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What is the big deal with headsets and stems?(3 posts)

What is the big deal with headsets and stems?Dutchy
Jan 22, 2002 4:52 PM
I am curious as to why people have a preference to a certain brand/type of headset or stem?
I've heard Chris King mentioned a lot, like their the rolls-royce of headset/stem. Do these parts
(regardless of brand) make a big difference to the bike or do people like certain ones because
they look good? I have a 96 Giant and don't have the slightest clue as to what brand the
headset/stem is. People will say that brand Y stem has less flex than brand X. How much flex
can a piece of metal 2 inches wide have in 4 inches of length?

Obviously I'm missing something, I don't get what all the fuss is about.

re: What is the big deal with headsets and stems?gtx
Jan 22, 2002 5:30 PM
King makes the best headset on the market. This isn't a very big deal if you don't ride much, don't weigh much, buy new bikes frequently, or have the knowledge and tools to maintain/replace your own headsets. I like having a King on my mtb because they get a lot of abuse. However, I have never been able to justify them on my road bike. All my road bikes have threaded headsets and I'm pretty happy with run-of-the-mill Shimano headsets. My last DA headset went about 40,000 miles before I replaced it with a $35 Ultegra. I admit the King hs is much more purdy, though, and if I had the $$$ I'd have them on all my bikes.

Regarding stems, if you are a big sprinter type guy and like lightweight components, stiffness can be an issue. It's a real issue on mtbs--combine a flexy stem with a suspension fork and the front end of your bike will feel sloppy. I hated the Salsa stem I once used on my mtb--too flexy. Never had a problem with their road stems.
Thanks for the explanation nm.Dutchy
Jan 22, 2002 5:41 PM