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Shuffleman
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let's assume that in comparing headsets, they are the same type. What makes the difference between a $20 headset and a $100 headset? Is it just the weight and materials?
 

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Forever a Student
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Essentially yes.

Some like Cane Creek have a slick integrated locking spacer system thing. They have different levels of quality with matching prices. Some use carbon fiber top caps, some alloy. The bearings themselves vary in quality, there's several areas that bearings differ.

I am one to always remove all all grease from headset bearings and reinstall it myself. Headsets barely turn at all, they don't need to turn much, but they're very prone to contamination. Therefore unlike the rest of the bearings on the bike, I pack the headset bearings completely full of thick grease. You're not supposed to fully load a bearing with grease, it causes churning and prevents proper rolling of the balls. But like I said, headsets don't really move at all, very little.

So to me the most important thing isn't the headset itself, it's how it's prepared and installed. I also totally pack the top part of the compression plug with grease (just under the top cap).

It's often times that part, the compression plug, that varies widely in quality and construction. Sometimes it's not considered part of the headset but it always should be, and this is where you should pay the most attention. Just think that your stem is trying to crush your steerer tube and you're preventing that with the compression plug. So think of that and make sure you get a good one that will support your steerer and make sure the rest fits and make sure the grease is good and you'll be fine.
 

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Let's assume that in comparing headsets, they are the same type. What makes the difference between a $20 headset and a $100 headset? Is it just the weight and materials?

Depends on your definition of "weight and materials." Of course better alloys and higher grade plastics cost more. And if "bearing quality" fits into your definition then there is a big difference in the cost of low quality vs. high quality bearings. And as noted, there are design issues as well that make for better (and more expensive) headsets. You know, like there are for bikes, cars, skis, refrigerators, dishwashers, etc. etc. etc.
 

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Shuffleman
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Depends on your definition of "weight and materials." Of course better alloys and higher grade plastics cost more. And if "bearing quality" fits into your definition then there is a big difference in the cost of low quality vs. high quality bearings. And as noted, there are design issues as well that make for better (and more expensive) headsets. You know, like there are for bikes, cars, skis, refrigerators, dishwashers, etc. etc. etc.
I have always spent more time on the other parts of a build, mainly because my last frame came with the headset. This current steel frame that I bought needs one. I am going to go with Ritchey seat post and bars so it seemed logical for the headset as well. The logic is $20 and the WCS is closer to $75. The design looks the same. What will the WCS give me that the logic does not?
 

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My CK cartridge type external NoThreadset is 13 years old and has never been serviced. Every 2-3 years it needs a very slight adjustment. I might need new bearings in another 10 years.
I believe that it was $100-$110 when I bought it. It's $150 now.

It was worth it.
 

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Shuffleman
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My CK cartridge type external NoThreadset is 13 years old and has never been serviced. Every 2-3 years it needs a very slight adjustment. I might need new bearings in another 10 years.
I believe that it was $100-$110 when I bought it. It's $150 now.
It was worth it.
In fairness, if you had paid $20 for a headset at the same time, how do you know your result would be different? I have never had a problem with any headset from any bike. I am just trying to see if it is worth paying more money for a headset. What advantages are present?
 

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I have always spent more time on the other parts of a build, mainly because my last frame came with the headset. This current steel frame that I bought needs one. I am going to go with Ritchey seat post and bars so it seemed logical for the headset as well. The logic is $20 and the WCS is closer to $75. The design looks the same. What will the WCS give me that the logic does not?
Cannot comment on those units since I have not used them, but generally a better headset will be more adjustment tolerant and more durable.
 

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In fairness, if you had paid $20 for a headset at the same time, how do you know your result would be different? I have never had a problem with any headset from any bike. I am just trying to see if it is worth paying more money for a headset. What advantages are present?
I think the answer is that it is not worth it to you to spend more money on a headset. Several have posted advantages. If those advantages are not worth it to you, then buy the $20 headset.
 

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Logic is loose ball low grade bearings, WCS is cartridge stainless steel. I prefer a higher quality SS option regardless of it being cartridge or loose ball due to the number of rusted out headsets I see. Even packed with grease they still don't survive well in coastal areas. Cartridge is is the best IMO because if you do manage to ruin a bearing, you can just pop a new one in vs having to replace a full cup.
 

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Shuffleman
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678 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Logic is loose ball low grade bearings, WCS is cartridge stainless steel. I prefer a higher quality SS option regardless of it being cartridge or loose ball due to the number of rusted out headsets I see. Even packed with grease they still don't survive well in coastal areas. Cartridge is is the best IMO because if you do manage to ruin a bearing, you can just pop a new one in vs having to replace a full cup.
That makes sense. I guess that I will go with the WCS Logic.
Thanks.
 
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