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Reviews: Components > Headset
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The Centaur headset is the basement model from the Italian giant and is shared among their Veloce, Mirage and Xenon range. It's also compatible with the large majority of frames produced in Italy.
This Orbit X model is really designed for high end road bikes but it also works well on XC bikes.
Hybrid ceramic bearings will be increasingly cropping up in top quality moving parts over the next few years. Products like hubs, headsets and bottom brackets can all benefit from the advantages of bearings where the containing rings are made of steel.
Chris King don't make an integrated headset because they believe that running the bearings directly in the frame is bad engineering practice. The NoThreadset uses surgical-grade stainless steel cartridge bearings that do a great job.
This headset uses a cartridge bearing for lateral (side-to-side) loads and a roller bearing for vertical loads. A carbon top cap weighing just 4g helps to offset the weight of the bearings but its durability makes it a firm recommendation for tourists.
This French firm have been using roller bearing headsets for decades and their top O'Light model tested here has a more modern appearance than their venerable A9 type.
The brand new Tiramic is unashamedly modelled on the Chris King headset (see opposite), but it takes a different approach to the fit-and-forget philosophy.
This integrated headset is compatible with the 41.8mm Campagnolo standard. The real carbon top cap is around 15g lighter than one made of aluminium, but this is a lot to pay for what amounts to little more than cosmetic appeal.
The FSA Orbit has a lower stack of roller bearings arranged in a taper to handle lateral and vertical loads, and an O-ring is highly effective in protecting the lower bearings from the effects of moisture.
No test would be complete without a headset from the originators of the Aheadset, though Dia-Compe have for some time been part of the Cane Creek component empire.
The 1 1/8in Ahead-style S-3 is essentially the same as the more expensive S-8 (£55.99) albeit with steel cartridge bearings and crown race rather than stainless ones.The race itself has a rubber seal so although it's a tight fit - a split race would be easier for those regularly swapping out forks - it helps keep out muck from the bottom bearings.
The Solos is the flagship of the Cane Creek headset range, available in both standard and integrated standard versions. Our IS version weighed in under Cane Creek's claimed weights by 4g for both the tall and short versions.
Any pro level road bike that still uses an external bearing headset will most likely have a Chris King NoThreadset - it's pretty much a standard fitment.
As you'd expect from any bearing system related to a shed in deepest, darkest Yorkshire, this new aheadset is a true grit lover's dream. The bottom race features a top spec mechanical labyrinth seal that should still be going strong.