Walk through the production facility at Cane Creek, and you’ll see a lot of different products. Suspension forks, rear shocks, high end rim brakes, seat posts, etc. But for one of their longest running areas of expertise, look towards the humble headset. Going all the way back to the introduction of the first threadless ‘Aheadset’ in 1992, Cane Creek has been consistently improving this small, but vital component of your bike.
When it comes to headset design, it’s hard to improve on the Cane Creek 110. Cane Creek’s top end headset is impeccably machined in the U.S. from 7075 T-6 aluminum and ships with premium sealed bearings with additional sealing provided by the low friction upper bearing seal, and a dual seal on the crown race.
Because of that solid design, the new Hellbender 70 doesn’t offer much in the way of differences – except for price. Essentially a good/better/best scenario with their 40/Hellbender 70/110 headsets, the Hellbender 70 steps in as the new ‘better’ option. Essentially, it gives riders a chance to add a significantly better headset to their bike without having to shell out for the top end 110.
Inside the 70 headset, you’ll still find the same bearings as the 110, with their Hellbender premium stainless bearing. Like the name would imply, this bearing is made to thrive in muddy conditions with improved sealing to keep out the gunk. The Hellbender also happens to be a giant salamander that’s native to North Carolina, just like Cane Creek.
The biggest change to the 70 headsets comes in the cups themselves. Rather than a U.S. made 7075 T-6 cup, the Hellbender 70 uses a Taiwanese made 6061 T-6 aluminum cup that allowed Cane Creek to drop the price. The headset will still provide the same sealing and bearing performance as the ultra-premium 110, just with a different level of production of the outer pieces. You’ll also find a standard starnut and top cap included with the headsets, rather than the premium cap and nut on the 110.
Offered in four different fitments, the Hellbender 70 will initially be available in IS41 / IS52, IS42 / IS52, ZS44 / EC44, and ZS44 / ZS56 configurations all with black anodized cups or covers. Not sure what size your bike needs? Cane Creek has a Headset Fit Finder to help you know your SHIS. Pricing will range from $80-95, and the headset will include a 2 year warranty – not quite the 110 years from the next level up.