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Intergrated Head Sets - Good or Bad
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I have heard a lot of people saying intergrated headsets are no good - most notably - Mr Colnago - but have never heard any reasons - whats the story are they good or bad and why.

Al
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Re: Intergrated Head Sets - Good or Bad [alex] [ In reply to ]
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i don't think it is an issue of them being bad, per se. it is more a question of them not being any better than the widely held standard and convienient system they are about to replace. they more or less are a perfect example of " a solution for which there was no problem". with one you are far more limited in maintenencce and replacement of your fork, with nothing to show for it. that is at their very best. most fall well short of that, and are point in fact just plain worse due to manufacturing deficiencies. the design requires extremely precise bearings and machinging at point of manufacture - it is often not acheived and the bike is out of luck.
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Re: Intergrated Head Sets - Good or Bad [alex] [ In reply to ]
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Good: they lower the stack height and reduce weight by a few grams, allowing the stem to be lower and lightening the bike

Bad: if you pit the "cups," you pit the frame, thereby ruining it. I would rather spring for a new headset than a new frame. And this is alot easier to do than people think, especially with aluminum frames.

Look at chris kings website for a good article on why they're not great.

tommy
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Re: Intergrated Head Sets - Good or Bad [alex] [ In reply to ]
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Mr. Colnago is a very good man, even though he does advocate Frankenbikes. But Gerard is a good man in the way that he does not like Frankenbikes; but I won't hold the integrated headset against him. Mr. Colnago, being a man who has worked with the wondrous fibres for about twenty years probably knows what he's doing with Frankenbikes. But this is not about Frankenbikes, it's about my other pet peeve: the Integrated Headset.

1) They are no better than what they have replaced. I can recall several times where the Integrated Headset did not work properly. This may have been ironed out now, but read on.

2) Proprietary systems can leave you in the cold. Again, this may not be the case anymore, as most are either using Cane Creek or Campy, but you should read on.

3) No choice in replacement parts. If an integrated Headset's parts are no longer made, you're screwed. In the case of an Old, Obsolete, Out of Production (OOOPs) conventional headset, you couldjust replace the headset. In this case, you have to replace the frame.

4) If the cup (frame) is roached, you're screwed. This only applies where the headset IS the cup. Internal headsets (with replaceable inner "cups) are not quite like that, except you have the same problems as #3 and 4. But- the headtube could still not be reamed properly in an Internal Headset, and can't be remedied by the action of a headset facing device by a competent pro mechanic.

Now one argument has been made about #3, and that is that nobody pays attention to the headset. Bull S#*^. I will pass on a bike that is Ultegra except for a cheap @ss headset (if I buy a complete bike, which is rare for bunnyman). This is an area that should not be skimped on. I will accept any of the Campy headsets at Chorus or above, or a Chris King. Shimano does not do threadless.

Another argument is that "if you don't trust a company to ream the head tube, you should not buy a bike from them". Frankly, there are few companies that I would trust to build me a bike, and I trust them less to make an integrated headset, for sure. What if the headset reamer is having a fight with their significant other? What if the headset reamer was drunk or high? You have to realise that this is a worry on ALL phases of production, but it is one less worry I would rather have. I would rather have that happen with the end assembler, as any complete bike I would buy would be torn down and rebuilt upon my demand. That would include a new headset in many cases :^)

Read my signature, and you now have the reasons behind one part of my signature.
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Re: Intergrated Head Sets - Good or Bad [Tommy Nelson] [ In reply to ]
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[reply] Bad: if you pit the "cups," you pit the frame, thereby ruining it. I would rather spring for a new headset than a new frame. And this is alot easier to do than people think, especially with aluminum frames.

Look at chris kings website for a good article on why they're not great.

tommy[/reply]

Well, integrated headsets are obviously a threat to Chris King's business, so their article is hardly a surprise. Yes, they made their own version to appear independent, but it was a system nobody wanted.

As for your arguments of pitting "a lot easier to do than people think", strangely enough there have been no such reports that I have ever seen, of course I would have most knowledge of the warranty issues with Cervelos and we have had ZERO returns with the integrated headsets.

I've said it again, and I'll say it before, it is all about choosing the proper manufacturer. I cannot believe that people won't trust a manufacturer to put a correct ream in the headtube (really a very easy procedure, the tool determines everything) yet have no such fears when it comes to these manufacturers welding a frame (a much more difficult proces).

And if you were to have a problem with pitting in the frame (again, I've never seen it), it would be a warranty issue so you'd get a new frame for free. So again that appears to be an advantage of the integrated headset, a new frame for free vs. buying a new headset (unless if it is a CK, which would also replace something like that for free). BTW, anybody ever pitted a Chris King headset cup? I didn't think so, so how will a sealed bearing in an integrated headset pit a headtube?

That said, I am not a cheerleader for integrated headsets. I think most of them are poorly done, most of them are not done in a way that render any benefits, but if properly done there can be some benefits to them (lower stack for certain frame sizes, better torsional stiffness of the frame). No earth shattering benefits, but especially in the case of torsional stiffness it becomes harder and harder to squeeze the maximum possible stiffness out of a frame, they get lighter and lighter and somehow the stiffness requirements stay the same.

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Gerard Vroomen
3T.bike
OPEN cycle
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Re: Intergrated Head Sets - Good or Bad [gerard] [ In reply to ]
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a very admirable post of the part of gerard !! i think there ARE certain advanges to the things from a manufacuring perspective - some more noble than others but that is neither here nor there. many other manu's have stated similar views - or even stronger ones. ms yaeger from bianchi has said flat out that they are a wash, and that the consumer will in the end actualy suffer with them but the consumer is also demanding that they have them to look "up to date" so what do you want? people like conago and ritchey don't really care, and don't need mass fashion appeal for their markets so they are free to do as they see fit. it has been noted by no less than mr lynskey at litespeed that the chris king position is not a "sour grapes" type deal - after all the IHS requires a very good headset to work at all, and according to lynskey, at least chris king COULD, if it wanted, literally OWN the IHS market. that CK elects to not produce something in a standard they do not believe is sound is to their credit.

but, as ms yaeger has also stated, the war is essentially over, anyway. for all its faults and its questions the IHS is here to stay, and it is in effect the new "standard" such as it is. the market will still be there for old curmudgeons such as bunnyman, myself, and others along with manu's like waterford and colnago. cycling can support everybody - it's not like we have a choice or like anybody will care in a few years anyway.
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Re: Intergrated Head Sets - Good or Bad [gerard] [ In reply to ]
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I have no beef either way with respect to integrated headsets. I have seen somevery nice bikes that come with them, and would consider getting for myself, and have seen crap bikes that nobody should get. WRT pitting the cups, I'm not talking about doing it with the bearings, but if you *happened* to drop a tool on the cups, it could mar it. Don't scoff, I've seen it happen. Then the frame is ruined, and you have to send it back, getting another one in two weeks, instead of reaching in the headset drwer for a new cup.

I have no opinion WRT which manufacturer does what when making a frame, and it's not a trust issue. It's another thing that can go wrong, and it's not needed, so why add to the complication?

tommy
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Re: Intergrated Head Sets - Good or Bad [t-t-n] [ In reply to ]
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I don't think "the war is over", I think there will be a backlash against integrated headsets, at first a blanket backlash, which will then get more focussed on certain ways of doing them, and finally we'll have some balance where some bikes will have them (but they will all use the better versions, not some of the silly stuff now out there) and other bikes will not have integrated headsets.

I disagree that CK could own the IHS market for exactly the reason you point out. A lot of manufacturers switched to IHS for less than admirable reasons, and they are not about to put the most expensive headset in their frame. Basically the same reason CK doesn't own the non-integrated headset market, they are one of the headsets of choice for people in the know, but unfortunately that is a very small percentage of the overall market.

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Gerard Vroomen
3T.bike
OPEN cycle
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Re: Intergrated Head Sets - Good or Bad [gerard] [ In reply to ]
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good points on all...also agree about CK, they are for people who know what they want in a bike, and want to pay for it once.

tommy
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Re: Intergrated Head Sets - Good or Bad [bunnyman] [ In reply to ]
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[reply]4) If the cup (frame) is roached, you're screwed. This only applies where the headset IS the cup.[/reply]

No it does not, this problem is much bigger with non-integrated headsets than with integrated ones. With a non-IHS you are relying on a press fit between cup and headtube, once that is gone, the frame's toast. And unlike the pitting and the roaching of an IHS (again, never seen it), loss of the press fit between non-IHS cup and headtube actually happens! It's rare, but I can bet you that few frame manufacturers would take responsibility for such a problem, it would be blamed on operator error. So now you're really screwed, your frame is toast and you won't get a warranty replacement.

Bottomline, be it IHS or Frankenbikes or welding or anything else, look at the manufacturer's track record and because everybody makes mistakes, look at the warranty policy. Not just at the duration, but see how warranties are actually handled. A lifetime warranty where you have to wait a year to get a replacement doesn't do you much good.

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Gerard Vroomen
3T.bike
OPEN cycle
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Re: Intergrated Head Sets - Good or Bad [gerard] [ In reply to ]
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that is an interesting prediction gerard. it would be cool if it came to pass - unless you were saddled with one of the current IHS bikes which doesn't make the cut, of course. personally this is one of, if not the main reason i would not buy an IHS bike currently - yours or anybodies. there will always be CK external sets available- if a IHS design dies in the future you are gonna be out of luck.

i think a CK IHS would be so superior to the current offerings that market demand would require its use above a certain level once people felt the difference. i believe that is what the lynskey context and comment was saying. that is CK's market and you are right it is small overall. but you would know better than i, sir. :)
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Re: Intergrated Head Sets - Good or Bad [t-t-n] [ In reply to ]
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With all due respect, the lack of availability once a standard dies is another myth. It is still quite easy to buy 7-speed or 8-speed products, even though 9 and 10-speed are the norm now. 6-speed is a bit tougher but still available, and that standard has been obsolete for decades. Given that triathletes on average change their bike every 3 years, the issue is fairly moot for the first, second, third, fourth and fifth owner of a bike purchased today. And that's if the standard were obsolete tomorrow, which in most cases it obviously won't be.

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Gerard Vroomen
3T.bike
OPEN cycle
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Re: Intergrated Head Sets - Good or Bad [gerard] [ In reply to ]
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could be, gerard but i have an outbuilding full of bikes that sez otherwise from a consumer's point of view. have you tried to find a nice cantilever mt bike lever lately? and yes you can find stuff if you know where to look - i can still get campy super record if i want it - but that doesn't mean it is easy, or there is much choice, and once the big closeouts are gone you dang sure won't find any bargains. so, i do not think it a myth that living with old standard stuff in a new world is inconvient and limiting.

but i am picky. i like to access my own stuff and work on my own bikes. i like interchangabililty where it is possible.

i am not the average bike buyer, obviously when you say 2-3 years and then new again. and really perhaps that is where our personal philosophies differ on some of these issues with regard to living with some of these equipment choices. i can't say how nice it is to have the conversation with you tho - thanks.
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Re: Intergrated Head Sets - Good or Bad [t-t-n] [ In reply to ]
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[reply]i am not the average bike buyer, obviously when you say 2-3 years and then new again. and really perhaps that is where our personal philosophies differ on some of these issues with regard to living with some of these equipment choices. i can't say how nice it is to have the conversation with you tho - thanks.[/reply]

I think our personal philosophies don't differ that much, I was just stating the market average. As for myself, I've been riding the same Cervelo Renaissance for three years, and when I got it it was second-hand. I'm sure that is an above average time for somebody in the bike industry. But I am changing bikes this year, the Renaissance will go on the wall and the new steeds will be a Dual and a Soloist or a SuperProdigy.

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Gerard Vroomen
3T.bike
OPEN cycle
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Re: Intergrated Head Sets - Good or Bad [gerard] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
... But I am changing bikes this year, the Renaissance will go on the wall and the new steeds will be a Dual and a Soloist or a SuperProdigy.


And how much longer will it be until you're able to get that Soloist?
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Re: Intergrated Head Sets - Good or Bad [markr14850] [ In reply to ]
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I have a 2002 Soloist earmarked for myself that we have left over (why ride a bike we're short of). But I presume your question wasn't really about when I can ride one. So for others, there are still some 2002's available from our dealers (at very good prices I may add) and the 2003 issues have all been resolved and we're in full production now, so March would be the date for those.

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Gerard Vroomen
3T.bike
OPEN cycle
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Re: Intergrated Head Sets - Good or Bad [gerard] [ In reply to ]
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well gerard it looks you are right again, when you note the superprodigy. you and i are on the same page there, as i have to say that does look like a very bitchin bicycle. :)
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