Cane Creek Introduces Fork - Exclusive First Ride

Feb 28, 2017 at 18:15
by Mike Levy  




It's certainly not an easy time to jump into the high-end fork market, but that's exactly what Cane Creek are doing with their $1,100 USD Helm. The North Carolina company's first fork has been designed with trail, all-mountain, and enduro riding in mind, which puts it up against the likes of the RockShox Pike, Fox's 34 and 36, and Öhlins' RXF range, among others. Not exactly pushovers, then.

Available only for 27.5'' wheels at this point (a 29er model is down the road), the air-sprung Helm can be adjusted between 170mm and 100mm of travel in 10mm increments by installing or removing spacers. The 4.43lb Helm's action is controlled by a mono-tube damper rather than the twin-tube system that Cane Creek is known for, and external adjustments consist of low-speed compression and rebound, and high-speed compression.
Cane Creek Helm Details

• Intended use: trail / all-mountain / enduro
• Travel: 100 - 170mm (internally adj. in 10mm increments)
• Wheel size: 27.5''
• Spring: air
• Manual negative spring
• Air volume adjustment for ramp-up
• Mono-tube damper
• Damper adjustments: low-speed compression, high-speed compression, low-speed rebound
• Stanchions: 35mm
• Steerer: tapered only
• 7'' post mount
• Axle: 'D-Loc' 15mm QR Boost thru-axle
• Colors: black, blue (limited release option)
• Weight: 2,010 grams / 4.43lbs (w/ axle, 205mm steerer)
• MSRP: $1,100 USD
www.canecreek.com


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  The Helm is available in the black color shown here on the front of Ellsworth's new Rouge, or a limited edition blue color pictured below on Rocky Mountain's Slayer.


The Helm has been in development for the last five years, with Cane Creek putting together prototype twin-tube dampers and a triple-chamber air spring system early in the fork's evolution that ended up kiboshed for the production model. That story, along with all of the facts and details of the Helm's birth can be found here, or you can check out a brief overview of the fork and early ride impressions below.


Damper

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  After a year of testing a twin-tube damper, Cane Creek decided that the Helm would use a simpler mono-tube system instead.


It was only after multiple functioning twin-tube prototype dampers were built that they decided that might not be the best road to go down. Cost, complication and, according to Director of Engineering Jim Morrison, no real performance advantage over a simpler mono-tube system when it comes to front suspension, saw them turn their back on the twin-tube layout.

Instead, the Helm features a mono-tube damper that looks a lot like what you'll find inside of a Pike or Fox 36 - a sealed damper bled free of air that uses an expanding bladder to compensate for fluid displacement. This means that the Helm's cartridge can be removed without needing to bleed it, and that you can drop the fork's lowers if you need or want to perform some basic maintenance. External adjustments include low-speed compression and high-speed compression, which are both at the top of the right fork leg, and low-speed rebound at the bottom of the same leg.


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Low-speed compression is adjusted by turned the anodized gold knob, while high-speed compression is controlled by the larger black knob.
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The low-speed rebound dial is found at the bottom of the right fork leg.


There are 16 clicks of low-speed compression via a dial at the top of the leg, 11 clicks high-speed compression from the larger dial with a short lever extension, and 14 clicks of low-speed rebound from the dial at the bottom of the same leg. The two compression dials were pretty stiff to turn on both of my early production run test forks, but Cane Creek says that this was a tolerance issue that's since been sorted out.

What you won't find on the Helm is any sort of pedal-assist feature that would pile on the damping to firm the fork up for smooth climbs, something Cane Creek says they chose to not include in order to avoid sacrificing any damper performance for a climbing aid. That's notable as it's telling of how Cane Creek intends the Helm to be used.



Air Spring

The Helm was always going to be air-sprung, but Cane Creek wanted to do something a bit different when it came to tuning how the fork ramps up through its stroke. This is still done by adjusting the volume of the positive air chamber, of course, but rather than adding or subtracting volume spacers, you adjust the height of a fixed piston that sits underneath the top cap. You'll need a 30mm socket wrench to get into the fork, but the piston is held in place by a wing nut that can be loosened and tightened with just your fingers, and this can be set to eight different positions. It's a simple setup that looks and feels well-made, especially because there are no plastic pieces involved.


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The Helm's progression is adjusted by repositioning a piston that sits just under the air spring top cap.
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You need a 30mm socket wrench to open the fork up, but the wing nut that locks the piston in place only needs to be finger tight.


Rather than a self-adjusting negative spring like most of the competition uses, Cane Creek has gone with a negative spring that needs to be set manually. Their reasoning is twofold: it means that there's one less port that a seal needs to pass over a few zillion times while you're riding, and it requires fewer parts while allowing the same fork to be adjusted anywhere between 170mm and 100mm of travel. But it also necessitates equalizing the two chambers by pressing a protected button at the bottom of the left fork leg. This doesn't require a shock pump, however, but rather just the push of a button. After pressurizing the positive chamber, you unscrew the aluminum cap that protects the button, and then you back out a small threaded collar that allows you to depress the valve, thereby instantly equalizing the positive and negative air chambers. This only takes a few seconds, but it is one more step.



Fork Chassis

Cane Creek isn't trying to do anything radical when it comes to the Helm's chassis, so rather than use any exotic materials or an inverted design, you'll find a rather traditional looking fork. There's a tapered steerer, naturally, a boat load of mud clearance under the fork arch, and black anodized 35mm stanchions that give the Helm an 'I'm ready for anything' appearance.


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The Helm is only available with a tapered steerer tube.
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There's plenty of clearance for big tires underneath the fork arch.

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The square axle is locked in place by a latch on the right fork leg.
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QR tension can be adjusted by turning the nut that sits under the lever.


It has to be difficult to come up with a new idea for your fork's thru-axle given that there are only so many ways to get the job done, but the Helm's 'D-Loc' axle is 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 - note the ''This side up'' laser etching on its top face.

Once slid through the Helm's lowers, a latch on the right fork leg that's keyed to lock the axle in place can be flipped closed. Tension adjustment is done via a nut under the QR lever on the opposite end of the axle, which should only need to be set once.


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  The Helm's damper is sealed, so you can drop the lowers for a quick service without having to jump into anything scary.


Fork Setup

What is the first thing I did after getting the Helm? I took it apart, of course, which is the fun and easy part - getting it back together is what counts. Given that there aren't a whole bunch of these things out in the wild yet, I'll admit to being a bit tentative, even if I was only dropping the lowers and disassembling the fork's air spring leg for photos and to tinker with the travel adjustment system. The included instruction manual covers all of that, and it turned out to be a very easy job that required only basic tools and skills. I didn't even have any parts left over after I put the fork back together.

The fork's travel is changed by installing or removing 10mm aluminum spacers onto the air shaft leg, just above the top-out assembly. The Helm ships from Cane Creek set at 160mm of travel, but the travel spacers clip on easily and you can stack them up to bring the stroke all the way down to 100mm or bump it up to 170mm. I'm already drooling over a 120mm-travel, 29er Helm.


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Clip-on spacers can be used to alter the travel from 170mm down to 100mm.
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The 10mm spacers clip onto the air rod just above the top-out assembly.


Setting up the Helm's spring rate is pretty straightforward, but its manually adjustable negative air spring does call for an extra step compared to the self-adjusting systems employed on most other forks. Cane Creek recommends pumping up the positive air chamber to roughly fifty-percent of your body weight, which would be about 80 PSI for myself, and then you need to equalize the positive and negative air chambers by removing the protective cap at the bottom of the air spring leg, backing out the gold locking collar on the equalizing button so you can depress it, and then re-threading the collar and cap back into place.


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The negative spring equalizing button is protected by a thread-on aluminum cap.
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Back out the gold collar, depress the button to equalize the positive and negative pressures, then thread the collar back down to lock the button.


Next, re-check your positive chamber. Cane Creek's reasoning for going with a manual negative spring system includes it being simpler mechanically and because it requires fewer parts, even if it does require an extra step, but you can also drop a few PSI out of the positive chamber after balancing so that the negative pressure is actually higher. With more negative pressure than positive, the fork should feel like it has close to zero breakaway friction, which it does.




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On The Trail

The original plan was to put a few solid weeks of riding in on both Helm test forks, one mounted to Ellsworths' new Rogue and the other on the front of our Rocky Mountain Slayer test bike, but Mother Nature had a different idea. This included freezing rain and multiple feet of snow, which means that my time on the Helm was more limited than I would have preferred. Still, with plenty of sessioning and on-trail tinkering, it was enough to provide me with a good idea of how the fork performs, and also how it compares to the current class-leader, Fox's 36 Float RC2 Factory that was on the front of the Slayer before being replaced by the Helm.

So, how does it compare? Well, this isn't a review by any stretch - that will happen after much more time on the fork - but I can say that Cane Creek has produced a fork that seems to at least match the best from RockShox, Öhlins, and Fox while offering a different sort of feel.

Out of the box, the Helm is impossibly smooth and friction-free, but that should be the case for every high-end fork. Cane Creek ticks that box, and it only gets better when you do the trick of dropping a few PSI out of the positive air chamber so the negative reads a bit higher, which means that the Helm is even more eager to go into its stroke. As far as smoothness goes, the Helm is as slippery as a well broken in Pike or 36, maybe even more so. No complaints here.
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Experimenting with the Helm's Doubleair volume adjustment system.

I'd love to be able to tell you that the Helm is markedly different than its competitors - good or bad - when it comes to chassis rigidity, but I'd be talking out of my ass if I said that. At 160lbs and with my local trail conditions alternating between what I'd describe as either Arctic or underwater, I can't make a definitive call on this one. I will say, however, that with 35mm stanchions and its burly looking casting, I doubt that anyone is going to find the Helm to not be torsionally rigid enough for them. My guess: if you don't judge a Pike or 36 to be flexy, you won't find the Helm flexy.

The fork's axle is extremely easy to use in the field, and while I'm a fan of a proper bolt-on thru-axle, the D-Loc design presented exactly zero issues. It's just as quick as a Maxle or Fox's thru-axle - remember, you don't need to unthread the Helm's axle from the fork - even though the D-Loc axle needs to be oriented correctly and you need to open and close the latch. It's easy to use and, probably more important, it feels quite robust.

I ended up with about 15 psi less than where Cane Creek recommends starting for air pressure, which is roughly half of your weight. That'd put me at 80 PSI, but 65 PSI made more sense for my trails and the conditions. The Helm's air spring also feels relatively progressive, which, when compared to other forks on the market, is a pleasant surprise. The Doubleair volume adjustment system is effective, but I did find that I preferred the fixed piston in a higher position, and even with the pressure I was running it still felt like it ramped up enough for my liking. Compare this with the 36s and Pikes I've spent a lot of time on that usually have at least a few air volume tokens installed.
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The slippery, active stroke and relatively low air pressure might have you thinking that I spent most of the time deep in the Helm's travel, but that wasn't the case at all, with a feeling of ample support rather than that 'hammock' sensation that air suspension can sometimes provide when your spring rate isn't firm enough.

There's no wrong answer when it comes to suspension setup, just so long as you're not entirely out to lunch, but I've always preferred a more damped feel than what a lot of other riders like. If you rode my bike, you might note that the fork has a fair bit of low-speed compression and low-speed rebound; this is what I've tended to gravitate towards, regardless of if I'm on a Pike, 36, Mattoc, or any other fork. But not the Helm, it seems.

Riding the fork with the LSC dial nearly closed, and then fully open before working my way towards a setting I liked, showed that my happy place wasn't where I expected it to be. My damper settings ended up comparably open, partly because of the wet and relatively slow trail conditions and partly because I found the Helm to offer more support and control than what I've become used to. After a handful of rides, my LSC ended up at 11 clicks out, my HSC at nine clicks out, and the LSR at a heavier five clicks out from fully in.


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I have no illusions that those numbers won't change when things dry out, but where the dials ended up, along with the fork's air spring, have me believing that the Helm's tune is probably best suited to riders who will appreciate the support and controlled feel that the fork provides. While it's still very early days as far as testing goes, I know that when I ride a Pike or 36, my settings are firmer all around and there are at least a few volume spacers installed to get the forks where I like them. This is not a bad thing at all, but it is simply indicative of the RockShox and Fox forks being designed to make the large majority of riders happy, whereas the Helm's tune seems to suit a more aggressive rider straight out of the box.

With two different Helm forks on rotation, expect a long-term review down the road that tackles the fork's reliability and that will include more in-depth riding impressions.


249 Comments

  • + 159
 It looks like a good first iteration! I think this will help the fork industry stay competitive.
  • + 53
 Notice the test bikes both have Fox shocks. Wink I hope the higher competition means lower prices for consumers!
  • - 22
flag torero (Mar 1, 2017 at 8:07) (Below Threshold)
 Meh, very expensive
  • + 28
 @moefosho: Yes, as we have witnessed in the dropper post market.
  • + 45
 @torero: If it was $300 you wouldn't want it because it would be an entry level fork. High performance isn't cheap in any sport.
  • + 23
 Im in! Im so sick of these dumbed down 3 position, suspensions. Good enough isnt good enough.
  • + 91
 Just like Profile they didn't even ask if they could brand a product after me, Bastards.
  • + 13
 @moefosho: or just high prices all around like everything else in the bike world #tenthousanddollarnorco
  • + 8
 Cane Creek, please employ the "higher negative air pressure" concept to your Double Barrel Air!
  • + 7
 @moefosho: They needed something reliable to complete the test
  • + 12
 I think added competition is good but I have serious questions on CC reliability lately. I will not be an earlier adopter.......waiting for the next major revision after the initial consumer testing
  • + 26
 Pricing is out of control in this industry. I found a conversion van on craigslist for $1100 that I can turn into an RV/Camper, that'll drive me to the places where I like to ride my bike that I also bought used, complete, that didn't cost $1100.

But hey, spend your money on whatever you like. I'll be the one buying it used off you next season for 60% less.
  • + 7
 I agree, excellent new choices. I thought the RXF 34 was the new Sheriff in town then Cane Creek dropped this. Öhlins is like: "What the Helm!"
  • + 9
 170mm down to 100mm. This fork has alot in comen with me and my push Rod.
  • + 3
 @NYShred: Exactly. My bikes worth more than my 2 junk cars.
  • + 16
 @AlexS1: I always spend more on my bikes than my autos. You know your priorities are right when your bike cost more than your Auto.
  • + 5
 @theminsta: You want more air pressure in the negative chamber? Man, that's kind of a luxury problem right there.
I would love for my DB Air to hold pressure at all lol
After the bike was brand new my DBAir lost its rebound damping completely after 3 days of riding and I had to have it serviced.
Now, after 5 consecutive days of hard enduro shredding in Italy the damper is done. Again. It's losing like 30% of air pressure over night standing still lol. Too bad the Vivid Air was never officially released for the Specialized Enduro...
  • + 2
 @mazze: Darn. Sorry for your luck with your shock. Mine was immaculate but a tiny bit stiff off the top, which the Float X2 has completely demolished the DBA on.
  • + 1
 @NYShred: 60% less? Maybe even more. Those pre-owned 10k bikes will be listed for a long time before they eventually get sold for 2k5-3k.
  • + 2
 @rivercitycycles: I've put a few rides in on my new CCDBIL Coil after a recent purchase. In a word: TITS.
I know many riders that won't touch their shit with a ten foot pole based on the whole OEM inline air failure. They are going to be fighting for every customer with their air products for the next ten years because of that. When they get it right (most of the time), their stuff is hard to beat.
  • + 1
 @konadan: I totally agree about the OEM inline issue. I bought an aftermarket Inline........worked like a charm.
  • + 2
 @mazze: you can use the vivid, google BikeYoke and you'll see the replacement part that allows you to fit most shocks
  • + 1
 @rivercitycycles: I bought mine after market two years ago and no problem whatsoever. It's been an excellent performer on my Spesh Enduro.
  • + 1
 @gabbatron: thx dude, I know about the yoke but I figured I will give it another try on the DBAir. I would love to get the proprietary Fox X2, however, I'm not comfortable with putting 500€ down for it. After market prices be crazy!

@theminsta yeah, the DBair is anything but smooth in the parking lot, but *WHEN* it works it does its job quite low-key... which is kind of a good thing. The Monarch was wayy smoother also, but it had just no noticable compression damping whatsoever. I always liked the Vivid Air, but without having ridden the X2 I'm sure it is best of its class right now. If they weren't that expensive I would pick one up for sure. But now I guess I will just rather service the shock and go on with it ^^
  • - 1
 @bman33: Right, but 99.9% of us aren't 4 time world champions who need a fork we'll never push the full limits of. So what's your point?
  • + 1
 @NYShred: Too true, I thought me playing competitive level paintball was an expensive hobby. The pricing structure is absolutely rediculous for mountain biking. Doesn't help that I have 6 bikes either...
  • + 1
 @OFF2theGYM: My point is every time a new product comes out that is top of the line, always a bunch of whiners on the price. Yes, the best products a company can make will cost $$. The same ones crying about that will be the same one complaining about an 'affordable' component because it doesn't have all the options of the top end one or it's 'too heavy''
  • + 1
 The DbAG aIR 3000 is the best shock in the universe. All other shocks can kiss it's ass.
  • + 107
 Probably just a real sick fork, but that blue colorway looks like a Hot Wheels PC from the 90s. Does it come with a free America Online trial CD?
  • + 63
 if you don't like it, just order the black version ...
  • + 0
 have to agree. that blue is so out of time! which bike should it match?
  • + 4
 @sharkus: would probably match a canyon strive but i would prefer a black on
  • + 45
 Yes all forks should be black as per the industry proclaimation of InterBike 2013
  • + 1
 @leopaul: I probably will!
  • + 3
 Nicolai pulls off some pretty sweet blues. Would look bad ass on one of those
  • + 18
 @sharkus: yet DVO's green has a lot of people going haywire
  • + 29
 I like the blue. You just know it's going to be the one that's 50% off next year. Heading to the Buy/Sell to look for a polished aluminum frame now...
  • + 50
 Fuck colour matching. Hot Wheels for the win!
  • + 1
 @sharkus maybe a custom-coloured bike?
  • + 3
 @sharkus: My Polar Blue Pole (If there was a 29er)
  • + 12
 I think the blue looks great! Im hoping one day we'll get a fork maker do some sweet anodizing like manitou did back in the early days. That awesome!
  • + 11
 Don't mind the blue, but the combination of the blue, and the multicolor decals make it look like Voltron or Transformers. Would be cooler if it had a series of buttons for a variety of robot sound effects every time it compressed.
  • + 6
 Only 300 blue units were produced.
  • + 14
 Better than the orange fox factory riders have to deal with.
  • + 1
 @Vemunddh: yes maybe. i was just wondering from a sales perspective about that blue because it seems quite special. but anyway, black one is looking good Smile
  • + 6
 Might be a marketing strategy, if you see a green fork you instantly think DVO, maybe they're trying to do the same but with blue. They'll sell more black ones probably tho.
  • + 7
 I think it's cool that they are offering the Blue option but agree that the decals could use a little more work. Decls are not totally ridiculous, but could be refined. IMO, the Black version should match the look of the new DB AIR IL
  • + 9
 1999 Civic Si blue
  • + 4
 A free AOL trial CD? Deal. Its how I had free internet in the 90's. Had a whole box of them.
  • + 0
 What about those orange colored Fox forks....everyone´s gonna be keen to get one of those.
  • + 2
 @gdnorm: electron blue pearl
  • + 57
 [Insert common PB superlative]

Had a chance to try one out briefly a month ago, and was impressed much in the same way the Mike was. Kinda surprised they didnt figure out a way to use their twin tube design, if for no other reason than a marketing ploy. That said, CC fully understands they can't have a faux pas with this fork and it needs to be super solid from a reliability standpoint. Based on my outstanding experience with their shocks (never had an inline air tho), this will likely be my next bump stick.
  • + 62
 +1 for 'bump stick'
  • + 57
 Looks like twin tube technology to me, a tube on the left, and a tube on the right.
  • + 1
 @fhace1: bwhahaha!!!
  • + 12
 +10 for an American using "faux pas" (and even spelled right)!! Right on!
  • + 18
 what he really meant was "fox pos"
  • + 0
 I would say - not having a DBInline makes you not objective. if you had one, you would probably think twice about the fork. DBline - best air shock when it works...emphasis on when it works.
  • + 3
 @orastreet1: OK, I've had numerous Fox products fail and/or work so poorly that it made me long for a 2001 Bomber, so I guess I should never buy a Fox product again. Sh!t, my Pike damper cart exploded too, so I guess I should cross RS off the list as well. Seems my only options are to shoehorn an Avy cart into a 2001 Bomber and track down a Progressive 5th Element on Ebay.

And fwiw, I've been running an Inline coil for several months and its easily the best shock I've ever used.
  • + 1
 @jackalope: I'm with you man! But to have a shock fail four times in one year? And Cane Creek sent me new ones 3 out of the four times, rebuilding for shock one of the times is enough to make me a CC doubter.. The only saving grace is that when the shock work it was the best by far - and their very good customer service. So perhaps I'm not very objective since that shock is my only experience with Cane Creek suspension.
  • + 2
 @orastreet1: I hear ya, and I'd be super butt-hurt too if I had your experience. And you're also probably correct that I'm not totally objective, but its mainly because I know some of the guys who actually work at CC Smile

Main point being, all suspension companies have put out some real turds at some point, and all of them have likely failed miserably at the CS side of things in some situations. However, I think a lot of the suspension stuff that has been released over the past 2 or so years has been outstanding and we're either in or entering a true golden age of suspension excellence. Likewise with modern bikes...you're really hard pressed to find a truly awful one now. Just wish someone would buy my kidney listed on Ebay so I can afford all the new toys!
  • + 1
 @gonecoastal:

* Sh!t breaks
* Sh!t breaks/sucks a lot less than it did
* ???
* Profit

I hope that clears it up.
  • + 1
 @jackalope: it was a response to your 2001 Bomber or 5th Element comment
  • + 1
 @jackalope: ive still got a 5th element, its hanging up on the wall next to an old risse dual crown, not a bad shock for its time
  • + 52
 Make a Cane Creek gold fork so we can really ball out.
  • + 4
 Amen to that brother
  • + 37
 "It's certainly not an easy time to jump into the high-end fork market, but that's exactly what Cane Creek are doing..."

Someone can jump into the low-end but does it's job fork market any time...
  • + 21
 Not even low end. Mid level. Manitou needs to expand it's product line a little more. Rockshox took a step in the right direction with the yari which is a few hundred dollars cheaper than the lyric. We need more mid level, less junk or high end.
  • + 18
 X Fusion does a good job of filling the mid level sector.
  • + 8
 Fox is jumping in with the Grip as well. As the high-level offerings improve, lower-cost options with amazing performance will start showing up. This is already happening with drivetrains (just look at the latest SLX kit), and suspension is only a couple years behind. It won't be very long before you can get something that looks, feels, and performs a lot like a Pike/36 for a fraction of the current cost.
  • + 13
 @therealtylerdurden: I couldn't agree more. Unfortunately, not enough product managers will deviate from big brands to take advantage, and instead spec Recon/Sektor/Revelation/CTD Evo grade stuff instead because it has more brand recognition. With the right press package, it should be a selling point that X-Fusion (and Suntour) can put you on their top level chassis with the same damper architecture for the price of derelict chassis designs and cut-rate dampers from the big two.
  • + 3
 @therealtylerdurden: They are doing a great job, mid level prices with top level performance. I think they need to have a wider global service network though.
  • + 2
 @tehllama: yeah, I presume bike makers get a better price on the high end if they spec the low end big 2 gear on their lower spec models unfortunately. Might be wrong tho.
  • + 36
 Love the massive internal travel adjust range. Very cool
  • + 6
 That 70mm travel adjust looks pretty sweet!. Asides from being a tad heavier than a pike this fork looks to be an awesome option! It's probably more inline with a lyrik than the pike.
  • + 24
 Next they should make a helmet and name it "fork".
  • + 17
 Can't wait to beat on this Fork. I've always enjoyed Cane Creek products.
  • + 3
 never had any product of them personnally, but some friends have. From what I heard there are so many different settings that it can be confusing, but when it's fully settled it's the total bomb.
  • - 6
flag kabelleira Plus (Mar 1, 2017 at 7:50) (Below Threshold)
 @RedBurn: yep!, a friend of mine runs a CC shock on his Canyon Strive. He's looking for a Monarch swap cause he doesn't want to spend hours setting the shock.
  • + 17
 @kabelleira: have your friend check out CC's "Dialed" tuning app. It's available for Android and iOs.
  • + 9
 @kabelleira: i can understand that. It wasn't easy to set up my CC DB coil but I finally made it and I'm more than happy. But if I gave it to my wife and tell her to deal with it she'd kill me. And no, set up guide doesn't help, some people just don't want to bother and you have to respect that. That's why CC made In Line stuff
  • + 0
 @kabelleira: rhubarb. Just rhubarb.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I think you mean the C-Quent? In line was made to fit more bikes AFAIK
  • + 0
 @j-t-g: ah sorry yes. You are right.
  • + 11
 Negative air spring adjustment like on the DVO? Bladder like the Pike? Looks like they tried to take the best out of all the forks currently out there, which isn't a bad thing. CC makes great stuff but Boost only? Boo to that.
  • + 9
 Surely going from standard 15mm to boost is just a case of buying a couple of 5mm thick shims?

Hang on, don't steal my boost adaptor idea. I'll do custom anodised versions, titanium and maybe a composite or 3D printed. That should cover all bases.
  • + 3
 And the arch looks very fox 36

Axle reminds me of my mattoc

I wonder if their stated reasons for no twin tube technology is as reported, or the licensing fee from ohlins was more then they were willing to pay?
  • + 1
 @ermoldaker: enjoy your offset wheel
  • + 2
 @miff: granted you'd need to shim the brake disc too but no need for an offset.
  • + 10
 Expensive Suspension feels good, ok got it. My only real comment on this fork is, I would have liked to have seen something like the MRP ramp control instead of what they used. The whole fork is adjustable from the outside except the air volume.
  • + 6
 patents !
  • + 3
 @BoneDog: Oh I have seen pleanty of things in the bike world that are very very similar and yet don't infringe on patents lol I'm sure they could have used some engineering brain power Wink
  • + 4
 @2bigwheels: Unless you specialized....
  • + 12
 Compression knob looks like a WW1 German medal.
  • + 11
 looking good
  • + 7
 High and low speed rebound adjustments make my shock feel much more controlled, gotta do the same on a fork right? My 36 doesn't include that
  • + 6
 The spring system is almost identical to manitou's on the mattoc and magnum. Only difference is you press a button and for manitou, it equalizes when you attach a pump. Even tried to copy manitou's IRT setup.
  • + 6
 If they would have kept the tri-air spring design it would have rivaled an IRT equipped Mattoc. I guess with this you can manipulate the pressure of the negative spring, with a Mattoc you cant. I'll take the mattoc increased tuning ability at 2/3 the price.
  • + 6
 @LaXcarp: you can with the mattoc as well by compressing the for slightly before removing the pump. Makes for higher negative pressure than positive
  • + 5
 Axle system is also fairly similar to manitou's hexlock (keyed w/ threaded preload). Overall, seems like the helm will be a great fork as it took inspiration the best of what's out on the market. I'd still rather have a mattoc with IRT though as I dig the tunability it gives you.
  • + 1
 @unusual-bread: axle is very similar. Manitou got flamed for it, wonder how it will go for cc long term.

I agree it looks like a good fork, just wish it had more innovation. Combine a mattoc with a pike and you get a helm.
  • + 2
 glad it wasnt just me that was thinking this is pretty much just a pike / mattoc mashup. think the hexlock is a better solution , that lock ring looks a bit flimsy on the CC. i'll stick with a mattoc as initial cost and maintenance are both cheaper.

Nice to see CC bring out a fork but i wish more people were still producing 34/35/36mm fork with semi sealed dampers. yes the performance might not be quite as good but for the home mechanic/average joe do you really notice the difference if you have the range of controls ? and how much less time does it take to rebuild a semi sealed system compared to pratting about with a bladder/bleeding
  • + 1
 What they use in the end is the IVA not the IRT. It is a static piston to reduce volume. It is mit a second MOVING air chamber. They solve it like dvo Sitz an adjustable neg spring to get grippy begnning stroke, what I like though. And nicer than the heavy coil of dvo. ...but given realibility of cc, lets see, how it works out. Love the axle, seems like a netter thought out version of manitous hexlock, but being easier to push trough.
  • + 1
 @jaydmf:

Semi sealed mc2 of manitou rocks. See no probs and that stupid sponge seems to work.performance is consistent.
Could have taken that or the internal bladder of dvo instead
  • + 7
 What's smart about this fork is that the fork is so adjustable that it will appeal to a huge audience great way to jump into the world of high end forks on CC's part
  • + 9
 One fork for (nearly) all applications. Smart move.
  • + 1
 Yeah, and introduce a 32mm version for lighter duty use and they will have their bases covered.
  • + 4
 I remember a very similar review for the DVO, Pike, Fox 36, Lyric, and also Ohlins. I remember the first Lyric review said it was just as supple as the Pike, but had a stiffer chassis and handled big hits better. Now that it's old news, turns out it's not as 'supple' as the Pike, but it shouldn't be because it's a 'big hit' fork. Seems that the 'new' product gets the raves no matter who it's from, and they all get a turn at the point.
  • + 6
 "After a year of testing a twin-tube damper, Cane Creek decided that they would just sack it and make the same fork as everybody else"
  • + 4
 I love the manual adjustment on the Neg. Air spring. Theoretically, I could put a 150 fork on my 140 bike, press the fork down 10mm and equalize. Boom! 140mm travel fork. ride up to the top, pull the lowers down and equalize, boom 150mm travel! I'm a bit surprised that possibility wasn't mentioned. [edit: looks like they discuss this in the other article]


I'm looking forward to getting one of these. I like supporting small local companies who make solid products like cane creek. The more choices the better when it comes to bike parts.
  • + 1
 mentioned in the other post but they don't advise it
  • + 3
 @rivercitycycles: Though i would be nervous about many company's first fork offerings, Cane Creek has dealt with issues very well in the past. They have made a very tuneable product that looks like it will be fun to pull apart on your own and tinker with.
  • + 1
 This is the same CC that doesn't publish service manuals...? Being able to remove the lowers is necessary to change dust wipers. Note that the damper cartridge is sealed. Sounds a lot like they want you to mail the damper back to them when it needs a rebuild or even an oil change.

I don't think you'll be doing much tinkering with this outside of the adjustability they built into the fork.
  • + 8
 So sweet!!!
  • + 6
 All these suspension companies , dunno what the helm im gonna choose....
  • + 6
 Looks Great. Can't wait to ride it
  • + 6
 More expensive than a Fox 36? Good luck with that...
  • + 2
 When does it come out for a 29er? I like the simple design that it employs. I usually don't buy new stuff right out of the gate but I think I will for this one. Plus one for a good american product to add some competition to the market.
  • + 7
 was about time
  • + 2
 In a normal industry competition means lower price for the customer. But we all know mtb industry it's not like the normal industry. It has its own rules (so more competition does not mean lower prices) exactly like the computer/network industry (this industry too does not follow the classic rules of the markets).
Anyway it seems cane creek made a good job!
  • + 2
 I find it pretty hard to give any credit to his review as it went up at the same time as a huge ad banner. Impartial much? Basically makes it pretty much worthless in my opinion.
  • + 8
 Today is the release date, of course they are going to advertise it.
  • + 2
 @DrStairs: No shit sherlock- I'm not criticising the timing- I'm just saying that using the same source for advertising and reviewing is a bit of a conflict of interest in my opinion. PB can hardly turn round and say they're sh*t when they've been paid to advertise them can they?
  • + 2
 @gavlaa I also noticed that whenever a new product launches, it gets ad banners on PB and at least 1 article reviewing or describing it. Almost always that review is positive.

Really starting to suspect PB is selling this as a sort of 'embedded advertising' service to sellers.
  • + 1
 @WaterBear @gavlaa selling ad space is the business of Pinkbike. Cleary cane creek (as with any company) would choose a product's launch date to buy a banner ad for it. If you think they paid Pinkbike for a positive review because these things coincided, you must not trust any review at all then.
  • + 2
 www.churchoftherotatingmass.com
Worth a look to see how your media sausage is made.
  • + 4
 Aggressive tune. Loved by people who swear they like it but will never buy the fork, hated by those who actually do...
  • + 2
 I like the full travel range in one model. Take note Fox! I also like the volume adjustment, no need to buy extra spacer or parts. I also like the simplicity of the negative air chamber. Less to go wrong.
  • + 1
 Can you be more specific about tire clearance? Can it clear a knobby 2.5 (e.g. DHF)? How about a 2.6?

Also, so stoked someone finally ditched that stupid auto equalizing negative spring valve. They are so problematic and I've had numerous problems with them. This solution with the button makes so much more sense.
  • + 9
 Hey Adodero, our max tire size is 65mmx714mm, which equates to 2.59in, really it comes down to rim and tire combinations. The Minion DHF is widely used here by our employees and has ample clearance. We've seen a Butcher 2.6 successfully pass the clearance test on an Industry nine 30.5 rim.
  • + 4
 @CaneCreekCyclingComponents: Great to know, thanks for the reply! My 2.6 Butcher on 35mm internal rims passes at 64mm knob to knob, good to know that it will fit.

I'm moving to Fletcher on Friday, maybe I'll drop by and grab one (and/or DBCoil IL...) when they are available.
  • + 7
 @Adodero: Nice!! Fletcher is rad. Come by and we'll show you around, now that the building isn't on top secret lock down anymore!
  • + 1
 @CaneCreekCyclingComponents:
Hey CC, I contacted you guys about my Helm but never heard back.
Just purchased it, can't wait to ride it and dial it in with my Coil CS

Question, I see it has the screw holes for a screw in mud guard, but you don't supply one with the fork like DVO do.
How/where can I get one that will work with the fork instead of using my Marsh Guard ?

Cheers
  • + 1
 As others have said, that QR is basically a copy of the Manitou. I'm curious how that lever is going to look after a season in the rain and muck and a few hits with a rock (it looks rather exposed).

I love my Mattocs, so unless this fork is a game changer I can't see myself giving up my for that cost me about half the price of this new Cane Creek.
  • + 1
 Is no one else thinking that the Rocky Mountain didn't get ridden with the Helm at all....post ride with the 36 they took the pedals off and popped on the Helm for a photo ?
Just wondering why the bike looks like it's just been ridden and has no pedals....little strange
  • + 4
 We wait for the Push Industries fork...hopefully that one will be a game-changer.
  • + 1
 Why would they bother when they can order Fox forks at OEM pricing, take apart the damper and rework the shim stack, run sins slightly different fluids in it depending on application, then sell it add a premium product (which at that point it is, because of the knowledge required to do the correct stuff for each of those steps)?
  • + 1
 @tehllama: I don't know...maybe the reason why they bothered with the ElevenSix!? Maybe they might think they can also come up with a fork that is innovative! They are up to something new, that's for sure!
  • + 1
 Yeah in a way I also always liked to have a slightly higher pressure in the negative air chamber. I've got a couple of Magura forks with Flight Control travel adjust. After inflating the fork, you need to open the valve to equalize pressure between positive and negative air chambers similar to what the Cane Creek needs at the bottom of the leg. So I open the valve and also slightly compress the fork before I close the valve again. It definitely makes the fork feel more active. Not sure how other forks work with both positive and negative air chambers but I suppose you should be able to achieve something similar.
  • + 4
 Can't see many people riding a fork called Helm with it being slang for bell end around these parts Wink
  • + 3
 Why the hell does everyone keep going on about the colour? If colour ever dictates your decision when buying a fork you are a dumb f*ckwit.
  • + 4
 35mm stanchions, the goldilocks diameter for when 34's aren't enough and 36's are too much!
  • + 5
 Would buy if I didn't have to go to boost.
  • + 4
 you could always run it with a spacer kit.
  • + 1
 @mlahaie79: Which means going to Boost . . . . which defeats what he has commented....

Anyway, I had to go boost for it.... boost is so stupid IMO. $40 for a plastic spacer and $50 for my wheel re-dished, just to make the front end wider (which was never actually required)
  • + 1
 What are the tapped holes in the arch for? Don't tell me a fork manufacturer finally realized those weight saving cutouts are excellent mud storage compartments and they provide a 10g plastic cover to solve that problem. That would be awesome. Was it the MRP fork that has the cut-outs at the front? That is smart too.
  • + 4
 Cool tats. I also asked for a 13 but they drew a 31.
  • + 1
 For all of those people who are saying that the blue one is ugly go on bikeology and put it on a blue and red pivot firebird with black wheels and a elevensix shock and tell me that it's still ugly.
  • + 1
 Why do all the forks now a days have threaded holes on the back side of the arches? Only the Suntour Durolux has a bolt on fender, which looks awesome. Why do these company tease us like this???
  • + 1
 @mgs781HD DVO Diamond also has a bolt on fender. But you're right, they all need an optional fender.
  • + 1
 Dig that the brake mount is for a 7" rotor!

Any other non-DH forks this way? My Pike requires an adaptor for a 7" rotor. Does anyone actually run a 160mm rotor in front anymore (petite riders excluded)?
  • + 1
 MRP do it on their fork too. It's a pain in the ass if you ask me and anti-consumer. Any number of things could dictate the use of a 6" rotor, even on a fork that is predominantly going to run a 7-8" disc, including but not limited to

-Smaller/female riders.
-Less aggressive riders/terrain, eg. MRP's fork comes in 29er and it's not exactly unheard of to run 6" rotors on a bike that's getting used for long distance riding.
-Straight up mechanical issues. eg. You have a stack and bend your rotor and the only spare one is a 6" you got laying in the tool chest - OH SORRY DENIED they only built your fork with 7" mounts.
-Choice, god damn choice! This is an Apple-esque maneuver that railroads the manufacturers attitude of "I know better than the end user" for no reason whatsoever. I despise this attitude in product design.
  • + 3
 What are the three holes on the back of the fork arch? For mounting a fender?
  • + 2
 Why do we need to create new ways for the through axle to work? Has anyone ever had a fox or rock shox axle come undone while riding?!
  • + 7
 To avoid paying to use someone else's patented design.
  • + 1
 Rockshox older maxle is not all that good, wouldn't hold my wheel tight enough on my reba and the shoulders the qr engages gets deformed. Never list a wheel though.
  • + 1
 @feeblesmith: you're right about that old maxle, think we've all stripped those and then called SRAM to complain about not warrantying it
  • + 3
 Another Fork option is Great!..Love the Blue lowers..Bummed it doesn't match a Pike's weight though..
  • + 8
 The Pike is a bit flexy for some bigger riders. I'm glad they're not going full weight weenie on this.
  • + 0
 less than 1/2 a pound??? stick to the road!!! only a few years ago forks in this range were 7 lbs.
  • + 1
 @gollub01: .."stick to road"...Really?... I'm not a road biker..YES a 1/2 pound DOES make a difference!-especially on the front end...And NO, just a few years ago forks in this range were NOT 7lbs..AND considering A Pike, Fox 36 (with Larger diameter stanchions), A Mattoc, X-Fusion Sweep, and the New, Formula 35 (which is under 4lbs) are ALL lighter, it's 100% reasonable to Expect/Prefer a lighter fork..AND Lastly..
Wild, Overstatements to make your point AND Being Dick when you disagree with an opinion is unnecessary.
  • + 1
 Looks real nice. Will Cane Creek be releasing manuals on damper tear down for this fork? That's a deal breaker for me when looking at new suspension parts. Must be user-serviceable.
  • + 0
 so how long will the damping last before it gives out like the db inlines and db airs. unfortunately after experiences with those shocks, i have a hard time justifying going back to cane creek for anything. sure warranty took care of it, but i also was out a bike for 2 weeks. with so many other quality products, i would have a hard time choosing cane creek for my suspension...
  • + 5
 Hey adrennan, I definitely agree with you on reliability issues. CC took precautions with the design in the air spring and damper to avoid the possibility of a reliability issue with the fork. I've heard of many miles being put on the test units and no issues. As a side note, CC made design improvements to the oil seal head, shaft bearing and the air piston to alleviate the previous issues with the DB Inline shocks.
  • + 5
 @adrennan: so, what you're saying is that Cane Creek blue it?
  • + 3
 Bro, as well as with dropper posts and other components, stats of failure are there, will be there... bd inlines had a big issue, shit happens, got fixed... other canecreek stuff runs with acceptable failure %... go enjoy your Balance, That shit rocks
  • + 3
 @mlahaie79: my point is that i have had issues with cane creek products before and if i havent had issues with rockshox stuff why would i buy cane creek over rockshox (or for, dvo, whoever else).


now had cane creek come out with a coil fork..... then it is very unique and might steal my interest.
  • + 2
 @ThomDawson: you should just call it a day after that pun.
  • + 2
 @adrennan: the Reverb is shit with 100% failure rate on the first generations but people still buy that. No realm point to what I'm saying I agree.
  • + 2
 @ermoldaker: fair on the reverb. I hated the reverb. rockshox suspension has always been great for me.
  • + 7
 @adrennan:
FWIW, I had a pike that developed a nasty ticking noise from the crown/steer tube interface. I also had a DBInline that failed.

The difference, for me, was that Cane Creek customer service was much easier to deal with. A couple emails back and forth and I had a return ship label to send it in. Had it back in about a week.

I couldn't even talk directly to anyone from SRAM/Rockshox, forced to go through a service center. Tried a LBS who claimed that it was my headset ticking... said I would have to pay them to replace the headset first before they could definitively file a claim with Rockshox. Ended up paying out of pocket to ship it back to Jenson (for which I was never reimbursed).

www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BlUJOk0i94

Sh*t happens, I hold no grudge against Rockshox or Cane Creek. In the end, both issues were fixed under warranty. One case was just handled a little better than the other.
  • + 2
 Yay finally a fork similar setup to a dirt bike fork, with the bleed screw on the bottom!!
  • + 1
 I want a fork with pressure release button like fox 40 so i dont have to use zip tie b4 each downhill.
  • + 3
 Whoa whoa it is made for all mountain AND enduro? How do they do it?
  • + 0
 Just found them in toysrus hotwheels blue! $49.95
And the warranty is the front door of the shop!!!!!! Ohhhhhhjh yeahhhhhhhh..... Ffs cmon suppliers... Leave forks to fox & rockshox...let's face it!! They look shit!!
  • + 3
 first thing I would do is peal off them ugly decals!
  • + 3
 That blue clashes with every bike known to man!
  • + 3
 not the elsworth haha
  • + 2
 Graphics look like wallmart bikes ones. My bad CC, but let me know if you need help with them.
  • + 2
 I accidentally read it as "expensive first ride". Looks like it wasn't far from the truth though.
  • + 3
 please someone make a coil fork again.

boost only?!? f u cc
  • + 1
 Exciting...

Would be good to get the Axle to read "This side down" for when you have the bike upside down and want to fit the wheel.
  • + 3
 Nice, now I can have a CC fork, FOX rear shock and RockShox dropper
  • + 2
 Wow. Another enduro fork!!
  • + 3
 What were you after?
  • + 11
 single crown left fork but without the upside down-ness, duh
  • + 2
 @SamJT: I think they are on next week's instalment, X fusion are trying again with the upside down inside out fork.
  • + 1
 @lee-vps-savage:
I hear they are going to show a single prototype at every bike show for the next 5 years as well. It won't be gold though... Rose gold this time.
  • + 2
 upside and inside out forks are the future, turns those internals into externals for less friction
  • + 2
 Shouldve called the axle design... D's nuts....
  • + 2
 All new forks hould have an integrated mud flap mount.
  • + 2
 Daaaaang. id like to see the 29er version!
  • + 18
 Probably looks pretty similar.
Maybe about 3/4" longer.
  • + 4
 @jflb: It's like science.
  • + 1
 This looks really promising, I haven't been all that happy with my Öhlins fork, so I'll have to try one of these out.
  • + 0
 I like how in the cover image you can see the shadow of a guy leaning over and using a stick to hold the fork upright.
  • + 1
 If the blue on the forks matched the slayer blue it would look sick.
  • + 1
 Looks fantastic CaneCreek!! Congrats!
  • + 0
 So elegant! Looks like colours and graphics come straight from current carnival.
  • + 1
 Mmmh...looks like a 1999 MZ freeride sl on steroids :\...only in ugly blue
  • + 0
 Nice, nice, nice! However, I can't help thinking that the weight is a touch high for a modern 35mm stanchion air fork.
  • + 1
 Do they give out free samples?
  • + 0
 Marzocchi fading from existence yet other manufacturers are stepping into the frame. Strange.
  • + 1
 Bad shareholders can kill any company.
  • + 2
 VitalMTB just had a great podcast with Bryson Martin and he talks about the downfall. Check it out.
  • + 0
 Cane Creek, please employ the "higher negative air pressure" concept to your Double Barrel Air!
  • + 1
 QR BOOST? My bikes just became obsolete!
  • + 0
 Definitely didn't steal Formulas piston idea for bottom out adjustment.
  • + 1
 $1,100...hold my beer!
  • + 0
 very cool ideas! Way to go Cane Creek
  • + 1
 Sick! It's about time
  • + 0
 i see myself owning 3 bikes with 1 fork...with that price tag.
  • - 1
 ...ballsy to release a fork when you still have people trying to get their imploded shocks fixed...
  • + 0
 So basically it's a... fork?
  • - 1
 Remember folks never buy first generation anything !!
  • + 1
 Well fuck ya then go ahead and buy it .
  • - 1
 Wheres the 29" version...
  • + 0
 purdy
  • + 0
 I'd hit that.
  • + 0
 What.
  • - 2
 2-3 years ago I would of been all over this to have with my ccdb air....now....OHLINS...nothing else matters.
  • + 1
 Spot on
  • - 1
 Looks like a new Fork at the Helm, bye 36
  • + 3
 Always sketchy to buy 1st model year of anything
  • - 1
 pretty cool
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