Cane Creek’s Simple Tapered Headset

by Ben Haworth 2

Oops! We thought we’d run this story already but er… we didn’t. Without any more delay, here’s the Press Release in full..

Cane Creek XX 44mm
Cane Creek XX 44mm.

Fletcher, North Carolina – March 4, 2010 – Citing the need for a headset solution that would facilitate the use of a tapered steerer fork (1.5” to 1-1/8”) in a standard ZeroStack™ head-tube, Sean Chaney, owner of Vertigo Cycles, a custom frame builder from Portland, approached Cane Creek with a brilliant, simple headset idea.

“After hearing from David Turner and then speaking with Sean, I was so excited by the problem-solving nature of his headset solution and it’s far reaching implications for both new and old bicycles using the ZeroStack™ standard that I produced a technical drawing the same day,” says Josh Coaplen, Cane Creek Director of Research & Development. “The headset bottom is simply a 1.5” traditional with a 44mm diameter insertion sleeve that fits a frame using the ZeroStack™ standard.”

Armed with a simple solution Chaney reached out to David Turner, owner of Turner Bicycles, in mid January of this year for some direction and advice on who might partner with him to make his idea a reality. Turner, helping facilitate communication, pointed Chaney in the direction of Cane Creek, a company known for coveting and fostering innovation.

“I knew that a tapered fork could dimensionally fit into a ZeroStack™ standard head-tube,” says Chaney. “My customers have been asking me for months about tapered forks and tapered head-tubes. “My goal was for small builders to be able to use a commonly available straight head-tube rather than having to resort to machining a tapered head tube; a costly, time consuming and wasteful process. This hybrid headset bottom solves a lot of problems, allows a person with a ZeroStack™ head-tube to retro fit a tapered fork and it makes it possible for me to give my customers the flexibility in fork selection they’ve been wanting.”

The bottom headset assembly, tentatively called the XX 44mm Traditional, allows any tapered steerer tube fork (1.5” to 1-1/8”) to be used in a 1-1/8” ZeroStack™ style frame. While the headset was specifically designed with the small builder in mind, it has a much wider appeal for modern mountain bikes that feature a ZeroStack™ head-tube from a number of companies, including BMC, Fisher and Pivot. Riders can now retrofit their 1-1/8” ZeroStack™ frames with tapered steerer forks to reap the performance benefits from increased stiffness.

Two models, addressing different price levels, of the Sean Chaney inspired XX 44mm Traditional bottom headset assembly will be available mid-summer 2010 from Cane Creek. A high-end version will be produced at Cane Creek’s Fletcher, NC facility and will have features similar to the brand’s 110 XX headset.

Comments (2)

  1. Hi, this is very interesting. Only thing that springs to my mind is , what forks with the tapered headtube would one want to put in a bike designed for zero stack?

    ie, zero stack frames are short travel usualy, tapered forks tend to be on beefcake long travel forks.


  2. Not true, as all Pace frames use this standard. I think the main thing to consider is whether it’ll muck up the handling of your existing zero stack frame using an external bottom cup. It’ll knock everything back by about 0.5deg.

    To be honest, this wasn’t brought about for retrofitting purposes (although that helps) it was brought about for people like me who design steel and ti frames and needed something less humungous and heavy than the full on 1.5 standard headtubes. You’ll see this around a lot in 2012 I suspect. In fact, I think some of the new Ragley’s are already using it.

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