Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 31
  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    2,969

    Tapered headtube vs. straight 1-1/8. Performance difference?

    Would like to hear what you guys have to say. Yeah yeah I know the marketing brochures of big guys always highlight tapered headtube like it'll give you steroid like power up the hills and down the twisties, but we all know better. However, I'm sure tapere h/t does give some overall stiffness to the front simply because of sheer volume.

    But all else being equal, can you say that you climb better and/or descend better because of it? I would think descending would benefit more if you're railing near the limits of traction. And I would also think if you're a gorilla and you're standing up a hill and wringing the heck out of your bike, then I can see you twisting the headtube, and in which case taper is beneficial.

    Now I know it's a hard comparison, and most likely it'll be just subjective opinions, but I still wanna hear what you gotta say.

    FYI, my mountain bike and dirtjumper has a straight 1-1/8 headtube and I huck and jump all the time, and I don't feel like that headtube size is what holding me back from going bigger. If anything it's my balls holding me back.

  2. #2
    'brifter' is a lame word.
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    8,822
    it would be really hard to say...you'd have to ride 2 bikes on the same road...with the only difference being the headtube/fork. you could do that w/ a Cervelo R3, a 2010 vs 2011. i just switched from a Cervelo S2 to a Trek 6.9SSL. i can tell the difference in the front ends of those 2 frames for sure. everything else is the same, bars/stem...wheels...the only difference is the frame/fork.

    mountain bikes and dirt jumpers? they're already quite a bit more stout that most road frames, so you probably won't notice as much difference w/ them.
    i work for some bike racers...
    2013 Trek Madone 5.9 w/ '12 SRAM Red
    2010 Cervelo T1 sprint bike
    Ruger 10-22TD
    Smith&Wesson M&P 15-22
    Smith&Wesson M&P 9
    oh, those belong in another forum

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: serious's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2,883
    Oh please, in a blind test probably nobody could tell the difference ... except maybe through computerized tests that show the added stiffness.
    My rides:
    Lynskey Ti Pro29 SL singlespeed
    GF Superfly 29er HT
    S-Works Roubaix SL3 Dura Ace
    Pake French 75 track

  4. #4
    'brifter' is a lame word.
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    8,822
    Quote Originally Posted by serious View Post
    Oh please, in a blind test probably nobody could tell the difference ... except maybe through computerized tests that show the added stiffness.
    you're right, what was i thinking. no way there could be a discernible difference. now i'm gonna sell my 6.9 and try to buy back my S2...
    i work for some bike racers...
    2013 Trek Madone 5.9 w/ '12 SRAM Red
    2010 Cervelo T1 sprint bike
    Ruger 10-22TD
    Smith&Wesson M&P 15-22
    Smith&Wesson M&P 9
    oh, those belong in another forum

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Kontact's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    2,731
    I think it would be hard to determine whether the variation in stiffness in two forks is because of the steerer or the rest of the fork. It would be interesting to have Wound Up build two forks that are only different in the steerer - though I suspect any difference reall comes from the junction of the crown and steerer, rather than anything happening between the bearings.
    Get a better saddle: www.kontactbike.com

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    1,037
    good question - how about those "subjective opinions" from roadies owning both styles?

  7. #7
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    246
    Tapered head tubes look cooler. And if they are stiffer thats a bonus. end of thread.

  8. #8
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: serious's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2,883
    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    you're right, what was i thinking. no way there could be a discernible difference. now i'm gonna sell my 6.9 and try to buy back my S2...
    You are obviously not thinking this through. ALL things being equal, I am convinced that in a blind test you would have no clue if the HT is tappered or normal. The tapered head tube actually helps design a stiffer/bigger down tube. That is the big advantage, but you need specialized machines to see that 2-3% improvements in stiffness.
    My rides:
    Lynskey Ti Pro29 SL singlespeed
    GF Superfly 29er HT
    S-Works Roubaix SL3 Dura Ace
    Pake French 75 track

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Kuma601's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,462
    Possibly for those elite athletes who's riding ability can discern these differences. For me, I wouldn't be able to detect a 5-10% difference and be able to say it was directly related to component X. More power to those who can.

  10. #10
    'brifter' is a lame word.
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    8,822
    Quote Originally Posted by serious View Post
    You are obviously not thinking this through. ALL things being equal, I am convinced that in a blind test you would have no clue if the HT is tappered or normal. The tapered head tube actually helps design a stiffer/bigger down tube. That is the big advantage, but you need specialized machines to see that 2-3% improvements in stiffness.
    all i said was that the front end was stiffer on my 6.9...i never mentioned anything about just forks or steerer tubes. i thought the only way to realistically check would be to ride 2 models of the same bike back to back...say an older R3 vs a newer one. that obviously includes the stiffer down tube that the new frame has. the first thing i said was that it would be 'really hard to tell'...
    so, you're obviously not understanding what i'm trying to say.
    i work for some bike racers...
    2013 Trek Madone 5.9 w/ '12 SRAM Red
    2010 Cervelo T1 sprint bike
    Ruger 10-22TD
    Smith&Wesson M&P 15-22
    Smith&Wesson M&P 9
    oh, those belong in another forum

  11. #11
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    156
    I rode a Look 555 before with a 1 1/8, I really enjoyed that bike's stiffness. Now I ride a supersix hm and some times i think to myself this bike is way tooooooo stiff. Its not a bad thing but some times I like the flexibility. It doesnt felt to the point where it hinders anything, just a more better feel.

  12. #12
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    2,969
    all these carbon bikes with tapered h/t make the front look like mountain bikes.

    These road bikes have a burly looking front end (partly due to bigger downtubes too) and a skinny ass rear end, like Dolly Parton. They look so out of proportions. I can only reason that tapered tubes must be really advantages or else why would anyone use them to make ugly?? But that's just me asking!

  13. #13
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: vladvm's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    421
    big difference! tapered headtubes are stronger, would help you power up hills with 500-600watts directed all to the backwheels. go ahead and get it, for sure you will feel the power.
    every 3 seconds, a child dies of hunger. how much did you spend on your bike?

  14. #14
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Kontact's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    2,731
    Quote Originally Posted by vladvm View Post
    big difference! tapered headtubes are stronger, would help you power up hills with 500-600watts directed all to the backwheels. go ahead and get it, for sure you will feel the power.
    Are you being facetious?
    Get a better saddle: www.kontactbike.com

  15. #15
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    1,903
    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    i thought the only way to realistically check would be to ride 2 models of the same bike back to back...say an older R3 vs a newer one. that obviously includes the stiffer down tube that the new frame has.
    You kind of just admitted that they're not the same frame.

    If you took one frame with a normal head tube, rode it, cut the head tube off and replaced it with a tapered tube, you'd never notice a difference. If you put a tapered head tube on and remade the rest of the bike to be stiffer, it would be stiffer.

    If you had 2 different bikes from different brands, both with different head tubes, you couldnt draw any conclusions about which one is stiffer just by going off the head tube. In terms of the OP's "all things equal" question, the answer is definitely no.

  16. #16
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: the_don's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    545
    My 16 year old Klein quantum pro has a tapered head tube.

    I got nothing to add to the 'debate', just wanted to brag about how 16 year old Kleins are still ahead of the curve.

  17. #17
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: bwhite_4's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    961
    The 1 1/4 bottom allows fork companies to meet newer euro-impact standards for carbon forks. So if you can't feel the difference when riding, your bike/fork will feel the difference when it goes thud.

  18. #18
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    2,969
    Quote Originally Posted by bwhite_4 View Post
    The 1 1/4 bottom allows fork companies to meet newer euro-impact standards for carbon forks. So if you can't feel the difference when riding, your bike/fork will feel the difference when it goes thud.
    I'm thinking any crash hard enough to break or crack a carbon fork steerer will have a good chance of:

    1) mangle the bike
    2) mangle the rider
    3) making rider wanting to get a new bike (assuming he survives the crash enough to ride again).

    Conclusion, I'd worry more about walking away in one piece than the dam fork!

  19. #19
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Kontact's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    2,731
    Quote Originally Posted by bwhite_4 View Post
    The 1 1/4 bottom allows fork companies to meet newer euro-impact standards for carbon forks. So if you can't feel the difference when riding, your bike/fork will feel the difference when it goes thud.
    Are you saying that current 1 1/8" forks aren't meeting that standard?
    Get a better saddle: www.kontactbike.com

  20. #20
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    2,969
    Quote Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
    Are you saying that current 1 1/8" forks aren't meeting that standard?
    yeah i'm not sure what this Euro standard is.
    But let's say 2 forks have the same wall thickness, then one with the wider cylinder will be stronger (this is also assuming the 2 forks use the same construction material and process).

    But if the 1 1/8 fork uses a thicker wall, then it'll be stronger too. And if the tapered fork uses a thiner wall (maybe to save weight?), then it'll also be weaker now.

    So I wonder what this European safety standard really is. Does it dictate
    1) for cylinder diameter?
    2) wall thickness?
    3) construction material and process?

    I guess I could google, but eh...

  21. #21
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Kontact's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    2,731
    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    yeah i'm not sure what this Euro standard is.
    But let's say 2 forks have the same wall thickness, then one with the wider cylinder will be stronger (this is also assuming the 2 forks use the same construction material and process).

    But if the 1 1/8 fork uses a thicker wall, then it'll be stronger too. And if the tapered fork uses a thiner wall (maybe to save weight?), then it'll also be weaker now.

    So I wonder what this European safety standard really is. Does it dictate
    1) for cylinder diameter?
    2) wall thickness?
    3) construction material and process?

    I guess I could google, but eh...
    It is just an impact standard, and doesn't dictate how that standard is met.

    1 1/4" was not introduced to meet those standards. It was done to make a light fork/frame stiffer without a large weight penalty. The only real debate is whether this happens just in the steerer, steerer/crown junction or when combined with an oversized head tube frame.
    Get a better saddle: www.kontactbike.com

  22. #22
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: bwhite_4's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    961
    Quote Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
    Are you saying that current 1 1/8" forks aren't meeting that standard?
    That was my understanding through various discussions on another forum mostly controlled/stated by a person designing/building and spec'ing bicycles.

    Not sure how they rate their impact standards, but I'm all for safer parts. That being said - my f/f coming in the next week has a tapered fork.

  23. #23
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: ultimobici's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    2,616
    The tapered steerer not only allows the front end to be stiffer with no weight penalty, it also allows for straighter fibres in the fork as the transition from steerer to crown and then blades is smoother.

    But then Time figured that out when they produced the VXRS and gave it a 1 1/8" to 1 3/8" headset in 2005?

  24. #24
    FTR
    FTR is offline
    Burn baby, burn.
    Reputation: FTR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    2,421
    Marketing hype IMO.
    Full stop.
    I have ridden tapered steerer vs standard back to back on both MTB's and road bikes and can tell absolutely no difference.

  25. #25
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: stevesbike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    5,112
    as a taller rider on 59 or 60 cm frames, a weakness of many bikes I've ridden/raced over the last 30 years has been a flexy head tube, which affects tracking on descents, stability at speed, etc. I find the tapered headtube/fork frames I've tried (and the one I currently ride) to noticeably reduce this. Perhaps this is a feature that becomes more apparent with longer head tubes.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 13
    Last Post: 01-24-2011, 06:59 PM
  2. Performance difference between DT rr1.1 and rr2.1
    By Dajianshan in forum Wheels and Tires
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 09-20-2009, 07:21 AM
  3. Difference in 20c and 23c performance?
    By Zachariah in forum Wheels and Tires
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 08-10-2009, 11:53 AM
  4. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-11-2009, 12:21 PM
  5. what difference between sloping tt and straight?
    By francoaa in forum Bikes, Frames and Forks
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 05-04-2008, 01:50 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

EUROBIKE

Hot Deals

Latest RoadBike Articles


Latest Videos

RoadbikeReview on Facebook