Falz Forks and D11 Headsets

By: Embrocation Jan 30

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We're going to take a few moments to talk about a couple of the most frequently asked questions regarding Pegoretti bicycles: the Falz fork and the D11 headset, why they exist and a reasonable explanation of the actual versus perceived benefits of this system.

Dario has always been known for his fondness for wide diameter tubes. It's a simple equation: greater diameter equals greater stiffness and stiffness is one of the most desired elements in the type of race bikes Dario has made his specialty for the past few decade. Advances in metallurgy in the past few years have allowed for wider diameter tubes to be made without incurring a disproportionate weight penalty for the commensurate stiffness gain. Dario has seized on this and has steadily increased the diameters of his tubing as it has become available.

In the most recent generation of bikes, Dario has yet again gone to wider diameter main tubes. The down tube especially has grown in size to the point where it is too large to mate up with the head tube without employing some level of deformation of the down tube to accomplish this junction. This sort of manipulation is antithetical to Dario's sensibilities - ovalizing is a cheap, easy and crude way to solve the problem but it degrades the ride quality and aesthetic proportionality of the bicycle; not acceptable in Dario's universe. So what to do? Simple. If your down tube won't fit the head tube, then make a bigger head tube. And rather than resort to something like a 44mm head tube, which would be a bit big, Dario designed his own head tube and worked with Chris King to develop a special headset to match it.

The proprietary headset, known as the D11, uses the same bearings as a standard King headset and is compatible with standard 1 1/8" forks. It has deeper skirts than the standard Nothreadset and has a wider stance to accommodate the wider head tube. These are subtle differences that take the best aspects of the beloved King headset and apply them to this specialized design.

So, a slightly wider down tube mated to a slightly wider head tube with a slightly modified headset, all highly customized to Dario's unique specifications, but to what end? With the wider diameters come enhanced rigidity, but it's not as though the Pegoretti steel bikes were ever lacking in girth or stiffness to begin with. Going to an even wider main tube set adds marginal stiffness increase and virtually no ride quality change worthy of note. These changes are likely most noticeable in the larger sized frames - 57cm and above - where the slightly enhanced front end rigidity would be more noticeable. But, we feel most riders will be hard-pressed to notice a difference between the previous generation bikes and the new, D11 equipped models.

And the downside? Any time a bike uses a proprietary piece of equipment, there can be headaches. The D11 headsets will not be nearly as plentiful as the standard versions and may create headaches for some Pegoretti owners down the road. Mitigating these headaches will be the fact that King is supplying that part, and they would not do so if they did not intend to be able to provide service and replacement parts for the foreseeable future.

One thing we feel quite confident in asserting is that the D11 head tube makes a more pleasant aesthetic match for the Falz fork, the most notable aspect of which has always been its bulbous crown. The slight increase in the diameter of both head tube and headset seem to take the edge off of this crown a bit, tone down the bulges and make the Falz look more fully integrated with the frame.

Now, a little more about this fork...

Dario was a big fan of the Reynolds Ouzo Pro forks and they were standard issue on all of his frames for some time until Reynolds discontinued production a few years back. The Ouzo was a wonderful fork and it set the standard for high quality carbon forks for years after its introduction. Laterally stiff but very comfortable; well-made and very safe. Plus it was available in a wide range of rakes including uncommon mid-range rakes that Dario prefers.

With the discontinuation of the Reynolds forks, Dario was left trying to find a suitable solution. He initially used forks made by the large manufacturer of all things carbon for bikes, Trigon. This fork performed well, but didn't quite live up to the ride quality and aesthetics that Dario's customers have come to expect, or that Dario would accept for his own products. So, he did the only logical thing: he designed and sourced his own carbon fork, the Falz. This fork is a full carbon unit, just like the Reynolds before it.

It's an uncommon design to be sure, with its fat, square-shaped crown and gradually tapered, flat sided legs. Despite initial recoiling among some more opinionated types regarding the unusual shaping, the general consensus has come to be one of admiration for the unique design that seems to match Dario's bikes, his personality and sensibilities when it comes to form, function and their relationship.

As to the ride quality of the Falz, there is more of a consensus. Those who have ridden the Falz mostly report the same thing - that it's a good match for the Pegoretti frames insofar as it's stiff and taut yet relatively smooth and comfortable. Of greatest importance in the Falz is its ability to match the ride quality of Dario's frames, which is to say fast handling yet stable at speed. On the road, bikes paired with the Falz have proven to be just this and many riders report the Falz to be among the most stable forks for high speed descending.

The bottom line, for us, is that the Falz fork is a fine piece of equipment worthy of the Pegoretti name. In our experience, it meets expectations of a performance-oriented fork with excellent ride and handling manners. It matches the ride quality of steel race bikes especially well, which is why it's not only the perfect choice for Dario's bikes, but why we've also chosen it as a fork option for our Gaulzetti Cazzo bike as well.

The D11 headset specification leaves us a little more ambivalent. It's a good idea and we understand Dario's quest to achieve larger diameter, stiffer tubes without having to resort to tube deformation during the construction process. Having said that, from our perspective the real-world benefits of such an increase are negligible in all but the larger sized bikes. This is a small quibble for a system that's good looking and functional.

The Falz forks are available on most 2012 and 2013 vintage Pegoretti framesets, while the D11 system was slower to be fully implemented, meaning it's really just 2013 bikes that come with this system. We have made efforts to spell out the specification of each frameset we have available on our Pegoretti Product Pages. Feel free to Contact Us if you have any questions regarding this or any other aspects of Pegoretti bicycles.


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