Could a Rinko Headset be the answer to my S&S Coupler Problems?

Downtube Damage

Downtube Damage

One of the few problems that I am having with the S&S couplers on my bike has to do with packing. The way my bike fits in its case, the freewheel rubs up against the downtube. Even with the padding, there is enough pressure to scratch the frame through the powder coating down to bare metal. My plan is to get the frame powdercoated again this winter, the color is too orange anyway :) But when I get it done, I don’t want to keep scratching the frame. Waterford recommends protecting the area with something sturdy like automobile heater hose. The solution is either to remove the freewheel or remove the fork to make more room. Since my bike is a 1991 Bridgestone RB-1, it has a threaded headset. The trouble is that I’d have to carry a huge wrench to get enough leverage to remove the freewheel or two large headset wrenches to remove the threaded headset.

So today I was looking at the possibility of getting a new threadless fork made. Something with fender and lo-rider braze-ons. Something with a nice fork crown, maybe in polished stainless steel. I was looking at dropping another $500-700 dollars to make it happen. In the mean time, I stopped over and looked at one of my favorite online bike retailers, Velo Orange. Velo Orange sells modern retro styled equipment. I currently have a threadless stem adapter, threadless stem and seatpost from them. And if they ever offer drillium chainrings on their triple crankset, I’ll probably buy one.

Velo Orange Rinko Headset

On their site I came across something new, Rinko Headsets. Rinko headseats are used in Japan to allow no tool removal of bicycle forks so that bikes can be transported on trains. The teeth shown in the picture prevent the headset from coming loose and the knurled nut allows hand adjustments. The headset comes with cartridge bearings.

Some commenters on the Velo Orange blog, said that they could do the same with a threadless headset. True, but then I would have to buy a threadless fork to make it work. This seems like an elegant solution to my problem. Coincidentally, the Nitto headset that came with the RB-1 is getting a little pitted and feels rough. I think I’ll give this a try!

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One Response to Could a Rinko Headset be the answer to my S&S Coupler Problems?

  1. rob says:

    I followed your thread about this on bikeforums; I’d say that at $55, it’s a no-brainer. Looking at it, I do worry that it could work loose, but it’s gotta be worth a try. The “Diamond” headset that was oem on my Bridgestone has similar teeth, as does the Tioga Beartrap on my bmx cruiser, and they do seem helpful in holding a headset’s adjustment… but they have a traditional topnut, too.

    Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained, and $55 is a pretty small venture. Go for it!

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