Hey Lee, I am trying to replace my busted headset and I bought a new 1 1/8″ HS, but it didn’t fit, so I look at the website and it says internal cup 1 1/8″. What in the world is a internal cup headset?
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Welcome to our brave new world.
In a traditional headset, you press big cups into the frame, and those cups contain the bearings. You can see them above and below your head tube. That’s what you bought.
In an internal cup headset, a little cup gets pressed into the frame, and the bearings rest up within the head tube. It’s lower profile and sleeker than the old method, but it sure can be a pain, eh?
There’s another type: the integrated headset. In these, there is no cup. The bearing rides on the inside of the frame itself. That’s bad news; instead of wearing a cheap headset part, you wear your frame.
Chris King makes the best headsets ever. They explain this very well: