Cane Creek Cycling Components, manufacturers of the Double Barrel rear shock, headsets, other bike components and long time supporters of Bike198, put together a great video of the crew just out riding around the mountain bike trails in western North Carolina.
For those of us on the eastern coast of the United States, western North Carolina (Asheville, Pisgah, Boone, etc.) serves as the mountain bike mecca. With Pisgah epics like Laurel Mountain/Pilot Rock, Heartbreak Ridge and Asheville’s very own insanely cool, local trail Bent Creek, WNC has some of the best riding within driving distance and some would argue in the country.
The following video of the guys that make Cane Creek Cycling Components possible gives you a look into some of the trails we have available in that area.
Cane Creek sent over one of their new 100 headsets for review this week. I have been a long time fan of high end headsets (I currently run the 110 from Cane Creek on my Ventana and I also have some Chris King’s in the quiver), so getting in a new set from Cane Creek is exciting.
My biggest question to Cane Creek when I received the new 100 was what makes it different than the 110? Jim Morrison, the headset engineer who can also ride the wheels off a bike, answered back with the exact differences.
Jim’s Notes on the Cane Creek 100 vs. Cane Creek 110
The biggest difference between the 110 and the 100 is the appearance and finish quality. While the 110 is given a fine finish off the machine, polished, specially anodized, and heavily laser etched the 100 receives a deliberately fast final pass which leaves subtle machining lines in the final product. The 100 then receives a standard bright dipped anodize finish in black or silver and the only laser etching on the whole assembly is on the top cover. So whereas the 110 is uber bling and flashy, the 100 is much more industrial and stealth.
The next thing you’ll notice about the 100 is that is has drop-in bearings as opposed to the press-in bearings of the 110. Drop-In bearings have many advantages when it comes to manufacturing, installation, and servicing and really no down-side. I say no downside but there is one, pressed-in bearings have a very high perceived quality in today’s market and as a result we felt that the 110 had to use a press-in bearing, but the 100 with its lower price point could sacrifice a little perceived quality and gain a whole lot of user-friendliness.
The rest of the differences lie mainly in materials. The bearing is the same design as that used in the 110, split-lip seals and all, but instead of stainless steel we use a 52100 bearing steal with a black oxide coating. The bearing steel is much less expensive than stainless and it is actually harder and more durable than stainless but the trade-off is that the bare steel corrodes fairly easily. The black oxide coating combats this tendency to corrode but still does not measure up in this regard to the stainless steel we use in the 110 bearing. The good news is that since 100 uses a drop-in bearing you can easily replace the bearings if say you happen to leave you bike submerged in the ocean for a few days. In fact the 100 bearings can even be replaced with 110 bearings if you so choose since the geometry is identical.
Other material differences include a 1008 steel crown race instead of a stainless crown race and the aluminum we use in the 100’s cups is 6066 instead of the 7075 used in the 110. Basically this means that the 100 is 35% stronger than a regular 6061 headset while the 110, with its 7075 alloy is nearly 95% stronger than said regular headset. Why the downgrade on the 100? Well 6066 is a little cheaper than 7075 and 6000 series aluminum is more common so anodizers are more accustomed to processing it and thus we have experienced fewer problems with finish quality, so fewer rejected parts = less headache = less cost.
Other than that the 100 is basically the same as the 110. It still has a clip-in compression ring, compression ring seal, undercut interlok spacer…etc. So if bright and shiny seems tacky, logos cramp your style, or if you’d just rather spend the extra $40 somewhere else the 100 is by far the best quality, completely practical headset you can buy. It has everything you need, and nothing you don’t.
I really like the all black look. On an flat/matte black frame, the headset is going to blend right in with the overall build.
I see the overall benefit vs. cost of the drop-in bearings, but I do prefer the press in bearings of the 110. The main reason is less loose parts during install.
I really like the price point with the features…
After installation (look for a weekend wrenching post on headset installation) and ride time, I will check back in on the progress. Headsets are one of those bike components that you really don’t want to feel. The less you realize it is there…the better job it is doing.