One of the major headset manufacturers has finally stepped up, offering a solution for bikes with 1.5″ headtubes. This is huge, for those of us building up a bike from a frame, or replacing & upgrading the heart of your ride. Riders now have the option of purchasing the headset combination of parts required for their build, as opposed to being forced to buy two separate headsets, and often wasting time and money, sourcing each component.
Cane Creek’s innovative solution? Sell it all separate
Tapered designs utilize combinations of Traditional, Zero Stack, Integrated and 1.5 headsets that result in upwards of 30 unique assembly matches. Historically, this would present a significant challenge for dealers and consumers trying to find the proper assembly to fit a bike. Under the Cane Creek Tapered Headset Solution, the universe of possible configurations can be met by four top assemblies and six bottom assemblies.
Effective immediately Cane Creek is offering its range of 110, AER, XX and selected S-series headsets in separate Top and Bottom assemblies.
That’s right, not only can you mix and match your cups, choosing to select an external vs. internal bearing and tweak your head angles, but it also appears that riders will be able to utilize the same lower 1.5″ cup for both 1 1/8″ and 1.5″ steerers by simply ordering and having the appropriate sized race on hand. This is a good thing for riders like me, running a tapered steerer on their bike, looking to switch to a dual crown DH race fork, like Rock Shox’s Boxxer or Fox’s 40, both of which are only offered in 1 1/8″. In a recent email from Gary Maltby of Cane Creek, I was informed that converting my lower cup to run a Boxxer fork was as easy as ordering a crown race off their website that will convert to 1 1/8. Searching their site for part # .HD1406 and clicking buy, and I’m on my way to converting my Session 88FR to a 88DH.
A manufacturer that is on it- All I have to say in response to that is, “awe, yeah.”
Previous to this announcement, only Chris King components offered a conversion kit, allowing riders to utilize adapters to step 1.5″ headtubes to 1 1/8″. (and don’t forget, you still have to purchase two headsets if you own a tapered fork) However, personally I am a bit jaded on King components for hard core gravity applications due to a number of issues I have had with hard frontal impacts. I tried their product last year on my personal Specialized Demo 7, after an incident where I cased a (rather large) double so hard I bent the 1.5″ steerer on my fork.
After the incident, I purchased a King 1.5 headset and as well as the 1 1/8″ reducer insert and lower race required to run a 1 1/8″ Marzocchi 66 RC2 (that was picked up inexpensively from a friend for a temp fork) while my Totem was being repaired. Unfortunately, the poorly designed reducer piece failed the first time it took a hard frontal impact at the North Star Bike Park in Tahoe.
While King warrantied all the parts, I was forced to pay shipping for a component that shouldn’t have failed the first place. Not to mention a wasted day at the bike park- a 4 hour drive home with an unridable bike in tow. It’s enough to make any rider jaded on a product. (I recommended King offer a second top race with a 1 1/8″ internal diameter, but they weren’t interested in my product feedback. WTF? Maybe it would be too much work to produce another sku and make a more reliable product? Your loss)
My issues with this headset continued even after I put my new Totem fork back on the bike- like a number of King products, the headset required adjusting a number of times before it stopped coming loose. I had to stop in the middle of my run to adjust a loosened headset repeatedly. Not cool.
In any event, Cane Creek earned themselves a fan. Check out the press release on the Cane Creek site here
Any one else had issues with the King Devo? Love it? What 1.5″ headset are you running?