Cane Creek refines headset range, adds compatibility and fitments

Aheadset recreated as a truly modular headset system

Cane Creek has revamped its entire headset range for 2011 with sharper looks and a few less grams but more importantly, increased compatibility across different model lines and new fitments to better accommodate changing markets.

The 110 still sits at the top of the range with 7075-T6 aluminum cups that are CNC-machined in Cane Creek's Fletcher, North Carolina facility and full stainless steel cartridge bearings top and bottom. Those bearings now insert with a drop-in rather than press fit for freer movement after installation, though, while additional milling on the cups internal surfaces shed a bit of weight.

The play-squelching upper split ring is now fully captured inside the upper cover for an even more rock-solid fit and puts less stress on carbon steerers, too, while the lower crown race sports additional seals for better protection in foul weather. As before, Cane Creek will confidently back the 110 with a 110-year no-questions-asked warranty.

Cane Creek will offer the 110 in three traditional, three integrated, and three ZeroStack sizes plus tapered combinations. Prices range from US$90-175 depending on fitment.

The all-new 40-Series looks to be the mainstay of Cane Creek's 2011 line with the widest range of fitments (four integrated, three ZeroStack, and four traditional sizes plus mixed combinations for tapered steerers) and most of the features borrowed from the 110 design but will less expensive materials like black oxide steel bearings and less intensively machined 6061-T6 aluminum cups produced overseas. Prices range from US$60-120.

For more budget-minded consumers there's the 10-Series, which again bumps down in materials and machining intricacy relative to the 40-Series but prices are also quite aggressive at US$40-60 for a complete headset.

Speaking of fitments, Cane Creek has wisely acknowledged that the days of having just a handful of headset sizes are long gone and is now selling headsets as individual upper and lower assemblies so that shops and customers can mix and match at will. Moreover, bearings, compression rings, and crown races are now fully compatible between the 10-Series, 40-Series, and 110 headset families and even stack heights for comparable fitments are now identical for easier swapping.

For riders sporting 44mm-diameter ZeroStack head tubes Cane Creek's clever new lower cup size will allow the use of tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" steerers, thus breathing new life into heaps of older mountain bikes and lending even more front end rigidity into newer ones.

Meanwhile, Cane Creek's clever new AngleSet line allows for slight changes in head tube angle in frames with otherwise fixed geometry – a key tuning metric especially for downhill and freeride rigs where even tiny changes can have major effects on handling at speed. Available for ZeroStack head tubes only, the AngleSet's gimbled sub-cups offer +/- 0.5, 1.0, or 1.5-degree adjustments – and a neutral 0-degree setup – so you can now tune your bike's handling to suit the course at hand.

The ultralight AER and shiny 100 headsets as well as the mega-tunable Double Barrel rear shock all carry over essentially unchanged.

Revamped Aheadset range offers easy mix-and-match headset creation

The burgeoning crop of headset sizes and types aren't just a problem for consumers – it's also presented a nightmare for shops that need to service everything. To answer that need, Cane Creek has recreated the Aheadset brand as a truly modular headset system that can fit virtually any 1" or 1 1/8" traditional, integrated, or ZeroStack-compatible head tube – and even threaded or threadless steerers.

By prioritizing cross-compatibility into each of the parts, shops can accommodate 11 different headset sizes and types with just 18 individual pieces, all of which will be contained in a compact parts box for easy storage and quick inventory. Complete headset will also be available for off-the-shelf jobs and takeaway sales to do-it-yourselfers.

Save for the cartridge-equipped integrated fitment, the Aheadset system will rely exclusively on caged steel bearings (though that also means savvier shops can also loose-pack the cups for greater longevity) and there is currently no provision for 1.5" headsets. Likewise, though nearly all of the configurations are sealed, the mechanisms are somewhat simplistic and probably ill suited to heavy-duty service in wet climates.

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