
    true. In light of that, what is your assessment of the potential advantages of 1-1/8" steerers on
    road bikes?

    Chris Neary [email protected]

    "Science, freedom, beauty, adventure: what more could you ask of life? Bicycling combined all the
    elements I loved" - Adapted from a quotation by Charles Lindbergh
     
  14. > So what's your take on the .pdf on the Chris King site, Mike? I'm not slamming you, I'd really
    > like to know your opinion. This is the document where they characterize threadless as an invention
    > of Satan, and so forth.

    I covered that one in an earlier missive. Basically, I did a bit of research into how many problems
    existed with integrated headsets in the real world (I have pretty direct access to the TREK warranty
    people) and, so far, it's been a complete non-issue. They're easy to work on (had to check with my
    mechanics on that one, since I hadn't torn one apart yet) and require no special tools. For a road
    bike with an aluminum or ti head tube, I don't think durability is going to be an issue.

    For a bike made with a steel headtube, the machining required would either mean a pretty hefty
    amount of weight added, or a dangerously-thin headtube that would be prone to damage (ovalization)
    in a crash. I don't think they'd be a good idea for a mountain bike though, where extreme use might
    cause difficult-to-repair headtube damage.

    I think they're also a bad idea for a moderately-priced road bike, since they require care in
    machining that's not required for conventional units. Also, I can only speak for the Cane Creek
    versions, having no experience (or access to people who have) with the others.

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com
     
  15. >They're easy to work on (had to check with my mechanics on that one, since I hadn't torn one apart
    >yet) and require no special tools. For a road bike with an aluminum or ti head tube, I don't think
    >durability is going to be an issue.

    Thanks, I get it.

    --

    _______________________ALL AMIGA IN MY MIND_______________________ ------------------"Buddy Holly,
    the Texas Elvis"------------------
    __________306.350.357.38>>[email protected]__________
     
  16. On Sat, 03 May 2003 07:19:46 +0000, Mike Jacoubowsky wrote:

    I won't respond to Mike's criticism of my comments about threadless headsets; we've been down that
    road before and are unlikely to see anything new. However:

    > I covered that one in an earlier missive. Basically, I did a bit of research into how many
    > problems existed with integrated headsets in the real world (I have pretty direct access to the
    > TREK warranty people) and, so far, it's been a complete non-issue.

    "So far" being a year or two. I just replaced the headset on my 30-year-old track bike. Let's go
    forward 30 years, when someone brings in one of these integrated headsets for replacement. The
    chances are zero that the particular size needed will still be made, since there were only 10000
    ever installed and that was in a 2-year period from 2001-2003. The company went under, anyway, back
    in '15, so the only choice is to replace the frame. That is the problem with integrated headsets.
    They may very well be designed and engineered as well as any standard headset, but they are not
    standardized, and availability depends on the health of one company. With computers, or even cars,
    the chances of needing an unobtainable part 30 years later are essentially zero, but 30-year old
    bikes are very common, and are still perfectly usable.

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | And what if you track down these men and kill them, what if you _`\(,_ | killed all of us?
    From every corner of Europe, hundreds, (_)/ (_) | thousands would rise up to take our places.
    Even Nazis can't kill that fast. -- Paul Henreid (Casablanca).
     
  17. Mark Hickey

    Mark Hickey Guest

    Chris Neary <[email protected]> wrote:

    >> In fact, the 1" forks with the same steer tube material are invariably lighter than their 1-1/8"
    >> brethren.
    >
    >Based on Alpha-Q's data (http://www.truetemper.com/performance_tubing/pro.html), that appears to be
    >true. In light of that, what is your assessment of the potential advantages of 1-1/8" steerers on
    >road bikes?

    There are none. That's why all my road bikes still come with 1" head tubes (some customs excepted).
    I'm sure someone will chime in claiming less steer tube flex for the 1-1/8" bikes - but I'm having
    trouble remembering that ever being an issue (or even noticed) on any ride I've ever done.

    The advantage is that it reduces the number of different parts a manufacturer has to stock (not
    something that should make most cyclists feel warm and fuzzy about the change).

    Funny thing is, normally when you market something that's lighter, more aero and that looks better
    it's supposed to be new, not retro! ;-)

    Mark Hickey Habanero Cycles http://www.habcycles.com Home of the $695 ti frame
     
  18. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "Mike Jacoubowsky" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > The common practice today of having 4cm of spacers underneath a stem with either an up-angle (from
    > parallel) of +7 or +17 degrees gives far more adjustability than the common production bike of
    > yesteryear. The stem can be reversed to get lower, and you can also move spacers on top of the
    > stem, allowing for additional control over height.

    I agree, and would add, as Jobst is always pointing out, that threadless solves the stuck stem
    problem. When a stem is corroded solid (like one of my bikes), how much adjustability do you
    have then?
     
  19. > "So far" being a year or two. I just replaced the headset on my 30-year-old track bike. Let's go
    > forward 30 years, when someone brings in one of these integrated headsets for replacement.

    A track bike is a rather extreme example; for the most part, they're not subject to the same type of
    wear & tear of a normal road bike and thus have a much longer lifespan. Legacy issues abound in the
    real world, on both road & mountain bikes. Headsets are just one area, and, I dare say, it's
    entirely possible that the threaded headset you like so much will be *much* more difficult to get,
    even ten years down the road, than a threadless version.

    For the integrated headsets yes, you're hanging out there a bit on the bleeding edge. You're going
    to be a lot safer going with the numbers, and the numbers would favor the Cane Creek system over the
    others. You're also going to be safer with a company that's known to provide support for product
    many years down the road; companies vary greatly in this regard.

    > With computers, or even cars, the chances of needing an unobtainable part 30 years later are
    > essentially zero, but 30-year old bikes are very common, and are still perfectly usable.

    I don't know about cars, but to even suggest that a current computer might be readily repairable 30
    years down the road is kind of bizarre. Intel & Microsoft deliberately phase out support for older
    product (buss structures, video cards, etc) and no longer produce drivers for a great deal of
    product out there. Laptops are considered disposable after just a few years. However, I'm not sure
    it's the best example because the useful life cycle of a computer is a lot shorter than a bicycle...
    not because you can't get parts or support, but because it isn't worthwhile trying to fix because
    you can probably buy something for 1/4 the price that's 4 times as fast after maybe five years.

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com

    "David L. Johnson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > On Sat, 03 May 2003 07:19:46 +0000, Mike Jacoubowsky wrote:
    >
    > I won't respond to Mike's criticism of my comments about threadless headsets; we've been down that
    > road before and are unlikely to see anything new. However:
    >
    > > I covered that one in an earlier missive. Basically, I did a bit of research into how many
    > > problems existed with integrated headsets in the
    real
    > > world (I have pretty direct access to the TREK warranty people) and, so
    far,
    > > it's been a complete non-issue.
    >
    > "So far" being a year or two. I just replaced the headset on my 30-year-old track bike. Let's go
    > forward 30 years, when someone brings in one of these integrated headsets for replacement. The
    > chances are zero that the particular size needed will still be made, since there were only 10000
    > ever installed and that was in a 2-year period from 2001-2003. The company went under, anyway,
    > back in '15, so the only choice is to replace the frame. That is the problem with integrated
    > headsets. They may very well be designed and engineered as well as any standard headset, but they
    > are not standardized, and availability depends on the health of one company. With computers, or
    > even cars, the chances of needing an unobtainable part 30 years later are essentially zero, but
    > 30-year old bikes are very common, and are still perfectly usable.
    >
    > --
    >
    > David L. Johnson
    >
    > __o | And what if you track down these men and kill them, what if you _`\(,_ | killed all of
    > us? From every corner of Europe, hundreds, (_)/ (_) | thousands would rise up to take our
    > places. Even Nazis can't kill that fast. -- Paul Henreid (Casablanca).
     
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