Cane Creek Helm Fork - Review

Sep 13, 2017
by Mike Levy  
With five years of development time behind it, Cane Creek's much anticipated first suspension fork has been a long time coming. Sure, the North Carolina company is well versed in oil and shims when it comes to shocks, but stepping into the world of high-end front suspension is a whole other ball game, especially when their new, $1,100 USD Helm has to go up against the likes of the Pike, Lyrik, 34 and 36, Öhlins' RXF platform, and others.

The 4.43lb, air-sprung Helm is made for 27.5'' wheels (a 29er model will be released in the future), and it can have its travel set internally between 170mm and 100mm in 10mm increments. Control is taken care of by a mono-tube damper rather than a twin-tube system that Cane Creek employs in their shocks, and external adjustments include low-speed compression and rebound, and high-speed compression.

Cane Creek Helm Details

• Intended use: trail / all-mountain / enduro
• Travel: 100 - 170mm
• Wheel size: 27.5''
• Spring: air
• Manual negative spring
• Air volume adjustment for ramp-up
• Mono-tube damper
• Damper adjustments: low- and high-speed compression, low-speed rebound
• Stanchions: 35mm
• 7'' post disc mount
• Axle: 'D-Loc' 15mm QR Boost thru-axle
• Colors: black, blue (limited release option)
• Weight: 2,010 grams / 4.43lbs
• MSRP: $1,100 USD
www.canecreek.com
Cane Creek Helm review test


I had exclusive access to Cane Creek's North Carolina head quarters during the Helm's late development push in 2016, and you can read the long-form article if you want to know more about the evolution of Cane Creek's first fork, the company's decision to go with a mono-tube damper, and why it took five years for the Helm to become a reality.

Just want to see how the Helm performed over the last five months? Keep scrolling down.


Inside the Helm

Not a twin-tube damper - Cane Creek has been touting the twin-tube damper layout that they use in their shocks since, well, the Double Barrel was first released many years ago, and you'd expect them to import a similar system into their first fork... and you'd also be wrong. Cost, packaging, complication and, according to Director of Engineering, Jim Morrison, no real performance advantage over a simpler mono-tube system saw them move away from a twin-tube damper for the Helm after building multiple functioning prototypes.


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Early prototype Helm dampers. The first twin-tube, on the bottom, uses a Double Barrel piggyback, while the middle damper is a more compact version. The top is a prototype mono-tube damper.

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The Helm's production mono-tube damper.



The Helm's sealed, mono-tube damper is a lot like what you'll find inside of a Pike or Fox 36, at least as far as basic architecture is concerned - it's a sealed damper bled free of air that uses an expanding bladder to compensate for fluid displacement as the damper rod is compressed. The cartridge can be removed, and you can also drop the lowers to perform some basic maintenance, without needing to bleed it. External damper adjustments include low-speed compression and high-speed compression, both at the top of the right fork leg, and low-speed rebound at the bottom of the same leg.

There's no pedal-assist lever that would firm the fork up for smooth climbs, and Cane Creek says that they decided to not include one in order to avoid sacrificing any damper performance for a climbing aid. That's a telling decision as it shows how Cane Creek intends the Helm to be used.

bigquotesEverything gets a lot simpler, as far as construction and assembly, so it makes for a robust product. A lot less stuff to fail, both in use and in assembly. We found that the system just gave us a really 'Marketing be damned' kind of thing. It gave us what we wanted. Jim Morrison, Director of Engineering, on choosing a mono-tube damper instead of a twin-tube system for the Helm.

Cane Creek Helm review test
Cane Creek Helm review test
Low- and high-speed compression dials are at the top of the right fork leg, and low-speed rebound is at the opposite end.


Air spring - There's an air valve at the top of the leg, as you'd expect, but balancing the fork's negative pressure requires an extra step. Here's how it's done: after pressurizing the positive chamber, you unscrew the aluminum cap that protects the equalizing button at the bottom of the leg, back out a small threaded collar that allows you to depress the valve, and then give it a push to instantly equalize the positive and negative air chambers.

Ramp-up is tuned by adjusting the height of a fixed piston that sits underneath the top cap. You'll need a 30mm socket wrench to get inside the fork, but the piston is held in place via a wing nut that can be loosened and tightened with your fingers, and this can be set to eight different positions.


Cane Creek Helm review test
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The eight-position volume adjustment can be tuned by hand... once you use a 30mm socket wrench to get into the fork. No volume tokens required.


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Helm Chassis

The Helm's chassis is pretty straightforward - black, 35mm stanchion tubes, sturdy looking lowers and a roomy arch, as well a tapered steerer tube with cutting guides on it. It looks solid, but there's not much to set the Helm apart from the competition... until you look at the fork's 'D-Loc' axle that's certainly different to what else is out there. The 15mm Boost axle is four-sided rather than round, and it needs to be oriented correctly, hence the ''This side up'' laser etching on its top face.


Cane Creek Helm review test
Cane Creek Helm review test
The Helm features 35mm stanchions and offers plenty of mud clearance.


Once slid through the Helm's lowers, a keyed latch on the right fork leg locks the axle in place when it's flipped closed. Tension is adjusted via a nut under the QR lever on the opposite end of the axle, and it should be a set-and-forget type of thing, just so long as you're always using the same front wheel.


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The 15mm D-loc thru-axle, shown here on the special release blue Helm, is quick and easy to use.



Riding the Helm

Sensitivity and Air Spring - Both of my Helm test forks were very smooth and free of stiction right out of the box, and they better be given the $1,100 USD price tag. Any of today's high-end forks absolutely have to slipperier than a buttered up eel, and the Helm most definitely meets that criteria; it's just as smooth after five months of use as it was when it was new. Cane Creek's manual negative air spring balancing lets you run more pressure in the negative side than the positive, a setup that is said to help ease the fork into its travel. I ran an extra 5psi in the negative spring by first over-inflating the fork by the same amount, balancing the two chambers, and then using a shock pump to release 5psi from the positive spring.

The difference is slight but noticeable, and the Helm was a touch more active at the top of its stroke with the pressure imbalance.


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And speaking of pressure, Cane Creek recommends going with half your body weight to start, which would be 80psi for a 160lb rider like myself, and while that's where I started off, I found the fork to very over-sprung at that pressure. The Helm sports some relatively firm damping (even when things are wide open, but more on that in a bit) and that, combined with the firm spring rate, made for a pretty unforgiving front end that tended to deflect and push when I needed it most. Of course, figuring out the ideal setup is all part of the experience, and I ended up being happy with the positive pressure dropped down to 60psi, a full 20psi less than I started with, and 65psi in the negative chamber.

At those settings, the fork was plush, active, and didn't call on all its travel unless I was really being an idiot. The stroke is quite progressive for those idiot-moments, too, even with the volume puck at its highest, most linear setting, which is the opposite of most (all?) forks on the market these days that have to strike some sort of middle ground for all riders and then depend on tokens to tune-in more progressiveness. Cane Creek, on the other hand, has geared their spring curve to suit more advanced riders, which is refreshing to see but also something to keep in mind if you don't fall into that category.
Cane Creek Helm review test



Chassis Performance - Any fork with stanchions in the 34mm to 36mm range should be torsionally rigid enough for the very large majority of riders, especially this average-sized tester. The Helm's chassis, with its 35mm upper tubes and sturdy looking lowers, always felt stiff enough to me, which is all I can really say about it. Maybe I need to eat a lot more donuts and get back to you. No surprise, it's very comparable to the 36, Pike, and Lyrik on this front, as you'd expect.


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The fork's keyed D-Loc 15mm thru-axle is pretty clever, and it's easy and quick to use once you've got the tension adjusted correctly. I'm a fan of bolt-on axles as there's less to go wrong or break, but the D-Loc setup works well, never came loose, and didn't give me a single hassle.


Damper Performance - Let's be real here: a 36, Pike, Lyrik and the rest of the gang all feel pretty similar just so long as your setup isn't completely out to lunch. At the risk of offending those who believe they're extra-sensitive, world class riders, I'd even go so far as to say that the large majority of us would have a very difficult time correctly naming any of the top four or five forks during a blind test. But due to its firm, supportive ride, I think that the Helm would be pretty easy to pick out while your eyes are covered.

When it comes to a Pike or 34/36, I tend to prefer a fair bit of low-speed compression control dialed in, usually in combination with a bit higher than suggested air pressure for my weight and some volume reduction, but I settled on the exact opposite setup with the Helm after it quickly became obvious that the fork's damper sits on the firm side of things. With the low-speed compression dial turned halfway in, the fork stays remarkably high its travel, thereby preserving the bike's geometry and providing a firmer platform that creates a lively, playful ride. But it can also feel a touch harsh and unforgiving, especially if you're cruising rather than crushing. Advanced riders will likely love the stable, controlled feel at the front of their bike, and there were many days when I was happy to have exactly that, but the majority of the time saw me have the gold anodized LSC dial backed completely out.

The Helm's fully backed out low-speed control still seems more pronounced than the competition's when theirs is dialed on heavily, which is an unexpected, and the same goes for the fork's high-speed damping that saw me either run zero or just a single click in from being fully backed out. Granted, I'm a 160lb expert-level rider rather than a 190lb professional enduro racer, but I was still surprised to find that my preferred damper settings were basically full open on both compression adjustments. Out of curiosity, I did experiment with a softer spring rate, just to see if that, combined with firmer compression settings, felt a bit more forgiving, but I ended up back at 60psi and with both crown-mounted dials turned completely to the left.
Cane Creek Helm review test

It's clear that the Helm's tune hasn't been modeled to appease everyone from a timid casual rider to the aggressive weekend warrior, as most forks must. Cane Creek is obviously looking to set their fork apart in this department. To do that, the Helm's damper and air spring both offer an incredibly supportive ride, one that's suited to the more aggressive, hard charging people out there. That said, I don't believe that I should need to have both compression settings backed fully out for my weight and skill level, and it'd be good to see more of a useable compression damping range. With both compression dials backed out, and 60 to 65psi in the positive chamber, the Helm worked well for my 160lb weight and typical B.C. singletrack when I was on the gas, but it could feel unforgiving if I wasn't charging hard.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesSo, 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. Mike Levy
Must Read This Week

167 Comments

  • + 114
 They still did not send me one after using my name, Profile was much nicer with the stem.
  • + 3
 wait till they sell 3 mils, you'll get one in the mail along with other 10k Helms.
  • + 1
 You have to get it tattooed on the back of your calves
  • + 103
 I want a piggy back on my fork. Just seems more enduro.
  • + 1
 trueeeee
  • + 1
 @hamncheez: HAH it seems the truth is that DH is way more cliché than Enduro!
  • + 75
 I see you compare stiction to a buttered up eel. For those of us who don't have this for comparison, is there anything else you could use as an example? Perhaps there is a more commonplace object, commonly lubricated, similar to an eel?
  • + 30
 I got you. A buttered up snake. Perhaps an Anaconda.
  • - 15
flag WAKIdesigns (Sep 13, 2017 at 9:30) (Below Threshold)
 I'd like to see the "I don't like stiction" guy ride. He probably doesn't expose his fork for too much forces... in which case...
  • + 42
 It's 2017, who doesn't have eels and butter in their own home by now?

Geez.
  • + 9
 A lubed up peeled cucumber?
  • + 8
 It's similar to putting a few drops of KY on... your fork's stanchions. Perhaps that's why this fork is overly stiff?
  • + 51
 How about a cock? Or are there too many feathers?
  • + 7
 @bigtim: how... How do you know how to make that comparison? lol
  • + 7
 A greased weasel would do the trick
  • + 22
 soapy tits
  • - 4
flag WAKIdesigns (Sep 13, 2017 at 12:22) (Below Threshold)
 Moist ointment
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: moistment?
  • + 1
 I'm fresh out of butter.
  • + 1
 I might give a frankfurter and some butter a go.
  • + 33
 "Wha, yeah!
C'mon, yeah
Yeah, c'mon, yeah
Yeah, c'mon
Oh, yeah, ma
Yeah, I'm a back door man"
— Jim Morrison, Director of Engineering, on choosing a mono-tube damper instead of a twin-tube system for the Helm.
  • + 30
 He heartily recommends this fork for some Norco owners, particularly riders on the Storm.
  • + 1
 "And the men don't know, what the....little girls, understand!"
  • + 30
 Crap. Can't be labeled as a timid rider. Better sell my 36 so I can get the Helm.. PS, good write up.
  • + 7
 Cant be labeled as one of the masses either, after that your only one step away from being one of those "walmart people".
  • + 24
 Still waiting for that MRP Ribbon review...
  • + 13
 Agreed. I'd love to see a back to back Ribbon Air vs. Coil comparison.
  • + 8
 mrp needs to pay up well, actually, they don't, because everyone who rides a Ribbon knows how good it is
  • + 2
 @MTBrent: we dont need a comparison to know that coil is superior to air.
  • + 6
 @Boardlife69: Especially in the world of contraception
  • + 14
 nice review Levy, but aren't you going to lose your sh*t because there are no water-bottle mounts? don't think i've ever read something that you can't fit your unnaturally high dislike of hydration packs into...
  • + 14
 Who else wants the piggyback option as a hop-up kit for other forks!!! Piggyback forks would be nuts!
  • + 1
 They exist in the moto world. On street bikes the forks are USD and the piggyback is located near the wheel axle. It'd be neat. According to Vorsprung, the big advantage of twin tubes is the reduced hysteresis, which they say isn't a huge concern in the bicycle world like it is with motorized applications. If they are correct, this would explain why CC dumped the idea.
  • + 12
 @WaterBear: reducing hysteresis is something we should all get behind. It's f*ckin everywhere man.
  • + 1
 @WaterBear: that's pretty neat
  • + 2
 @BenPea: Can't tell if you're making a joke here. Sometimes I feel like I'm on the spectrum.
  • + 2
 @WaterBear: there's a 90% chance that I am on any given post.
I'm glad you responded. What's hysteresis?
  • + 1
 @BenPea: in a mechanical system it is very simply slack in a system. Imagine 2 cogs acting against each other and alternating between clockwise and anticlockwise movement. As the direction changes there will be a slight gap or play between the cogs, this is hysteresis.
In statically loaded systems hysteresis is the non elastic (plastic) deformation that is normally permanent in the short term.
  • + 2
 @yeti-monster: Got it, gracias.
"Permanent in the short term" - that's one new concept too many for me, I'm out...
  • + 1
 @BenPea: yeah not the best choice of words but materials and substances can creep back to initial position over the long term
  • + 1
 @yeti-monster: am i remembering right that hysteresis is sometimes used to describe "friction" (?) between a tube and tire? Thus use of talc... (or tubeless) to decrease rolling resistance due to hysteresis?
  • + 1
 Hysteresis, in the mtb world, is used to describe the delay from an input to its destination. In this threads context of mtb suspension, its the delay of a bump/rock hitting your tire and the suspension beginning to move. The more hysteresis, the more force is transmitted through the shock before the seals break away from the stanchion surface, so more force makes it to your hands/feet. The less hysteresis, the more supple or responsive your suspension is.

The main advantages of a twin-tube system is that the oil is only under compression on one side of the piston in the main tube, and overall oil pressure is lower. This allows for different oil seals that put less friction on the sliding surfaces, lowering hysteresis. Twin tube dampeners also have their adjustments external, making it easier to micro-adjust the shock. This is why we mostly see HSC/LSC and HSR/LSR only on twin tube shocks.
  • + 2
 @hamncheez: A quality explanation that my tiny brain understood in full. Cheers.
  • + 14
 I wish It had thudbuster technology
  • + 2
 I'd like to see the fork paired with a Thudbuster for the test.

Or call the fork "Thudbuster 2.0"
  • + 12
 Competition is good—nice work Cane Creek!
  • + 13
 I like how all the forks I'm currently interested in are all conveniently priced at ~$1100USD, give or take $100. Hooray for 'competition'!

/sarcasm
  • + 8
 Mike, I've been running this fork for a few months now and I'm really pleased that your conclusions on set up are similar to mine. The fork felt like a bit of a pig until I wound open the volume and wound off the compression damping... the fork is now an absolute dream when the trail gets fast and rowdy. I'd be interested to try your trick with the 5psi difference between the negative and positive air chambers. Something that may be of interest to you - after a week in the Swiss alps last year on a set of pikes doing half hour long descents, I suffered from really bad carpal tunnel syndrome for about 2 months after. This year on a similar trip using the Helms, hardy any problems and any residual pain was gone in a week.
  • + 3
 Did you change anything else? Like switching to a carbon bar at the same time? I've been riding a carbon bar for the last few years and I tried a Spank Spike Vibrocore (aluminum) and my hands started to hurt. Went back to the carbon bar and much less fatigue.
  • + 1
 @RollinFoSho: if you're gonna go into it at that depth we need to know whether the two bars you reference has the same geometry as well. It can make a big difference. Interesting you found the Aluminium bar gave more fatigue but I haven't tried the vibrocore bars.
You make a good point though that there may have been more than just the fork at play @martino ?
  • + 1
 Raceface SixC 785mm and Spank Spike Team Vibrocore 800mm. Both have 8 deg. rear, 4 deg. up sweep. I was surprised, I thought the Spank bar would be pretty close at dampening.
  • + 3
 @RollinFoSho: I have been using Spank Spike Vibrocore for almost a year now, I can tell you that definitely I get less arm-pump than my old Renthal Fatbar without vibrocore. Saying that I never used carbon bars, probably never will.
  • + 2
 @RollinFoSho: can confirm, I went from sixc 785 to Sixpack millennium 785 and the alu Sixpack flexes noticeably less and my hands hurt more
  • + 3
 @daweil: I went from Race Face Atlas aluminum 40mm rise bar to my current Renthal Fatbar carbon 40mm rise and wow, I'll never go back to an aluminum bar. Less arm pump and all around much more comfortable. Oh and crazy light!
  • + 2
 @jdsusmc: I feel like there might be a lot more to the arm pump equation than meets the eye. More so than the normally accepted idea that carbon is harsher than Aluminium. I've tried a lot of things to alleviate arm pump (riding a 29er was the best) but I usually go back to what I've been doing for years. Tried the old Enduro levers, level to the ground, got arm pump within a few meters XD yet I know lads who swear by it. Incidentally I've learned that bars that feels comfortable to me stood on the bike (tonnes of rise and little backsweep) yield more fatigue than more conventional sweep bars when actually riding. My point is there's a hell of a lot at play with this one, bar material is just one (possibly negligible) piece of the puzzle.
  • + 1
 Try and test ride a good carbon bar, you'll definitely notice it on a Trail bike. May not notice on a set big volume tires with Cushcore tho?
  • + 2
 @ThomDawson: agreed; upgrading from my old Motion Control Damper to a Charger Damper helped a lot too. But I definitely noticed a difference with my bar upgrade also.
  • + 4
 ESI silicone grips ftw. Best cheap purchase ever for my bike, no hand cramping after a week of rocks at Moab and Fruita!
  • + 2
 @RollinFoSho: Nope. everything else the same.
  • + 1
 Speeding up rebound also help with hand pump.
  • + 1
 @RollinFoSho: interestingly I had opposite experience. Switched from renthal carbons to spike vibrocores as the renthal were too harsh!
I actually think the biggest difference is brakes when trying to get rid of arm pump. Got a new ride last year which came with guide rsc and noticed arm pump on first ride down 1000m decent. Switched to saints....problem solved. Hanging onto a poor brake on a steep decent with one finger is a killer for me
  • + 2
 I'm no expert, but I don't think arm pump and carpal tunnel syndrome are the same thing... although the causes are similar. My experience of arm pump is swollen forearms restricting blood flow and giving me numb hands while riding. Carpal tunnel syndrome (acute) is waking up several times in the middle of the night with painful pins and needles in your thumb and 2 fingers... for me it lasted several months.
  • + 2
 @bishopsmike: I second this. Especially the especially the extra chunky. Love them. Tennis (bikers?) elbow much reduced.
  • + 8
 Funny, I'm 160lbs and I can tell a pretty significant stiffness difference in my Pike vs 36. That said, at our weight, the Pike feels more supple and the 36 feels more supportive. Guess you can't have it all....
  • + 6
 Ohlins Smile
  • + 9
 so how long will the damper last... i am sure it's great, but after so many issues with previous cane creek suspension, I don't see a reason to gamble 1100 bucks on this.
  • + 3
 Single tube is a lot simpler and more robust than a dual tube set up. So it's likely far more reliable than their shocks. But, I can't say I blame ya, though, that's a lot of skrill (I certainly won't be buying one any time soon, myself, either).
  • + 3
 I assume the damper on these forks is not intended to be user serviceable. Some people are cool with sending their damper in every time it needs new oil and seals, some of us are not.
  • + 6
 I'm almost one full season on my DB Inline (with all the updates) and it is still going strong. I'm a heavy rider who likes to plow through stuff so this shock does not have an easy life and it is so much better for my bike than my stock Fox shock it replaces.
  • + 1
 cane creek should do a trade in program, send them your broken shocks for money off the fork, then i may consider this roll of the dice.
  • + 7
 For lighter riders a lot of forks are already over damped, especially LSC. But I wasn't about to drop eleventeen hundred dollars on a Cane Creek product anyways.
  • + 3
 There are a few brands with us in mind, 2 of them in particular. Both three-letter acronyms, but I won't go any further Wink
.
  • + 10
 @siderealwall2: M.A.N.I.T.O.... wait I lost count
  • + 3
 I'm 150 lbs and have always had issues with over-damped forks from both Fox and RockShox.
  • + 3
 @siderealwall2: I haven't been so lucky to try either of them yet but have had a revelation with the Mattoc. I expected to play about with the damper (and was kind of excited to) but so far running zero LSC and a fair bit of HSC is working really well for me at 135lbs. Ride some pretty big features as well as the usual rugged, tight stuff the UK has. At 150mm it's plenty stiff, easily on par with the Pike, probably more so. Feels like a big fork (I.e 36) at least at this travel, minus the slight inherent stiction of the larger stanchions.
  • + 2
 @JahWorks: I run the Fit4 at 0 clicks low speed and 11% sag for racing. 2 Clicks and 17% for park and trail riding, although the fork does tend to manage travel very conservatively in the upper side of the travel. I tried the new revalation and pike and was not impressed at all, as with most of their products. MRP has some promising tech in the Ribbon, with the TT damper and manual negative spring and the stage was very impressive. And DVO is also very promising with the manual coil negative spring. @ThomDawson: Gotta get a run in, they don't have the best reputation here in the states.
  • + 1
 @siderealwall2: nor did they over here but my experience has been very good so far. They're coming back, though their latest pres release didn't do em any favours from what I gather their support is very good.
  • + 1
 @ThomDawson @siderealwall2 I reckon X-fusion Roughcut damper. I run both Rockshox Lyrik and X-fusion Sweep. I am also very light. Lyrik's great for big hits, but often times I feel it's somewhat harsh for small bumps. But Sweep does a better job to filter out small bumps. When I got it, I wasn't sure if it's going to match Rockshox's performance. But the truth is that I got to like Sweep better than Lyrik. I am going to try Mattoc soon, and see if how it feels.
  • + 8
 In the mean time I'm rocking a Rockshox Judy with elastomer springs. #Plush
  • + 2
 My Judy has gone full rigid, but only after 15 years of zero service. Fork of choice for my daily commute... now that it's seized it's extra fast.
  • + 3
 @danny611: I too have a red Judy on my commuter with poor man's lock out (rebound cranked all the way).
  • + 6
 The pike has crap mid stroke support, definitely wouldn't put it up there with other forks like the 36. Unless they just aren't tuned for lighter people ?

I await the 29er coil version of this Big Grin
  • + 1
 Supposedly 2018 Pike with Debonair have better midstroke support.
  • + 3
 The 2018 pike and lyric have much more mid support. If you have a pre 2018 pike or lyric I'd strongly suggest you get the luftkappe upgrade. Gives loads of mid support and small bump response is amazing. Completely changes the fork. Obviously rockshox nicked the idea on the new forks though. For £50 it's an awesome performance upgrade.
  • + 1
 @mikelee: Also have a Luftkappe installed in my pre 2018 (2016) Pike. Works as advertised. More midstroke support, more progression (was running 1 Token now 0) still maintains excellent (maybe sightly better) small bump sensitivity. Highly recommend the upgrade for pre 2018 Pikes.
  • + 1
 @mikelee: I put a Luftkappe in my 2016 Yari this summer and concur it is an amazing upgrade. Often think it would be nice to have one of these new forks being released but then go for a ride and totally dismiss the idea.
  • + 1
 @mikelee Already tried(well I got it for my dad), from the times I've tried it is quite a bit better. However we are also running tftuned's coil upgrade and thats night and day better. I stays high all the time and you can run the compression wide open to get all the lovely small bump.
  • + 4
 I've had a Helm for a month now and have had the chance to try the latest Fox 36 with HSC/LSC and Rockshox Lyrik and feel like the Cane Creek had much less low speed compression. I also feel contrary to the "cruising, not crushing" comment as I have found my Helm to be great regardless of the speed I'm riding. Interesting to hear from different view points...
  • + 4
 Doesn't running more air in the negative spring just lower the fork? It may not be apparent when the fork is stationary but it can only return to where the pressure in the positive and negative chamber is balanced....
  • + 3
 I thought the same. A few psi might work I'd have thought anything 5psi + will pull it down. Guess you could increase the travel to give you the axle - crown you need. I did that with the old Dual air Rockshox forks but perhaps these are more sophisticated somehow (somehow doubt it).
  • + 0
 Anyway the air gets hotter in the + chamber so the pressure builds up and get equal with the - chamber.
  • + 6
 No because the effective area under the air piston is smaller than the area over the piston due to the air shaft taking up effective surface area away. This is why you can run about 8% more air pressure on the negative while keeping full travel.
  • + 4
 I'm always surprised at how high the air spring recommendations are. I've ridden the Pike, Lyrik, and Ribbon and all of them felt harsh at the recommended psi. Numerous forum posts say the same thing.
  • + 6
 Its just a basic recommendation, feel free to play with it to suit your riding. If you're slower than average obviously you need less...
  • + 6
 On the Ribbon, did you set the pressure to what was on the included QC card, or using the chart here: www.mrpbike.com/tech-resources ? We acknowledge that the pressures on the card were a bit high, but the updated chart in that link has been pretty spot on for our demo events. It is preference though, I've felt some rider's forks that they gushed about and thought "really?"
  • - 1
 @NoahColorado: It was at Reeb demo. I don't remember the exact psi settings I tried. I just remember dropping them a couple times from what Reeb recommended.
  • + 1
 @funkendrenchman I think these forks are meant to be ridden hard and overkill for most people.
  • + 1
 @NoahColorado: my experience with the Ribbon and air pressure, compared to the chart on your tech page, is that the recommendations are still too high. Hit me with a message if you want to discuss further. Otherwise, have a great day.
  • + 1
 @coregrind: I also find the recommended pressure too high. The problem could be due to the travel setting: note how the recommended pressures on the chart decrease with increasing travel. If your Ribbon is set up for 170 mm, I recommend going down another pressure increment, compared to the other travel recommendations. This works out to about 13% lower than the pressures recommended for 150 mm travel.
  • + 0
 @mollow:how are you going to say running lower fork pressure means you are slower? Or that you can't go fast with lower pressures.
  • + 2
 @loganflores: no just saying you don't need high pressure if you're slow. Nice try clever boy
  • + 7
 So.. Where's the helm? They only showed pictures of forks.
  • + 2
 #helmsoverknives
  • + 2
 All forks are free of stiction "out of the box".
The problem is the air seals pistons etc. getting stuck and requiring service very often (I have to take my pike apart every month)

Formula are the only forks, free of stiction, "after one year of use, no service".
Besides the Bomber from 97.

However I like the CC shocks, I am curious to try the Helm.
  • + 6
 Expose those seals to some force other than parking lot wanking. First 36 Talas had stiction worth telling your mom about, other than that talking about stiction in high end forks is bullcrap
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: I owned that first gen Talas 36. Kids these days don't know stiction...
  • + 1
 @tinfoil: hear you man hahaha. I remember borrowing a bike with one. It was like steel stanchioned fork with no oil inside Big Grin
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: you seem to be a begginer-intermediate rider, what do you need a 36 for?
Maybe invest some money in mtb coaching.
  • + 3
 @RedRedRe: i used to intimidate people like that when I was in high school...
  • - 1
 @WAKIdesigns: It was just a comment after I peeked at the videos you posted...
Just an honest advice.
  • + 3
 @RedRedRe: oh Jesus... tell me if you are ever around Gothenburgh, I'll gladly take lessons from you. Charge much?
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I am actuality going to be there in three weeks. If you have an extra bike or can tell me where to rent one, I am up for it.
  • + 3
 @RedRedRe: I should have 2 bikes. PM me when getting close
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: @RedRedRe I love happy endings!
  • + 1
 @nicolai12: The Zen master says: We'll see
  • + 2
 Interesting. When it comes to FOX or RS suspension reviews the words that are being used at the "Pinkbike take" are pretty straight fwd. On the other hand, when it comes to the "other" brands it's "maybe" etc - but they're not sure if this is better or not. And of course it depends what WE are looking for. OK.
  • + 4
 So many fork options now. Lets figure out air shocks now, I can't find an air shock that compares to a coil in fade resistance and off-the-top smoothness.
  • + 5
 The Cane Creek DBAir IL is what you need. I'm a bit of a CC fan and run the Helm and DBAir IL and as much as I like the fork, the shock is even better. They used a weird eccentric air can to make a super linear top stroke but somehow made the end stroke more progressive. So you get "coil-like" feel for small bumps but also get that nice progressive ramp up at bottom... sorta the best of both air and coil.
  • + 2
 One could likely achieve OTT smoothness in a shock by having a user-adjustable negative chamber. Achieved with an extra air valve drilled into the shock body under the rest position of the air spring. AFAIK no such design is...commonly available. Not totally sure why no one has done this. Most shocks use that annoying transfer port to pressurize the negative chamber, but if you find that insufficient then a user adjustable negative chamber would be the next solution in my mind.
  • + 2
 @WaterBear: That would be cool... the Helm offers that independent air spring adjustment and I have been running a similar set up to Levy's on my Helm. About 2-3 PSI more in the neg. chamber and the fork engages if I sneeze on it haha! very supple... Hoping to see Cane Creek offer something like that on the Air IL or Air CS if they ever do a redesign.
  • + 0
 @Pisgah85: I have ridden the DBair IL, and I have a completely different opinion. Feels the same and sticks just as much as anything. In addition to still sticking more than a coil, that shock heats up. I borrowed a friends brand new Capra that had a brand new DBair IL on it, and it got to the point where the shock hit my leg and I could tell it was hot, even through a knee pad.
  • + 2
 @WaterBear:
I have an older RS Revelation (2010?) on my backup bike that has independently adjustable neg air. I run a few more psi in it than the main chamber- it really changes the feel. Too bad that doing this on the Helm seems like a PITA.
  • + 1
 @aka-bigsteve: Yea, Rockshox did this with some of their older forks. I recently rebuilt an old Reba (IIRC) for a friend of mine and it had the adjustable negative chamber. I've got that coil neg spring on my DVO, but AFAIK no one has yet done something similar for rear shocks. There's probably a really good reason not to that someone like Vorsprung could give you.
  • + 3
 So you get a flat.
You take off the the QR.
And your going no where fast unless you have tools.
why not just have pinch bolts?
  • - 1
 What if you need to take the wheel off for puting it in the trunk of your car or roof rack? What if you have a tube and pump but no allen keys? What if you're in the middle of a race?
  • + 4
 I look forward to the blind folded fork test shoot out. Might want to sign some waivers first
  • + 3
 Cane Creek, what the helm? This isn't inline with your current business model.
  • + 5
 What's the offset?
  • + 1
 my only question for a fork that is basically saying I am Enduro!
  • + 0
 www.pinkbike.com/video/477942 - CaneCreek Helm plowing through some rocky sections on my local trail. It is much gnarlier than it looks like on the camera (the rocks begin after 1:07). Feels very plush on those rocks with the right settings
  • + 2
 I want to see how that idiotic axle system will work after a few months of grime, dust, water and some corrosion Most probably won't slide that easy...
  • + 4
 Just get a dvo diamond. Best fork I've ever had
  • + 4
 Agree with you!
  • + 4
 Proud of our North Cakalack boys.
  • + 1
 Wait, do I have to jump through all of those whoops to equalize the negative spring each time I simply adjust the positive psi?
  • + 2
 For free ride I would only use a fork that has a traditional through axle. I don't like the Axle: 'D-Loc or QR.
  • + 0
 why...?
  • + 2
 omg why the other brands never considered this simple axle desigh , I love this
  • + 1
 As with their air shocks, damping going going gone & off for an expensive regular rebuild. No thanks. Your headsets are great though!
  • + 1
 Mike and others - HELM is post mount 180mm not "post mount 7-inch (177mm)". So of course will work with 180 or 185mm (or larger) rotors. Just a small detail to point out.
  • + 2
 I didn't see any info on if Cane Creek had any OEM deals in the works? Would be interesting.
  • + 2
 At that price (goes for other forks too), I think I'll be sticking with my 3 1/2 year old Avalanche Pike until it dies.
  • + 3
 it must be awesome to weigh 160 and have forks ride properly.
  • + 1
 Honestly, it really is. I constantly feel bad for my larger-bodied friends who struggle trying to set up their bikes. I break enough stuff an over-work my bikes as is, idk what I'd do if I was 6'4 220
  • + 3
 @trialsracer: 6'4" 235 pre-gear. I often wonder how so many people break stuff. I rarely damage wheels and am running low pressures. Being too heavy for push 11.6 spring rates and ac-1 has helped my bank account though.
  • + 1
 @raditude: Depends on the quality of the parts. I'm 165 lbs and I've broken some parts, including 2 sets of wheels. Once I put Spank rims on all that came to an end.

Truthfully you have to try pretty hard to hurt a rim if you've got your tire pressurized correctly (~32-35 psi for me). Last time I dented a rim I hucked a massive water bar on a local downhill run and landed square on a toaster sized rock. Truly amazed it wasn't more catastrophic than that.
  • + 1
 @WaterBear: The only rim i've ever taken out, was the first rear rim and that was because i didn't know i had to maintain things. I rode it for 2 years who zero attention paid to it. When it was finally retired, i can cracked every spoke hole and pitched the valve on the tube so hard i couldn't remove the tube. WTB laserdisc.

I am running 18psi on a wtb KOM i29, 16psi front and still am having zero issues. High roller 2's 29 2.35".

That being said, I have ridden in the west, mid-west, northeast, and south for more than a year. Still haven't smoked a derailleur, broken a bar, snapped a chain, or cracked a crank. I sometimes just don't know if i am more precise than some people, or I just take less chances.
  • + 2
 Piggybacks add horsepower that's just obvious.
  • + 1
 Sound like a good choice for pepleo like me (220lb ) who find fox and rockshok a little under damped.
  • + 1
 With an engineer named Jim Morrison I would have expected the helm to break on through to the other side!
  • + 1
 hmm...an ok read. but i'm so over air sprung susp????
  • + 1
 So that's what happened to The Doors frontman!
  • + 1
 adjustments and looks FTW!
  • + 1
 Shouldn't it be compared to a lyrik and a 36, or a pike and a 34?
  • + 1
 why only 170? it is so hard to make 180?
  • + 1
 165 lbs? Eat a burger, man. Wink
  • + 16
 Muricaaa!!!
  • + 1
 How are they making any money on this with all of those machined parts?
  • + 1
 How many tubes then?
  • + 0
 Next is a Helm Double Barrel. Figure it out Cane Creek and I'll buy it
  • + 5
 Its called Ohlins Wink
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