There's definitely something aethetically awry in the headtube/stem in the current crop of bikes. The Trek Madone 7.9 is a prime example of it. An oversize stem looks tiny and badly out of proportion against the very fat headtube. Even the forks look like they don't fit against the headtube properly. But as has been previously said its worse amongst the pure race bikes. I think modern F1 cars are ugly too but i won't be taking one of them around either. Don't know if there's ever been a proper study into it be don't we all just have a golden age (teens to early 20s) at which we form most responsive to our environment. I know my main views on whats good or bad in music, cars and bikes to name three were formed at that time and don't really change that much.
Pretty much nailed the whole debate with this excellt post.
A question, why do bike makers insist upon A Head system for higher end stuff?
Performance or looks?
It's inferior to threaded quill in my opinion.
It does allow the use of carbon steerer tubes to shave some weight off, likewise if using a steel or alloy steerer the problem of a threaded portion constituting a stress riser (Alan and Vitus threaded alloy fork columns are known to bulge if the quill is over-tightened, and I have had a Holdsworth steel fork fracture across the headset thread in the past) is overcome.
6 of one & half a dozen of another though, I guess, as clamping the stem to the steerer plus the use of star-fangled nuts in threadless systems raises another set of structural stress issues.
"Not so much a religion as a savings club for people who think Star Trek's a documentary"
- Marcus Brigstocke on Scientology