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What advantage, if any, replacing stock headset?(2 posts)

What advantage, if any, replacing stock headset?Bob in Indiana
May 10, 2001 1:27 PM
I have a 1999 TREK 5200 OCLV. I've read a common "gripe" about the bike is the stock "Taiwanese" headset. (No offense, lot's of stuff is made in Taiwan)

I've also read the stock ICON parts are ripe for upgrading. I'm changing the pedals soon to Speedplays and the seatpost has been upgraded to Thomson, but that's it, so far.

Anyway, my headset appears to be chrome or aluminum, and has "Vantage" imprinted on it.

I'm considering upgrading the stem and handlebar from the stock ICON parts, and wondered what edge in strength, weight, reliability, (loosening less ferquently) etc. I might expect by upgrading to a Chris King, Cane Creek, or similar quality headset like I see on all my buddies newer or superior bikes?

I had my stock ICON stem replaced under a warranty/recall recently, and the bike shop tech said I had an "adequate" stem of a "quill" style? Not sure what that means? What other type is there?

Any input would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Bob
Not much until...Bosephus
May 10, 2001 1:41 PM
In my opinion you won't notice much until the stock headset dies, which will be much sooner than say a king or Ritchey WCS (my personal roadbike Favorite).

You have a threaded headset from what it sounds like so when you upgrade you might want to think about going unthreaded. In my opinion again, you get a little smoother steering feel, it's tighter, and much easier to adjust a threadless system. You'll have to get a new fork though ... which can be costly.

I wouldn't replace the headset until it is noticably gritty feeling or has any play in it. At that point upgrade to something more "long term" like a King or WCS. You'll have to decide at that point whether or not you want to go threadless as well. If not there are plenty of great threaded headsets as well that will last a good 5+ years. Don't be afraid to spend the bucks on a good headset though. The expensive ones last ... plus they usually come with a long warranty as well.