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Cane Creek's Tapered Headset Solution

Published September 29, 2009

FLETCHER, NC (BRAIN)—In the quest for lighter, stiffer and stronger framesets many manufacturers are incorporating tapered steering configurations into their frame designs. With the performance benefits comes added complexity in identifying headset requirements and managing parts inventory at the shop level.

In order to facilitate this trend in frame design, Cane Creek Cycling Components has introduced its Tapered Headset Solution, an intuitive system that offers headsets as combinations of top and bottom assemblies instead of single units.

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 inventory challenge for dealers as they would have to carry complete headsets to service each unique combination. Under the Cane Creek Tapered Headset Solution, the universe of possible configurations can be met by four top assemblies and six bottom assemblies.

“We are talking about reducing a dealer’s inventory requirements by a factor of five times, while providing serviceability of all current configurations," said Josh Coaplen, Cane Creek's director of engineering. “Thirty complete headsets can represent over $1000 of inventory investment, whereas four top assemblies and six bottom assemblies will only be about $200.”

Effective immediately Cane Creek is offering its range of 110, AER, XX and selected S-series headsets in separate Top and Bottom assemblies. A dealer now has the ability to mix-and-match headset configurations to meet virtually any tapered requirement.

“This is a big step forward in how we think about headsets,” said Jason Grantz, Cane Creek's director of marketing. “Dealers and consumers can not only build the headset configuration they need for a given bike, but they can also customize colors.” Detailed information will be posted to Cane Creek’s Web site by mid-October, but dealers can call now for more information.

As headset standards continue to evolve and tapered combinations increase in complexity, Cane Creek has developed a series of resources to provide the tools necessary for easy identification of headset requirements. Key to this effort is an online “Headset Fit-Finder” database that Cane Creek debuted at Interbike.

Scheduled to be live on Cane Creek’s Web site by October 1, the Fit-Finder allows users to identify headset requirements by simply entering make and model information or utilizing a step-by-step measurement approach that generates fit results based on frame and fork configuration.

“The Headset Fit-Finder represents Cane Creek’s commitment to the entire cycling industry,” said Peter Gilbert, Cane Creek vice president of sales. “While critical for the tapered solution, our database is also a powerful tool for conventional headset identification. Even with non-tapered configurations, identifying headset standards and fit requirements can sometimes be confusing. Our Fit-Finder works with all frames and forks, not just tapered, and will be a very important resource moving forward.”

Additional headset standards and fitment resources are available via Cane Creek’s Tech Center on its Web site, Canecreek.com. Downloadable resources include, an Introduction to Tapered Headsets, a Headset ID Guide, an OE Head-Tube Specifications Guide and Headset Technical Specifications. A video covering all related headset subjects, including tapered configurations, will be posted to Cane Creek’s Web site in early October as an added resource.

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