Cane Creek have revamped their 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 and standards.
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 sheds 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. It'll be available in three traditional, three integrated and three ZeroStack sizes, plus tapered combinations. Prices will 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).
The new Cane Creek 40-Series is the workhorse of the 2011 range
Most of the features are borrowed from the 110 design, but with less expensive materials, like black oxide steel bearings and less intensively machined 6061-T6 aluminum cups produced overseas. Prices will range from $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. Prices are quite aggressive at $40-60 for a complete headset.
The Cane Creek 10-Series is meant as the budget entry into the brand but the look is high-end
Mix, match and change head angles at will
Speaking of fitments, Cane Creek have wisely acknowledged that the days of having just a handful of headset sizes are long gone and are 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.
Cane Creek's trick new lower cup size will allow frames with 44mm ZeroStack 1-1/8in head tubes to use tapered steerers
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 1-1/2in steerers, thus breathing new life into heaps of older mountain bikes and lending even more front end rigidity to newer ones.
Meanwhile, Cane Creek's clever 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.
The clever Cane Creek AngleSet allows for up to +/- 1.5 degrees of head tube angle adjustment to fine tune your bike's handling.
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 is a truly modular system
The burgeoning crop of headset sizes and types isn'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 have recreated the Aheadset brand as a truly modular headset system that can fit virtually any 1in or 1-1/8in traditional, integrated or ZeroStack-compatible head tube – and even threaded or threadless steerers.
Cane Creek say shops can create 11 different types of 1in or 1-1/8in headsets with just 18 different parts
By prioritizing cross-compatibility of 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 headsets will also be available for off-the-shelf jobs and takeaway sales.
Save for the cartridge-equipped integrated fitment, the Aheadset system will rely exclusively on caged steel bearings (though that means savvier shops can loose-pack the cups for greater longevity) and there is currently no provision for 1.5in headsets. Though nearly all of the configurations are sealed, the mechanisms are somewhat simplistic and probably ill suited to heavy-duty service in wet climates.
Cane Creek showed off their bits on this beautiful Nicolai