Cane Creek Debuts Coil-Sprung Helm Fork - Eurobike 2017

Aug 30, 2017
by Mike Levy  
Eurobike 2017


The Helm fork is still relatively new, but Cane Creek has been working on a coil-sprung version since last April for those riders who prioritize the increased sensitivity of a coil setup over the weight savings and near infinite spring rate tuning of an air fork. ''There are riders who love the unmatched traction of a coil fork and people who prefer the infinite adjustability of an air fork,'' Brent Graves, President and CEO of Cane Creek said in the release. ''Now they have both options from Cane Creek.''

The Helm Coil is based on the exact same 27.5'' chassis that the air-sprung version uses (a 29'' fork is in the pipeline, by the way), including their clever 15mm D-Loc thru-axle. Cane Creek says that the fork's travel ''is optimized for 130mm to 160mm,'' and this is adjusted by way of a moveable spring perch on the compression rod. Travel can be tuned in 10mm increments. Once inside the fork, the operation can be done by hand by lifting the perch off of the split ring, repositioning the ring, and then sliding the perch back down over top to lock everything in place. The design is similar in theory to their tool-free air piston setup to change how the fork ramps up.

One neat detail about the new fork's travel adjustment system, besides that it can be done by hand, is how Cane Creek has designed upper and lower spring perches that rotate to prevent spring binding. Both perches see Derlin contact points used that are free to rotate in either direction, much like how we see aftermarket rotating spring perches on some rear shocks.

Cane Creek Helm Coil
Those who own an air-sprung Helm will likely be able to convert the fork to a coil setup, and Cane Creek is also working on a solution to allow people to go the opposite direction.


Cane Creek Helm Coil
At the top is the air spring assembly from the current Helm, and at the bottom is a prototype version of the coil spring assembly from the Helm Coil.


The fork employs the same mono-tube sealed damper used in the air-sprung Helm, complete with external low- and high-speed compression dials at the top of the right fork leg and low-speed rebound at the opposite end.

I've spent a considerable amount of time on the air-sprung Helm (yes, a long-term review is in the works) so I'm very familiar with how that fork performs, and I managed to recently spend a day on the new coil-sprung Helm during Crankworx as well. How do the two fork's compare? The firm, controlled damping that the Helm is known for is still present, as you'd expect given that they share the same parts on that side of the fork, but the ride is noticeably different. The Helm Coil is more active and supple, and not just at the top of the stroke - it's something that can be felt at any point in the travel, which is what coils are known for.


Cane Creek Helm Coil
Cane Creek Helm Coil
The Helm Coil features the same damper that the air fork uses (left). The lower spring perch can be repositioned by hand to adjust travel between 160mm and 130mm in 10mm increments (right).


Cane Creek Helm Coil
Cane Creek Helm Coil
The coil-sprung Helm is built using the same 35mm chassis as the air fork.


The Helm Coil will be offered in a single color, the silver pictured here, and it will retail for the same $1,100 USD that the air fork sells for. Cane Creek is aiming to have the Helm Coil in shops before the end of the year.


82 Comments

  • + 35
 Well that sprung outta nowhere
  • + 8
 Don't let it dampen your mood.
  • + 4
 Control your coil, this is not an open bath.
  • + 5
 That joke will be hard to rebound from.
  • - 4
flag acer2012 (Aug 30, 2017 at 4:04) (Below Threshold)
 I'm sure we cane bounce right back, even if they are a bit creeky
  • + 1
 This is going in a downward spiral...
  • + 1
 This is like going back to PC
  • + 3
 eurobike coverage on pinkbike? well, i wasn't plannign on getting work done today anyways...
  • + 18
 Coil sprung helmet sounds great.
  • + 9
 It's said to work even better than MIPS.
  • + 1
 @FuzzyL: About to be released at Fox: Kashima MIPS
  • + 12
 The bike industry is a business and they have to keep things turning. So if you are into mountain biking for some years now you will notice lots of things in this industry move in circles. :-)
Like, some years ago there were wide rims and 3.0 Nokians, then tires went narrower, now they became fat again. Same as air and coil springs. And I am sure they will return to the 20 mm axle "standard" quite soon. With so many standards, wheel sizes and so on, the trend will fade away and there will be on thing called personal preference prevailing.
  • + 16
 @allballz: you have F1 technology in MTB, it's Öhlins. It's EXT. And it is also Penske - that however wasn't too impressive. Seems more like Trek paid Penske for a sticker. Then Nissan Deltawing used to have 2 mountain bike dampers mounted up front. Also guys at EXT said that making a shock for F1 is a walk in the park compared to making one for WRC where sometimes you can almost throw them away after Rally is over as they are demolished. Wheras shocks on F1 cars can be reused race after race. Also because F1 car relies a lot on leaf springs. They also said that they designed Aria and Storia from ground up because forces acting on MTB damper are completely disproportionate to what happens in MX. As usual I know completely nothing
  • + 4
 @allballz: I agree to a point but you exaggerate somewhat. Look at all the smaller brand companies that appear around here all the time. The big companies are too dominant I will agree there. Please tell us what your product is and let the PB cognoscenti judge its market worthiness.
  • - 4
flag RedRedRe (Aug 30, 2017 at 5:25) (Below Threshold)
 @allballz: surprise surprise, your intelligent and articulate comment on bike industry is downvoted... It would be cool if PB adds the names of people who up/down vote. Like in fb. Otherwise I start smelling some fish.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: in addition, Renault F1 designed Giant's NRS suspension - too bad it infringed on Specialized's Horst Link which is why it was scrapped after one year.
  • + 16
 @allballz: If you really want it, you make it happen. It's easy to say it's good and revolutionary but without backing it up with physical evidence it's difficult to believe past the hyperbole. As a mechanical engineer you will appreciate that some things that work on a computer simply do not translate in a physical form and often the best products are ones that have been grown organically (No - not in a field free of pesticides).

Alex Fayolle's mechanic made a shock. Maybe you should too.
  • + 6
 @headshot: He doesn't have a product. he's been trying. So he's an engineer that doesn't have the money to go to a machine shop and get it made.
  • + 2
 It seems like the bike industry has a pendulum that keeps swinging with no reason, like how boost 20mmx110m is going to be the next front hub standard. With air vs coil, however, I'm less cynical. Around 2012, with the development of the air Boxxer, 40, and the revolutionary Pike, air tech took a significant leap forward. Its almost become a preference for feel than performance. However, I think the pendulum is swinging because of the influence of pros and more capable enduro bikes. For Gwin, Brosnan, Minnaar, etc, air out performs a coil. The problem comes from people thinking they need the exact same tune and tech that a pro rides. I don't care how fast you think you are, you are not even in the same league as the pro women. Remember that Fort Bill Claudio course preview when the local trail builder rode with him? That guy is faster than 90% of PB users, and Claudio, a retired rider, dropped him like it was nothing. Now that people are realizing that they aren't elite pros, and that coil will probably perform better and definately be more comfortable to ride on long days (esp. in the park) AND that a modern bike can weigh 30 pounds and still pedal better than 26 pound trail bikes from 5 years ago, the industry is going back to coil.
  • + 4
 @allballz: Yeah. You sure sound intelligent.
  • - 1
 @RedRedRe: bahahahaha you again. Go away.
  • + 1
 @hamncheez: but what if I am in the same league as pro women? Like probably lots of other fellow pinkbiker. I still want a coil for the set and forget reliability it gives me
  • + 1
 @mollow: That agrees with what I was saying- we the riders and the companies that sell us stuff are realizing that we don't ride bikes for seven or eight three minutes races a year, so the equipment meant for a season of intensity crammed into less than a half hour of riding isn't best suited for someone without a personal mechanic and telemetry and who has to ride the exact same equipment every single day.
  • + 2
 @allballz: so you work for a Formula team and live out of a car...
  • + 4
 @allballz: Not trying to insult you, but your statement pretty much explains why you're an engineer and not an entrepreneur.
  • + 9
 The travel can be adjusted by hand. Once you use tools to take the fork apart.
  • + 7
 MRP Ribbon Coil is also released (available in octobre).
  • + 3
 YEEEEES!!! I was meant to buy 20" Meta HT for my daughter... she can wait... after being quite disenchanted with Lyrik for never becoming as good as my previous fork, the Fox 36 RC2 VAN, I am super eager to try that. Has anybody here tried the air sprung HELM already?
  • + 4
 Bought one on sale, arrived today. So far all i can say is nice packaging. Waiting for the rest to arrive to complete the build. Coming from bos deville and pike with luftkappe as a top/bottom reference.
  • + 2
 Yeah, I've been on it for about two months now.
Pretty good I say. Doesn't break away as easy as a Pike (on my old SB66), sit's higher in it's travel though.
It replaced a Fox Fit 36 (which IMO was crap but came on my SB6c)

Also, can really tell the difference between adjustments which is helpful when getting it set up.
Easier to set up than my CCDB Coil CS
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns I haven't tried one yet, but have heard generally good things. But if you want an Ohlins RXF 36 for a good deal, send me a message.
  • + 1
 OT, but did you consider the Canyon Offspring 20 for your daughter, and if so what pushed you to the Commencal instead?
  • + 2
 @dsut4392: short chainstay and suspension fork. Canyon costs the same and is almost on the same level as Ramones 20, which is much cheaper. Commencal also looks better to me. Bright happy frame.
  • + 3
 Been on my Helm for about 2 months and its great... Definitely built for aggressive riding. Coming from a Yari (and Pike before that) its waaay nicer than either. I found that I need to run much lower pressure than usual but once I got the volume adjust set and dialed in rebound the thing rips! I was really impressed by how easy it breaks into travel. That part was most noticeable, especially on braking bumps, etc. It tracks VERY well...
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Thanks. I looked at both but went the other way - Offspring is 1.4kg lighter than Meta HT, and with the ratio of sprung/unsprung mass on a kids bike I didn't feel the suspension fork was going to offer much. My kid is a long way off doing manuals and I think the longer & slacker Canyon will help his confidence, plus the longer CS will help it fit for longer as he gets taller (as a slightly taller than average guy I'm not a fan of super short chain stays on my own bikes, so perhaps I'm following my own bias there).

Aside from the fork, the spec of the Canyon is basically the same as the Commencal Meta. Spec of Ramones is way lower in every respect, cheapo no name v brakes, nutted steel axles, cheaper tyres, 7 sp Tourney etc.
  • + 6
 I thought it's a helmet but I saw coil sprung... wtf? Smile
  • + 1
 Nothing like Mz 66 2007.... I always knew coil will come back. As the cycling industry still rotating the same tech every 5 years, I bet in 2 years most bikes out there will come with coils, and in 5 air again. Is a loop where companies stop innovation in exchange for quick money through less development and lots of marketing. Don't believe them, they just want your money!!
  • + 1
 Really hope theese are reliable. The amount of times I've had to send out the rear shocks for a rebuild amazes me that people still buy cane creek. Also haven't met 1 person in even a double barrel coil that said it was reliable
  • + 3
 Bad luck I guess. I've run cane creek on all my bikes. Trail and DH. I'm on a coil inline on my trail and it's amazing. Had it almost a year. No issues. I had the DB CS air before and it just needed yearly rebuilds. Same way with my entire crew.
  • + 1
 Yes, blew my DB inline within 3 rides. Not going to ride Cane Creek again.
  • + 1
 Yup, had to send my CC Double Barrel in for warranty within a few weeks of having the bike. Performed well when it wasn't stuffed though.
  • + 1
 Does the formula fork have coil controlling the initial travel and air for the rest? It did feel very smooth, like coil. Maybe it s the best of both worlds. DVO as well, but not as tunable.
  • + 0
 The DB Air is shit... On my Enduro it's always the first thing to fail. Hope this fork isn't just another overhyped CC product but lives up to its name. It certainly looks beautiful, but all CC products did that. So did Crankbros stuff.. didn't make it reliable though.
  • + 4
 Please work on the graphics next. They make it look like a cheap toy.
  • + 5
 I like the toy look. And i dont find it cheap looking. Fox looks moto, pike looks like office appliance. Bos looks french. Dont like any if those looks. But thats just me.
  • + 3
 Not available in black? Not available with 170mm? That's me out.
  • + 2
 So happy to have coil as an option again, just hope it comes with proper controls.
  • + 1
 @canecreek - I've got the air version, will I be able to change the air spring assembly for the coil spring assembly as they both use the same chassis ?
  • + 1
 You'll likely be able to go from air to coil but the other direction presents some challenges because a coil can score the inside of the stanchion tube, and that'd make it hard to create a good air seal again. Cane Creek say that they're working on it, but shrink wrap or something similar might be enough.
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: Thanks Levy,
Just out of curiosity, (as you've spent a lot of time on the HELM-A, and little time on the HELM-C)

Would you convert ?
  • + 1
 You can do that with the MRP Ribbion, no problems.
  • + 1
 @allballz: That's because those forks use the inside of the lowers and stanchions as an air spring, so the sealing element is the lower leg seals, which seal against the OD of the stanchions, not the ID. In this case it is different as the air spring piston is sliding inside the ID of the left stanchion.
  • + 4
 Boing, boing, boing
  • + 2
 I will have one of these! Even though the Silver looks good I hope they do one in black.
  • + 2
 It will also be available in black. But I think the silver looks real good.
  • + 2
 Loving the look of these forks; orange axle is a nice touch, cool graphics, even like the silver colour!
  • + 2
 Just make sure the 29 can go to 160mm please!
  • + 3
 Fox van rebirth 2018
  • + 1
 Yep. I smell vanilla in the air.
  • + 1
 Dear cane creek, plz make a silver version of your shock to match. I will buy it tomorrow
  • + 2
 "Coil on a helm, nice debut. Big Grin"
  • + 2
 29er version soon please Big Grin !
  • + 1
 They keep telling us a 29er is coming but I don't see ittttttttttttttt
  • + 1
 @Cpolism: making sure they dont come out with a gen1 inline. Its worth the wait
  • + 1
 COIL PRUNG, but no where is the picture of the coil! Click bait as usual!
  • + 2
 No 170? Bummer.
  • + 1
 I love the idea. What is the weight penalty?
  • + 1
 190g more than the air version.

2070 grams air
2260 grams Coil

www.canecreek.com/products/suspension/helm/helm-coil
  • + 0
 my air sprung fork is awsome, feels just like a coil fork. for that reason i'll stick to an air fork
  • + 1
 Makes my 2009 van36 suddenly relavant again....
  • + 1
 At this point, is there any way Fox won't bring back ther Vanilla soon?
  • + 1
 The Coil Revolution has re-arrived
  • + 1
 if its like there shocks.
  • + 2
 Delrin.
  • + 1
 So much want @Rookrider
  • + 1
 Anyone know the weight?
  • + 2
 4.98 lbs or 2260 g
  • + 1
 De But
  • - 1
 imagining a pogo stick with all that internals....boing boing....
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