FLETCHER, NC (BRAIN)—Citing the need for a headset solution that would facilitate the use of a tapered steerer fork (1.5 inch to 1-1/8 inch) in a standard ZeroStack headtube, Sean Chaney, owner of Vertigo Cycles, a custom frame builder from Portland, Oregon, 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,” said Josh Coaplen, Cane Creek director of research and development. “The headset bottom is simply a 1.5-inch traditional with a 44 millimeter diameter insertion sleeve that fits a frame using the ZeroStack standard.”
Armed with a simple solution Chaney reached out to 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 headtube,” Chaney said. “My customers have been asking me for months about tapered forks and tapered headtubes. My goal was for small builders to be able to use a commonly available straight headtube 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 headtube to retrofit a tapered fork and it makes it possible for me to give my customers the flexibility in fork selection they’ve been wanting.”
The headset, tentatively called the XX 44mm Traditional, allows any tapered steerer tube fork (1.5 inch to 1-1/8 inch) to be used in a 1-1/8 inch 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 headtube from a number of companies, including BMC, Fisher and Pivot. Riders can now retrofit their 1-1/8-inch 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 44 millimeter 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, North Carolina, facility and will have features similar to the brands 110 XX headset.