Makes a stronger feeling at your bike
Fast turns, sprinting or horrible rock gardens, a stiffer cockpit is neccessary for precise fast and hard riding.
But increased cockpit stiffness should not be achieved with a stiffer handlebar. The handlebar itself should have some small flex for symmetrical loads to increase comfort, but onesided loads should not make the system bend. And this is where the Stiffmaster comes into play.
How did it come about?
Since the end of 20th century there has been no progress in bicycle headsets. 2017 Paul Aston from Pinkbike came and we talked about forks, doublecrowns and singlecrown forks. He mentioned the weak point of the sinclecrown versions, in his eyes the steerertube is too flexy, allowing the handlebar (one side) to move up and down more that it should. Doublecrown forks are one solution to prevent this and make a stiffer and more precise ride.
He was right. I never thought about the handlebar stiffness when it is about a fork. So I told him “I will think about that and find a solution”.
Two weeks later I showed him the ideas of the Stiffmaster headset.
So what does it do?
Have a look at the ssecond image above. On the left side you can find the drawing of a traditional headset. Conical ring (red), bearing (blue), caps and spacer (black).
The steerertube is 28,6mm with wallthickness of 2mm. (for comparison a handlebar is 31,8 or 35mm with about 3mm wallthickness). This tube bends heavily when high one sided loads are applied to the handlebar like in sprinting or fast turnes. The connection between the bearing, the conical ring and the steerer is not tight, there is only just “no play” and that's it, so these parts can actually move relative to each other, that’s why excessive bending of the steerer occurs.
On the right side you see the Intend Stiffmaster headset. The green shell connects firmly to the steerer thanks to the clamp of the upper headset cap. So the cap and the shell becomes one solid unit with the steerer tube. If there is any bending of the steerer tube, the Stiffmaster construction will prevent it, while it lays down on the axial needle-bearing. It’s not possible for the steerer tube to move in any way.
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