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lazy piston
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So as Whafe suggested, I’m starting this thread… this is sort of a note to any Nicolai owner and to anyone else who’s going to become one. There’s one thing you should remember when choosing a headset for your bike:
If your frame has 1 1/8” headtube
AND
If your Nicolai frame is designed for serious off-road riding
THEN you most probably have to have a deep cup headset installed.

This requirement involves a good part of frames in Nicolai’s line. I don’t quite remember which ones exactly, but I’m certain it concerns all frames where 1.5 headtube is an option (doesn’t come standard): Nucleon TST-EVO and TFR, Lambda ST, Ion ST, the late M-Pire ST, Helius ST and FR, Ufo DS, Argon FR.
Helius CC, Argon CC, Saturn TCC, Nonius CC and other road/crosscountry bikes are fine with any headset.
I’ve missed some models because I’m not sure if they have this requirement or not, but I think I’ve listed all the most popular models; you can always contact Nicolai to learn about your particular frame.

If you do not comply with this rule and install a common headset, your headtube is no longer warrantied against ovalization. Which means that if you manage to ovalize your headtube, it is not covered under warranty and you’re most probably going to need a new front triangle for your frame (or, as Crisillo mentions, you may have your headtube replaced which is not going to be a low-cost solution either).

So, how deep is deep enough, you may ask. Nicolai themselves differ a little bit: sometimes they mention 25 mm deep cups (which rules out MOST headsets), sometimes they mention 22 millimeters of headset insertion. As far as I remember, Falco Mille confirmed that 22 mm is enough.

22 mm headsets are not that common, and when I was looking for a headset for my frame I came upon this thread on mtb-news.de, a German MTB forum. User tripletschiee (big props to the guy) posted a chart that lists some of the headset which comply or ‘almost’ comply with the 22-mm rule. Here’s the chart:


The chart is divided into three parts: the first one lists 1 1/8 headsets (which is of greater interest), the second one lists reducer headsets (for 1.5 headtubes and 1 1/8 steerers) and the last one lists 1.5 headsets for 1.5 steerers.

In the first and second columns you can see Manufacturer name and Headset model, “Gewicht” is weight (probably as listed on manufacturer’s site or in the catalog, real weight may differ as we well know). “Einbauhohe” is stack height (lower / upper), “Einpresstiefe” is the most crucial parameter, it’s the press in depth. As you can see, there are some 20-mm and 21-mm headsets listed which are NOT officially allowed, so it would be safe to avoid them. Most headsets have identical upper and lower press in depth, in those cases there’s only one figure.
“Material” is pretty self-explanatory (though I don’t know the difference between “Stahl” (steel) and “Edelstahl”). “Farbe” is color – “schwarz” for black, “silber” for silver etc. “Preis” is price (most probably not up to date any longer) and “Shop” is the store that stocks the headset at the indicated price (probably not up to date either).

There may be other headsets (I personally know of a certain Token headset), but this chart is a good start for those looking for a deep cup headset for his/her Nicolai frame.

Hope I haven’t made a lot of mistakes, English is not my native language either :)
 

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Smith said:
If you do not comply with this rule and install a common headset, your headtube is no longer warrantied against ovalization. Which means that if you manage to ovalize your headtube, it is not covered under warranty and you’re most probably going to need a new front triangle for your frame.
actually, while Wahfe and I were at the factory, Falco showed me a frame whose headtube was being replaced because of ovalization.... so a new front tri might not be necessary.... but for sure the repair won't be cheap..... Falco told me of something along the lines of "damaged in a dirt jumping crash" IIRC, so it wasn't "normal riding conditions". I didn't think at the time about asking if it was warranty work or paid for, but it shouldn't be cheap anyhow, so better be safe than sorry...
 

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Hmm not so why is it only Nicolai that say that, a chunkier headset which will inherently add more strength and weight to that area, is required. Why not build a design which allows buyers to use a wider range of headsets.. Seems a strange concept to me?

Am I the only one who thinks this a little odd?
 

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lazy piston
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Karve said:
Hmm not so why is it only Nicolai that say that a a chunkier headset which will inherently add more strength and weight to that area is required. Why not build a design which allows buyers to use a wider range of headsets.. Seems a strange concept to me?

Am I the only one who thinks this a little odd?
Probably that has something to do with their 5-year, transferrable to second owner, race-worthy warranty?
 

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Smith said:
Probably that has something to do with their 5-year, transferable to second owner, race-worthy warranty?
Sure but why not build it to a point in the first place that they are still confident it wil last that warranty period with standard parts.. they are not cheap after all.. check my balance this month for evidence of that..

What im saying is either way you are adding more material to the bike.. either through deeper cups or a stronger tube in the first place.

Id rather have a stronger head tube to start with that allows me to use a wide variety of headsets.
 

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lazy piston
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
To that, I have no answer. Perhaps there's some engineering reason behind this decision. I just don't know.
 

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Karve said:
Hmm not so why is it only Nicolai that say that, a chunkier headset which will inherently add more strength and weight to that area, is required. Why not build a design which allows buyers to use a wider range of headsets.. Seems a strange concept to me?

Am I the only one who thinks this a little odd?
It does seem a bit strange...or maybe in their design philosophy, they go for weight savings in the headtube.

I asked Turner a year ago or so if I should be using a Steelset, and he replied no. The RFX (2006) had rings machined into it for extra strength, making the deep Steelset unnecessary. The current RFX has the ring only on the bottom, as there are lower forces at the top.

Here's what mine look like. I swore I saw it in the Nic catalogs as well. Pretty much any headtube is going to get messed up in a bad DJ incident, unless we're talking the HT on the 2000-2002 RFX, which is thicker and more gusseted than just about anything out there today.
 

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Smithy, great post, and yes invokes some good discussion...

For sure there will be valid reasons, I am sure a great deal of this has to do with the very good and transfeerable warranty, I also agree with JC, that it may be for weight savings reasons in that area of the bike..... Am sure engineering wise it has been warranted....

LOL = Go for the 1.5 HS option
 

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Had a flick through loads of the pictures etc I took at the factory visit.

For sure the frames are not showing the type of increased strength in the way of which JC's RFX shows, also my MotoLite is like JC's as well so to speak...

Here are some shots and some wording taken from where they sell the Fett set as an extra, for sure is more the case with the bigger hit type bikes. As you can see the Helius CC does need the 22mm cups, where by the Helius FR does as we are discussing of course, then I looked a the shots of Falco's Helius ST, the Headset area is far beefier again for want of a better word than the Helius FR.....
 

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Drink...sleep
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Just a note on the words used in the material column: Stahl is just simple steel, Edelstahl is steel of high purity, eg. with a low phosphorus content. Edelstahl is also often (though incorrectly) used as a synonym for stainless steel. Looking at the table, I'd just interpret them all as steel and look at the manufacturer's website to see what kind of steel (as the CK is listed as standard steel for example, while this should be stainless).
 

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Is this type of deep cup headset required for the Helius AM, it seems it is acording to the Nicolai UK website???

Reason i ask is i've received mine with a standard CK headset (I believe other people with AM's are also running these) so i need to know if i should change it to a steelset or suchlike which seems a little extreme since i wont be doing any 50ft gap jumps of 20ft drops????

Cheers

Del
 

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steep fast and loose :)
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If Nicolai dictate this on their website and on the UK site, then I'd reckon it's a good bet to follow their advice irrespective of riding intentions.
 

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I'd be a bit worried fitting a cheap deep insertion headset. The da-bomb my work out good but as an example... the normal FSA pig is PoS that only lasts a few months... go for the deep insertion PIG and the thought of trying to get those cups back out after only three months gives me the heebiejeebies.

If going deep insertion I would go for something you are sure will not be needing to come out again for a very long time... probably until you've sold the frame on (which may only be a few months for those of you who change your frames more often than I change my pants).:prft:
 

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LOL! agree'd thepimpmessiah! :D

As for Dabomb headset, hmmmm thats like putting homemade halfords tints on a Ferrari?????????? Are you nuts! Hope it works out ok but i wouldnt risk it.

Cheapest i'd go for is this :
http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=13392

Put pref this :
http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=2035

If you spend out the d0sh on a nicolai frame, no point puting in a cheap headset, other cheap components maybe then upgrade, but these deep cup headsets are a ***** to remove!

Just my 2p worth! :D
 

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Although my Diabolous HS is still running smoothly I'm going to adhere to Nicolai's recommendations and fit a 22mm one now that I have the Totems fitted. It's a shame the exchange rate is crap at the moment as last month I could have bought a steelset for 85 quid.
 

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Yeah i duno how much they would be at the moment from Aspire Velotech, but i think Simon and myself are buying Steelsets from Richard, so if you get one too might get it cheaper?
 
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