There's plenty of old frames out there that are well worth a bit of TLC, and Genetic's 1" Cranium headset is ideal for reuniting an old frame and fork. No bells or whistles: just a decent quality, simple threaded headset for not much money.
What do you get for your tenner? Alloy cups, steel bearing surfaces, caged bearings, O-ring seals and a chromed locknut. Ours was a perfect fit in the frame whereas the fork crown needed a bit of preparation to accept the lower race. Once it was all put together - with a big helping of grease - the fork felt solidly attached and buttery smooth. Several hundred miles later, nothing's changed. I took the fork out to see if there'd been any water ingress but everything was still absolutely dry.
A well-greased, well adjusted headset should last for ages and this Genetic unit is no exception, so it's a bargain. Okay it's not quite as swanky or svelte as some of the other remaining options for mounting a 1" threaded fork, but it'll give you years of trouble-free steering for pocket money. And it looks just right on an older frame.
Good quality, great value headset for older frames
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Genetic Cranium 1 inch headset
Size tested: 1 inch
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It's a replacement headset for older 1" threaded forks and it does the job just dandy.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Genetic Cranium Headset.
High quality classic style 1' threaded headset for use on
1' ITA standard frames.
Polished Alloy cups with steel runners, caged bearings
and O-ring waterseals.
Chrome plated locknut.
Well made without being outstanding
No problems at all. You could uncage the balls and add an extra couple for a bit more longevity if you wanted.
Lasting very well with no water ingress
You're paying peanuts for a perfectly functional component
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Looks, price, function
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The crown race was super tight on my fork
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, inasmuch as you can enjoy using a headset
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 38 Height: 190cm Weight: 98kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.