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Completely disagree. Never found stiffness and issue with any Z1 on a 1 1/8 steerer. The stiffness you allude to is found the the engineering of the upper arch that the stanchions attach to. And the arch and the axle interface. It has nothing to do with the bearing/steerer diameter. King headsets are so good you could use one for 20 years if the 1 1/8 standard never changed. Just like stems: first 25.4, then 31.9 (I think..) now....... I have two perfectly good Race Face stems that are 25.4 bar width that are stems for life except the change in standard. Coincidence? Don't be naive. Bike companies now know that if they make good shit the only way to continue to make money they have to find a reason to get people to buy new stuff; the best way: changed standards. On the handlebar issue, I am unaware that when the standard was 25.4 (what I have now) that bar bending was any issue. On my bike now, I run a 1.8 drivetrain (22 front with 12/32 XTR rear) and it is just fine. AND I get a stronger chain. Moreover, I don't use more than 4 cogs. Why do you need 11? And don't tell me that every user of 1x11 uses EVERY rear cog. I doubt 99% use more than half. But again, it is all about getting you to buy more stuff.
I don't like it, but I understand it and as a committed biker I have to go along. Trying to improvise with older standards on newer bikes is getting harder and harder to do. I COULD run a 1x8 XTR setup on my new bike, and be happy, but finding parts to replace it later would be even harder.
And think of how many good bikes out there are simply going to waste or to the recycler simply due to standards. No disc brake mounts, 1 inch head tubes....I could go on.
No wonder why the older, vintage bikes are so in demand and command premium prices if in good shape.
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