Wolf Tooth Announces New Performance Headsets With Black Oxide Bearings

May 22, 2020
by Wolf Tooth Components  

Press Release: Wolf Tooth Components

Wolf Tooth now has two choices for headsets and bearings: Premium Headsets with stainless steel bearings and Performance Headsets with black oxide bearings. The addition of the black oxide bearings creates another pricing option for the Wolf Tooth line of headsets. All existing sizes of External Cup, Integrated Standard, and Zero Stack headsets are available with the new bearing selection.

Our headsets are designed, engineered, and machined in Minneapolis, Minnesota, using aircraft-grade 6061 aluminum. This material was chosen because it is lightweight, strong, and durable. The previous line of Wolf Tooth Precision Headsets featured stainless steel Enduro bearings. These are now labeled as Wolf Tooth Premium Headsets, while headsets with black oxide Enduro bearings are named Wolf Tooth Performance Headsets.


Beyond bearings, a few key differences separate these two new lines of headsets. Premium Headsets with stainless steel bearings are available in nine colors, have three options of stack height for upper top covers, and a lifetime warranty. These retail at $59.95-$64.95 USD for uppers and $39.95-$54.95 for lowers.

Performance Headsets feature black oxide bearings, are available in nine colors, have one option of stack height for upper top cover, and a one-year limited warranty. The new Performance Headsets retail at $39.95-$44.95 for uppers and $19.95-$34.95 for lowers.

Stainless steel Enduro bearings in Premium Headsets are resistant to corrosion and will last the lifetime of your bike with proper care. Black oxide Enduro bearings in the new Performance Headsets are steel bearings that have a black oxide coating to reduce corrosion.

To protect the system, all Wolf Tooth headsets have custom seals in three key places that have a tight, secure fit and keep out all moisture and contaminants. The bearings themselves also have two silicone dual-lip seals to further keep the elements away from the interior steel balls that are vital to the performance of a headset.


The complete list of sizes and colors can be found on the Wolf Tooth website, along with a full line of spacers and stem caps.

Wolf Tooth Premium and Performance Headsets are available now on wolftoothcomponents.com and wherever Wolf Tooth is sold.

Author Info:
WolfTooth avatar

Member since Mar 6, 2016
3 articles

  • 62 1
 Do I need a orange headset? Nope.
Do I want a orange headset? Yep.
  • 28 0
 It does come in black, Mr Wayne.
  • 9 0
 The way I look at it, when you want something long enough, it becomes a need...dude you need an orange headset!! Haha
  • 5 1
 No oil slick...? WTF? No Patrick Swayze / No wayzeee.
  • 1 0
 Orange is the new black.
  • 16 0
 Disclaimer: I really like Wolf tooth: Their reverb conversion has saved me from buying new and it runs perfect still.

The Black Oxide conversion coating should be more durable if it's lubed i.e. packed in grease, but hoping "chromium steel" isn't just marketing word play. Actual Chromium steel would be a real benefit with 5xxx series alloys being 2X harder than 4xx stainless with similar strength. Unless they're just calling stainless - "chromium steel" which would be sad.

And hopefully "premium stainless" is something like 17-4PH (precipitation hardenable) and not 403
  • 1 0
 I would believe the black oxide coating is only on the outside of the race not on the balls due to using as they say chromium. Looking at the entire assembly the bearing assembly is the only difference (except the premium has three top cap options) the quality of the balls are probably lower, example(ABEC 3 vs 5) and fewer of them with a plastic internal cage as well as lower quality seals.
  • 2 0
 @dhrracer: ABEC is not important for bike bearings. only for high speed applications
  • 2 0
 @Bloodshot0: skateboard wheel at 25mph = 15,000 RPM. 26" wheel is going 1,100 RPM at the same speed.
  • 1 0
 @Bloodshot0: My reference to the ABEC classification was only for a comparative of two different qualities. Wolftooth obviously wanted to offer a headset at a lower price so they sourced a lower quality bearing.
  • 18 0
 My headset has iron oxide bearings
  • 10 1
 Like Wolftooth products, but low-end Chinese bearings at premium prices? Maybe not.
  • 3 0
 This. I’ve stopped trusting any enduro Bearing, they just don’t last. I replace them as they fail with non-counterfeit bearings from a trusted vendor like McMaster Carr.

Hope hub bearings and Chris king headset Bearings are good quality and have never needed replacement.
  • 1 0
 @dsmdan18: hope bearings are enduro bearings, aren’t they? They say it on them
  • 7 1
 It would be awesome if they offered Worx style angle set options. Cane Creek is Creaky and Worx performance is across more than a pound from us.
  • 3 0
 Someone asked either WT or a different headset manufacturer a while back and I remember the answer being inventory numbers making the product a pain in the ass.

Having a look on Works site, 3 angles, say 10 different headsets and 6 headtube lengths, that’s 180 headsets just one each. Imagine trying to sell to dealers etc....

Probably why Works don’t have a big USA reseller and sell direct.
  • 6 1
 Cane Creek Anglesets work well if you go out of your way to set them up properly. Most headtubes could use a reaming/facing before you install one, or the cups distort just enough to cause issue. Starnut also has to be well installed to ensure compression is straight down - if you hammered it in and it's not perfect, you'll have issues. And then, you need to torque them higher than a typical headset. Then, they work really well. Of course you need to follow the instructions and use lots of grease also.

If you want to be lazy and not deal with the things required to get the Angleset working well, Works Components will be pretty issue free either way and you don't need to fuss with reaming and facing, and reinstalling your starnut.
  • 3 3
 @privateer-wheels: I’m not sure I would call someone lazy for buying a more expensive product and then having to make extra prep to headtube, spend lots of extra time making sure install is absolutely perfect and the over torque the headset hoping it won’t creak to death when you use it.

Sounds like common sense, not laziness.
  • 4 1
 @justanotherusername: I didn't call someone lazy for buying the more expensive product and doing the work required. First off, I said if you want to be lazy (and NOT have to do the extra work), buy the Work Components, which is actually the cheaper option, as well as being easier. So I think you may have misread. I'm saying the Cane Creek is extra work - the opposite of lazy, which is how you seam to have misread my post?

But if my language offends you, and you want to get into semantics, I'll restate just for you:

"If you [don't want to deal with the extra work] required to get the Angleset working well, Works Components will be pretty issue free either way and you don't need to fuss with reaming and facing, and reinstalling your starnut.
  • 3 0
 @privateer-wheels: should have said ‘not’ buying a more expensive product..... sorry, long day.

Anyway, point stands, it’s not lazy buying something that works, it’s common sense, I’m not ‘offended’ by your language, just pointing out the obvious.
  • 1 0
 @justanotherusername: the Cane Creek works well to. Just more work!

I retract the word lazy. Please accept my revised statement Wink
  • 8 1
 So your saying Cane creak's and Worx works
  • 2 0
 I love my Works angleset! had it for a few months with no issues.
  • 7 2
 Why do brands keep using crappy Enduro bearings and marketing them as good? Also, 100 bucks for few alu cups and 2 mediocre bearings when you get better quality from aliexpress at 1/10th the cost...
  • 2 2
 'murica.. I gues..
  • 2 1
 So which headset are you buying from Aliexpress for $10 that will last as long as your bike?
  • 2 0
 @DrPete: any and if bearings fail replace them with INA or SKF bearings and never look back.
  • 1 0
 ZTTO seems to manufacture the headset themselves (no rebranding), you can get them for 15eur, I needed a ZS44 for a 1.5 tube, they were ready to make a new model on the fly.
  • 3 0
 I used to like this company until I had one poorly manufactured direct mount chainring that wouldn’t mount properly. Their customer service blamed the crank manufacturer even though their other rings worked well with the crank. I was shocked that they passed the buck when pictures clearly indicated a bad ring. Poor tolerances are not needed on my bike no matter how many flashy colors you make.
  • 4 3
 Oh these are nice. You don't really see the importance of a good headset until you've dealt with the crappy Cane Creek 40. I've since upgraded to the CC Hellbender 70 and they've been flawless. But they only come in black. I like the sliver Wolf Tooth ones because retro is cool.
  • 12 3
 I’ve never had an issue with a Cane Creek 40. Great well priced headset. These new Wolftooth do look nice though.
  • 23 2
 @covekid: As far as I can tell, Cane Creek 40s are carefully designed to pull water out of the atmosphere and deposit it directly into the bearings
  • 3 0
 @covekid: I guess YMMV but the CC40s upper and lower bearings that came on my bikes both separated and started sounding crunchy within a month. Not only that, the top cap and crown race doesn't seal out water and moisture. I ride these bikes in all weather conditions.

I just actually cleaned my bikes' headtube and headsets today. And there wasn't much to clean with the CC70 Hellbender. I hope these new Wolf Tooth ones are the same.
  • 3 0

My exact experience with the CC40s.
  • 2 1
 @Almazing: I live in a very arid climate, I've run my 40 for 3 years, still good as new.
  • 2 1
 I may have gotten lucky, but the 40 I have on my Evolink is almost three seasons old and still going strong. Perhaps has something to do with the generous amount of waterproof grease I coat both sides of upper/lower bearings with every time I remove the fork, but the bearings have been super smooth since day 1.

I also no longer ever clean my bike upside down- I found the soapy water going into the steerer tube would find a way down the outside of the steerer and into the upper bearings, the top-cap "seal" did very little against that.
  • 2 1
 @Losvar: Same. Must be a water issue. I almost never ride in the rain and certainly don't blast the headset with a hose. My CC40 headset is 4 years old and is as good as the day it was installed. I just ordered another for my new bike.
  • 3 0
 @HaggeredShins: Living in a wet, muddy, riding environment the 40 is good for maybe 6 months tops. I finally gave up and spring for a King headset figuring it’ll probably be more cost effective longer term.
  • 3 0

When my bike is covered in mud, I blast my bike with the CC70 Hellbender headset with a high pressure water hose and nothing gets through. The 20-30$ difference between the 40 and 70 makes the 40 completely obsolete in my book. Save $20 and buy new bearings every 3 months? Or spend the extra $20 hand have no water seepage at all? No brainer for me.
  • 1 0
 @kwl1: Do you still live in Nelson? How wet and muddy can it be compared to the Okanagan. Practically a dust bowl here.
  • 3 0
 Came creek 40s are trash. So happy to be on a hope
  • 1 0
 Had 2 CC40's on 2 bikes. First one had a .010 gap between the blue seal on the bottom of the top cap and the head tube. Most likely a frame problem, not counterbored deep enough. No way to tighten the gap without milling material off the compression ring. That headset got crunchy often riding in Az. Second headset had the exact opposite issue, was too tight. The CC headset shims worked great and I was able to get a perfect fit. Top cap gasket just barely making contact with headtube. That headset is 2 years old and still like new.
  • 5 0
 Is black oxide referenced in an attempt to sound high quality?
  • 1 0
 If you dont mind the weight, I recommend the OneUp EDC tool (yeah, yeah, its not the same thing). I have it with a purple anodized top cap, and its sweet. Adds a little pop of color (and a lot of convenience) to the bike.
  • 2 0
 I’m so sick of theese trash bearings companies use. Hopfully theese arnt differently branded endruo ones
  • 1 0
 So, black coated bearings means they are the same like Cane Creek 40 bearings?
  • 1 0
 CC ditched black oxide bearings I think a few years ago - maybe couldn’t identify a benefit?

I would imagine bearing longevity is more to do with headset seal quality, and ball & race material / construction than a coating on the race.

WT use enduro bearings and their seal design looks to be one of the best in the business so they will probably be good.
  • 1 1
 It looks good. I'd definitely try the headsets. Was on their website and the purchasing of the headsets is confusing though. Everything sold separately.
  • 1 0
 love the way colours mean they charge stupid amounts. have a black bike and its cheaper to build.
  • 1 0
 Awesome! Looks like great substitute to crappy CC 40 and 110 bearings, especially for lower IS. Done with Cane Creak
  • 1 0
 Can you see the bearings from outside?
  • 3 0
 You can see them from space if you have really good vision.
  • 1 0
 Wolftooth actually ships from Savage, MN. This stuff looks good to me.
  • 1 0
 Yeeaaaahhhh no one knows where that is though lmao. It's easier to just say Minneapolis or near Minneapolis I guess
  • 4 0
 @Artikay13: Just sayin - every package I receive from them I say "SAAAAAAAVAGE" wife doesn't talk to me for the rest of the night.
  • 1 0
 Do we just put Enduro at the beginning of every bike part now?
  • 1 1
 didn't even show me these new black balls..

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