Tapered steerer – does it really make a difference?

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  • Tapered steerer – does it really make a difference?
  • filks

    I can see how a through axle can clearly make a difference to tracking accuracy, but how does a tapered steerer help? Can anyone really feel the difference riding?

    I only ask as I’ve never ridden one…….

    No. It makes no difference whatsoever.


    cynical people would suggest that it’s more marketing/price increase led, but i’d of thought there is “technically” an improvement over standard – real world, who knows!

    Premier Icon wwaswas

    I suspect it’s measurable in a laboratory, I can’t really tell when riding though.

    What it does do is make using a fatter head tube more aesthetically pleasing. 1 1/8″ forks in big head tubes look a bit odd sometimes.

    And you can feel the difference a stiffer head tube/down tube junction makes so I guess if the tapered steerer is a price to pay for a fatter head tube then it’s ok?


    Yes, they made a big difference with my 29er rebas.
    Everything stayed the same apart from the fork (warranty job).
    I could 100% tell the difference. I wasn’t even bothered when first installing. Didn’t think it would make a difference, but it did.

    Reba, 100mm, 29er, 15QR on a Chumba HX2 frame with hope headset.

    Premier Icon kimbers

    ska could but presumably thats because you were running a straight steerer in a tapered headtube

    a better comparison would be identical bikes one with tapered headtube/forks, one with 1&18th headtube/forks and a 1.5 headtube/forks


    Went from QR std steerer Revs to 20mm tapered steerer Revs on the same bike and the difference was quite noticeable. I’m familiar enough with my local loop to be able to watch what the forks are doing on some obstacles and there was a visible difference as well as an improvement in handling.

    The axle helped to prevent the fork legs from ‘walking’ and the tapered steerer reduced the amount of backwards-forwards chatter, which made the forks go up-and-down more rather than simply flexing.

    Premier Icon njee20

    Purely anecdotal but… a few years back I changed from a 2010 Top Fuel to a 2011 one. Same wheel, same bar/stem, but the old one was a SID with straight steerer, the new one had a Fox 32 with tapered steerer. The 2011 one handled a lot better, just felt more like it went where you pointed it. Could just be that the Fox is a lot stiffer than the SID, or could be tapered steerer. Dunno.


    I’ve got 1 1/8″ Revs on my Bfe and tapered ones on my Rocket (both bolt through).

    The Rocket ones are noticeably less twangy under heavy braking.


    Another pointless standard, along with pressfit bb’s,15mm axles (why not just stick with 20), and 650b. The worst thing is when companies spec tapered forks with open dropouts.

    Premier Icon cp

    My tapered steerer reba 29ers are noticeably less twangy under braking than fox 32 26er straight 1.1/8 steerer.

    Premier Icon andybrad

    i would imagine the fork flex is a bigger issue.

    Premier Icon faustus

    I only have a tapered steerer on my road/cross bike, but with rigid forks it really helps to cut down fore/aft flex. I can understand the benefit for mtb’s having a fatter headtube, as it creates stiffer front end of the frame.

    Premier Icon cp

    The worst thing is when companies spec tapered forks with open dropouts

    why? a 9mm QR works in EXACTLY the same way as a 15mm bolt through – a rod pulls the fork legs together against the hub, and the 15mm axle hub end caps are pretty similar in size to 9mm QR end caps

    Edit – so with a decent QR like Shimano, a 9mm QR should be torsionally similar to a 15mm thru axle.


    I’ve tried a 1-1/8″ and a 1.5″ Revelation fork on Ragley Mmmbop frames – both forks were the Team version with 20mm bolt through.

    The 1-1/8″ was very flexy and I sold it on to run a Fox 36 1.5″ fork. I then picked up the 1.5″ Rev as I hoped it would be less of a noodle than the 1-1/8″ version… which it kind of was. The 1.5″ steerer definetly reduced the fore/aft flex of the Rev but I still found myself sawing at the handlebars as the legs of the fork twisted.

    Summary – In my experience 1.5″(and hence tapered ) steerers are definetly stiffer in front to back flex than 1-1/8″; but they are not enough in themselves to make much of a difference unless the whole package is suitably stiff.

    Depends how you ride and if you can live with flex for reduced weight, or want a carbon steerer which is lighter etc etc, but I can see a benefit to the standard… although I liked the 1.5″ steerer and still have forks with it 🙄


    Would agree entirely with this ^^

    A tapered steerer and big axle helps but imo a fork like a Rev is fundamentally flexy. The internals are writing cheques the chassis can’t cash.


    just moved to tapered steerer, much stiffer and less forward and aft flex; then the fork is 170mm so probably more noticeable than smaller travel offerings


    I weigh 13 stone with kit and I can’t tell the difference but I do prefer it if that makes any sense?

    I’m guessing about 30% difference in the fork/steerer joint, purely going on the leverage involved.

    Whether that makes a difference to your ride, well, depends on a lot of stuff. Personally, I’m not upgrading any bikes any time soon, but the crown/steerer joint is quite an important one, so the extra stiffness can only be a good thing.

    Premier Icon Del

    having ripped a headtube off a frame i prefer the larger ones, even if the steeer is 1&1/8th


    exactly. isn’t this more about having a larger headtube to attach top- and down-tubes to? to make that junction stronger and stiffer? predominantly in carbon fibre frames which are generally bigger ‘tubes’? the tapering allows this but also allows people to use their existing stems.
    the appreciable difference is not in the fork flex, but in the flex of the frame.

    Premier Icon SimonR

    Can’t imagine there’s a lateral stiffness benefit particularly when you consider the stiffness of other bits between your handlebars and the trail – for example, check the lateral flex in a wheel. Front-to-back again not sure – I would have thought fork bushing play would dominate here.

    However, a bigger head tube does give a bigger weld area – bit more freedom for the designer and potentially stronger and/or easier to weld?

    Also wondered whether there’s a benefit headset bearing lifespan (assuming they’re reasonably well sealed) – more balls or rollers carrying a similar load?

    Premier Icon tonyg2003

    I can absolutely tell the difference on a road bike. My first tapered steerer bike (now 7yrs old) was a revelation when cornering or holding the bars with 1 hand (no wobbles). Rock solid. For my MTB’s – nope I can’t tell. Suspension set up and tyre pressure are too big variables in my view.

    Premier Icon rickon

    The 2011 one handled a lot better, just felt more like it went where you pointed it. Could just be that the Fox is a lot stiffer than the SID, or could be tapered steerer. Dunno.

    Same experience here, switched from a Rev to a Pike. Fork feels are is it steers a lot better, like it goes where you want it to. A bit like turbo lag vs no turbo lag 🙂

    Could be the 35mm stanchions though.

    Can’t say I can tell much difference between my old 1 1/8th DT’s and the current tapered RS. The 1 1/8th Fox 36’s I had a while back were stiffer then both.


    On longer travel forks with stiff lowers, I think it makes a difference. For shorter travel I’m not convinced.

    I’ve got rev’s in both 1 1/8 and tapered. The difference is not great as the lowers flex regardless.

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