Tapered vs Non-Tapered Headtube
So was wondering...does the tapered head tube really make a difference with front end stiffness? Demo'd a bike this weekend which had the non-tapered head tube but with a 15mm axle. Would it be worth it to wait for the newer model with tapered head tube? I have demo'd a few other models with the tapered head tube, but not sure if I could really tell a stiffness difference.
Last edited by claystrick; 06-13-2011 at 07:06 AM.
Unless you need the bike right now, I'd wait. You can always upgrade an axle, but the frame is forever. I'm betting that a lot of bikes this next season will have 15mm/20mm forks with tapered headtubes.
Originally Posted by claystrick
It's totally in the hands of who's riding it. My upcoming bike will be tapered, but I have yet to ride an XC bike with tapered/20mm axle before. Will I tell a difference? who knows...I sure hope so. Do I see and feel a problem with my current 1.125" QR set-up? Yes. Will I know that I am future proofing my bike for a while? Absolutely.
44mm headtubes allow you to run any steerer on the market today (except maybe 1"...unless someone sells a headset reducer). If you can get it...just do it.
Comparing to my downhill bike though...it's when you're railing on turns or going through really rocky stuff where front end stiffness makes a difference. It feels like it helps keep the bike going in the direction you hope for it to go. If you're just moving slowly on smooth trails, I can't see thicker axles and/or steerers doing much at all.
Either way...I'd still say go for the headtube that will run any steerer.
Might have to get one and go back to know diff
I'm on my 2nd bike with a tapered headtube and thru-axle. (I'm kind of silly about replacing bikes--new full-suspension 29 for the each of the last three seasons).
Originally Posted by claystrick
When I went from a Voodoo Canzo 29 with a straight steerer and skewer fork to a StumpJumper 29 with taper and Maxle I can't say I noticed a revolutionary change. The Stump came with what I considered ridiculously flexy wheels for what was--essentially a freeride/all-mountain bike. I noticed a way bigger change when I got a real front wheel built for it.
Now I've gone to a Tomac Diplomat, another taper and Maxle. Great fun, feels really solid, but I'm running the same tough and stiff front wheel as what I had on the Stump.
I can't say that I felt like front-end stiffness was a problem when I went from a Fox F29 100mm with skewer and solid lacemine29 wheel to a tapered 120mm Reba with thru-axle. I think I'd have to go back and ride my old Canzo thru a few burly descents to know.
my current bike has a tapered headtube, and that's not noticeably stiffer than my previous bike. However I just went from a 15mm Fox to a 20mm Rock Shox and it's night and day stiffer. I also felt a big difference on a non tapered bike going form a 9mm to a 15mm axle.
So based on my 1 size sample I would say stiffness is in this order:
from stiffer to less stiff:
20mm --> 15mm --> tapered headtube
Also throw in the wheel stiffness and general frame stiffness which can be greater influence than all of the above. But given the same wheel and same frame design, minus the tapered headtube I bet my equation would be about right.
Kona Wo for Fat Biking, Ibis HD3 for Trail Shredding, Merckx Road bike for collecting dust
Thanks for the advice. The only thing I could tell for sure was the difference between running a 9mm QR and a 15mm or 20mm QR. Wasn't sure how much more the front end would be helped by the tapered head tube.
My Intense Tracer 2 has a 1.5 head tube so I can run pretty much any combo. I'm running a straight 1 1/8 fork in their with an adapter headset. It's stiff. BUT I do also have thru axles on the bike (20mm front, 12mm rear). It's easily the stiffest bike I have ever ridden. And what Kaj said. Whoever said that 15qr was almost as stiff as 20mm was probably not a big or aggressive rider. It's a huge difference.
I wouldn't worry about the headtube so much as the fork axle. That's where you'll feel most of the difference. Like you said, you couldn't tell a difference. Regardless of what most of the marketing mumbo jumbo says, get what feels right for you.
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