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Thread: how good is good enough?

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    D-CT's Avatar
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    Default how good is good enough?

    in a world of everything getting better (and more expensive), how good do bicycle parts need to be?

    there is a cane creek 110 head set. this head set has a warranty of 110 years. how many people will use this head set for 110 years? the head set technology is pretty simple. is a WCS or campy headset that much worse? do head sets other than chris king fail often?

    when we look at performance per dollar, what exactly makes sense? that lightweight set of skewers?

    how much does marketing factor into this scenario?

    discuss.
    A. Blinkin likes this.

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    Default Re: how good is good enough?

    I think it all works on the premise that consumers want something better than the next person. We can't walk around a fight peopel to prove we are better, though some try, so we buy big screen TV's and uber expensive lightweight bicycles in the vain attempt to prove ourselves better (by ourselves I mean society as a whole). The 110 headset buys into that mindset. It doesn't matter if it lasts that long or not because who is going to be arround to make use of the warranty when it only applies to the original purchaser in most cases. He/she is dead.

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    Default Re: how good is good enough?

    I'd argue that something like the 110 is the anti-big screen (or whiz-bang "lighter is better" piece of bike equipment). It is a high end piece of kit designed to last for years trouble free.

    There are things that are marketed as "better" because they are new and shiny. There are others that are just better*.

    *Full disclosure- the 110 is my default headset for new builds.

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    GrantM's Avatar
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    Default Re: how good is good enough?

    Better is better. Sometimes it's about doing more, because you can. The drive to make things better
    than they are is part of the way some of us are wired. It's not so much about reaching perfection,
    but a mindset that seeks to apply what we have learned, and try to improve on what we do.

    That said, more of what drives consumerism is just the thrill of something new, and not better.

    -g

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    Default Re: how good is good enough?

    Cane Creek is the standard for all headsets to be measured ATMO.
    coffee club rider apparently

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    WayneJ is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: how good is good enough?

    I could easily go WAY back to 531 tubesets and Campy NR/SR components, but I cannot go back to a time where notchy headsets were the norm. I would argue that the headset is likely to be the most improved component in the last 2 decades. Your opinions will/may be different.

    I love the CC 110 headset. It looks right, works right, and will last a long time (but probably not 110 years).

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    donevwil is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: how good is good enough?

    Every industry has players who develop products to specifically cater to the materialistic, trend-o-philes with a lot of expendable income and a deep seeded desire to one-up their buddies.

    More than a few of cycling’s industry icons rely on this, while many simply find themselves benefiting from it. Did you really think your Chris King headset was worth the money you paid because it’s the “best” ? Please ! At least the Cane Creek 110 is based on sound design.... and it's so pretty.

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    Default Re: how good is good enough?

    I agree the 110 is possibly the best head set design so far. I was referring to the 110 year warranty part which really is pure marketing. I'll be buying one next time I'm shopping for head sets.
    "Even my farts smell like steel!" - Diel

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    Default Re: how good is good enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by WayneJ View Post
    I could easily go WAY back to 531 tubesets and Campy NR/SR components, but I cannot go back to a time where notchy headsets were the norm. I would argue that the headset is likely to be the most improved component in the last 2 decades. Your opinions will/may be different.

    I love the CC 110 headset. It looks right, works right, and will last a long time (but probably not 110 years).
    I read this without reading the author. Then I saw it was Wayne! Bravo. I have the exact same thoughts. I stumbled upon Ultegra sealed headsets sometime in the early to mid-90s and installed one on my Grandis with all Record stuff. I have a buddy who is a purist and he just shook his head he saw what had happened. I explained that I had been through half a dozen headsets, including the old Nuovo Record steel and a Stronglight roller bearing headset. The NR pitted quickly and was notchy. The Stronglight didn't turn well either and was loose at some point on the turn. Then came the Ultegra as a last ditch effort to avoid just chucking the frameset. I haven't adjusted the headset since. It is perfect. And it cost about $35.

    This is when good enough (Ultegra) is so perfect you wonder why you ever did anything else.

    I could also never go back to crappy headsets. I always thought that the old ball bearing headsets sucked but it was probably other issues. I now again have two Campagnolo headsets of the threadless variety and they're perfect after thousands of miles.

    Good enough is almost always good enough. It's why Chorus and Ultegra exist. That said, I have no issue with those who wish to push the envelope with the highest end stuff. For example, my feet are very happy with me when my Sidis are not the mid-level ones. No arch pain, no hot foot issues. That is a case in my world where good enough isn't good enough and only the best will do.

    This argument could be made all over the place with bike stuff. But some stuff has represented real progress and some of it is just marketing driven.

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    Default Re: how good is good enough?

    The Tiagra drivetrain on my Raleigh is good enough, for what I'm doing with the bike anyhow. I have cheap Cane Creek headsets on both my mtn bikes and they're trouble free.

    But I do like good suspension. I'd much rather ride a rigid fork than some clunky sticky cheap suspension fork.

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    SteveP is offline vSalon Legend
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    Default Re: how good is good enough?

    ive warranteed a couple of the cane creek 110... in actual use they only last 95 years...

    it is a better headset than the king. for sure.

    for the record, nobody here is "better" than using ultegra or chorus.
    all this stuff works infinitely better than the stuff i learned to ride with.

    i still hear the nuovo record rear derailleur slipping down in the middle of a climb.
    wakes me up some nights.

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    Default Re: how good is good enough?

    i used to swear by king hubs for mtb (in the 90s and early 2000s), wouldn't even think of using something else. in the last few years though, i've realized there are plenty of much less expensive options that are at least 90% of what the king hubs are, and in some areas, 110%. definitely good enough for me.

    technology will always continue to trickle down to lower priced models. if you had to have the best (record 10 for example) in 2002, you can be assured that chorus 11 is just as good (arguably better) in 2012. tv's, computers, cars, etc are all clear examples of this too.

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    Default Re: how good is good enough?

    Cheap crap Cane Creek headset on my IF. I have no problem with it as it's not ugly and works just fine after about 10k miles. I thought about replacing it with a King so nobody would laugh at me, and then came to my senses.
    Good enough is good enough.

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    Default Re: how good is good enough?

    The question of "how good..." is a great one! Although i was thinking of it beyond any specific component. That being said, with respect to the headset question being discussed above, I thought that once CK went to the split ring design, the differences between the two essentially went away. Being fortunate enough to have several bikes, i have a couple of each headset, and have never had an issue with either.

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    Default Re: how good is good enough?

    Great discussion! To me the answer lies in comparing the marketing vs. engineering budgets of the major bike and component makers. And maybe “engineering” should be in quotes. Contrast that with the folks represented here, who spend the bulk of their effort developing-testing-improving what they build (without redefining the standards every year).

    Talk is cheap. Solid design and quality build? Not so easy.

    Back in the day when I raced the bejeezus outta my bikes the game was to build a weapon on a budget, so to me the really cool bikes aren’t so much the highest-end stuff festooned with top-of-the-line bling, it’s the Frankenbike with the A-list of functional components. 105 SLR brakes, Superbe Pro crank, Stronglight chainrings, Santé freewheel. Headsets sucked until Mr. King fixed them (I settled on the Stronglight roller bearing but it just sucked forever). So the modern equivalent of that stuff . . . if it gets you to the line in one piece every weekend, it's good enough.

    Back to the question – the 110 headset looks to be a great design, and even more terrific that it’s not priced like $400 shoes or $250 bibs. I thought of this recently when I bought a Cane Creek 40 to build my kid’s bike, man was I impressed with the quality, how it built up and how well it works. Longevity remains to be seen but initial impression is that it’s all anyone really needs.

    So I plan to test that theory with my tandem. Sorry Mr. King.

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    Default Re: how good is good enough?

    It's all marketing.
    But...Imagine that Chairman Mao appointed the the top ten designers/innovators to design components. Folks like Ritchey, King, Bontrager, Campagnolo, Mr. Shimano, etc. No competition. Only obligation. Would everything be good enough?

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    Default Re: how good is good enough?

    I usually think of 3 factors when it comes to the question of 'good enough' - cost, can you feel it, and if it's trouble free. Spending $100 for a saddle that you forget about and never holds you back may be good enough compared to say $100 on a rear derailleur or set of skewers that you never, well, 'feel'. Cane Creek may make a better headset but I won't complain about the new CK headset that I got on closeout for $50. My 15 yr old Ultegra freehub may not be super light but it's still smooth as day one and quiet as hell. Stuff like that...

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    SteveP is offline vSalon Legend
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    Default Re: how good is good enough?

    related funny story from will dugan from his trip to the tour of rwanda last year.

    the rwandan and african racers in general were all on equipment far, far worse than anyone on this forum uses.
    not close...
    will says ( longish stages- i forget but 4+ hrs )

    these guys, who all weighed 120 pounds max, would take off like rockets and disappear up the climbs, way gone..
    they would all divest everything that they carried to save weight... including food, drink, everything... support limited...
    after 3 hrs they would all be so dead and the field would catch them one by one...
    "dont chase, dont chase".. would be the word at the start.

    anyway
    the big picture is that in places like this.. good enough is barely functional.
    no one here would ride one of these guys bikes..

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    Dave Wofford is offline HighWaterDave-VSalonista
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    Default Re: how good is good enough?

    As a one or two bike guy (who likes riding a whole lot more than swapping out parts), like staying somewhat behind the curve and going with "safe bets" and appreciate the sharing of people who are checking out the latest and greatest and reporting back with specifics (and the tinkerers trying out new designs and bring them to market; neither is something I have the patience or inclination for)

    Ultegra hubs, Open Pro Rims and my Cane Creek headset come in silver and I like the way they work. (even through rough conditions)

    Rival drivetrain seems pretty great on its own (I like the double tap scheme), and for the price point. As someone (who doesn't race) and prone to worry (this or that?) after 3 years, 10K miles I'm happy with that decision for my first custom build and would do it again, (though I wish they'd tone down the graphics as they dress up successive year's models).

    Paul Racers make me feel safe in a variety of conditions and well worth the money. Good work on that design improving in the field I say.
    "Beauty is the visible expression of man's pleasure in labor."—Frederic Goudy

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    jamaris is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: how good is good enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by thollandpe View Post
    Back to the question – the 110 headset looks to be a great design, and even more terrific that it’s not priced like $400 shoes or $250 bibs. I thought of this recently when I bought a Cane Creek 40 to build my kid’s bike, man was I impressed with the quality, how it built up and how well it works. Longevity remains to be seen but initial impression is that it’s all anyone really needs.
    I was pleased when I was reading the original article and I thought, oh yeah, how much for that?!? but it actually was reasonable. And from a marketing perspective, you figure, sure, maybe we have to warranty them, but that also means they are coming back. And what a novel idea, standing behind your product for as long as someone can use it (honestly that is).

    I disagree about some of the older headsets though. They just required some/more maintenance. Like anything, maintain it, and it lasts. Sure replace ball bearings once in a while, but it will certainly last.

    All of that to say, I chose 110 as well on my most recent build. CC makes good stuff.

    (One of the saddest cycling "brand" days was when I found out CC no longer makes wheelsets, those wheels were perfect.)

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