The headset on your bike can sometimes be forgotten about, because it often goes unnoticed. Having a quality headset you can trust on your bike from a brand like Cane Creek, Chris King, or FSA will keep your rig spinning for more miles without any troubles. We are a big fan of Cane Creek headsets for plenty of reasons: they offer a huge range of products that nearly covers all headtube standards, their headsets balance both performance and durability, and they offer headsets at multiple price point levels, which helps us find the right product for each customer. After the launch of Cane Creek's newest headset offering, the Hellbender 70, we wanted to dig in to what sets their three most popular headsets apart: the 110 Series, the 40 Series, and the Hellbender 70. We also go in to detail understanding the Standard Headset Identification System, S.H.I.S., and the rest of the unique headsets that fill out Cane Creek's product lineup.
Max talking headsets with Cane Creek's Director of Engineering, Jim Morrison
Cane Creek's 110 Series headset is their top-of-the-line, no compromise premium headset, littered with performance and durability features. All 110 headsets are made from 7075 T6 Aluminum at Cane Creek’s headquarters in Fletcher, North Carolina. The 110's dust cap locks in to the upper headset cup and bearing to keep all of the dirt and grime outside of the headset. This is part of what keeps the 110 headset running smoothly all year round. Check out the other standout features on the 110 Series headset.
The 110 Series is aimed at the customer who wants to leave no stone unturned on their bike build; the 110 sacrifices nothing. This is a top-of-the-line premium headset that gives you top shelf performance and reliability topped off with a high-polished black anodized finish. Be on the lookout for any limited edition anodized color options as well.
7075 Aluminum 2 1/2 inch bar stock is ready for a series of machining operations before ending up a 110 Series headset
110 External Cup lower headset assembly fresh off of the lathe. Next step, anodizing and laser etching
110 Series IS41/28.6 IS52/40 headset mounted up on a Santa Cruz Hightower
The 40 Series headset has set the benchmark combining both performance and value. Compared to the 110, the 40 Series comes in at a much lower price point but still brings you some of the same performance and reliability features you expect from Cane Creek products. The 40 Series headset is designed in Fletcher, North Carolina, is manufactured in Taiwan, and is offered in the largest range of fitment options and industry standard configurations.
The 40 Series headset is aimed at the customer who is strictly looking for a functional headset without all of the fluff. The 40 series headset is a favorite for bike manufacturers spec'ing their bikes because it is cost effective while giving the customer a performance headset. The 40 headset is no slouch! You get a headset that won't break the bank and balances performance and value spot on.
Upgrade your 40 Series bearings with a pair of Zinc plated 40 bearings to help eliminate corrosion happening inside your headset
40 Series IS41/28.6 IS52/40 headset mounted up on a Santa Cruz Hightower
Cane Creek's latest headset model is the all new Hellbender 70. The idea behind the Hellbender is mixing and matching performance and reliability features of both the 40 Series and 110 Series headsets. The Hellbender 70 takes the machining techniques seen used on the 40 Series and pairs them with the sealing construction found in the 110 Series. The Hellbender 70 gets the same seal designs found in the 110 with a double sealed top cap and dual seal aluminum crown race. The Hellbender 70 is of course finished off with the Hellbender stainless steel bearings designed to battle any trail conditions.
The Hellbender 70 headset is perfect for the rider who is all about riding their bike hard. If you are someone who is constantly having to wash your bike because of wet and grimy trail conditions, the durability of the Hellbender 70 will be perfect for you. You get a product that shares all of the premium performance features of the 110 Series headset without paying for the premium finish.
The styling and laser etching on the Hellbender 70 dust cap is minimal and understated
Hellbender 70 IS41/28.6 IS52/40 headsets mounted up on a Santa Cruz Hightower
In the photos below, you'll notice some obvious differences in the components that make up each of these three headsets. From the aesthetics, machining techniques, seal design, different bearing offerings, and crown race design, each of the 110 Series, 40 Series, and Hellbender 70 headsets offer something unique. Choose the headset that best suits your needs!
A look underneath each dust cap. From left to right: the 110 Series, the Hellbender 70, and the 40 Series headset
On the left is a stainless steel Hellbender bearing found in the 110 Series and Hellbender 70 headsets. On the right is a black oxide coated 40 Series headset bearing
On the left is a dual seal aluminum crown race found on the 110 Series and Hellbender 70 headsets. On the right is a single seal steel crown race found on the 40 Series headset
With the Standardized Headset Identification System (S.H.I.S.), there are three steps to determining what Cane Creek headset is right for your bike. Just like when trying to decide What Size Bottom Bracket You Need, there are different standards and styles of headsets. Follow each step and illustration to make sure you get the exact headset configuration you need.
Outside of the most popular 110 Series, Hellbender 70, and 40 Series headsets, Cane Creek offers a full range of specialized headsets designed around E-bikes, slamming your stack height, saving every gram possible, or changing your headtube angle.
When you remove the dust cover off the Viscoset, you can see the clutch style plates that add steering damping
On the left you'll notice the low profile theme with the Slamset continues on with the one of a kind top cap and top cap bolt
Tearing apart one of the AER Series II hybrid steel/aluminum bearings
Max Morgan is 26 years old, and lives in Brevard, North Carolina. Max grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and started racing downhill at the age of 15. He has now been racing professionally for the last 8 years, competing in the UCI World Cup series and U.S. Pro GRT series. To learn more about Max, check out Max's rider spotlight here!