: I dont know if this can be answered without aid
: of visual depiction, but can somebody tell me in
: words, how I know if I have a "threaded" or
: "threadless" headset? (which one is more
Okay, I'll try to help, but I'm no expert, especially with all
the new technology around these days...
A threaded headset is one that has threads on the inner diameter
which is designed to***onto the outside of your (threaded) fork
head tube. It is like a custom nut that has been machined so that
the bearings can ride on something curved and smooth. This is the
traditional type headset that has been with bikes since their
The threadless type is one that works with fork head tubes that
have no threads. With that system, the bearing races are more like
precision washers and the hold-down and securing is accomplished
by a different handlebar stem and cap, also designed to work with
the threadless fork. These are common on Mountain Bikes, primarily
because of their torsional strength of the handlebar stem. The
threadless headset has a large cap to cover the top of the head
tube, whereas the threaded headset has the stem sticking out of the
top. I believe that 1-1/8" is the most common size. 1" is probably
only used by folks converting a 1" threaded setup to a threadless
: Also, of what importance is the "stack height"
: of the headset as listed in the catalogs?
Stack height relates to the height of the headset components if you
stack them up one on top of the other. That height, plus the height
of your bike's head tube, plus the thickness of your handlebar stem,
plus/minus some other factors will determine the length of your fork's
head tube. When you are purchasing a new fork for your bike, you need
this information in order to order the correct one. If the fork is too
short, you won't be able to put everything together safely. If it is
too long, it won't work correctly. Many places sell precision washers
that you can install to accommodate some degree of the fork head tube
being too long.
: Can't I use any brand of threaded headset with
: any brand of threaded fork?
There are different thread pitches available, but a few are more
standard than others. If the threads match, then typically you can
use any brand of threaded headset to any brand of threaded fork as
long as the length matches. Be aware, however, that the bicycle
steering depends highly on the frame and fork geometries. Even
though different forks may physically fit, they may not perform
the same (or even close).
Like I said before, I'm no expert. I'd recommend to work with your
LBS and give them your business if you are not sure what you are
doing. Corrections to this posting are welcomed, especially if I
am way off base.
Wes Fujii KC7MFT | You are better off not knowing
Boise, Idaho | -Unknown author
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