Opinions of a bicycle shop: Threadless or Threaded Headsets?
So you're wondering what the difference is between threadless versus threaded stems headsets and forks are, if they each have the pros and cons, and if you should be using one over the other. Some bicycles such as our belt-drive internal hub Frigate uses a threadless system, while more old school bicycles such as the 1989 Atala Luna uses a threaded headset. All in all, the answer is simply yes. Here are the pros and cons of threadless vs. threaded cockpit setup so you can figure out which one is best for you. First let's talk about the benefits of threadless systems.
What’s the difference between a threaded and threadless bicycle headset?
You can think about the headset as the cockpit of your bicycle. It plays a big role in how your bicycle handles and how it feels when you’re out riding. A threaded headset is a system whereby the fork of your bicycle is screwed tight on to the headset in the head tube where as a threadless system using pressure and does not have a thread. In threadless systems, the steerer tube extends from the fork through the head tube and above the headset. It is secured by the stem clamped on top.
The Benefits of a threadless headset for your bicycle
Image credit: Wikipedia
the first pro is that one 1/8 inch threadless is the modern standard meaning you'll have the most options for frames and forks stems and handlebars the vast majority of frame sets these days use a one 1/8 threadless system. This means you'll have the most frame options for how exactly you want to build your bike. Thi sis with regards to material geometry clearances and mounts for fenders and racks or lack thereof. If you want to build a super clean look, that also means you'll have more choices for aftermarket forks if you want to change up your bikes or to change the front and steering characteristics by changing up your Forks material for better durability or better weight. Or again have better clearance for fatter tires or options for racks and fenders you also have a ton of options for stems so you can get the exact angle length brands and finish that you want. The threadless one ⅛ inch stem the industry standard so it will give you the most options for how you can build your bike.
Another big pro of the threadless which is the clamp for the stems. These also come in 31.8 millimeter diameter clamps these larger clamp areas allow for handlebars to feel a lot stiffer which for a lot of people can feel much better to sprint on. For those of you that like the most amount of stiffness out of your bike 31.8 bars and stems are flat-out going to be stiffer than their skinnier brethren and some riders after riding 31.8 just like it so much better. The vast majority of Threadless stems also have removable face plates making swapping out your handle bars without swapping out the stem super easy this is especially important if you value customisability. It’s just for fun it's really quick and easy to do.
In case you didn't know Threadless versus threaded stems also require different Forks and different headsets. Threadless headsets our my eyes are generally better than threaded headsets performance wise. If you get a sealed bearing Threadless headset it will practically be maintenance-free. Maybe once every two to three years it's a good idea to regress the headsets compare that to threaded headsets on the other hand they tend to be a bit more finicky and they aren't always as maintenance free.
The last advantage of Threadless is the looks partially because there's so many options when it comes to stems. Threadless as a very versatile style it can be anything from classy and let row to modern or anything from rugged to elegant on top of that pun intended you can also play with the accenting of your bike with top caps and spacers.
The Benefits of a threaded headsets for your bicycle
Image credit: Wikipedia
The biggest benefit of threaded headsets in our opinion for your bicycle is that you can pair them with classic quill stems, these just look cool and will help your bicycle achieve that vintage or clean cut vibe. If you’re getting older like us and have back problems, you may wish to raise your handlebars to achieve a more comfortable and upright cycling position. This is where threaded headsets when paired with a quill stem really shines. A Threadless headset really doesn't look that good when you pair it with a tonne of spacers as it looks like a game of uno stacko.
The argument that threaded headsets require more maintenance also doesn’t add up in this day and age as there are many manufacturers out there who offer sealed modern bearings with a threaded headset.