Winter commuting -- durable headset?

Pikolo Posts: 9
edited September 2009 in Workshop

I am building up a winter bike for commuting in Ottawa, Canada. That means lots of snow, salt, ice, water, and corrosion. Most components do not last more than one or two winter seasons.

My question is, which headset is well suited for these conditions? There are expensive HS's on the market with excellent seals (cane creek 110, chris king, etc); they are designed to be a durable investment, but I'm not sure they will hold up to salt and extreme temperature fluctuations well enough to warrant the price. On the other hand, I don't want to replace a cheap HS every season. Is there a good compromise? What will hold up for at least a few years but will not break the bank?



  • turnerjohn
    turnerjohn Posts: 1,069

    Chris King all the way. I know they cost a fortune but your never regret it ! will probably outlast the frame !
  • John.T
    John.T Posts: 3,698
    +1 CK.
  • Thanks for your recommendations, I'm sure the CK would work well. Still, I'm reluctant to spend that much loot on a HS for 2 reasons. First, it's going on a winter workhorse that gets beaten up a lot. Second, there's a real problem with bicycle theft over here. I've been looking at the Cane Creek S-8 as a compromise...
  • John.T
    John.T Posts: 3,698
    The first reason is why a CK is so good. I fit a new lower bearing a year until I fitted a CK. I have greased it once in 6 years. Stripped it down a couple of times and just looked at it and put it back. This on a bike with no mudguards.
    I can not help you with the second reason. Or how good the Cane Creek is.
  • I just fitted a Cane Creek IS8 Campy, the previous FSA rusted and the sealed bearings fell apart. I am hoping for years of use out of the new one, it certainly appears well made with a rubber seal on the crown race and another on the top cover, so here's hoping. Incidentally, I thought I'd have a look at the headset on my winter bike at the same time, I replaced this some years ago with a BBB cheap thing as it was the only one the bike shop had in 1" Ahead, it was perfect, the grease was clean, so I just put it back together.
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    I'd recommend an FSA Orbit Xtreme - stainless bearings of similar quality to Chris King but at half the price.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..