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thoughts on new integrated headsets(21 posts)

thoughts on new integrated headsetsRoadfrog
Dec 19, 2001 11:20 PM
Been looking at a getting a new bike... most choices have the integrated headsets which I never used. Any experiences or opinions? Thanks, HOP
re: thoughts on new integrated headsetsmorey
Dec 20, 2001 4:15 AM
I have a Canny r4000si with both an integrated headset and bottom bracket. No problem so far. However, because of this I do not have anything but positive experiences.
cane creek is horriblegrandemamou
Dec 20, 2001 4:35 AM
I have a Bianchi ev2. I absolutely love the frame but hate this headset. It will not stay tight. After a couple of months I brought it back to LBS he tightened it to spec. Several months I brought it back again. He tightened it to specs. I read an article in bicycling some months back and Cane Creek got horrible reviews.

It began to rattle again. I said the hell with specs and tightened that baby down. I figured the frame has a 5 yr warranty if it breaks it breaks. So far 6 mos and it's still tight. I really wish Bianchi had speced Campy.

I'd find out what brand head set it is before I take the plunge.
cane creek is horrible/ or notDWI
Dec 20, 2001 4:32 PM
This is an interesting "trend" to monitor and watch as the public is introduced to a new standard. I was some what skeptical of the newer headset design..more based on ignorance than anything else.Once I began to investigate and understand..the more I like the new system.I of course was lucky enough to only pay $ 175.00 for a new frame ( K2 MOD w/ all the trendy features).First off..I don't quite understand how the headset would not stay tight.The headset can't really loosen up and rattle on it's own.The problem sounds like the compession plug in the fork is the source of the problem and not the HS.The HS design is simple w/ the angular contact bearing sitting in the provided seat in the HT ( 45 degree for most..36 degree for others and probably the soon to be standard..Cane Creek uses a 36/45 degree angular contact bearing and others 36/36 degree bearing.. which seems to be the optimum angles.It is funny you mentioned Campy as a better alterative..I believe they use 45/45 degree contact bearings.. possibly the least effective of the three. The system is very simple with the bearings just being dropped in with no presses and the split race at the fork just as easy to install. Another factor to consider is in the aesthetics.. clearly a nicer,cleaner,sexier? look.
The bottom line is..I think..is that the integrated HS is here to stay.. although it will go through some changes.Just remember Klein has used this same system for quite some time and I don't hear a lot of crying over their headsets.
YeahRoger356
Dec 20, 2001 5:01 AM
Stupid silly expensive waste of time money making marketing gimmick.

Avoid like the plague at all costs.
Jaundiced, ignorant, uninformed!cyclequip
Dec 20, 2001 5:45 AM
The benefits come in bigger fork steerers and headtubes with benefits to all-round stability and weight. If you're interested, there are 2 varieties - true integrated where the bearing sits in the headtube, and zero-stack where the bearing sits in a cup inserted into the headtube.
don't be so hard on yourself!dr. no
Dec 20, 2001 6:20 AM
Who is ignorant.....?Rusty Coggs
Dec 20, 2001 7:03 AM
11/8" steerers and headtubes were available before iintegrated came along. as for the benefits to all around stability and weight....convince me with some real facts,not ad hype.
No doubt...g-money
Dec 20, 2001 9:27 AM
Short of getting on the band wagon there is no compelling evidence that shows this design to improve anything except having to buy a frame more often due to ovalizing the headtube. The only "integrated" that makes any sense at this time is the zero stack. At least the bearing race is seperate from the frame. Lets get down to reality. Are the lower end frame builders going to spend the time to really face and dial in the truly integrated headset? How long until the thing falls apart. What happens when the bearing surface (headtube) wears out? New frame time, kids...

Not convinced it's a good thing. I does look kinda kool, but I like headsets personally. A good King or classic Campy can really make a bike IMHO.
a little more infoohio
Dec 20, 2001 2:31 PM
An integrated set doesn't actually use the headtube as a bearing surface, it just presses the cartridge bearings directly into the headtube. The bearings still run on replaceable races that are part of the "cartridge." There's a teeny weight benefit from elimating two parts of the headset, and there's an mildly appreciable benefit in the form of a longer and wider headtube that gives more welding area and better spacing for the top tube and downtube, which CAN equal more stiffness and strength if utilized. And it could potentially make things cheaper by simplifying components. However you lose the benefit of a headset cup that dissipates forces over a larger area of your butter soft aluminum frame than just the outer race of a bearing would.

My opinion is that it's totally unecessary for anything but but freaks who count grams with decimal points. If I were you I'd take a stackless over an integrated, and a normal aheadset over either for sake of compatibility and upgrading, but wouldn't let it be a serious factor in my bike decision.
My understanding...Geof
Dec 20, 2001 2:41 PM
was the headtube itself was actaully the bearing race with perhaps a surface material to harden it. But the setup was "once only" in other words, no replacing if the headtube got chanked. I think this little industry "standard" will soon be the "has-been" Although the bandwagon sure is running...
Who is ignorant.....?cyclequip
Dec 21, 2001 1:55 AM
I've got both on similar road frames. Is using both enough to be able to pass opinion, instead of the majority of naysayers who've never tried both? Wonder how many posters here actually tried the zs before condemning outright?
Had one on a Vitus 992dzrider
Dec 20, 2001 6:29 AM
It was made by Mavic, I think, and worked as well as any headset. I had to tighten it once in a great while, but it never developed "indexed steering". The only question I have is what has to be done to repair/replace one that fails. It sounds to me like one more small part that drags bigger parts down with it when it fails. Once upon a time I could get single cogs for free wheels and cassettes.
Had one on a Vitus 992jimmy
Dec 20, 2001 7:56 AM
you can get a traditional pressed in headset replaced/upgraded at about any bikeshop because its kind of universal by its very nature--the integrated type may limit your options for repair and parts availability more than you'd like--making you a captive of the original design.... just a thought.......

Jimmy
My Vitus992vitusdude
Dec 21, 2001 7:37 AM
I ride a 992 and after 40k miles the headset is still working fine. (knock on wood) Of course, I can't help but wonder what I would do if it gives out on me. Seems ashame to have the whole frameset depend on one part. I don't know if the 992 headset is replaceable. I probably would avoid buying an integrated headset frame in future for this reason.
Froggie, dude: it's not like these are new inventions....Sprockets2
Dec 20, 2001 7:49 AM
they have been around for years and have come to be very successful. I know they seem totally out there-when I got my mt. bike I felt a bit like a dinosaur, but there you go, time marches on.

The advantages are not apparent from a casual first glance, but there are a few. Go forth without threads.

How about getting our old steel bike paradigm-limited minds around 1 1/8 inch headsets with carbon fiber forks. That threw me off for a while.....
they go great with disposible frames (nm)DaveG
Dec 20, 2001 7:55 AM
I'm still wondering what was wrong with the OLD headsetscory
Dec 20, 2001 8:53 AM
No problems with mine in two bikes...but before I got those, I owned probably 20 other bikes that didn't have them, and I never had problems with THOSE headsets, either.
Limits Your Optionsgrzy
Dec 20, 2001 9:44 AM
Your stuck with what's available. If you don't like it that's too bad. Seems that you're mostly looking at Can Creek and Campy at this time - neither of which are rated very high based on people's experiences here. You're way better off going with a pressed in unit - they you can go as exotic or cheap as you want. the larger mfr.'s will continue to push it b/c it saves them money.
Some good, some badEric
Dec 20, 2001 1:12 PM
I would inspect the design very closely before plunging into an integrated HS design. I recently bought a 2001 Merlin XL on a closeout deal, unfortunately sight unseen. The integrated HS design on the 2001 Merlins is very weak. They use the Cane Creek IS bearings and they are supported on very little material. The bearing sits on a 45 degree taper in teh head tube, and the width of the taper is only a couple of millimeters. So basically, the bearing is supported by about 2-3 mm of titanium. Interestingly, Merlin (and Litespeed) have adopted a different design for 2002. It almost looks from teh pictures I have seen as though there is an "insert" in the head tube which accepts the integrated bearing. Also, King has their new design, which is basically a zero stack version of a regular headset.

As for the Merlin I bought - well, I sent it back and exchanged it for a 2001 Vortex (normal head tube) which I am putting a Chris King HS into. And I don't think I will be buying an integrated design unless there is absolutely no choice.
Some good, some badpeloton
Dec 21, 2001 8:15 AM
There are two different types of these headsets as well. There are the kind that just drop the bearings into the frame like a GT or Schwinn. There is also a slightly more traditional design that has sleeves pressed into the frame before the bearings are pressed in like on a Giant. The kind Giant uses with the sleeve may be better long term for durabilty and servicablity. I've heard people who know bearings far better than I say that it is a better design for how a bearing absorbs force in this type of application.

The two real benefits that I can see from this headset design would be more for smaller frames. You can decrease the stack height with this type of design, which is good for shorter riders. You can also space the tubes and welds for a stronger frame as well. The weight thing is negligable to me.

Negatives right now would be that there is no real standard in the industry. Replacement parts aren't going to be as easy as a tradtional unit. A poorly adjusted one could also compromise the life of the frame as well. I've known people who ovalized their traditional frames headtubes with regular headsets too from lack of adjustment.