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No experience with...(10 posts)

No experience with...Lone Gunman
Feb 5, 2002 7:51 AM
threadless headsets, spacers, integrated headsets, etc. In reading a few of the posts I saw a mention of stack height. Is stack height the total height of spacers that one could use on a threadless setup? Am I to understand that a 1" headtube/headset can use(recommended) 1" of spacers and 11/8" use the like 11/8" as total height above the top lip of the headset to avoid the steerer tube/stem setup from becoming flexy? I am not sold on the concept of threadless yet, it appears(to me) that there are limitations to the adjustment height and you might sacrifice a fork if you don't get it right the first time or want to raise your bars at a later date(sell the bike). Does raising the bars require you to buy a new stem that is angled upward to gain height or flipping over an existing angled stem after you have cut your steerer tube? I understand that the threadless systems are supposed to be lighter but saw a Cinelli quill extension that you bolt the stem to which looked like a good alternative to threadless while staying threaded.
re: No experience with...ColnagoFE
Feb 5, 2002 8:37 AM
Suppose I could be wrong on this since I'm no expert either, but stack height usually refers to the height of the headset itself--ie how high it raises the stem from the headtube. You can use spacers to increase this height but there is a limitation to the # you can use--especially with a CF fork. Plus it just plain looks dorky with too many spacers. To raise or lower the stem once you have cut the steerer you need to get a new stem with a different rise. problem with this is that there are not that many variations in rise (in my opinion) for high quality stems. Do you really need to move your stem up and down? Personally once I got it dialed in I never touched it. Threadless are easier to adjust in the field, but then again how often do you have to do that? Bottom line for me is if you have a quill setup you like stick with it. Weight is not all that much different.
re: No experience with...tarwheel
Feb 5, 2002 9:19 AM
Stack height generally refers to the height of the headset above the headtube. The number/height of spacers depends on the width of the stem and the length and material of the steerer tube. For forks with carbon steer tubes, the amount of spacers you should use is pretty limited, generally about 2 cm max. You can use a lot more spacers -- despite the dorkness factor -- if your fork has an alloy or steel steerer tube. The best way to raise handlebar height with threadless setups is to use a stem with a 90 degree or positive rise (+5, 10, etc). However, it can still be difficult raising the bars enough with positive rise stems, without using spacers, if you prefer to ride with your handlebars higher -- eg. 1" below the height of the saddle.

If you're buying a new bike, threadless forks/stems are pretty much the industry standard now. So, you are left with two options -- ride with much lower handlebars, or using a lot of spacers and a positive rise stem. If you've got a bike with a quill/threaded stem, there is little or no benefit in switching to threadless if you ride with your bars fairly high. By the time you add the weight of the spacers, steerer tube and stem, it probably would weigh as much or more than a quill setup. If you ride in an aggressive position, with low handlebars, a threadless system could save you perhaps 1/2 pound or more -- if you get a fork with a carbon steerer. To do that, you would need to replace the fork, headset and stem -- which is a big investment.

Bottom line: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Sheldon Brown to the rescue again....DINOSAUR
Feb 5, 2002 9:28 AM
Spacers allow you to adjust the height on a threadless stem, you can raise or lower it according to the number of spacers. However it can make your bike look dorkey if you have a lot of spacers. Then you get into stem rise and the height of the stem itself. It's a lot easier with the old threaded fork system as all you had to do was get the right length stem and adjust the height by loosening the stem bolt and raising or lowering it accordingly. It's a little bit more complicated with the threadless system now and more expensive. I'm in the market for a new threadless stem for my Klein as I want to get down lower and a little closer to the bars. I hate to drag my bike down to my LBS, but I might end up doing that if I want to get fitted correctly.

For stack height click on:
Scroll down and click on "stack height".

You might want to ad his site in your favorites section, you can go to the glossary and find out about anything you need to know about bikes, I use it all the time...
Just don't cut that steerer tube ...tarwheel
Feb 5, 2002 9:50 AM
... until you are sure that the new height is comfortable for you. Once you cut that steerer tube, the only way you can raise the height again is to use a positive rise stem. You can also put spacers on top of your stem, and move the stem up and down on the steerer tube, to try out different heights until you decided on the best one.
Just don't cut that steerer tube ...DINOSAUR
Feb 5, 2002 10:26 AM
The perfect stem for me would be a Look Ergostem, then I could dial it in depending on what position I felt like on a given day (old bodies have good and bad days). However I balk at the $185.00 price... maybe for half that price I'd buy it...
Feb 5, 2002 10:38 AM
Not a Look, but still adjustable angle; not reach, though.

Feb 5, 2002 10:54 AM
Hmmmmm think I'd want reach also. At this point I think I'm just going to drag my bike down to my LBS and see what stems they have in stock and they can do a minor fitting. Stupid as it's sounds, I can tell by just looking at a bunch of stems and know what I want....I've been looking at stems on the internet for over a week and hate to mail order and stuck with something I don't like....anyway after this little ordeal, after messing with my bike for over 3 years this should finally dial it in perfect. Funny how you body changes as your condition improves....
$37.95?Lone Gunman
Feb 5, 2002 11:11 AM
Thanks for the replies, I am still trying to visualize the whole setup and it's workings and have no intention of switching out a perfectly good fork, headset, stem just to be current with prevailing trend in steering systems. I just know the day is coming when 1) I am out on the road and someone has problems with the headset in question or 2) I buy a new bike and have to go through the fit process and figure out what works. I like the old school quill system, lots of adjustment possibility, no big deal for the next guy should I decide to sell and he needs more steerer tube.
Feb 5, 2002 11:40 AM
For what it's worth~ the owner of my LBS has been riding bikes his whole life (must be in his forties). He is a die hard steel Italian Colnago/Mondonico fan with a steel fork , threaded headset and the whole 9 yards. I think when it comes time to buying a new bike I might very well go the same route. I think the whole deal with threadless headsets is to reduce weight and save money on the manufacturing end...I'm even thinking of going retro and find a NOS steel frame and build it up with Campy Record down tube friction shifters...The only thing modern on the bike would be clipless pedals and the saddle....