Cane Creek is a cycling components company based in Fletcher, North Carolina that is widely known for their high end precision components. In the early 1990s, Cane Creek came out with their first product and with a revolutionary design; the AHeadSet was the first threadless headset. Now Cane Creek is not only known for their high quality headsets, but they also produce top of the line mountain bike suspension and a titanium crankset among other products. Here in this Ultimate Review Guide, we are laying out everything you need to know on the Cane Creek Helm fork. From technical information and specifications, a list of credible reviews, to some epic custom builds featuring the Helm fork, this is your one stop shop to get up to speed on the Cane Creek Helm.
A 29" Helm fork in the dark gunmetal colorway looks sharp on this Yeti SB5.5
When Cane Creek launched the Helm fork, it was of course the first fork they had brought to market and was the first time bikes could now be outfitted with Cane Creek suspension from front to rear. In terms of suspension, Cane Creek is largely known for their Double Barrel shock which features a twin tube design with independent compression and rebound damping circuits. Hints the name Double Barrel. When word of the Helm fork start to make its way around the industry, many assumed it would also utilize a similar twin tube damper design. Although a twin tube damper was tested, Cane Creek found that a simpler mono-tube damper proved to be more efficient.
The Helm fork is now available for both 27.5" and 29" wheels with either an air spring or coil spring option. Each of the Helm models and variations are widely adjustable with a 3-way adjustable damper, travel adjustments in 10mm increments, 8 position accessory free air volume adjust for air spring models, and coil spring preload adjust for coil spring models. Find some more technical details below.
In 1799, in Cabarrus County North Carolina, a 12-year-old boy named Conrad Reed found a large yellow rock while playing in a creek on his family’s land. He hauled the stone home and his family, who liked the look of the shiny metal, used it as a doorstop in their home.
It sat there for a few years before Conrad’s dad took the stone to a local jeweler who let them know that their ‘doorstop’ was actually a gold nugget weighing 17lbs. People heard about Conrad’s discovery and flocked to the area to make their fortunes, thus beginning the first gold rush in the United States. In honor of Conrad’s discovery, Cane Creek named the limited gold and black HELM colorway the ConRad Edition
Because Cane Creek is an American company, they launched the Cherry Bomb limited edition Helm fork on July 4th, the day the United States declared their independence. The idea was that because every Helm fork is assembled by hand and tested at Cane Creek's headquarters in North Carolina, that with the Cherry Bomb fork you can declare your independence from other mass produced suspension fork on the market. It's a bit of a stretch, but non the less if the red colorway fancies you, then give us a call and see if any of the Cherry Bomb forks are still available.
Strike gold with the ConRad Edition Helm Fork
Back in 2018, we got an inside look at the Cane Creek factory headquarters in Fletcher, North Carolina, just a few minutes south of Asheville, North Carolina. Check out the Inside Cane Creek feature here to learn more about everything that goes down at Cane Creek. From hand assembling and running the dyno for each and every Helm fork, to machining and assembling every 110 Series headset in house, we got a chance to learn more about this high end American cycling components company.
Here's what we think about the Helm fork - "For all its features, support, and progression, we think this fork lends itself to the more aggressive rider. That being said, you can easily back off the progression and lower the air pressure to get a much different feel. Cane Creek is known for their highly tunable suspension dampers, so they came out looking for the top spot in the fork world. We can't wait to try one of these on a 29-inch rig because that would be insanely fun to ride. Did we mention that everything is made in the USA? That’s an awesome fact that we support. If you’re looking to get on something not everyone is riding, you will have no regrets on the Cane Creek Helm. With different colors and travel options, this fork can either help you stand out or blend in."
For even more technical information on the Helm fork or any other Cane Creek products, check out CaneCreek.com. If you are looking to take your bike to the next level, be sure to take a peek at the eeWings Titanium cranks!
Here is Pinkbike's take - "So, I bet you want to know if the Helm is better than a Pike or 36, right? The answer is... maybe, but it depends on what you're looking for. The Helm's progressive spring curve and relatively firm compression damping compared to a Fox or RockShox product mean that, right out of the box, this is a fork that suits those who take chances and go hard. It also means that it's not the best option for lighter or more timid riders, though, which might be just fine as there are plenty of options better suited to the masses."
Each and every helm fork is hand assembled in North Carolina
BigMag's thoughts on the Helm fork - "It’s like the Helm has earned a doctorate in bump control while other forks are still working on their master’s. On the compression side, it feels like the damper has a more active role in keeping the fork high in its travel, making it seem like others rely more on the air spring to do so."
MRB's verdict on the Helm fork - "For a first effort, Cane Creek has totally nailed this fork — it’s mega adjustable if you’re a tinkerer, but it also performs superbly if you just want to fit it and forget it. And it’s still running smoothly after a maintenance-free hammering through a particularly dismal UK winter. Only the mechanism that secures the D-Lock axel lets it down as it’s has become increasing sticky and difficult to install now that dirt has worked its way in."
Each and every Helm fork gets put on the dyno and is required to meet a specific damping standard
Mountain Bike Action's thoughts on the Helm - "The Helm offers a very smooth feeling in all conditions—from chatter bumps to big ruts and rocky edges that require all of its travel. In more technical terrain, we were initially afraid of pinching the tire or breaking the rim and losing control, but nothing of the sort ever happened. The Helm is exceptionally capable. It also stays high in its travel and doesn’t dive much in hard braking, providing a stiff platform that would make any bike handle more precisely."
Read the full Mountain Bike Action review
Singletrack World's overview - "This is well designed, with relatively simple internals and reduced tool requirements making it a pleasure to work on for home mechanics. I wouldn’t say this fork is for advanced riders only, but it’s definitely for people who like a lot of tune-ability and are careful enough to get setup right. The Helm is a fine fork, but to get the most out of it, you’ve got to go fast."
Read the full Singletrack World review
Fork lowers bushings get pressed in and sized in one step
The Loam Wolf's Last Word - "High-end performance, top notch machining work and a whole lot of bang for your buck make Cane Creek a very tempting choice. One of the coolest parts though? Each fork is hand made here in the United States. Every damper is built and tested in house at Cane Creek’s North Carolina facility, and each fork is assembled by someone who is passionate about the MTB scene."
Read the full Loam Wolf review