Standard ZeroStack Headset on a Pivot

Cane Creek’s newest headset offering is set to do a lot more than just create more standards and part numbers for dealers to keep tabs on. In fact, it’s one of the first headset designs in  that I know of that actually doesn’t require a new headtube design, and that’s the beauty of it.

The ZeroStack design was initially created to drastically reduce the stack height on a given mountain or road bike, allowing the stem to be placed lower and lowers the front of the bike as well. It also allows the use of the largest bearing possible, and reduces weight somewhat as well.

These days, tapered (1.5 to 1-1/8th) steerers are all the rage – and for good reason. They allow a larger bearing to be used on the lower half of the headset which takes the most abuse, increase the overall stiffness of the fork, and still allow use of all the 1-1/8th stems on the market. This has left some manufacturers, especially smaller ones, with a tough decision to make. Do they invest in the expensive equipment necessary to form a tapered head tube so they can offer the latest technology, or wait it out? Now that choice isn’t necessary.

New headset schematic and much more after the break!

Cane Creek XX 44mm Traditional Cutaway

The whole concept was born when a small TI frame builder from Portland needed a solution for running tapered forks in his frames, and initially approached David Turner of Turner Bike fame. Once Sean Chaney, who is the owner of Vertigo Cycles, reached out to Turner, Turner then pointed him in the direction of Cane Creek, while helping to facilitate communication.

Upon hearing from Chaney and Turner, Josh Coaplen who is the Director of Research and Development at Cane Creek was immediately taken with the idea. “After hearing from David Turner and then speaking with Sean, I was so excited by the problem-solving nature of his headset solution and it’s far reaching implications for both new and old bicycles using the ZeroStack™ standard that I produced a technical drawing the same day,” said Josh.

In reality, the headset concept is a lot simpler than it sounds. The top part of the headset is simply a standard 1-1/8th ZeroStack upper headset which naturally has a 44mm inner diameter. Meanwhile, the lower headset is a 1.5 inch traditional headset with an expanded 44mm diameter insert which is roughly 1.7 inches.

Clearly this headset is revolutionary for new and old bikes alike. On the future production side of things, small builders like Chaney will be able to work with currently made, and easily machined ZeroStack head tubes and be able to offer the latest tech at lower prices. Even larger companies such as BMC, Pivot, and Fisher look to benefit as they all have current bikes with the ZeroStack standard. On the flip side of older bikes, customers who currently have a bike equipped with a ZeroStack headset will be able to upgrade to a tapered fork if they so desire.

Cane Creek plans to release two versions of the new XX 44mm Traditional headset somewhere near the middle of the summer, 2o1o. There will be an entry to mid level headset, and also a model similar to the 110 xx headset that will be produced at Cane Creek’s Fletcher, North Carolina facility.


  1. Seems to me that when a Portland frame builder turns to Cane Creek for a headset solution instead of the somewhat colorfully well-known headset manufacturer in his own town leads me to believe that Cane Creek is kicking some major butt in innovation.


  2. jizzle, In case you aren’t aware, Cane Creek has been making ZeroStack headsets for at least ten years if not more. This isn’t a new standard, it’s a simple adaptation of an existing standard in order to utilize a new product. It couldn’t be more simple.

  3. @Jizzle – It’s not a new standard… It’s effectively a conversion or hybrid headset. Al it does is move the ZeroStack bottom bearing to the outside of the frame so you can use a tapered fork. Honestly, it’s genius! I can now run the lastest Fox fork in my 2007 BMC. Awesome!

  4. What a great innovation! It reminds me of the time when the ISIS collaborative was pushing for a new bb standard called Overdrive to make room for larger bearings that would accommodate their ill conceived spindle design. Then along came Shimano and they just put the bearings outside the frame and came up with a better solution using the existing standard.

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