Saddle Slang is sponsored by Rehook. Check out our tools, bike care and apparel

hed set reys

Noun, Verb

Headset Race is a type of informal race between two or more cyclists.

Example usage: Let's have a Headset Race to the top of the hill!

Most used in: Mountain biking and other off-road cycling.

Most used by: Cyclists who enjoy informal, friendly competitions.

Popularity: 8/10

Comedy Value: 6/10

Also see: Headset Cup, Internal Headset, Integrated Headset, Threadless Headset,


What is a Headset Race?

A headset race is a type of bicycle racing that is generally referred to as 'track racing.' The race takes place on a track, usually in an oval shape, and riders race against each other using a fixed-gear bicycle. The term 'headset race' is derived from the headset, which is the part of the bicycle that holds the handlebars in place.

In a headset race, the riders start in a line and the first one to cross the finish line is the winner. The cyclists use their track bikes to gain speed and accelerate quickly, allowing them to pass other riders and stay ahead of the pack. The track is often banked, allowing the cyclists to take corners at high speed.

Headset races are popular all over the world, with events taking place on both indoor and outdoor tracks. In the United States alone, there are over 200 track cycling races held each year. The International Cycling Union (UCI) is the governing body for international track cycling.

Headset racing is an exciting and competitive sport, and it requires skill, strategy, and endurance. With the right technique and training, it can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience.


The Origin of the Cycling Term 'Headset Race'

The phrase 'headset race' originated in the late 1960s in the United States. It was initially used to describe a competition between cyclists in which they raced on bicycles with the goal of reaching the finish line first. The race was unique in that participants had to ride without using their hands, instead relying on the headset of their bike to steer them.

This form of competition was popular in California, and the phrase 'headset race' eventually spread to other parts of the country. Today, the term is widely used by cyclists to refer to a race in which participants must ride without the use of their hands. It is also sometimes used to describe a situation in which two cyclists are competing for the same goal.

The term 'headset race' has come to represent the spirit of competition and camaraderie among cyclists. It is an exciting and challenging way to test one's skills and endurance, and is enjoyed by cyclists of all levels.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Saddle Slang

Find definitions for all of the technical terms, slang, and acronyms used in cycling. From the different types of bikes and their components, to training techniques, racing terminology and put downs, this dictionary has it all.

Talk the Talk
1 of 3