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Cane Creek Factory Tour

Feb 4, 2016
by Brice Shirbach  
Cane Creek Factory Tour

With one of North America's most enviable locales for mountain biking right outside of its backdoor, Cane Creek would certainly seem like an ideal place to work. As it turns out, in 2014 Outside Magazine featured Cane Creek in it's annual "Best Places to Work" issue, confirming what the forty-seven employees already knew. Cane Creek is currently updating and expanding its manufacturing space in Fletcher, North Carolina, and appears to have some pretty exciting developments looming on the not too distant horizon, so we figured now would be a good time to pay our pals in Pisgah a visit to tour the facilities, and speak with some of the folks directly involved with the forward progress of the high-end manufacturer.

Some of the characters and faces of Cane Creek.
Cane Creek is loaded with passion and personality.

Echo Lake is a small body of water, a dozen or so miles southeast of Asheville in North Carolina. From this lake flows Cane Creek, working its way down from the foothills of the Smoky Mountains and eventually into the French Broad River. From there the journey continues as the French Broad spills into the Tennessee River before that, in turn, washes into the Ohio River. This is the Mississippi's largest tributary, and the final junction before eventually spilling out into the Gulf of Mexico. But back up in the mountains, only fifteen miles into this scenic and winding journey, the bubbling waters of the Cane Creek flow right past Cane Creek Cycling Components.

For twenty-five years now Cane Creek has been building a strong reputation as a developer of high-end cycling components. In 1992, they introduced the threadless headset, a facet of the company that still holds a great deal of value today. Over time they've dabbled and produced forerunners to some of today's modern technologies, from the Speed Check disc brake back in 1993, to one of the first air-sprung and damped rear shocks on the market in 1996, to the Thudbuster suspension seat post that was first shown a few years later.

And then there's the Cloud 9, an ultralight air-sprung and air-damped rear shock with speed sensitive valving that was released almost fifteen years ago.
Cane Creek Factory Tour
Cane Creek is in the original HQ built by DiaCompe in 1973.

Recent times have seen the introduction of their angle-adjusting headsets, and more notably their Double Barrel shocks. From the DBcoil to the DBair, and the most recent shock, the DBinline, this particular product has famously given riders a viable alternative to the larger suspension manufacturers in Fox and RockShox; bringing the first air-sprung rear shock featuring twin tube technology (hence the Double Barrel moniker) and four-way independent adjustability to bicycle suspension.

Cane Creek Factory Tour
  This corner of the facility is where you'll find Double Barrel shock assembly, as well as Thudbuster and headset assemblies.

Jack Hedden: Quality Assurance

What are your primary goals moving forward as the new quality assurance guy at Cane Creek?

My main concern is developing a robust incoming inspection process, documenting procedures, and putting in place a quality system; a very ISO-esque system. To the level of what you’d find in airline manufacturing. I don’t see the need just yet for us to have to get ISO certified, but I’d like to have a system where if we decided to, we could call them in for an audit, and we’d pass with flying colors.
Cane Creek Factory Tour
Jack Hedden, Quality Assurance at Cane Creek.

Any manufacturer can do it, but you have to make sure it’s a value add. Do our customers want it? Especially our OEM customers; that’s what would drive a decision like that.

What were you doing before you came to Cane Creek?

Medical device manufacturing, FDA regulations and things along those lines. I’ve been in quality control for about eighteen years. I’m just working on standardizing and leaning up the process here. Not from a people standpoint, but getting people to work more efficiently.

Cane Creek Factory Tour DBair CS damper on our new Roehrig Magnetic Dyno
  Cane Creek has a new tool at their disposal: a Roehrig Magnetic Dyno, pictured here testing a DBair CS damper.

What would you say is the most crucial aspect of your position?

Creating a quality culture here. I want people to start thinking in a quality mindset. I want them to think about how they’re doing their job, and make sure they’re able to do it the same way every time.

What does quality assurance mean to Cane Creek?

It’s about building high-quality products that are built right the first time, using risk and quality procedures throughout the entire process: from design to testing, to the final packaging. We want to meet the customer’s requirements. If you buy a shock from us, we want you to know that what you’re getting is meeting what you’re expecting. It’ll work right the first time and every time after that. It’s going to meet or exceed your expectations. You should expect every headset and shock that you buy will be the same every time. It gives you a really good basis to build from and improve. If you don’t standardize, then you don’t know what your baseline is. How do you grow or improve if you don’t have that in place?
Cane Creek Factory Tour Failure mode and effect analysis new quality controls measures being implemented company wide
Failure mode and effect analysis: new quality controls measures are being implemented company wide.

Can you detail the quality assurance process?

There are two major contributing factors as you get into this. You have the supplier of raw materials and the incoming inspection, and doing that against current specs and drawings. Where I come in is determining whether or not they meet those current specs. I communicate to the internal suppliers to let them know that something isn’t up to spec. I use an NCMR, or Non-Conforming Material Report, for defective products internally. From there it’s about identifying the problem, quarantining it, making sure there aren’t any additional products that have been affected by this, and going into the root-cause analysis of the problem. How are we going to correct it?

We escalate that to our PACA process, or Preventive Action Corrective Action. This is standard in other manufacturing industries, and it’s something I want to bring to the mountain bike industry. It’s one of my biggest challenges; trying to fit a very rigid and strict process into a very laid back environment. So far, so good, though. We’ve made great strides here, and everyone’s been really accepting of it.

Cane Creek Factory Tour Thudbuster assembly
The Thudbuster has been a Cane Creek staple for over fifteen years.
Cane Creek Factory Tour Completed Thudbuster Inventory
They wouldn't tell us whether or not they had any new dropper post designs coming...

Cane Creek Factory Tour Vintage Cane Creek Cloud 9 air shock
  A blast from the past: the Cloud 9 was an early example of a light weight, speed sensitive air shock.

Jim Morrison: Director of Engineering

How long have you been at Cane Creek?

I’ve been here since 2007, so about eight years.

Did you come on board as an engineer initially?

When I started, we had a director of engineering and no other engineers, so I was the first additional hire in that department. I was a design engineer.
Cane Creek Factory Tour
Jim Morrison, Director of Engineering.

In your time at Cane Creek, what kind of changes have you seen in the design and engineering processes here?

There have been a lot of changes. We were a smaller company then, with a very diverse product line. We had road wheels, mountain wheels, track wheels, the Thudbuster, bar ends, headsets, the DBcoil, we were still making our air shocks; so there was this broad product line with a very small engineering department. We handled everything from product development to manufacturing fixtures, to instructions for Thudbuster elastomers. We had two people handling a lot of different things, so it wasn’t very conducive to vast product development. But it was really beneficial for me because I got to do a whole lot of things in a very short amount of time. I came here right out of college, so it was kind of a baptism by fire. During that time, we did a lot of soul-searching as well.

Our headset patent ran out a few years ago, and while we were prepping for that to happen, we asked ourselves what we really wanted to be. Did we want to be a wheel company? We were able to take our experience working in all of these different areas and say, “alright, we can be the best in the world at headsets, this suspension seatpost which was at the time the best in the world, and this Double Barrel thing.'' Over the years, we have focused on those three things by hiring the right people and making the right investments. We’re now up to five engineers in our department. So I would say that focus is the biggest change that I have seen in my time here. We put our resources and energy in a much more focused set of product lines.

Cane Creek Factory Tour The machine is a Brother TC-S2DN-0. It is actually a high speed drilling and tapping center that is capable of 3 axis milling. Cane Creek has furthered the machines capability by adding a Nikken 4th and 5th axis. These additional axis allow Cane Creek to program some complex parts with minimal fixtures. They use CAMWorks software to program parts for prototyping and testing.
  This is the Brother TC-S2DN-0, a high-speed drilling and tapping machine that is capable of three-axis milling. Cane Creek has furthered the machine's capability by adding a Nikken fourth and fifth axis, thereby allowing Cane Creek to program some complex parts with minimal fixtures. They use CAMWorks software to program parts for prototyping and testing.

How do you guys manage real world mountain bike testing? What kind of an impact does the surrounding area (Pisgah and Dupont) have on your ability to develop products?

The first thing that comes to mind is that we go and ride. We’re a company of riders, located in one of the world’s best places to ride mountain bikes. It’s really easy to have an idea, or proof of concept, slap it on our bikes and go ride.

We’ve got really good trails that are twenty minutes away, and we have epic trails that are forty-five minutes away. It’s really easy to get that initial feedback and do a lot of early tuning for pre-development.

Once we get it to a point to where we’re happy with a product using our internal resources, we tend to go to our OEM customers, and we tell them we like something and let them ride it. They’ll give us feedback specific to their own designs, and we like to make sure everything checks out. We can also send stuff to our sponsored pros, and they’ll help us out with durability testing. We have internal resources; we have our customers, and we have our sponsored athletes.
Cane Creek Factory Tour The machine is a Brother TC-S2DN-0. It is actually a high speed drilling and tapping center that is capable of 3 axis milling. Cane Creek has furthered the machines capability by adding a Nikken 4th and 5th axis. These additional axis allow Cane Creek to program some complex parts with minimal fixtures. They use CAMWorks software to program parts for prototyping and testing.
Watch your fingers.

You guys obviously have very measured means of data collection within your facilities. How do you measure data when you’re testing on the trail?

We’ve been working on a data acquisition rig for a few years now. I think we’re on the third generation of it at this point. It’s a set of linear potentiometers that you mount to the shock, and it has a little data recorder that looks like a Gameboy from 1997. You hit record, and it records all of the positions of the shock and fork as you’re riding, and you just put it into excel and you get a graph of displacement and velocity. It’s not super fancy, but it works really well. We can also take this information and put it into our dynos, so we’re able to get real world rebounds for different types of impacts.

Cane Creek Factory Tour Shaft and Oil Seal Head Assembly
  Shaft and oil seal head assembly.

Are we in the midst of a period of refinement right now with mountain bike-specific technologies? Where do you see the next big innovation coming from?

I think it’s always tough to see innovation when you’re in the middle of it. I’ve been thinking about this a bit. I’ve been into bikes since the sixth grade, and I’ve seen a lot of innovations, and I’d say that there have been more innovations now than ever before. There are more good engineers, and more companies with more resources than ever before. There’s a lot of stuff happening right now that is very innovative. But there aren’t any major innovations currently, like what the disc brake or dropper seatpost were for their times, that I can see at the moment. But then again, it’s hard to see it when those kinds of things are happening. People were questioning those two things when they were first released, but now you can’t ride without them. All around, things are getting lighter, faster and stronger. But it might be five years before we’re able to look back and see the true value of current engineering and development.

I have two predictions for you as far as “game-changing” innovations go. They may prove to be super wrong. I think that adjustable geometries on bikes are going to be big. There are some examples out there now. Cannondale has it out right now. So does Canyon with the Strive. I think that is the next step. Droppers were the first step. I think adaptable geometry bikes will get better, and maybe it’ll one day prove to be something people can’t live without. The other big area is electronics. As much as it’s easy to hate on it, I think it’s just going to get bigger. It’s expensive, and you have to worry about battery life and durability, but I think that it’s just going to get better and better. It’ll get cheaper too.

Cane Creek Factory Tour
  Jim's office is essentially one exploded diagram after another. Spot anything interesting?

The Customer Service Team

Cane Creek Factory Tour
Malcolm Hadley is the leader of the customer service pack.
Cane Creek Factory Tour
Gary Maltby is in charge of The Lounge and loves a good cutty track.
Cane Creek Factory Tour
Brian Flack is the newest member of the squad but has the oldest beard of the lot.
Cane Creek Factory Tour
Erich Day made sure that their offices were family friendly for the photos.

What’s a typical day like for the customer service team?

It starts at 8:30 am. It’s a full day usually. We answer phones, respond to e-mails and run the gamut from small orders, to trouble-shooting products, and helping them decide on their needs. We get a lot of headset questions. What kinds of shocks fit different bikes. Pros and cons of leverage ratios, and coils or air shocks, etc.

Our first priority is to knock down any emails we can, especially on a Monday. Gary has the ability to get on our Cane Creek Lounge, a forum that you can get to from our suspension website. It’s basically Facebook for our shock owners. You can get in there, create your profile, and chat amongst other owners and with us. Gary is responsible for the responses there. He also helps with service centers, making sure that the right procedures are being done worldwide. Our main focus is to make sure that the customers are having a good experience with us, even if they’re having troubles with their bikes. We want them to be loyal to us, so we need to provide a high level of experience.

Cane Creek Factory Tour ZS44 Forty Series Top Assembles being formed
ZS44 Forty Series top assemblies being formed.
Cane Creek Factory Tour Crown Races and Lower Headset Bearings.
Crown races and lower headset bearings.

Cane Creek Factory Tour DB Coil outer damper tubes
DBcoil outer damper tubes waiting for assembly.
Cane Creek Factory Tour Air CS Oil seal heads
Seal heads wait patiently for their new home.

bigquotesSometimes our OEMs will contact us directly with an issue looking for help, but it's always the best to get the bike's owner to hit us directly. We want to make sure the end user is satisfied. You can call here and talk to an actual person.

Does the Lounge get a lot of use currently?

It can be varied. The original intent was for it be fully user-based. We wanted people to be able to help each other and for it to be a community of riders sharing knowledge with each other. It’s never really quite caught on that way, and we felt the need to field a lot of questions ourselves. So that might mean that folks are not as interested knowing that we’re the ones answering the questions, which is the same things as basically calling us directly. So we try to give things a little bit of time, depending on the questions. If it’s something that I know other users have dealt with before, I’ll sit on a question and let other users go in and help out. And there are certainly guys that are more into it than others, just like Pinkbike commenters. Some are pretty active and take a lot of initiative. I try to encourage it when I see it. I don’t know that we’ve done a lot to really push the Lounge and get more users involved. I think that when we first launched it, we gave it a big push. It actually stays pretty active.

Cane Creek Factory Tour Oil fill machine
  A look at the oil fill process.

We really encourage people to post their tunes once they have them dialed in as well. We like to know what kind of bike they’re using, the kind of riding they do and their settings. We’re still considered by many to be an aftermarket company, so it’s hard for us to say for certain what any specific tune is going to be for everyone. We can look at leverage rates and give our estimates, but ultimately it’s still very subjective.

We want to impart tuning knowledge as much as we can, but some people don’t really want to know how to do it, they just want it done. So one of our big challenges is taking what we know, and putting it in layman’s terms so that we can help as many people as possible because the Double Barrel is more complicated than many other shocks out there. But once you realize you can make this thing feel however you want it to, you realize how awesome this shock is.

Cane Creek Factory Tour Where the Can Creek employees head to get swoll
  This is where the Cane Creek employees head to get swoll.

How important is it to Cane Creek to try and develop more OEM relationships?

The OEM partnership is really important now. It wasn’t that way in the beginning because, quite frankly, we didn’t have the volume of products to go that way. We were too expensive, and people weren’t as comfortable with us. But over time, smaller OEM brands courted us, and it jump-started our ability to get going with rear suspension production. Our biggest OEM early on was Intense. Then Specialized came along, and it’s grown quickly from there. Especially in Europe with Canyon, Cube, Ghost and BMC. Knolly is on board now, as is Canfield, Banshee, and Ibis.

There are quite a few smaller ones, which are really important to us because they have these cool niche markets. Overall, the exposure is fantastic. As far as customer service goes, there are now certainly more irons in the fire. You definitely want to make sure that your OEM’s are satisfied with what we’re doing as well.

Cane Creek Factory Tour Company bike shop
When Pisgah sits across the street, you're going to want to keep a shop space handy.

Cane Creek Factory Tour Lunchtime at the DB assembly section
During lunch time, the place empties out. Typically employees will head out for a ride, or...
Cane Creek Factory Tour The tap tower at Sierra Nevada just down the road and an easy choice for lunch oftentimes.
...well, it's nice that Sierra Nevada opened up so close by.

Cane Creek was always known as this boutique brand. It’s cool to see it go from an after-market, niche brand to having more of a global footprint. There’s still a bit of that boutique allure because it’s not what everyone else is running, and it’s not as prevalent as Fox or RockShox. John Otis, our OEM sales guy, has been very instrumental in kicking open new doors for us too.

With warranties, no matter what bike our product is on, we prefer that users or shops contact us directly, so we can have first hands on the ball. We want to make sure that it’s going the right way. Sometimes our OEMs will contact us directly with an issue looking for help, but it’s always the best to get the bike’s owner to hit us directly. We want to make sure the end user is satisfied. You can call here and talk to an actual person. You don’t have to deal with automated e-mail responses, or go through a huge phone tree. You call and speak with any of the four of us. Sometimes people can be surprised that they’re chatting with a real person. You can’t beat direct interactions.

Cane Creek Factory Tour DB assembly work station
  Delicate hands are required when working with so many small pieces at the DB assembly station.

Cane Creek Factory Tour Outer Air cans
Outer air cans await their assembly.
Cane Creek Factory Tour Installing the outer air can
The shock's assembly process is complicated and tedious, but surprisingly quick and efficient.

Visit the feature gallery for high resolution and additional images

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Member since Dec 5, 2013
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  • 134 1
 Give your customer service folks a pay increase. They are fantastic! I blew through 2 Inline's on my Enduro before having them replace it with a DBAir CS. It would have been easy to say "f-it" and put on a Monarch but because of how they handled the issue they made a fanboy out of me. Hiring a new QA person was also a solid move...I hope my new DB Air CS holds up.
  • 51 0
 I had a similar experience with my inline on my Enduro. I wrote them an email explaining my experience, and within a few hours I had an invoice for a new inline for $0 shipped to my house. Astounding customer service, I would highly recommend anything from them just based on this one experience.....wish they made hubs...
  • 28 0
 can creek hubs would be so rad
  • 33 2
 There is another hubmaker down the road that would give them a run for the money.
  • 5 1
 Best customer service dudes on in all of mtb'ing. Makes me wish I could work there.
  • 7 0
 love my db air cs, have yet to try my db coil, BUT, why dont you guys make your bushing eyelets the same size as everyone else?? the stock DU bushings leave little to be desired and to upgrade to roller bearings the eyelets have to be honed out. not cool. other then that, the product itself is great, AND its made in dixie!
  • 5 0
 I saw some interesting things like why was their a cassete amidst the shock parts? haha
  • 4 0
 And give Malcolm a pay rise, the tunes he gave me for my Nicolai and Session made them feel amazing.
  • 9 33
flag Havier (Feb 4, 2016 at 16:00) (Below Threshold)
 I posted this at bottom but I have to copy it here as well to shed some real light on the company customer service:

W T F??? BULLSHIT!!!!!! "With warranties, no matter what bike our product is on" ???? My warranty was refused because shock was used on bike which wasn't listed on their website!!! Bare in mind that for example SantaCruz Nomad 3 initially wasn't listed in first production year. My shock DB inline developed well known issue, which normally is repaired under warranty unless they find any reason to refuse it. Moreover communication was really poor and they didn't even bother to reply when I tried to discuss this issue. Shame on you two-face capitalism...
  • 3 0
 When you guys say you had problems with the inline what do you mean? I ask because I have an Enduro 29 and just had to have the Inline shock rebuilt after half a season.
  • 3 0
 I was thinking of buying a DBinline for my Enduro 29. But I am a bit gun shy because of the numerous problems. Have they sorted that out yet? Do they know which ones were affected .? A local retailer has one for sale but I don't want to go through the hassle of using it and waiting for it to crap out and then returning it. Thx
  • 6 0
 Two failures on my Inline; both times treated incredibly well by Cane Creek and Ibis (and Suspension Werx in Vancouver!). I opted for the DBAir CS as a replacement just because The Shore. Everyone responded quickly, they were all collectively great to deal with, and as a result I have zero ill-will towards their product. I know they're on it.
  • 2 2
 It started making some strange noise as if oil mixed with air. You could also feel something wrong with rebound, I mean lack of control. It worked very differently from how i worked as new. My bad luck it happened just 2 days before EWS... Replaced with Bos Vip'r which has been fine since
  • 5 0
 I had an Inline fail on my 650b Enduro too. I weigh 175lbs...had well over 200 PSI in the shock, hi and lo speed compression maxed out, and it still bottomed out like crazy over stuff it definitely should not have. They were awesome with addressing my concerns though, and replaced the Inline with a DB Air CS for $100, which was pretty solid of them.

However, I still feel the same issue is present with the DBA CS, albeit it to a much lesser extent. If I set sag at the recommended 30%/17mm, it feels wallowy mid-stroke and bottoms out more easily than it should (even with hi and lo speed compression maxed). It doesn't bottom harshly all the time anymore, but it definitely uses 100% travel more frequently than it should. If I pump up the PSI to get rid of this, then the sag is off and it loses small bump sensitivity (even once I turn down lo speed compression).

I am a big fan of Cane Creek customer service, but their products leave something to be desired IMO. Will not be getting another shock from them, Float X2 or Debonair for me next.
  • 10 11
 RIP Dave mirra.
  • 1 0
 Cane has made major improvemenets over the last 15 years. When a company responds to consumer needs in a possitive way you better recognize. Keep up the good work in production and customer service.
  • 7 1
 @scotteh Have you tried adding a volume spacer? Sounds like you just need a more progressive spring rate.
  • 1 0
 I read a piece about Triumph motorcycles about ten years ago. They said their policy was that whenever a warranty case came in, they would go above and beyond to satisfy the customer. The examples they gave were replacing the chain or rear tyre FOC as well as doing the warranty work. This enabled them to turn customers around. From angry or upset to super happy... and much more likely to buy the brand again.
  • 2 0
 You should try installing some volume reducers. They're simple to install (takes less than 5 minutes) and can make a world of difference.
  • 9 2
 enduro + inline = terrible
  • 4 3
 In my experience the positive feedback is highly regional. I have a Cane Creek Double Barrel and one of the seals was blown after 4 rides and resulted in lost air. After exactly FIVE weeks I got it back from the German service center. They had to order the seal - at least that was what I was told.

To top it off the shock was drained in oil from top to bottom and it took me a while to clean it. So take away the money from the German service center guys and give it to the american guys.
No one ever replied to my e-mail and therefore - @canecreek your products are great (when working) but your service (Austria and Germany) is crap and not worth the price your products cost.
  • 5 4
 It sounds to me like they need good customer service, a lot of people here talking about problems with this companies products. I'd prefer a quality product in the first place where I don't need customer service.
  • 2 0
 Surely it's a bad thing if you need to find out how good a warranty/customer service is two times?
  • 8 0
 While ya'll getting maaaaaaaaaaaaad Gary's getting rich
  • 3 0
 For sure, there was some initial disappointment, but because they owned the problems and were so helpful I got over it pretty darn quickly. Now compare that to my experience with VW or my mobile carrier... Holy crap. If you listen and you're responsive that goes a long way.
  • 1 0
 i've had 3 regular DB Airs... had one "stuck down" problem after 2 years of use, they fixed it free of charge. never a problem on the other two and not a problem on that 3rd one since. never had an Inline yet, so I don't know, but as far as I'm concerned these have been top notch. Threw a DB Air on a bike they have no settings for (Commencal Supreme FR)... called up and customer service was real quick to give me some potential setup pointers over the phone even with no reference point. How can you beat all of that?
  • 1 0
 @Satanslittlehelper @timkoerber Sorry, I forgot to mention the most important part! That was with the maximum number of volume spacers installed (3 large spacers of 5 strips each). Trust me, I've tried everything you could possibly think of, and everything CC recommended.
  • 2 1
 Just don't use 30% sag it's way to much if you ride aggressive, get a coil shock set it to about 23% sag with a titanium/aloy spring, you will have a stiff platform plenty of small bump sensitivity a bike that will pop out of berms jump easy and force you to ride fast to make it feel smooth with just a bit of weight penalty, the only downside is that it ain't the cheapest solution
  • 1 0
 @scotteh that's crazy man....I noticed a HUGE difference when I tweaked the high-speed compression, it made a bigger difference than throwing in more air.

Probably a stupid suggestion, so don't take offence, but have you tried turning the HSC knob the other way? (I turned it the wrong way at first try)
  • 1 0
 @drudge See that's funny, both LSC and HSC makes very little perceptible difference to my shock, and I'm usually pretty picky with this kind of stuff and sensitive to changes. The thought definitely did occur to me, especially because there was that run of Inlines with the sticker applied backwards. I've tried maxing it out in both directions on my DB Air.

Thanks for the suggestion though! I think at this point I just need to take it to SuspWerx or something and get it tuned.
  • 1 0
 @scotteh very odd, sorry to hear of your experience! I had my old shock rebuilt 3 times at SuspWerx, but the shock kept exhibiting the same symptoms. In the end, a new shock seemed to fix everything....maybe try a rebuild, but if it fails, get on the horn with CC.

All the best! Hope it can be sorted out.
  • 2 0
 I bought an Inline shock of a pink biker last summer from a take off. Recognized the oring was pinched. Brought it to my lbs to see if they could do something. They ended up sending it back to see if it could get warrantied. Cane Creek with no questions asked, repaired it- cost me only 10 bucks to cover shipping. +1 to Cane Creek and Cycle Solutions on parliament!! If they ever come out with a fork - they will get my support!!
  • 47 0
 I wonder if Jim Morrison, Director of Engineering, designs products specifically for riders on the storm?
  • 11 1
 Winter. Strange days, waiting for the sun.
  • 9 0
 Yes well you gotta love your man
  • 3 0
 I think so, I've got an inline and I love it madly.
  • 47 7
 You know your doing something right when the rest of the industry doesn't even attempt to challenge you. Hats off to Cane Creek. The diamond standard for years.
  • 34 10
 I'd say the float x2 is a big challenger
  • 24 2
 *replication with slight modification
  • 4 0
 I do wonder what's gonna happen to the cane creek ohlins partnership now ohlins are making their own suspension.
  • 8 1
 norcal77 - Really? CC has plenty of challengers.
  • 3 0
 Their Shocks are amazing as well, i guess i was mainly referring to their other components.
  • 2 3
 You mean ÖHLINS of course. And you have probably not ridden a BOS Stoy Smile
  • 35 16
 Um, love your shocks but GO BRONCOS!
  • 2 0
 I don't like the Broncos, but I don't like the Panthers even more Smile
  • 15 0
 Really digging all these company tours/exposes. I think this time of year is normally a pretty slow one with product launches and race news, with only rider/team announcements to keep our interest. I for one love seeing the inner workings of the industry and this slots right into a time when there isn't much else going on.
  • 11 0
 I agree with the need for adaptive/adjustable geometries. I sound like a broken record, but the Kona Magic Link was an amazing idea that was put on two bikes with less than progressive geometry. Take the geo of a Giant Riegn or Nomad, with an ultra slack, ultra low BB, but when pedaling or on the flats the magic link would raise the BB by 20 or 30mm and steepen that 65 degree headtube to around 66.5! No pedal strikes and floppiness on the ups, but it dynamically adapts to be longer, lower, and slacker on the downs, with no electronics and no switches! This would rock.
  • 4 2
 Canyon shapeshifter tech. This is what you are looking for
  • 4 0
 Can't buy canyon in USA, plus needs a switch
  • 3 0
 Shapeshifter is awesome on paper/demos, but not nearly refined or reliable enough yet to be considered a solution
  • 2 0
 Exactly. The fact is that no matter how much we refine geometry, steep angles will always be better going up and slack angles will always be better going down. Every bike without adaptive geometry is and will always be a compromise. I can't say I know much about Magic Link, but I'm among the minority who don't mind switches - I generally like have my bike's functions under my direct control. I've always wanted to see a system in which a travel-adjust fork is paired with something like Shapeshifter. Dropping the front of the bike and lifting the rear would simply tilt the main triangle forward relative to the ground, steepening geometry and shortening travel. Both travel adjustments could be run off of the same switch or remote. The technology is there now - a single button push and a bounce to cycle one's suspension would do the trick. Pretty painless.
  • 1 0
 I thought canyon posted a video with Fabien Barel advertising the fact you can get them stateside now?
  • 1 0
 @shakeyakey: What?! That's news to me! Where did you see that?
  • 2 0
 Ahhhh my bad it was Australia and NZ the wallabies in the video should of given it away! #facepalm
  • 1 0
 @bluefire bionicon has done it for a while, but use proprietary suspension that has gotten less than stellar reviews.


The Magic link changes the rear suspension curve and sag. When it increases the sag, the BB drops, HT slackens, and chainstays slightly lengthen. With the kona design, it isn't on or off, but varies between the two based on rider and terrain input, all automatically.
  • 1 3
 You're talking about my 2011 Scott Genius LT. In recent years they've even refined it but the point is it was pretty dialed 5 years ago. I wonder when Scott's patent that limits the Fox Nude shock to their bikes will run out. When you can get good shocks for any frame with handlebar adjustable sag it's gonnna be a game changer.
  • 2 0
 That would be so cool. 8 inch travel enduro bikes would then be attainable
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: Wow! This is fantastic; I can't believe I've never heard of Bionicon before. Guess I'd better surrender my bike nerd card.

Of course it was the Germans. I'm glad someone's been working with this concept, even if the execution leaves a few things to be desired; hopefully with further refinement the design comes to something. I'd be very interested to give one of their bikes a try. The only functional disadvantage I can think of is that with the infinite adjust, it could be difficult to get one's geometry exactly right for given conditions. Given that, Swing Link sounds exceedingly interesting in that it works automatically. Looks complicated, but I'm going to go read up on it. Thanks for the new leads!
  • 1 0
 @lelandjt: I guess this is as good a time as any to ask a Scott owner exactly what the Nude shock does. I used to think I understood it, but now that Fox is the manufacturer, I'm confused. Fox's new standard forks and shocks are available in a remote option, allowing you to change the fork and shock modes simultaneously off of one remote. How is Scott's proprietary system different? The Nude shock itself obviously doesn't look the same as a standard Float.
  • 2 0
 I rode a geometry adjustable bike for a long time, complete with TALAS fork. I replaced it with a bike with geometry options (not adjustments) and a fork without TA. As suspension/geometry gets better, things like "climb switch", TA, and on-the-fly geometry change is getting to be less of a necessity. Less is more.
  • 13 0
 It's great to see things still made here in the U.S.
  • 7 0
 Small dedicated and passionate teams/companies like this are founded by strong leaders with a focused vision. I would have liked a bit about the drivers behind the wheel. I've helped run a few small companies, with similar passion in different industries. It's always gratifying to see a product go from idea, to early adopters, to mainstream. Nice job Cane Creek!
  • 2 0
 Great point! I did, in fact, interview the acting CEO while I was with them, but circumstances changed and our interview was kind of rendered mute.
  • 3 0
 Got it. Thanks. Props for the article. As many commented, nice to see the insight and look forward to company interviews/profiles like this -- the list of targets is very long. The mountain biking industry is full of smart enthusiasts turned entrepreneurs. Makes our sport that much more awesome!
  • 6 0
 I am on my 3rd InLine... on the 2nd ride on the second one, it sounded like sand. metal and oil were all mixing. I have a friend that is on his 7th!! CC told him that they f*cked up and outsourced some of the internal parts to China, and that has caused a huge problem. Upgrade to the CS model!!
  • 6 0
 That axle looks like we might get another contender in the high end fork game. Nice.
  • 3 0
 I would buy a cane creek damper for my RS fork
  • 6 0
 please please please give us a fork. please. thank you. please.
  • 2 0
 Yep, fork axle amongst the rear shocks...
  • 2 1
 With 20 mm axle
  • 9 4
 Best place to work? , Sorry to the fine folks in North Carolina but here in Santa Monica, California we can surf and ride on the same day, year round.
  • 15 1
 But the cost of living is out of reach for 90% of us.
  • 3 4
 Even at a lower cost of living and salary. They only get decent weather a third of the year at best.
  • 6 1
 So you've spent time out here? Weather is pretty stellar in my humble opinion Smile .
  • 4 1
 Santa Monica is ridiculously expensive...I live on the Westside and I still want to get out of here...too damned crowded...

Pac NorWest is calling (but wifey wont let us leave)....oh well, the riding around here is pretty damned good...not loudly broadcasted...but there are some solid technical trails hidden within the chapparal.
  • 4 1
 I have to say, I have been living in the Asheville are since '97 and its fantastic weather quite often, not SOCAL weather but for East Coast its amazing. Also the beer is abundant. But hey, I moved from Buffalo, NY so anything is better than that!
  • 5 1
 In California, bikes rides you!
  • 3 0
 @ledude if you call it the "Pac NorWest" the won't let you move there anyway Wink
  • 3 0
 @parallaxid Amen! If you don't know how to say it we don't want you Wink
Kindof like tourists saying Frisco..
  • 2 0
 Frisco...don't you mean The City? Wink
  • 1 0
 ok - so how am i to properly refer to the Pacific Northwest?
  • 2 0
 You just did it Smile
  • 6 0
 Great article, great products. Nice to put a face to a name. Thanks for all the help @GaryMaltby
  • 4 1
 Ive got a 2015 enduro 29er with a db inline. Literally had the shock snap in half after a seemingly mild slide out/lay over. the stanchion popped off above the cs part of the shock body, spilling out all the oil. Im going to contact CC in the morning to see if they can help me out.

Also had an issue with the db air cs on my 26 enduro getting stuck in the travel and not returning. Sent it back for service, and it is working for the time being, but im hesitant to trust their products after my experiences.

The fox shock on my old 2011 stumpy has held up to so many hours of abuse with no issues that i was blown away by the reliability problems i encountered from my cc shocks. I have also heard the enduro's shock mount design creates excessive leverage ratios that wreak havoc on shocks. Just sharing my experiences.

They do perform well, but i never got to put in enough hours to really start dialing the shock in, so.....?
Im looking at a monarch for my e29
  • 2 0
 @Ncaliridr Contact our tech support team directly at info@canecreek.com or 800-234-2725 and we'll get you squared away. Thanks!
  • 1 0
 the people at cc are legendary. after a quick chat, cc is sending me a new shock no questions asked. Thanks guys!
  • 1 0
 good peeps for sure. They are switching my Inline for air CS.
  • 3 0
 When I got my Intense Spider, the DBInline wasn't right out of the box. This stuff happens - so I called them and sent them a video of the sound it was making and they just sent me another shock with a return label for the one I had. Who sends you a new shock? No one in the industry does that (That I know of) They didn't give me the crap about "Send in your shock and we'll fix it" Nope - just sent me a new one. BEST. CUSTOMER. SERVICE. EVER!
  • 3 0
 'nother feather in the quiver of North Carolina AWESOMENESS! Props to Sam an his working with local race teams & nonprofits alike!......Hopefully you all will come down from the mountain for Outer Bike 2016 in Charlotte & have some new stuff to tease us with...
  • 3 0
 Thanks for the great article Pinkbike. Very interesting read, and a cool company to learn more about. Also thanks to Cane Creek for taking the time. Now i'm going to go start saving up for my new headset, and patiently waiting for you to put out a new dropper.
  • 4 0
 Yeah! Great Company! These guys do outstanding work for us. Cool to see inside. I especially dig the 110 IS headsets, and the friggin angleset?!
Nice article Brice.
  • 6 0
 there is about a total of 45000000 cad in there
  • 41 0
 Which is at least $200 USD
  • 4 0
 I just blew up my cane creek and customer service; without a doubt said yep send it back we will fix it no problem! props to cane creek for solid customer service!
  • 3 0
 Speaking from experience, having a brewery or bar close to the workplace can do wonders for staff development. This is a great article. I have been a fan of Cane Creek parts and their company model for a long time.
  • 1 0
 Except that the Sierra Nevada brewery isn't all that cool. Cane Creek is amidst beer city USA. There are many breweries to choose from for these guys so staff development should be great. Maybe that's their secret.
  • 2 0
 Yeah, Sierra Nevada was photogenic for the article, we have somewhere near 25+ breweries now... its a hella motivator thats for sure!
  • 2 0
 Great pictures. And Cane Creek, besides producing the best shocks I have been using so far, always convinced me in the service department (thanks again, your advice on spring rate was bang on), keep up the good work!

Now I just need a fork that matches the rear suspension performance...
  • 2 0
 Anyone else have problems with their cane creek right out of the box? When I first received mine on my Banshee, it wouldn't hold air, had to go for repair straight away at TF. It's had to go back a couple of times since for various things, gapped dampers and such. Seems to be fine now and I'm not out to diss the brand, just wondering if anyone's had a similar experience. Maybe i got a Friday afternoon'er.

Aside from this, love the performance and coming from a motorsport background I like that it's four way adjustable - a proper damper.
  • 2 0
 Hey CC, We are a small bike shop in Australia and we have had no end of dramas with the TEN series headsets. Do plastics really belong in a headset? We have replaced countless headsets on close to new bikes, the bearings are smooth but develop a CLICK when applying the front brake on the bike. Replace with a FSA headset and the click is gone. We emailed you about this issue around a year ago, and contrary to your last paragraph we were sent to the aussie wholesale who gave us the run around. Be great to have a solution, that didn't come out of the bike shops pocket. Cheers
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 Hey j5ives,
Sorry for the delay on our response. Please email our Customer Service crew: info@canecreek.com they will address your 10 series issues.
  • 3 0
 I always mix up Cane Creek and Chris King until I think for a second. Opened expecting bearings. But this is probably even cooler!
  • 2 0
 I had the exact same experience as @ryan83. The inline was a disappointment on my Enduro but customer service was fantastic dealing with it. Loving the DB Air CS so far.
  • 3 0
 King Creek or Chris Cane which do you prefer?
  • 3 0
 Regarding the game changer predictions, electronic stuff shouldn't need plugging in, for example why not have a shock that recharged itself through usage?
  • 2 0
 Responded to the wrong thread. Whoops.
  • 4 0
 Just the fact that someone named Jim Morrison works for them makes me a fan
  • 2 0
 Twin tube shocks rule and CC been making them for years. Proven by the fact that Fox finally gave up and joined the twin tube. It only took them 20 years. Hats off to you Cane Creek.
  • 3 0
 As a Mechanical Engineering and Technology work for a place like Cane Creek would be a dream come true.you guys a rad and make the best components
  • 4 1
 I spot SA springs in Jims office! A easy way to lose nearly 300g off a CCDB coil so new spring supplier?
  • 7 2
 Where do I apply?
  • 5 2
 I've had nothing but issues with anything I've owned that was Cane Creek to include my double barrel shock and 40 headsets.
  • 1 0
 Did you buy a new shock or used one?
  • 1 0
 A new one...
  • 1 0
 So did they help you out? From the comments on this article and my own experience, if you have an issue with something Cane Creek is pretty quick to resolve it.
  • 1 0
 No I was told that I could get it serviced for 150 bucks. I advised that it was an issue since it was purchased brand new and the reply was that it was the best they could do. I got rid of it and went for a rockshox on my new bike. My issue now is that I am on my 2nd 40 headset on a different bike (had one on a 951 and now on my nomad) and I have the same issue of having to mess with it after every ride. I thought it was an ovalized head tube on my 951 but that wasn't the case. Headtube was fine, the headset wore out quick. I bought an FSA to replace it. Now the same problem is occurring on my nomad and I'm probably just going to get a Chris King. Must be something with the tapered 40s I don't know but it's frustrating. Haven't had it that long at all. I've had FSAs etc that have lasted forever.
  • 2 0
 That would be a cool place to work for sure. Best of luck to Cane Creek in the future.
  • 2 0
 Has anyone ridden a thudbuster. Seems interesting, but I don't feel old enough for one.
  • 1 0
 On a hardtail commuter bike its fantastic!
  • 1 0
 I love Cane Creek! Best shocks on the market no doubt! If it ain't broke don't fit it. You guys will always have my service so keep the new goodies coming tup
  • 2 1
 I like the scarred up wooden work benches they have instead of a sterile looking stainless steel setup like the German factories had.
  • 2 1
 Dust and splinters in the air, marvelous
  • 2 0
 did anyone else notice the silver reservoir on the shock in the photo where they ask if we see anything interesting?
  • 1 0
 Is it that or the cassette?
  • 1 0
 It is definitely a good question. Maybe they can tell us?
  • 1 0
 I think maybe you'll just have to wait a bit Wink
  • 3 0
 I hear if you call, you can talk to an actual person.
  • 3 0
 YEAH FENNELL with the PLAY shirt.
  • 1 2
 I had a CCDB air on my Santa Cruz Bronson for a short period of time before it started making an oil mixed with air sound and lost dampening! It was no where near its service limit! I switched to a new fox float X2 and haven't looked back! It was easier to set-up and has been rock solid! In my experience, Cane Creek still has a ways to go to compete with the competition!
  • 3 2
 All Hail CANE CREEK ! Everything you make is Top Notch ! keep it up , we sure appreciate your efforts .Thanks
  • 2 2
 @briceshirbach nice article .. shame that you restrained the "comment access" to some pinkbikers only and not EVERYbody Wink

cheers, RedBurn
  • 3 0
 I have no control over that!
  • 2 0
 Best thing I've seen on the internet today. North Carolina has everything!
  • 4 6
 Quite disappointed, looks not really optimised or standardised for a company which produces some of the best shocks out there!
I don't know maybe I have already visited to many automotive suppliers, but Doritos on the assembly workbench, tools piling up on the workbench next to the cnc and the headset parts being assembled between bags and paper towels...
But I really do like the gym! Wink
  • 3 0
 Where else would you keep your Doritos?
  • 3 0
 Lunch room, locker, but not where I can reach them during manufacturing
  • 2 2
 In America we eat during our shift so we can ride during lunch so theres no need for lunchrooms. Wink
  • 2 1
 I agree mostly. But we pay the premium for the this kind of assembly and assembly location. No mention of PFMEA, DFM, 6 sigma... etc. etc.. those are not the kind of things you would expect to see on Pinkbike. Plus cane creek won't have the workforce size for manufacturing that you see in mainstream industry.

Gotta say... I love my CCDB coil and my 2 airs. Just wish canr creek could knock me up a body to work with the Nomad Mk2 push link (only fox fits).
  • 4 3
 "The shock's assembly process is complicated and tedious, but surprisingly quick and efficient."

  • 4 0
 Yeah, I thought that would read a bit awkwardly. While there are a lot of little steps that are involved, with a lot of little pieces, the assembly team have an efficient system in place that makes surprisingly quick work of their shocks.
  • 7 9
 W T F??? BULLSHIT!!!!!! "With warranties, no matter what bike our product is on" ???? My warranty was refused because shock was used on bike which wasn't listed on their website!!! Bare in mind that for example SantaCruz Nomad 3 initially wasn't listed in first production year. My shock DB inline developed well known issue, which normally is repaired under warranty unless they find any reason to refuse it. Moreover communication was really poor and they didn't even bother to reply when I tried to discuss this issue. Shame on you two-face capitalism...
  • 4 1
 This sounds a bit strange, like you're leaving some details out? Used shock perhaps? Did you modify something to make the shock fit? What bike was it on?
  • 1 0
 I bought the shock brand new, from bike shop. Yes to be perfectly hones there was wee modification (bit of body near bottom of shock filed using sandpaper, to prevent it from touching frame). However this 'modification' didn't cause any failure and the problem I had with this shock is well know problem caused by some quality issue. You can find many riders reporting this problem googling 'squeaking db inline'. Some riders use offset bushings but if the bushing rotates during ride it can damage both shock and frame, therefore it was much more safe to sand it to take fracture of body material
  • 3 0
 That's a slippery slope my man. I don't know of ANY company bike or otherwise that would warranty a modified product, regardless of how it failed.
  • 1 0
 Apparently as reason why warranty was refused was 'because used on bike which is not listed on our website' and even though this failure is well known and caused by low quality, warranty was still refused. Many other companies offer good will and share costs charging for labor or parts only. But not here.
  • 1 0
 I swallowed this expense but when I saw this sentence "With warranties, no matter what bike our product is on" my blood just boiled
  • 1 0
 You might want to re-read that entire sentence, it just says they want the customer to contact them directly so they can handle it themselves, not that they'll warranty any and everything.
  • 3 0
 What, no pics of Spanky?
  • 1 0
 They didn't show the person who designed the inline HSrebound decals... oh wait...
  • 1 0
 haha Jim Morrisson looks a bit like Aggy !!
  • 2 0
 Props to Jim Morrison!
  • 2 1
 Cane Creek making some of the best stuff on earth!
  • 1 1
 Stopped reading at standard work and lean manufacturing. Ugh. Reminds me of my work.
  • 1 0
 Any word on the Inline remote yet?
  • 1 0
 Please make the Inline coil. That is all.
  • 1 0
 Customer service is the best I've seen!
  • 3 6
 I have a couple of cane creek 40 headsets on my bikes and the bearings rusted after a couple of days of riding in both of them. They should really have stainless bearings in my opinion.
  • 10 0
 you've heard of grease right Wink
  • 5 0
 I run cane creek 40 headsets as well and never had any rust form, but the headsets are greased as they should be to be work properly. I've had both bikes for over 2 years and they get washed and sometimes rained on regularly.
  • 3 1
 Yeah man, my bikes are always well maintained, the lower cup on my second brand new forty was rusty after one 3 day trip to the Chilcotins. My first headset gets repacked every 10 or 12 rides now in the winter, the grease comes out brown with rust. Not really sure what is going on.
  • 2 0
 The 110 bearings fit in the 40 series. Should take care of your issues.
  • 2 0
 I will try the 110 bearings, thanks Danfennis.
  • 6 7
 Little known fact -Gary invented Autism.
  • 1 0
 I can't "like" this enough!
  • 1 4
 Please put a decent shaft or at least bushing on that CCDB coil.
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