Cane Creek S3 headset£33.00

Consistent value performer

BikeRadar score4/5

Cane Creek (under its original Dia Compe name) was the first to license the Aheadset design in 1990 and it still makes some of the best sets around.

Even this most basic offering from the range is a belter that came up regularly on recommended lists from our contacts in the field. For a start, it’s better sealed than a lot of units costing twice the price.

The crown race benefits from a built-in lip seal and there are steerer O-ring seals and a floating neoprene and metal cap seal above the top bearing.

The stepped (as opposed to being merely chamfered) cup flanges make straight and accurate fitting a breeze too.

If you take the time to clean them and dab some fresh grease on them occasionally, the bearings will regularly run for well over a year before you need to cough up for a new set.

The only thing you need to be careful of is damaging the crown race steel if you need to swap forks – but again, there are spares available if you knacker it.

There’s even an ‘S3 Plus’ (5mm greater stack height) version, which comes equipped with a 5mm deeper lower cup to give extra fork clearance. A handful of resin steerer spacers in the box put its top value status beyond doubt.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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