The all-new Cane Creek Helm 29 suspension fork has taken their very well received 27.5 model and upsized it to fit 29er wheels…and 27.5 Plus. While the original Helm launched with just the air version and followed up with a coil spring model last fall, the 29er Helm will come in both iterations right away.
What did they have to do to stretch its legs? Not much, they say. There’s a longer damper cartridge, and the lowers and crown are different. Offset is shifted to 51mm, and there’s a bit more tire clearance thanks to a 6mm wider crown, which makes it 27.5+ compatible, too. Tire clearance is stated at 27.5×2.9, or 29×2.5. Depending on rim width, they hinted that you may be able to squeeze a bit more in there.
Travel is internally adjustable from 130-160mm for coil spring versions, and 100-160mm for air springs. It’s user adjustable with clips and spacers on the air spring, or by changing the coil’s perch. The fork will come with all parts needed to adjust either model down to 130, and can be ordered in any setting from 130mm to 160mm. To go shorter with the air fork, you’ll need to buy a small parts kit and do that yourself.
It’s important to point out that When the fork is lowered, the air volume is being displaced, not removed. The air is switched from the positive air chamber into the negative air chamber. So the lower travel setting will have a more supple feeling. And with a wide, 8-step range of volume adjustments, the fork’s ramp can be adjusted to compensate for the increased size of the negative air chamber.
On the damping side, oil displaced proportional to travel and moves into the expanding bladder as the fork is lowered down. But is velocity based, not position based, so damping characteristics won’t change between different travel settings.
Claimed weight is 2080 grams (4.56lb – Air, 160mm) and 2,340g (5.16lb – Coil, 160mm with 55lb Spring). It’s Boost only, using 15mm x 110mm axle spacing.
Inside the right leg is their closed-cartridge monotube damper. Across the fork, adjustments include:
- 7-way adjustability
- 10 positions of high speed compression
- 20 positions of low speed compression
- 15 positions of low speed rebound
- 9 positions air volume reduction (no accessories needed)
- internal travel adjustment
- independently adjustable positive and negative air chambers (air sprung version only)
Cane Creek’s Product Manager, Sam Anderson, says the coil version doesn’t require any extra parts to be added or subtracted to change travel, everything is right there in the fork. The air version requires spacers, but he says they’re very easy to install.
The lowers come in a sweet gunmetal gray, with both coil and air options distinguished only by a sticker on the back. It uses their D-Loc thru axle, which stays put once tight, but makes wheel removal quicker than axles that require a lot of threading to remove. Each fork is hand assembled in North Carolina and dyno tested three different ways before they ship. Available for order immediately, retail is $1,100 for both coil and air versions. The first orders should ship out early May.