Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
My bike was -TWO- Wheels!
Joined
·
576 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I see headsets go for big money. And am always curious. I have a Schwinn Moab DS3, it wasnt anything special from the shop and ive never replaced the headset in 1200 miles. So what is the reason for expensive ones? Mine doesnt even have a name on it, ive never had problems.

Just curious what makes a "good" headset from a "bad" one
 

·
Start slow and taper off
Joined
·
790 Posts
Its all relative

A "better" headset has nicer bearing, better seals, overall better quality. That said, even a crappy headset can last a really long time with the right maintanence. When I first got into mountain biking back in the '80's, I was a kid with not a lot of money to replace parts, so I made sure what I had lasted. I was meticulous with cleaning and adjusting my threaded headset, which are arguably somewhat more difficult to maintain. That headset lasted me 3 years of way more riding than I do now (regular every day rides of 10 to 40 miles, plus I was on the bike constantly around town).

A really good headset usually means a bit less maintanence for much longer lasting. Chris King headsets, in my opinion, require the most minimal of care, and will most likely last forever.

Is a headset worth replacing? If it starts to act funny, you find wear on the races, or the bearings seem to be going, replace it and be done with it. Unfortunately, a lot of bikes these days have integrated headsets, thereby making a King unusable (except for the rare frame that you can get a perdido installed, but that requires expensive tools and a specific frame).

I have come across several "high" quality headsets that though pricey had the same bearing and races as their lower end brothers, simply with a better finish and the most minimal of weight savings. Thats why I'll always go with a King when I need to replace a headset, or on the road or cross a Campy is a really nice headset as well.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,131 Posts
Generally, they are not that different, the difference is that you install them correctly and they are seated correctly, when this is done, they'll last for many years.
 

·
mtbr "member"
Joined
·
719 Posts
I'd go with cartridge bearings.

summitlt said:
I see headsets go for big money. And am always curious. I have a Schwinn Moab DS3, it wasnt anything special from the shop and ive never replaced the headset in 1200 miles. So what is the reason for expensive ones? Mine doesnt even have a name on it, ive never had problems.

Just curious what makes a "good" headset from a "bad" one
I definitely see less maintanence with sealed cartridge bearings with decent quality bearing. Like cane creek ZS1 bearing crap out early while their ZS6 bearings last a long while.

Incidentally, I have several sets of FSA orbit Extremes XL's I bought in 1998 way back when they weren't a popular company. They sold for $29 at supergo then. I expected to go through them like most other "cheap" headsets I had. Turns out I'm still on my first FSA set and still going strong. Neck and neck with my Chris King. Pleasant surprise.

Only problem is I have 3 new ones in my parts box awaiting action but almost all of my new frames have Zero stack headsets. They may be headed for EBAY!

REEK
 

·
"El Whatever"
Joined
·
18,889 Posts
summitlt said:
Just curious what makes a "good" headset from a "bad" one
Installation and maintenance.

A headset which was properly installed will last very long and if properly maintanned it can last even more.

I've seen 5 dollars headsets to go a long time problemless.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,363 Posts
I used to think they were all basically the same.........

Yes, there is a difference between ball bearings and sealed bearings. I would always go for the sealed ones just in case I get a bit lazy and skip greasing them up once in awhile.

I've had Kings and they were fine, really trouble free. Most sealed bearing headsets are trouble free for the most part.

Up until recently, I always tried to get a nice light set to boot. Not anymore.....I came flying down a pretty rough section on one of our local trails recently and when I reached the bottom, I noticed that the fork was loose. Figured I would ride it home and tighten the headset, which also seemed pretty weird since I have never had to do that with any headset. Anyways, got home and could not adjust it, so I took it apart only to find out that the bottom cups had totally sheared off. They were cane Creek S2's. Just ordered a set of Pig Pro DH. No more weight weenie for me.

Guess I now consider myself a pretty aggressive rider. Apart from shearing off the headset, I have broken the pedal interface on my FSA carbon crankset, destroyed the bearings on my Bebop pedals, heated up the calipers on a set of hydraulic Formula 4racing brakes till they fully locked up for 5 minutes on our downhill section.

YaMon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,453 Posts
If it makes you feel better to have a king then get one.It can't be denied that mountain biking is somewhat of a fashion show and that a rider may feel better and ride more often with Xtr vs Ls or fox talas vs pilot.
When i replace components i always upgrade,i just have to.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,380 Posts
I have a Cane Creek S2 on my blur...its less than a year old, but I ride alot and with all the rain/mud this year in So Cal, I've had to hose the bike off many times, so I'm concerned that the headset may need maintenance. What exactly do I do? Take it apart, clean and lubricate? Any pointers?

TIA
 

·
Cereal Killer
Joined
·
342 Posts
I just replaced my Cane Creek S2 on my blur today. I took it apart to change the stack heighth, and found that both of the sealed bearings had came apart. The little blue seal part on both the top and bottom bearings had come out, and I suppose a little bit of moisture had gotten in to them. They were pretty rusty looking. I think this is a problem with Cane Creek bearings, cause at the shop, we had to replace 2 sets of bearings on a customers road bike, same exact thing as mine. Don't know what makes them do this, but it seems the quality of the bearing itself is to blame. I'll post pics tomorrow of what happened to mine.

Oh, and I'm not a hard rider, never do any hucking and the bearing were trashed. And the bike was bought brand new in December.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
How do you know when a headset has gone bad?...

I've got an S2 on my blur and it feels fine. I don't know what's on my old hartdtail (stock on trek 6500), but I rode it for 4 years and never noticed any problems. Also, I've got a Giant Iguana from '89 or '90 that I use for getting around the city. Its still got whatever headset that was on it when I bought it, though I have cleaned and regreased it every coupla years.

Sooo...
...How do you know when it's gone bad? Will it be something pronounced or is it something more subtle?

Thanks
Jeff
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
388 Posts
the lower line bearings, like the cane creek s-2 use carbon steel bearings. they corrode fairly easily when exposed to water. the upper line bearings use stainless steel which hold up much much better to adverse conditions. i personally miss the old shimano headsets. they had gone to a fairly large sized bearing which seemed to hold up very well. none of the present companies that i know of use a large ball. the smaller balls, even though there may be more of them, do not seem to be nearly as hearty as the larger ones.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,380 Posts
Warp2003 said:
What you said. Just read the manufacturer's instructions. Cane Creek has them on their website. Use a thick grease, not a light one.
There were no instructions on the website in terms of greasing, etc...so I just took it apart...it was amazingly clean given all the washings the bike has been through...I just cleaned everything up and put a new coat of grease on it all and put it back together. Thanks.
 

·
"El Whatever"
Joined
·
18,889 Posts
JeffRouse said:
Sooo...
...How do you know when it's gone bad? Will it be something pronounced or is it something more subtle?

Thanks
Jeff
When you feel anything on the handlebar when you move it or when the headset makes any kind of noise. It should be silent if it's in good condition. If you adjusted it properly and it goes bad again in short time, it's time for a new one also. Maybe just replacing the balls or bearings.

If your bearing races are not scratched, dinged or grooved... they're good to go.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top