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Thread: help figuring out which headset to get

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    Default help figuring out which headset to get

    My new mtb (2017 Hei Hei Trail DL) came with a cheapy headset (FSA-57B which I can't even find on their website). I'd like to replace it but I can't figure out which size etc I'd like to get. My shop is totally backed up right now with repairs so I'd rather not bug them as I dither over what I want although I'll get it from them once I figure it all out.

    Here's what I know:
    internal headset
    tapered head tube
    140 Fox Factory 35 Float air with 110 spacing.


    ^^and all that tells me nothing. I'm almost certain that I'm going to replace the FSA with a Chris King headset but good golly I look at their offerings and I'm totally lost. What size etc do I need?

    And while I'm all paranoid about rain and headsets (because_I_just_am), I'm going to replace it on the Rove too which is steel and the one I ride in the rain the most (fenders)...New headsets all around! Whee!

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    Slightly OT, but what's the performance advantage of upgrading the headset? Honest question...I can't say I've ever really noticed anything about my headsets' performance. Am I missing something? Aesthetic reasons I totally get, however...

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoWheelsDC View Post
    Slightly OT, but what's the performance advantage of upgrading the headset? Honest question...I can't say I've ever really noticed anything about my headsets' performance. Am I missing something? Aesthetic reasons I totally get, however...
    A few weeks ago I did a muddy race. Muddy doesn't even come close to describing it. It was hell. Anyway, the bike had to be hosed off, there was just no way around it. I didn't do the actual hosing so it's possible the hoser used too much water pressure or it's possible the headset just wasn't sealed very well, but the ring/circle thingy inside with the bearings rusted up badly and had to be replaced. So now I'm paranoid about it and from what I've been told/read, the CK's are pretty darn great. The ring/circle thingy has been replaced but Dirt was surprised at relatively low quality of the headset given the rest of the stock components on the bike.

    Plus...they're pretty.
    Last edited by Tania; 05-05-2017 at 11:33 AM.

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    TwoWheelsDC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tania View Post

    Plus...they're pretty.
    Frankly, that's all that matters. I have a CK BB on my Cinelli and "upgraded" to Wheels Mfg BBs on my gravel bike and road bike (waaaay cheaper than CK, but look just as cool I think). Now, all those parts needed replacing, but I don't really expect to get observably better performance out of them...I just prefer the way they look.

    Anyway, I think you need the CK Inset 2 (44/56 tapered), assuming this is your current headset.

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    Cane Creek has a headset finder tool on their website you can use if you don't want to take the thing apart and do the measurements. The tool will give you the info you need, assuming your bike is factory spec.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vern View Post
    Cane Creek has a headset finder tool on their website you can use if you don't want to take the thing apart and do the measurements. The tool will give you the info you need, assuming your bike is factory spec.
    THIS! The only way to be 100% sure everything will fit is to get the S.H.I.S. number for your existing headset.

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    ...and I think I'm gonna let the shop figure it out. Hopefully it will come in that cool turquoise color.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoWheelsDC View Post
    Slightly OT, but what's the performance advantage of upgrading the headset? Honest question...I can't say I've ever really noticed anything about my headsets' performance. Am I missing something? Aesthetic reasons I totally get, however...
    In terms of actual performance, pretty much just durability. Nicer ones are better sealed and go longer without maintenance and last longer overall. I have several CK headsets and honestly can't remember ever having to service one.

    Headsets are just a press cup and a pair of ball bearings. So you're paying for pretty press cups and higher quality bearings.

    How worth it they are (from a performance perspective) depends on how much that quality matters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tania View Post
    A few weeks ago I did a muddy race. Muddy doesn't even come close to describing it. It was hell. Anyway, the bike had to be hosed off, there was just no way around it. I didn't do the actual hosing so it's possible the hoser used too much water pressure or it's possible the headset just wasn't sealed very well, but the ring/circle thingy inside with the bearings rusted up badly and had to be replaced. So now I'm paranoid about it and from what I've been told/read, the CK's are pretty darn great. The ring/circle thingy has been replaced but Dirt was surprised at relatively low quality of the headset given the rest of the stock components on the bike.

    Plus...they're pretty.
    Ha, the hoser. Tell him to take off, eh, the next time.

    But seriously, using a hose to clean a bike is ok, but I've heard to never use a nozzle that pressurizes the flow - for exactly that reason. The pressurized flow has tendencies to get past sealed joints and will rust out internals such as bearings. I would hazard a guess the issue is less your headset and more this. Although, a beast of a headset that's properly sealed never hurts either

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    A lot of cheap stock headsets are totally unsealed. It doesn't surprise me at all. Rain runs right through the headset on my road bike. All I can do to give it a decent service interval is use a heavy marine grease that takes a long time to wash out.

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