Angle Adjusting Headsets

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sean_iow
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Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by sean_iow » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:15 am

My 'new' frame is a 2012 Salsa Selma. The geo chart shows this having a 71 deg headtube angle with a 100mm fork, I assume this will be the same with my rigid fork which is suspension corrected.

A modern frame, say for example a Travers Russ Ti has a 69.5 deg headtube angle. My Genesis is listed as 69.2 but that is with a 120 fork and I run a shorter rigid fork.

Work Components make headsets which adjust this so I could fit a 1.5 deg headset to the Salsa and get a 69.5 deg effective headtube. The cost is actually cheaper than using a Hope Pick and Mix (my usual choice) but only by about £8.

Has anybody used the Works Components headsets? Will I notice the difference/feel the benefit of the slacker angle? I can tell the difference between my Genesis and my On-One Whippet, with the Whippet having a listed head angle of 70 deg and I find it very twitchy but I know there's more to bike handling than just the one angle.
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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:45 am

You'll notice a massive difference. Your world and not to mention your bike handling ability will be transformed. Dropping off curbs, even those 8" high ones will no longer fill you with fear and dread. You will be a riding God, just as you would be if you upped your bar width by 20mm :-bd





You might or you might not - a lot of people can't notice 1 degree, no matter how much they believe they can.
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sean_iow
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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by sean_iow » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:50 am

So based on that, as it's cheaper than my usual choice, if I don't notice any difference I'm £8 better off :-bd If I do notice that will be a bonus.

Given the number of times I found myself on the deck on the HT550 I could do with all the help I can get in the bike handling department :lol:
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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by whitestone » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:58 am

sean_iow wrote:So based on that, as it's cheaper than my usual choice, if I don't notice any difference I'm £8 better off :-bd If I do notice that will be a bonus.

Given the number of times I found myself on the deck on the HT550 I could do with all the help I can get in the bike handling department :lol:
That's likely to be cumulative tiredness Sean
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sean_iow
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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by sean_iow » Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:06 am

whitestone wrote:That's likely to be cumulative tiredness Sean
I would agree but the first off was on the way down into Fort A on day 1 :grin: That might have been rushing to get to dinner though. My sum experience of riding on rocky terrain and loose rock is the 2017 BB200, 12 miles on the WHW on the Friday and then having to learn fast on the event :lol:
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jameso
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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by jameso » Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:09 am

Manufacturing tolerances of a frame's HTA is often +/- 0.5 degrees anyway and 5mm of fork offset will make more difference to the handling feel if you're sensitive to that sort of thing. IE, what you think is 71 or 69.5 may be in fact within 0.75ish deg anyway. Try it? Slacker comes with it's own negatives, particularly when loaded up. Just a case of finding your personal sweet spot (errr, you all know what I mean)

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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by sean_iow » Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:16 am

jameso wrote: Slacker comes with it's own negatives, particularly when loaded up.
I hadn't realised that, what are these? I've obviously been swayed by the long/slack campaigns, which at my age I should know better.

Looking at other Salsa's, a 2016 El Mar is listed as 71 deg but the 2018 Timberjack is 68 deg but they might not be directly comparable. Perhaps they just kept the same geo on the El Mar until they discontinued it.
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Pirahna
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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by Pirahna » Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:20 pm

If you use a suspension fork the head angle (and all the other steering geometry) is constantly changing. I seem to recall reading that 1 inch of movement on the fork gives 1 degree change of steering angle which seems like a reasonable approximation. I can't say notice too much difference in the handling as I ride along and the fork moves.

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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by restlessshawn » Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:13 pm

Pirahna wrote:I can't say notice too much difference in the handling as I ride along and the fork moves.
Really? To me this is the major flaw in telescopic forks!

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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by jameso » Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:01 pm

sean_iow wrote:
jameso wrote: Slacker comes with it's own negatives, particularly when loaded up.
I hadn't realised that, what are these? I've obviously been swayed by the long/slack campaigns, which at my age I should know better.
Slacker head angle = longer trail = more steering 'flop' = more positive feedback into a corner, ie you initiate a turn and the bike wants to drop into the corner more than you might want. And when you add weigh to the bars / front end, that 'flop' effect is more pronounced. That's fine on a big susser with a 35mm stem and 760+mm bar and no load on it, but on other bikes it's not so good, or not needed.

Basically, be wary of any brand selling a very slack bike as good for loaded riding : ) On the flipside, I'm also not into this idea of low-trail randonneur bikes. I've never ridden anything with low / lower trail that I haven't instantly disliked. Messing with steering angles to that extent just so you can front-load a bike, or needing that load to fix skittish handling, is the tail wagging the dog. Make the handling right then spread the load evenly, imo.

..sorry, excess bike geekery probably. A good bike just feels right and you rarely make a right bike better by making it slacker.

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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by htrider » Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:01 pm

I used a works components angle adjusting headset in my fargo - I was wanting to fit longer forks to get he bars higher and the only ones I could get had a longer AC. So the 1.5 degree less head angle and the longer forks sort of put everything where it should be with an HA similar to the latest Fargos.

Fitting it was a royal PIA as you have to get top and bottom races in exactly in the right / same for it to work. This took a lot measuring, faffing around with thread, head scratching etc. The bike handled oddly so it never stayed.....

To be honest if a frame is designed with certain geo then best to stick with it. If you want different geo buy a different frame as bodging geo to try to change something will also change everything else. That said, if you want a second hand, hardly used works components 1.5 degree headset let me know!

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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by Alpinum » Wed Jun 06, 2018 3:47 pm

:roll:

So, from actual experience... all my frames I've had and measured have actually been spot by the head angle. Just recently got an angle set for my 160/150 mm travel 29er and yes, it has transformed the bike. From 66.6 to 65.1 ° and good grief!
I may not be the regular bikepacking rider, but many aspects in the bike's handling have been altered positively, more than I thought would change as in climbing and descending. If you like, I can go into detail, I've given the bike manufacturer a feedback so would just have to translate it into English.

The experience was so positive, my 120/100 mm travel 29er will soon go from 68 to 66 °.

My rigid bike is at 69 ° and as I don't/can't ride it the way I ride the full sussers, I'll probably won't bother with going slacker, but who knows. If I was only riding gravel and road I'm not sure if I'd change anything, but on single tracks it feels great.

Yes, all bikes are used for bikepacking and want to be ridden efficiently.

In the end, ask yourself what/where you want to ride your bike. If it's singletrack heavy, steep ups and downs, mountain paths etc. certainly go for it. If not, don't bother.

Superstar Components makes angle sets too.
https://www.superstarcomponents.com/en/ ... eadset.htm
jameso wrote:A good bike just feels right and you rarely make a right bike better by making it slacker.
until you try a few things... riding style, position, distribution, componentry etc. so many things are highly individual and a manufacturer will never be able to hit the right spot for ever rider.
I had a very good feeling bike (Bold Linkin Trail LT) turn into a bloody great feeling bike. Of course it may not be for every one, as is sticking with the original geometry.

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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by sean_iow » Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:07 pm

I think I'l take chance and try it. We're only talking about going from 71 deg to 69.5 deg so still not anywhere as near as slack as the modern bikes. It is for a fully rigid bike.

It will bring the geo to just about identical to my current bike albeit with longer distance from crank to rear axle by virtue of the alternator dropouts. I can always take it back out if it feels wrong as I'm sure I can convince one of my mates to buy it :wink:
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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:54 pm

At the age of 8, I crashed my beloved Raleigh Chopper and twisted the handlebars. With no idea of how to realign them, I simply rode it with the bars twisted which after time came to feel quite normal. A few weeks later someone took pity and straightened everything out for me ...... bike felt horrible, I could hardly ride it afterwards.
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Charliecres
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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by Charliecres » Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:58 pm

You mean ...

Asynchronous Bar Technology(TM)
Cres Cycle Research Labs announce the most significant advance in bicycle steering since 1978. Our patented Skewiff(TM) modular directional selector component will transform your ride and increase rad by 30% while reducing the negative impact of coventionally aligned handlebars to a minimum.

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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by jameso » Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:08 pm

Alpinum wrote:
jameso wrote:A good bike just feels right and you rarely make a right bike better by making it slacker.
until you try a few things... riding style, position, distribution, componentry etc. so many things are highly individual and a manufacturer will never be able to hit the right spot for ever rider.
I had a very good feeling bike (Bold Linkin Trail LT) turn into a bloody great feeling bike. Of course it may not be for every one, as is sticking with the original geometry.
Sure, which is why I said you'd rarely make a 'right' bike better. If you were changing a lot of other things or you knew what you wanted the bike to do then a slackset might be a good part of that. And it is all subjective. My point is that longer lower slacker doesnt mean better for everything, or pros in one area can be cons in others.

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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by Alpinum » Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:09 pm

sean_iow wrote:I think I'l take chance and try it. We're only talking about going from 71 deg to 69.5 deg so still not anywhere as near as slack as the modern bikes. It is for a fully rigid bike.

It will bring the geo to just about identical to my current bike albeit with longer distance from crank to rear axle by virtue of the alternator dropouts. I can always take it back out if it feels wrong as I'm sure I can convince one of my mates to buy it :wink:
Trying is the only way to find out...
Let us know how it feels once you're done :-bd

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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by mat_swan » Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:57 pm

I put a -2° set in my mk1 Solaris a little while back. I was curious as it brings it fairly close to the newer models (but not the newest). Emailed cotic beforehand and the response was more or less 'thats what we did when we were designing the next one, you might like it.

It's not night and day different but you start noticing it with time. More or less the things you'd expect it to do. Slow and steep stuff feels less like you're going over the bars, fast feels more composed. Doesn't seem to have adversely affected flicky singletrack- things like trying to turn 180 degrees round a tree do need a touch more emphasis.

All in, so far I like it.

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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by sean_iow » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:58 pm

Alpinum wrote:Trying is the only way to find out...
Let us know how it feels once you're done :-bd
It's fitted, which wasn't too bad. I used a bit of string around the seatpost and pulled taught to the headtube to align the marks on the top bearing cup. The bottom one I just lined up by eye and then checked afterwards with a straight edge and it was also ok.

The bike feels like... well like the bike it replaced which the geometry is now mimicking. I'm probably not sensitive enough to these things to tell but I've found it to ride like I wanted it to so I guess that means it's ok. The bike's only been finished for a week so early days yet but yesterday I did a 70 mile charity ride on it (it was a 52 mile charity ride but I rode to the start and home again as it would look a poor show to drive to the start) and it was fine.

The most technical section was a steep, cut up and rocky descent and I kept on the wheel of the chap in front who was on a 120mm FS 29er and my bike is fully rigid. I was pleased with that but of course that might be because the guy in front was a roadie on a borrowed bike and I didn't want to get dropped by him on an off road descent :smile:

So overall it's a :-bd from me for them. If the bearings last ok (we'll have to wait and see) then I'd recommend them.
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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by sean_iow » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:32 am

sean_iow wrote: If the bearings last ok (we'll have to wait and see) then I'd recommend them.
Update on the headset, it's been fitted for just over 4 months and I've covered 2100 miles according to Strava. Movement has developed in the lower bearing which I thought would be the bearing itself, it did have to endure 300km of water on the BB300 after all. On inspection it is actually the bearing moving in the cup :sad: The bearing itself is ok but the wear in the angle seat in the cup is visible by the marks where the anodising has been worn off. I've 'fixed' this for now by using Loctite bearing retainer. So it would appear, in my experience at least, that the headset wasn't durable enough for my usage.

My LBS had the correct Hope headset in stock to replace it so I'll fit that in the next week or so and then report back if I notice any difference in the handling.
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Alpinum
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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by Alpinum » Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:32 pm

Ouch.

I was going to run a workscomponents in a bike I'll soon be getting ready but don't quite like what I'm reading. What had workscomponents to say about your issue?
Could it have been user error during installation?

The two angle sets I'm using are running strong. Nothing different to a straight head set. But they're not works components stuff.

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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by sean_iow » Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:48 pm

Alpinum wrote:What had workscomponents to say about your issue?
Could it have been user error during installation?
I haven't bothered to contact them. When I was at my workshop looking at it I mentioned to a friend that it had only lasted 2100 miles. He thought that was quite good, for some of his friends that would be 2 years if riding by which point they would change bikes anyway. So I guess that might be the expected lifespan.

Not sure how it would be possible to fit it wrong to cause an issue, it's only a headset. There's only 3 bits to the bottom; the cup pressed into the frame, the bearing and the seat/seal on the forks. It was all correctly lined up. I've managed to build gearboxes for racing cars so hopefully I can fit a headset correctly :wink: It might be that the rigid forks are a contributing factor as more shock is being transmitted to the headset?

I see on the works components website that replacement bearings are out of stock. I did look at this when I bought it and they were out of stock then as well. Poor spares availability does concern me as if I'm entered in an event I don't want a last minute panic if I need spares.

A bit of web research seems to suggest that the superstar one is better but that's only available as 2 degree. I have no personal experience of it.
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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by kazafaza » Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:11 pm

I've fitted the 1* Works Components Angleset to Onza Payoff and later on to the Salsa Horsethief. I can't say I've felt the difference on the hardtail, perhaps a little bit on the Horse but there's a chance I've imagined it. Next time I'll get a 2* slacker or a frame with a more suitable geometry. :-bd

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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by htrider » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:11 pm

If you use high strength Loctite bearing fit, it will hold the bearing firmly enough for a headset if you are wishing to stick with the angle adjusting headset. This may seem a bodge (OK it is!) but high strength Loctite is designed for such applications. In fact the only issue is that you may have difficulty subsequently extracting the bearing

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Re: Angle Adjusting Headsets

Post by sean_iow » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:08 pm

I did think about leaving it on the bike, as you say the high strength bearing fit loctite is designed for fitting bearings in damaged or oversized housings. I can take the cups out of the frame without disturbing the bearing to try the normal headset and see if I notice the difference in handling.

If I wanted to get the bearings out I'd just take the cup out of the frame and heat it up with a hot air gun, at a certain temp the loctite fails and the bearing will come out easily. I used to have to do this with the ends of the dampers on my race car as they weren't mechanically locked, on only held on by the loctite.
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