decision time: stem v.s. headset
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  1. #1

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    decision time: stem v.s. headset

    Hey Everyone, i have a super long partially threaded fork. i can cut it and run it threadless, or cut it and thread the portion. i also can't decide if i want to run a full stem, or a headset. Any opinions or facts to help me make my decision? I am leaning towards the stem just for aesthetic reasons, but if anyone has some facts and also maybe ease of installation or anything that would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Old and Fixed, Moderator
    Reputation: Dave Hickey's Avatar
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    My vote is for a threaded fork. it looks better
    Dave Hickey/ Fort Worth

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  3. #3
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    Reputation: roadfix's Avatar
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    If it's a 1 inch head tubed frame (which I assume it is) I'd definitely go threaded with a quill stem.

    If you decide to go that route keep the threaded length of the steerer tube intact and have the shop extend the threads to where you want them, then cut the tube to length. Also, good luck in finding a shop willing to do this type of work these days.
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  4. #4
    duh...
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    threading ain't always that easy... is the tubing wall thick enough? if long enough, threadless would be easiest. btw, what is a "full stem"???
    .


    Quote Originally Posted by mikagsd
    Fat tire Fred....you are the bike god of the universe and unless someone agrees with your reasoning they are just plain stupid

  5. #5

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    well the thing is the fork is super long. i got it from bike island and it seems like the fork is 6 inches too long. so cutting is going to be needed regardless. lcukily my work gives me access to making the cutting portion easy. the threading portion not so much, which is why i was leaning towards the threadlss option. i know they make threadless stems, but i didnt know if that was a good decision or not. i do prefer the stem look, but i also worry that it just wont look as good as i think in my head.

  6. #6
    hello
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    In your situation going threadless with threadless headset and threadless stem would be most practical.

    But the look you and most others prefer is the quill stem.....again, assuming your head tube is 1" which most likely it is since you have a threaded fork for it.
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  7. #7

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    sorry i keep neglecting to answer that... yes it is 1" sorry about that haha.
    i definitely prefer the quill stem so hopefully i can make something work out. regardless, this is my first from the ground up bike build ( i have only converted parts, or done partial builds in the past) and i am so stoked about it. this forum alone is helping me out so much, well and sheldon of course haha. thanks too all of you, im sure you will hear from me again about something else. sooner or later i will have a nice picture to post for all of you. although riding the hills in so call will be much different than the flat streets i used to ride up north.

  8. #8
    'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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    if you decide to keep the fork you have and want to get threads cut on it, make sure you take it to a reputable frame builder or very experienced mechanic and make sure it's done correctly. this means a lathe. cutting threads w/ a die is not the way to do it. dies do a great job of cleaning threads up, but a lathe is the way to cut them, especially if you cut all of the threaded portion off and have to cut 40-50mm of thread.
    #promechaniclife

  9. #9
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    Personally, I think the threadless headset is one of the best improvements made in cycling hardware. Dialing in is a no-brainer, and any on road corrections are a breeze. Unfortunately for you, this innovation came with the transition to 1 1/8 inch steerers and headsets. I'm pretty sure 1 inch threadless stems are available (I know headsets are), but there probably wont be much selection. Years ago I was able to find a shop to cut more threads in a steel fork, but I agree with the other posters who suggest this could be difficult now. I'd go threadless if you can find a suitable stem.

  10. #10
    duh...
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack in the matrix
    Personally, I think the threadless headset is one of the best improvements made in cycling hardware. Dialing in is a no-brainer, and any on road corrections are a breeze. Unfortunately for you, this innovation came with the transition to 1 1/8 inch steerers and headsets. I'm pretty sure 1 inch threadless stems are available (I know headsets are), but there probably wont be much selection. Years ago I was able to find a shop to cut more threads in a steel fork, but I agree with the other posters who suggest this could be difficult now. I'd go threadless if you can find a suitable stem.


    stem choice isn't really an issue... many come with (most used to) or most (if not all) can be used w/ a shim adapter
    .


    Quote Originally Posted by mikagsd
    Fat tire Fred....you are the bike god of the universe and unless someone agrees with your reasoning they are just plain stupid

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by FatTireFred
    stem choice isn't really an issue... many come with (most used to) or most (if not all) can be used w/ a shim adapter
    true......but aesthetically, using shims or adapters makes the bike look goofy in most cases. And the OP is after aesthetics here. A fat 1 1/8" threadless stem w/shim on a skinny one inch headtube would definitely look goofy. A one inch threadless stem (if you can find one) would definitely be an improvement.
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  12. #12
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    A Salsa Cromoto may be a good compromise here. 1 1/8" threadless, but the steel tubing is thinner than the average aluminum stem. Can also be stripped and color-matched (except the faceplate).

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadfix
    true......but aesthetically, using shims or adapters makes the bike look goofy in most cases. And the OP is after aesthetics here. A fat 1 1/8" threadless stem w/shim on a skinny one inch headtube would definitely look goofy. A one inch threadless stem (if you can find one) would definitely be an improvement.
    hey, mine is shimmed and does not look "gooffy"

    DIRT BOY

    "Pain is a big fat creature riding on your back. The farther you pedal, the heavier he feels. The harder you push, the tighter he squeezes your chest. The steeper the climb, the deeper he digs his jagged, sharp claws into your muscles." - Scott Martin


  14. #14
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    My vote is for a threadless fork. it looks better

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadfix
    true......but aesthetically, using shims or adapters makes the bike look goofy in most cases. And the OP is after aesthetics here. A fat 1 1/8" threadless stem w/shim on a skinny one inch headtube would definitely look goofy. A one inch threadless stem (if you can find one) would definitely be an improvement.
    Actually, if you take the shim required to choke a 1-1/8" stem down to 1" and put it in from underneath the stem instead of in from the top, the portion visible on the outside looks like any ol' spacer.

    If I could cut the steerer down to the right length and still have enough of the original threading to mount the headset, I'd probably go quill, too. But, all the hassles involved in cutting new threads into an unthreaded steel steerer tube would drive me to a threadless headset setup. It won't look all that different unless you're talking about an otherwise pristine recondition'd collector bike, so just take the simple/easy way out.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by yo mamma
    Actually, if you take the shim required to choke a 1-1/8" stem down to 1" and put it in from underneath the stem instead of in from the top, the portion visible on the outside looks like any ol' spacer.
    But even if the shim is completely hidden it's still a fat 1 1/8" stem clamp sitting on top of a skinny 1" headtube, regardless.

    I still think 1 1/8" threadless stems belong on frames intended for them.

    On the flip side, if you were somehow able to install a nice elegant 1" quill stem on a frame with 1 1/8" headtube using some sort of a threaded headset reducer, that would really look goofy as well.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadfix
    But even if the shim is completely hidden it's still a fat 1 1/8" stem clamp sitting on top of a skinny 1" headtube, regardless.

    I still think 1 1/8" threadless stems belong on frames intended for them.

    On the flip side, if you were somehow able to install a nice elegant 1" quill stem on a frame with 1 1/8" headtube using some sort of a threaded headset reducer, that would really look goofy as well.
    I think you may be overstating the fugliness of the setup. I've used a Ritchey stem w/ shim before and don't think you could tell it wasn't a 1" stem from more than about arms' length away.

    Given all the other (potential) hassles with cutting/rethreading a steel steerer tube, I'd say the slight aesthetic issue is in fact a non-issue. But, hey, that's just me. My bikes are functional first and foremost. Form (aesthetics) have almost nothing to do with how they're set up.

  18. #18
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    But we're not talking in general about just any kind of bike, we're talking fixed gear.....
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by yo mamma

    If I could cut the steerer down to the right length and still have enough of the original threading to mount the headset, I'd probably go quill, too. But, all the hassles involved in cutting new threads into an unthreaded steel steerer tube would drive me to a threadless headset setup.
    That's why I went threadless. I could not find anyone willing to cut threads here. No lBS would do it. Its just a Kilo TT so no biggie.
    DIRT BOY

    "Pain is a big fat creature riding on your back. The farther you pedal, the heavier he feels. The harder you push, the tighter he squeezes your chest. The steeper the climb, the deeper he digs his jagged, sharp claws into your muscles." - Scott Martin


  20. #20

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    thanks again for the thoughts and info. I think i am going to go threadless this time... my next build i will just do quill if thats what i feel like. im about half way through the build so i will be sure to post a picture up here as soon as possible so you guys can check out how it turned out.

  21. #21
    duh...
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    Quote Originally Posted by yo mamma
    I think you may be overstating the fugliness of the setup.


    agree... the difference b/w 1" and 1-1/8" is literally from here->..<-to here. only a very discerning eye looking for a while will even notice
    .


    Quote Originally Posted by mikagsd
    Fat tire Fred....you are the bike god of the universe and unless someone agrees with your reasoning they are just plain stupid

  22. #22
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    I like the look of quills best, by far. But most clamp-on stems have a niftier way to remove the handlebars. And they tend to hold things in place much better. You see more options for headsets and stems nowadays, going the threadless option. (There are 1" threadless available, right guys?)

    Plus, threading that fork adds some extra cost for you. Not sure what machine shop or frame builder would want to do that project for less than forty bucks.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by f3rg
    My vote is for a threadless fork. it looks better
    aesthetically, using shims or adapters makes the bike look goofy in most cases. And the OP is after aesthetics here. A fat 1 1/8" threadless stem w/shim on a skinny one inch headtube would definitely look goofy. A one inch threadless stem (if you can find one) would definitely be an improvemen
    I think you may be overstating the fugliness of the setup. I've used a Ritchey stem w/ shim before and don't think you could tell it wasn't a 1" stem from more than about arms' length away.
    You guys are funny. ALL threadless stems are ugly, compared to the classic forged quill stems.

    Personally, I think the threadless headset is one of the best improvements made in cycling hardware.
    Personally, I think it was a kludgy solution to a minor problem, creating more problems than it solved. The bearing adjustment issue could have been solved with a split locking ring (like Campy hub bearings have now -- actually, I think somebody did this briefly), without abandoning the easy height adjustability of the quill stem. When manufacturers come up with a design that requires you to buy a new part to accomplish what was previously done with a 30-second tool job, my conspiracy suspicions are raised.

    But that's probably a rant for another day.

    To the OP: before you do all that cutting and parts-buying, are you sure the fork has the appropriate rake for your frame? The first time I built a fixie out of old parts I had a mismatch that made for a very poor-handling bike.

    I've actually done a rethreading job such as you were considering, and I'm no machinist. It can be done with a die, but it requires working very slowly and carefully.

  24. #24
    duh...
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    a few quill stems have/had 'open faceplates' (salsa comes to mind), but rare these days with the death of the quill stem
    .


    Quote Originally Posted by mikagsd
    Fat tire Fred....you are the bike god of the universe and unless someone agrees with your reasoning they are just plain stupid

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia
    You guys are funny. ALL threadless stems are ugly, compared to the classic forged quill stems.
    I agree, if you're simply comparing these components side by side.
    But most threadless stems look fine and not out of place on the right type of frame.
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