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Dec 5, 2003 8:19 AM
What is the attraction of the treadless stem systems. They look really ugly compared to the classic quill stem. What advantage do they add? Are they lighter? Better performance? I'm trying to decide what to buy, THANKS FOR THE HELP. Fred
several advantages...OffTheBack
Dec 5, 2003 8:35 AM
The whole system is lighter, which is probably the biggest advantage. It's also easier to adjust the headset bearings, and there are no lockrings to vibrate loose. It's a legitimate advance in bike technology.
yes. but not in bike fit..colker1
Dec 5, 2003 8:50 AM
threaded systems give you an easier life when raising or lowering bars. threadless is lighter if you go w/a carbon steerer, more expensive than steel and soem people prefer their stell forks. also, bike design became less artistic since forks are now machine made, rakes are all the same..bla bla bla.
well. as long as i'm riding a good bike, all is fair...
front loading..wspokes
Dec 5, 2003 8:43 AM
I like them for the front loading option. No unwrapping or rewrapping bars which was awesome when I ran a bike shop and had to get a stem that worked for the customer...then again. I don't have any threadless on any of my road bikes...
front loading..oldbutslow
Dec 5, 2003 8:57 AM
Check out the Cinneli Frog. Nice looking too.

As to the weight advantage. Who cares? A few grams here, a few grams there, ain't gonna matter.

I think it fits right in with all the other mareketing BS that the bike industry is famous for. The quill stem is definetly more attractive and offers ease of adjustability.IMHO of course :-)
I like the gives the option for quills! nmwspokes
Dec 5, 2003 9:06 AM
Manufacturing advantageTimA
Dec 5, 2003 9:02 AM
IMO the biggest advantage is on the manufacturing side, specifically fork manufacturing. With the threadless system, fork makers only have to make 1 size for a given fork. The fork is cut to size by the bike builder. This allows for cheaper manufacturing and therefore cheaper forks for you and I.

From a bike fit aspect, it's a downgrade.
Damn easy to adjust and installDropped
Dec 5, 2003 9:04 AM
Having installed, maintained and adjusted both threaded and threadless systems, I consider the threaded type a form of torture.

Plus, like it or not, threaded systems are obsolete. Your options for replacement headsets and stems are very, very limited. Threaded systems have gone the way of the toeclip.
As long as there is..oldbutslow
Dec 5, 2003 9:13 AM
a demand, there will be supply (hopefully). Long live quill stems!!! :)
OK, Agree it is somewhat of an advance...Marketing Dept
Dec 5, 2003 9:12 AM
but what about beauty? I am so tired of these dog bone designs.

Anyone have any suggestions for some nice looking threadless stems?
OK, Agree it is somewhat of an advance...Grahamalicious
Dec 5, 2003 9:24 AM
a work of art, IMHO, you have to see one in person and hold it and feel it to appreciate all the curves and the way everything fits together...
OK, Agree it is somewhat of an advance...Grahamalicious
Dec 5, 2003 9:25 AM
the link...
you want beauty?colker1
Dec 5, 2003 10:24 AM
stella azurra. usually find threadless stems horrible but ... those s.a.'s
I rather build a bike with a threadless but...hudsonite
Dec 5, 2003 9:26 AM
I rather ride a bike with a threaded fork and quill stem.

Installing a threadless fork is so easy in comparison to the old style fork. But the old quill stem and threaded fork is so much easier to use, in that, you can quickly change the bar height.

They both have their pro's and con's. But I do not think we are going to see a return to the threaded. There are just too many advantages to the bike manufactures to stay with treadless.
Practicality vs. EstheticsDale Brigham
Dec 5, 2003 9:54 AM
As much as I love my Ernesto Colnago pantographed (engraved) 3-TTT Record 84 quill stem on my Colnago Crystal, I must admit to growing fonder of the threadless headset system over the years. Here's my two cents.

1) Weight difference (threadless lighter) is only significant (more than a few dozen grams) if you have a carbon steerer on the fork and/or a very light stem. Yes, threadless is lighter, but to me, that would not alone make it desirable.

2) The adjustability of the headset and stem height can actually be easier on a threadless setup than a threaded one. With just a 5 mm allen wrench, I can pull off the stem and move spacers from top-to-bottom (or vice versa) to raise or lower the stem, and then adjust the preload on the headset bearings with the same 5 mm wrench. My quill stems all require a sharp smack with a mallet on the binder bolt top to free the cone wedge that binds the stem inside the steerer. Combine that with the 32 mm wrenches needed to adjust a threaded headset, and the threadless setup wins hands-down in terms of adjustability in field or travel conditions.

Sorry, Dale, but adjusting bar height with threaded stemsBowWow
Dec 5, 2003 10:36 AM
is hands down easier. For one thing, once a threaded headset is properly adjusted you NEVER have to adjust it again - until it loosens 8^P ...

To adjust a quill:
1. Loosen the binder bolt,
2. give it a quick smack,
3. raise or lower the stem,
4. tighten the bolt, and you're back on the road.

Threadless requires:

1. removing the top cap (one bolt)
2. pulling whatever spacers you have off the top (easy, but fiddly, and if you have two thin spacers it gets even more fiddly/droppy...
3. loosening the stem bolts (two bolts)
4. pulling the stem, which leaves the stem/bars dangling from the cables, banging into the frame/headtube (admittedly a place for extra care)
5. dropping the spacers onto the steerer
6. reinstalling the stem/bars
7. reinstalling the top cap and bolt
8. carefully adjusting the headset preload
9. tightening the two stem bolts

Seems like a LOT more work than one bolt with a quill!

That said, I prefer the threadless setup, mainly due to the FAR greater range of adjustability - stem angles, stem lengths, and spacers, and my threadless setup feels less flexy when I really yank on the bars...
If I had a hammer...I'd hammer on my stem bolt...Dale Brigham
Dec 5, 2003 11:15 AM

Yes, if I carried a hammer or mallet with me on a ride, a threaded stem would be faster to raise/lower than the accurate scenario you state above. Trouble is, when my neck starts to ache in the middle of a 400 km day on the bike during a brevet or randonnee, likely no hammer will be found in my pocket.

My wife would say I could use my thick skull on it as a blunt object, but I doubt I could move it fast or precisely enough. With my little 5 mm allen wrench in my saddle pouch, I had the option during PBP to raise my stem another 5 or 10 mm, if I needed to do so. (Please don't let the stem police see my stack of spacers both above and below the stem!) I could also flip-flop the stem from -6 to +6 degree rise, if necessary.

You are correct that a properly-adjusted headset never needs to be worked on...that is, until it isn't. I've yet to find a part on a bike involving threaded fastners that never comes adrift. I have seen some unlikely things come loose in over three decades on the bike (fortunately, not all on my bikes). I'm happy to have a headset that can be adjusted on the road or trail with the tools I have on hand.

You make a good point about torsional stiffness of the stem/steerer interface being better with the threadless setups. A large-diameter alumimum stem has less torsional flex than a smaller diameter quill stem, not to mention the added flex in the quill versus the steerer that threadless stems clamp to directly. Interestingly (well, to me, anyway), the Salsa Cro-Mo threadless stems I have are noticably more flexy than their large-diameter aluminum counterparts (Ritchey and ITM). The Salsa stem is purtier, though, which clearly offsets that small deficit.

Dale ("My stem is short, but it's thick!")
LOL - My stem gets shorter the older I get - whassup wi dat? nmBowWow
Dec 5, 2003 1:15 PM
Disagree - threadless setup easier for melaffeaux
Dec 5, 2003 12:16 PM
I'd much rather set the bar height with a threadless setup. I don't change the height often, but when I do it's much easier with the threadless design.

- The spacers allow you to set it to the same height every time. There's no guessing if it's back where you started.

- Getting the stem to be straight is 100% easier with a threadless set up. With a quill stem you tighten it down check for alignment, lossen, adjust, repeat. On a threadless setup you can check alignment and the stem does not slip into the frame, or move when you tighen the bolt.

There's little reason in my opinion to not get a threadless fork. However at the same time I don't think the advantages of a threadless set up are enough to pay to change it over. I ride bikes that use both systems. I prefer threadless, but quill stems work well enough (I just wish there were more choices on the market - Salsa seems to be the only company making decent quill stems these days).