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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been floating between 250 and 270. I'm looking for a better headset for a bike I've been building. It's a nashbar steel frame (they're old cro-mo scott frames... I have 2, neither's let me down yet) with a rigid cro-mo surly fork, and an 8" avid. The current headset hasn't issued a formal complaint yet, but I can tell it's not always happy.

Has anyone tried the FSA pig headsets? There are a few reviews for the DH pro that sound promising, but I figure the clydesdale forum is the place to find out for sure.

Other than King (I just don't have that kinda cash) what else gets recommended in here?
 

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i just use the cheap $20 aheadset models...only takes me 10 min to take one out an put in a new one they usually last a year..so whats the problem....i have never understood the $100 headsets...but i should say my wheels mostly stay on the ground..i do trail riding exclusively...jm $.02
 

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king steelhead. 1" deep cups of stainless steel. made for DH and Freeride. Should work wonders under a hefty man with a rigid fork and steel frame (yeehah!).

I've been using my kingheadset for 6-7 years now with nary a hitch. At $20 a year for a cheapo you have now spent more than my $100 (at the time) blue King. Numbers don' lie.
 

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rockcrusher said:
king steelhead. 1" deep cups of stainless steel. made for DH and Freeride. Should work wonders under a hefty man with a rigid fork and steel frame (yeehah!).

I've been using my kingheadset for 6-7 years now with nary a hitch. At $20 a year for a cheapo you have now spent more than my $100 (at the time) blue King. Numbers don' lie.
Lmao...i have never been on the same bike for that long...they break it seems :) usually on the drive side chainstay....hard to say why that happens...lol
 

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I have not had any issues with the Pig DH pro headset directly. I had a HT ovalize while using one, but that doesn't mean the hs was to blame. I rode one of these for about 6 months. They are heavy by comparison.

I used a Syncros hardcore headset for about 5 years. It was awesome and outlasted a couple of frames.

I am currently running a Cane Creek S-2 and IMO it works as well as the others I have ran in the past.

I have run a king and sorry to say it was the only headset I have run in recent years that I could complain about. It had this odd creaking noise from time to time. I soaked it with tri-flow, greased all contact points, removed it and greased between the cups and the frame. Never was able to stop the creak. IMO the kings are a good headset, but aren't infallable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well... I found a deep version of the dh pro... it sinks farther into the HT, kinda like the King Steelset. Problem was it cost more because I only found it at cambria, but it's still half what I'd have paid for a king. (I have a king on another bike... they're great headsets, I just didn't want to shell out that much AGAIN) And hopefully the deep version will help prevent the ovaling that one of you mentioned.

Many thanks :)
 

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Best bang for the buck is the regular PIG DH. Not the one with the sealed bearings. Not only are the bearings bigger/easier to maintain they are hella cheap and I have NEVER had a problem with them. I ride in wet muddy climate (not this summer though) and they are more reliable than any cartridge sealed headset I have ever used.

But if you have the coin...then get a king. Yes they rock...but you really pay the price.
 

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King is the only way to fly....10 year waranty, not only sealed bearings, but serviceable sealed bearings, and most people who get neutral colors keep them and move them from bike to bike......for clydesdales a 10 year waranty is amazing.....the headset pays for itself in item cost over time and labor (how much is your time worth for home mechanics) for me taking clydsdale worries off my list is worth something too
 

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8 years now on a king setup. Been through two HT frames. I just bought another one for my FS bike as the Raceface unit I had needed constant attention. Several months on the new one without one adjustment.

I'm was 240lbs & do like a some air when I can get it. This HS does pay for itself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yeah... I'd love to have the coin for a king. I have one on another bike, and that bike is pretty much all the parts I would ever want on a bike anyway. Avid 185s with SD ultimate levers, XT derailleurs, Specialized/hugi sealed bearing stout hubs in mavic D321 rims, thudbuster post, king headset, 'Zokie coil and oil 80mm fork with the heavy duty springs... If the trek frame dies, I'm just going to swap it all to a different frame, but probably steel tnext time. If it dies. It's an amazing bike, and it's the queen of my collection.

But this particular ride that I was headset shopping for is one I dressed down to lock up on a regular basis in the city, and I'd hate to dress down a king.

Aside from the disc brake, this thing looks like a neglected beater bike, because I stripped and clear coated the steel frame and fork, and stripped every name brand and label I could find off of everything. I dipped my salsa brake boosters in some naval jelly and took off most of the black coating... but not all, because it looks crappier that way... which is what I wanted. Even things like the avid V brakes had the lettering removed with stripper. The front brake and booster were recently replaced by the disc, which has called attention to the headset deficiency.

There's not much to be done on an avid disc to dress it down, but it's a dull grey, and blends in with the grey of the rest of the bike, so aside from the fact that it's a disc brake, it sort of subdues itself in this context. I'm pushing my luck running the disc on the front, since it's a high dollar item and kinda calls attention to the bike. But since Wally world and toys r us are carrying bikes with disc brake these days, I'm hoping I'll get away with it. In downtown traffic, it's good to be able to stop fast, so it's a worthwhile gamble. My old ahead set is now clicking when I brake, so I needed an upgrade, but a king is a bit much for what I use this bike for.

My relatives know I'm sort of a bike nut. SO they all look at this bike and say "Don't you have, like, I don't know... a nicer bike than this ?

I can't in good conscience put a king in such a context.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, whoever said the DH pro was like a poor man's king was absolutely right. And the bottom bearing is actually bigger than a king... that thing is HUGE!!!.

It's amazing how hard it can be to get the deeper seats to press all the way in. I know my King will outlast the frame it's in, but I don't know if this one is gonna come out. Hard to say for sure.

And, most importantly, it's rock solid when I slam on the brakes. It's a rigid fork, a 203mm Avid disc, and ~270 pounds of me. And even in a panic stop, using only the front brake, there's no clicking, no flexing, no hint of anything that might suggest that it's somehow not up to the task.

God d!mn, that thing is cool :)

And now, I'm off to go do... something else.
 

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Hmmf, my headset is something that I have never had any problems with. I change my fork and usually through a new headset in. That is something I too can not see spending a great deal of money on; I buy pretty much the cheapest aheadset.

As far smoothness, I can't tell you about that. I am pretty picky about the set up and overall feel of my bike, but have never even thought about smoothness. Must be all those rocks I am riding around and over.

Ken.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, I didn't want to pay top dollar here either. Part of the cost does go into smoothness, but part of it goes into the rigidity and durability I wanted in the bike. I paid a little more than I'd originally intended, but I can say I think it was worth every penny, since the aheadset I'd originally built the bike with was dying.

Normally shock forks will absorb some of the braking force, they'll dip a little. It's basic bike physics. Some dive less than others, but still. The forces applied to the headset will be lessened as a result. The shorter the fork compresses to, the less leverage it will have on the headset, and less energy to pull on that lever because of energy absorbed by dampening. But in this case it's a longish, suspension corrected, rigid fork, that's straight, so it wasn't absorbing anything when compared to a shock fork. All the force required to stop me as fast as I want got applied to a longer straight lever, and applied directly to the headset. So the old aheadset was clicking, and moving around under braking, and I didn't think it would last too much longer.

What's more, it's more of a street/urban bike. It's more for banging around the city with as few frills as possible, rather than running over trails. So brakes have even more power. Asphalt doesn't gouge, slide, or give. Asphalt grabs. On the street I like to go fast, and stop even faster, and I didn't want a headset that was going to end up breaking on me because it couldn't handle the leverage stresses. Maybe when it all boils down it's also about me getting the feeling that my bike is as rock solid as I want it to be, in all conditions. I don't like the idea of using a component that can't handle normal stresses the rest of the bike is built to encounter. Using a headset that can't put up with the forces my brakes put out doesn't sit well with me.

I don't care about paint, I don't care about flash. It's 7 speed, with the paint stripped off... it's ugly, and the steel frame is a little on the heavy side. (The next upgrade would be the frame, if I didn't lock it up in the city) But it goes fast, stops fast, and feels even more solid now than it did before. And that's worth the $60 for the headset to me. It's half what I'd pay for a King, and the Bottom bearing is bigger and beefier looking. Since the bottom bearing takes the lion's share of the work, supporting the rider's weight, that makes sense to me.

I mess around maybe too much in my own head with the physics involved in the mechanics of a bicycle. I get off on learning things like why the front wheel has 70% or more of the total braking force on a bicycle. I like analyzing why a larger rotor is actually less likely to get a wheel ripped out of the forks than a smaller rotor. (This has been a problem for a few people... be sure to use quick releases with "sunburst" ridges, or some other texture that will grip the fork better where it clamps down, such as shimano uses.)

The physics of it all intrigues me. As does the application. For instance, I used to use a ceramic rim on the front only. Stops better in the warmer weather, and better in the rain. But in snow that ceramic gets and stays slippery. Snow melts, fills in the texture, and freezes up. Aluminum cleans off quickly by comparison, and brakes fine. It makes sense to use the rear brake more in the snow, since it's more controllable in the event of lockup. So that bike had the best braking performance I'd need given all of the situations I'd run into. The rear worked well in the snow, while the front was less lilkely to grab and wash out. It's a lot more safe in that context. The rest of the year the front was almost as good as a disc brake, and made the rear brake almost unnecessary. It was a brake system that was set up for a reason, and for a purpose, based on hands on experience. And that, to me, was really cool. I had found a workable system that was versatile without much more tweaking than changing to snow tires in the winter.

So I guess the third reason for me to get the headset is that it's one more tweak I can make on this thing to help make it the bike to use given my own riding style. It's satisfying to know why I have certain parts on the bike, and why I chose to build it a certain way. I can justify this part.
 

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The interesting aspect of the FSA DH pro is the beveled 45 degree angle on the bearing housing which distributes the forks shock load better on the sealed bearings. Its what makes this headset unique and well suited for abuse by clydes. I'm happy with mine and am riding at about 215 lbs. My king makes slight ticking sounds even after cleaning and re-installing, might be my headtube starting to ovalise but for now I'm just running it.
 
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