Cane Creek has expanded use of its steering stabilizing headset technology to a new line of press-fit headsets; Hellbender 70 Visco, available in ZS44 Top-Only and ZS56 Bottom-Only configurations. By damping steering inputs, the idea is to eliminate the “speed wobble” phenomenon that can occur on any bicycle given the right conditions. Cane Creek markets the Hellbender 70 Visco Headset as a beneficial upgrade for riders of most bikes, including cargo bikes, commuter bikes, gravel bikes, backpacking bikes, mountain bikes, as well as children’s bikes where the rider is likely to be a less experienced bike handler.
Cane Creek Steering-Stabilizing Hellbender 70 Visco Headset
Cane Creek has put its patented steering stabilization technology to good use before now in the ViscoSet, an EC34 headset that was originally designed for certain eBikes that have a tendency to suffer from the “speed wobble” phenomena. That can also be described as a “hands-on shimmy” of the steering axis, wherein the oscillations about the steering axis happen too quickly for the rider to provide any corrective input to stabilize the movement.
Now, Cane Creek is making that speed wobble-eliminating technology available to a wider range of bicycles with the introduction of the Hellbender 70 Visco Headsets, available in ZS44 and ZS56 configurations. In particular, the addition of the new ZS56 lower fitment option allows for more compatibility on bikes with over-sized headtubes, internal cable routing and 1.5″ straight steerer tubes.
So, how does it work?
Both are press-fit headsets. Internally, there are several “damping plates” that are inter-leaved with one another, and each one is coated with a viscous fluorocarbon formulation. Half of those damping plates are configured to move with the steerer tube, while half of them are slot-keyed to lock into the cup and thus resist rotation away from its position inside the headtube. Relative movement between those closely-positioned damping plates is resisted by the presence of a thin layer of fluorocarbon gel that adds an element of friction to the steering.
The idea is that any vibrations that would otherwise lead to oscillations and thereafter, speed wobble, are eliminated before they can do any damage to the ride-feel. In addition to improved control, Cane Creek claim the Hellbender 70 Visco Headsets can reduce fatigue and improve rider confidence.
The damping effect can be tuned, too. The Hellbender 70 Visco is sold in the middle of its damping range and can be adjusted to have either more or less damping from the factory setting by changing the orientation of the damping plates. Adjusting the level of damping is said to require no proprietary tools and is as simple as performing a basic headset service.
As with all of Cane Creek’s industry-leading headsets, the Hellbender 70 Visco was designed with durability and longevity in mind. The cups and covers are made from 7075 T-6 Aluminum, assembled with premium stainless steel Hellbender bearings. Seals are present at the crown race, steerer tube and top-cover to protect to keep water ad dirt ingress to a minimum.
Pricing & Availability
The Hellbender 70 Visco ZS44 Top is available at $99.99 USD and Hellbender 70 Visco ZS56 Bottom is available at $119.99 USD.