Looking for a capable fork that lets you adjust air volume, travel, and all the usual advanced compression and rebound adjustments? The all-new Cane Creek Helm 100-170mm travel 27.5″ fork leads the brand down a new trail, taking their rear shock expertise and adapting it to the front of the bike in a long travel, single-crown fork with some unique design features both inside and out. Once you get inside the fork legs, it’s all about user-friendly adjustability that will have riders really tuning the suspension action for their unique terrain and style of riding…
Volume adjust is cleverly handled by a piston and wing-nut assembly that lets you change the location of the static piston on any of the eight fixed positions, or remove it altogether. The further down on the post, the smaller the air spring’s volume and more ramp you’ll get – a suspension curve tailored to your riding.
Put it up top or remove it and you have the max air volume and least ramp, giving the fork a more linear feel. The volume adjustment lets you give the fork a bit more “platform” feel and stop it from diving through the travel too quickly for heavier riders, or will just help firm it up a bit for very, very aggressive riders that blow through the travel too easily. And no more need for keeping track of spacer stacks.
OK, travel adjustment does involve spacers, but you’ll likely set this once. It happens inside the air chamber and requires disassembly to install spacers between the main piston and bottom out bumper. The pics above show it in full 170mm travel on the left (no spacers) reduced to 150mm (two spacers). Add or remove in 10mm increments to go through the Helm’s 140mm-170mm ideal travel range.
Once you set air volume and travel, inside the legs you get independent high-volume positive and negative air chambers that mean lots more tunability. You also get a broad range of Damper Control via 10 clicks of high-speed & 20 clicks of low-speed compression damping, plus 15 clicks of low-speed rebound damping. Unlike their shocks, the Helm uses a closed cartridge mono-tube damper design rather than a twin tube.
D-Lok thru axle uses a clever locked/unlocked nut on the driveside as a precaution against accidental release. Should the lever come open while riding, the nut should prevent the wheel from coming out unintentionally. To release it, you open the lever as normal, lightly press it into the fork and flip the nut to unlocked, then pull the axle out as usual. To reinsert, line the axle up so you can read the top, then slide in and close the lever. The cam’s tension can be adjusted with the barrel next to the lever.
The key + lock thru-axle layout also claims improved leg stiffness, which along with the 35mm stanchions should provide smoother suspension movement that comes from ensuring that both fork legs stay straight and true through the travel and rough terrain.
Claimed weight is 2070g, tire clearance at 65mm (2.56″) for a 714mm (28.11″) tall wheel. It uses 35mm stanchions for stiffness, a tapered alloy steerer, 44mm of offset, and is available with its D-Loc 15mm axle in 110mm Boost spacing only. Travel is set from the factory at 160mm, but it can be adjusted in 10mm increments from 100 to 170mm of travel. The fork ships with one travel spacer installed and two more in the box which will get you down to 140mm, though more spacers are available from Cane Creek. For now, the fork is only available in 27.5″ with clearance for a 2.6″ tire, though Cane Creek says a 29″ version is coming in the future.
The fork is offered standard in a Factory Black finish, plus a limited Launch Edition in bright blue for just the first 300 forks. Pre-order one now for $1,100, direct from Cane Creek, although no word yet on a delivery date.