Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Works Components 1.5 Degree Headcup to the rescue

The Giant XTC Composite 29er has been in my stable most of the summer but I have only ridden it sporadically and have not mentioned it on this blog. Honestly, I just didn't love riding it so I haven't talked about it.

The XTC 29er has always felt twitchy to me and going back and forth between the rock-solid AnthemX 29er only highlighted this aspect of the XTC 29er. In my opinion, Giant made a mistake with the geometry of this bike. Giant put a steep 71.5 head angle on the XTC 29er AND they used very short chainstays. The result is an overly quick handling bike.

This is where the Works Components 1.5 Degree Headcup comes in. Basically, the 1.5 degree headcup changed my head angle from 71.5 degrees to 70 degrees, lowered the BB just a fuzz, and tranformed the XTC 29er from the "anti-fun bike" to a bike that I enjoy riding. I had the choice of a 1.0, 1.5, or 2.0 degree headcup. (More after the pics)

The Works Components Headcups are sold as a complete headset including star nut & top cap

The 1.5 degree offset is machined into the cups so there are no moving parts to creak & pop

Just line up the headset and press it in. Simple.

My complete XTC, pre-Works Components Headset

The massive downtube makes the XTC Composite super-stiff and responsive. This results in excellent power transfer AND an unforgiving ride.

I would guess that UK-based Works Components sells the majority of their offset headcups to the gravity crowd as it is pretty common for a downhiller to want to slacken their bike by a degree or two. However, I think you will start to see more offset headsets on XC, trail bikes, and even cross bikes, as they are a great tool for customizing the ride of your bike.

Why the Works Components Headcup vs. a Cane Creek Angleset? I did a lot of research on the Cane Creek Angleset and I kept reading the same thing; they can be noisy and finicky. I wanted quiet and simple. Whereas the Cane Creek Angleset is adjustable, the Works Components Headcups are machined to a specific degree of offset. I am a huge fan of the Cane Creek 110 Series headsets but for this project I decided to go across the pond.

3 comments:

eric said...

nice! i've been curious to read more about folks using the works products. i considered one, briefly, but went with an angleset due to faster availability. i was fairly sure but not 100% certain of the angle i wanted to run, so the flexibility of the angleset was appealing, but the various reports of noise were a concern.

i've been running it all season and no noise. maybe i'm one of the lucky ones, or the unlucky ones are talking a disproportionate amount.

i heard the works headsets were a little challenging to align with the tendency of the headset to twist while being pressed in. they look like they're made really well. cool that they're making products for slackening a HT by >=2*.

crazy that manufacturers are still making frames with HT >71*.

Dave Byers said...

Eric, my Works headset did twist as I pressed it in. It took a couple of tries to get it perfectly lined up but it wasn't too bad. Glad to hear your CC Angleset has been quiet for you.

Greg Bruen said...

Hi Dave,

I stumbled across your Works headcup discussion and wonder how the 1.5 degree reduction has performed over time? I am currently riding a Specialized Carve Expert 2013 XL and have been thinking about changing the bike's angle of attack. It looks pretty similar geometry-wise to your Giant with a 71.5 degree HT. The sizing and reach are such that I feel extra aggressive in my stance and seated riding almost all the time. Dropping the angle to 70 or 69.5 might be the answer to a slightly more neutral trail-esque riding stance. Your thoughts? Thanks so much!

A trail rider stuck on a twitchy xc race bike,
Greg Bruen

Additionally, if you find the time and largesse could I trouble you check my specs/geometry to double check that I order the correct works head cup?