IRD brought back roller bearings a couple of years back with a headset that had roller bearings in its lower cup only (which is more than fine for most people). This new Double Roller has needle bearings in both the upper and lower cups.
There are many people that have evangelized the use of roller bearing headsets over the years; Jobst Brandt, Sheldon Brown, and Grant Petersen to name a few. It is our belief that if headsets where a recent invention, rather than being over 100 years old, all headsets would be roller bearing. Roller bearings are better than ball bearings in virtually every characteristic except one: bringing rolling resistance to near zero in high speed rotation. Guess what? Your headset doesn’t rotate, it oscillates back and forth. Also bringing rolling resistance to zero in your steering column is not a good idea even if it could be achieved ( read steer damping below).
There are many advantages to roller bearing headsets, but for the sake of time we can reduce them to 3.
1. Steering Dampening - The greater bearing contact area acts as a damper within the steering column absorbing high and low speed vibrations. This often ends a bicycle’s tendency to shimmy. In the case of mountain bikes, it will keep you on a truer straight line through rock gardens. On road bikes, more control in high speed turns. On Gravel bikes, you’ll find them indispensable.
2. Greater Strength - Roller Bearing headset are stronger than ball bearing headsets. Their bearings have a much greater contact area on the races than ball bearing headsets.
3. Greater Durability - with the load spread over a greater area, the incidence of pitting and race wear is dramatically reduced. If you are into loaded touring this is the headset for you.
- Aluminum Cups and Nut
- Steel Race
- Stack height: 40.7mm