Specialized Stumpjumper pops into my mind right away.treesmasher said:Does anyone besides Giant make a hardtail that comes with the tapered steerer? Why is it not on more bikes?
Well, the combo of the head tube and tapered steerer Fox with FIT 120mm fork on my RIP is Forkin' Incredible in terms of stiffness. If that's getting "sucked into marketing", color me suckered. But, man, I'm glad I've been suckered. I'm liking the 15mm QR TA as well. Suckered again.crankpuller said:
BruceBrown said:Well, the combo of the head tube and tapered steerer Fox with FIT 120mm fork on my RIP is Forkin' Incredible in terms of stiffness. If that's getting "sucked into marketing", color me suckered. But, man, I'm glad I've been suckered. I'm liking the 15mm QR TA as well. Suckered again.
What's next? 10 speed?
Walt,Walt said:You're feeling the through-axle. The tapered steerers are intended to allow a larger head tube cross section to mate nicely with today's massive downtubes. It's a time/effort/money saver for manufacturing. They also probably make things a bit laterally stiffer, but the TA is responsible for probably 90% of the extra stiffness you're feeling.
Mike, I agree with you, but to me it is an issue of keeping the whole front triangle from twisting too. That is also a function of the thru-axle and whatever manufacturers can do to stiffen the rear ends of FS designs, but I have ridden 29"ers with front triangles that twist so much that they are downright sketchy in slow, pick yer way thru sections.mikesee said:Walt,
I agree--TA's make a big difference in removing twisting flex from the front end of ANY bike.
The tapered steerer goes beyond that, and the difference from an 1 1/8 TA fork to a tapered TA fork is night and day. Night and day. The biggest difference you feel going to tapered (assuming you can test this by keeping all other variables constant) is in the fore/aft plane. Tapered is sooooo much stiffer fore/aft than standard. As big of a difference as going from QR to TA. Maybe bigger.
I used to think I needed/wanted 36mm lowers in a 29" fork, in order to be able to ride chunk/tech with confidence that the front end of the bike would go where I wanted, when I wanted it to. Now that I have the tapered front end, I don't wish for 36mm lowers any more. Problem solved.
The only downside to this is from the manufacturers (especially the little guy) standpoint--more tube manipulating, machining, or hydroforming needs to be done to the DT and the HT. For those of us that don't have to thinker out the solutions and just get to ride them, the difference is massive and worth every penny.
Color me convinced.
Whatever I'm feeling - 15mm TA only, 15mm TA and tapered steerer or just the tapered steerer - however it breaks down, I'm loving it up front. Keep in mind I also am comparing my new Fox tapered steerer fork with the 15mm TA to the older, more "noodly" Reba Race forks with the roadie 9mm format. So a lot of "upgrades" mixed together to create a different feel that I am liking.Walt said:You're feeling the through-axle. The tapered steerers are intended to allow a larger head tube cross section to mate nicely with today's massive downtubes. It's a time/effort/money saver for manufacturing. They also probably make things a bit laterally stiffer, but the TA is responsible for probably 90% of the extra stiffness you're feeling.
Of course, if you want to sell something, you don't say "this is acceptable or maybe very slightly stiffer, but cheaper for us to make". IMO, the tapered setups will become fairly standard on carbon and aluminum frames in the next few years, just because it makes sense for manufacturing reasons. I hope that TAs also become standard - IMO they are mandatory on any suspension fork over about 480mm axle-crown. 80mm travel 29er forks are just barely acceptable without them, but go any longer, and the 9mm standard isn't up to it anymore.
mtroy said:Interesting discussion. I can see both sides of it. For MC and what he does, I would take his word for it if he says he notices a difference. In Walt's place, building steel hardtail SS stuff (mostly...I know he does other stuff), I can see that it might seem like not enough pay back for the extra work.
Are there even steel head tubes out there that accept a tapered steerer? I would not buy an FS or longer travel hardtail without it. I have ridden too many of them and I would not want to go backwards even if it is only a small improvement.
If I was having a custom steel SS w/80mm fork built? I would do it if I could and the penalty was not a big deal in weight or cost, but otherwise I would make do with a thru axle and live with the 1 1/8th steerer.
Walt said:MC - Great input. I have not ridden the tapered steerer, but I suspect some of what you're feeling is the (presumably) larger downtube and bigger/stiffer DT/HT joint. I could certainly be wrong - I'm sure the tapered setups aren't *less* stiff. I just am guessing that the TA makes a bigger difference - because I know the difference between TA and 9mm is night and day to me. Then again, I'm not a huge stiffness snob.
For steel bikes, there's generally not a need for more surface area to weld to - it's very rare to build steel frames with >38mm downtubes, and since a standard 1 1/8" head tube in steel is also around 36-38mm, they match up just fine.
If the tapered steerer becomes standard (so much so that the non-tapered option goes away), the easy choice for builders (I mean small builders) will be to just use a 1.5" head tube and a reducer at the top for the 1 1/8" upper portion of the steerer. That's a bit ugly, perhaps, but can be done without adding too much extra weight and without much work. I've done some 1.5" head tubes for Lefty setups, and I have to say that that humongous headtube looks pretty silly next to the (relatively) skinny steel top and down tubes.
For a true tapered head tube in steel, you'd be looking at some *serious* $ and/or lathe time. I suspect that the Paragon boys will have something available in the next year or two. And of course you'd need a 1.5" facing/reaming tool for the bottom of the head tube.
mtroy said:Walt, I so appreciate your reasoned responses.
I see your point with the large HT. I remember steel frames built with the Fisher oversize HS of days gone by and the Action Tec forks too....both were 1.5", were they not?
Definitely big looking.
I would have to think about that option. I need to go out and stare at my Action Tec bike and see how it looks.
Walt said:The Actiontec system uses 1 1/4", as did a bunch of old Fishers, Kleins, etc. The 1 1/4" head tube (IMO) does not look all that weird, but the 1.5" does.
Then again, I'm a big proponent of riding stuff that works, rather than what looks pretty.
Just for reference, here's a picture of a 1.5" head tube on a steel 29er:
If you did a straight 1.5" head tube, you'd add a few grams there (a 100mm head tube in 36.5x1.2mm weighs about 105g, a 100mm head tube in 52x1.2mm weighs 150g). You could do some trickery at the top and turn out a 1.5->1.125 adapter on the lathe to press the headset bearing in directly (no upper HS cup needed) to save back some of the weight of the adapter. I'd guesstimate that you'd add 75g no matter what, plus the extra weight of the lower cup/bearings - so easily 100-150g. Could be worth it, especially for longer travel setups, but definitely heavier.