Headset FAQs

  • My headset says Cane Creek and has a patent number, but no model name. Can you help me?

    Cane Creek brought threadless headset technology to the bicycle industry in the early 1990s, beginning the revolution in fork and head-tube innovation. We held the patent for nearly 20 years, and during that time licensed the technology to qualified manufacturing partners around the world. Many of these partners elected to etch the "Cane Creek" name and the patent number on the top cover of the headset, in recognition of the license.

    Regretfully, due to the sheer volume of headsets produced, we are unable to stock spare parts nor assemblies from these licensed headsets. For direct replacement, please visit your local bike shop, or contact us at 800-234-2725 and we can help you identify an equivalent Cane Creek product that will fit your bike.

  • What type of headset will fit my bike?

    A common question and we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you determine what size and standard your bike requires.

    You can access that guide here

  • How do I identify my current headset?

    In most cases you can simply look at the top cover of the headset, all Cane Creek headsets are clearly identified with a model name in this area. OEM headsets may not have a model name or much information at all. In this case you may need to remove certain parts to measure your head tube in order to identify what you have. All Cane Creek models as of 2011 have Standardized Headset Identification System (SHIS) nomenclature marked on the cup for quick identification.

  • How do I measure my head tube?

    The most critical measurement in determining what headset will fit a given frame is the Inside Diameter (ID) of the head tube. To be properly measured, the head tube must have all cups, bearings, non-bonded parts, etc. removed. Once the head tube is bare, measure directly across the widest portion of the head tube just inside the opening.


  • How do I install my threadless headset?

    While relatively straightforward, headset installation does require some mechanical knowledge of bikes and certain specialty tools. We suggest heading down to your local bike shop and letting a professional mechanic take care of your installation. But if you want to do it yourself... check out our instructional video on headset installation and reference your Owner's Manual.

  • How many spacers should I use?

    The optimal stack height for your bicycle's cockpit is a personal choice. The maximum allowable spacer stack height depends on the fork, the headset type, and headtube specification. Therefore the maximum allowable spacer stack height is dictated by the fork and frame manufacturer, not Cane Creek.

  • Do I have to use Interlok Spacers with Cane Creek headsets?

    No, but here's why you might want to consider doing so. Our patented Interlok spacer design provides solid interface between the top cover and spacer stack; and our "Scalloped" spacers shave 25% in weight off a standard alloy spacer stack.

  • What's up with this gold ring? Where does it go?

    The gold-colored Interlok® Filler Ring fits into the top-most Interlok groove in your cockpit setup to provide a flat surface for placement of a non-Interlok-compatible stem. This could be the headset top cover (as supplied) or the top-most Interlok spacer in your spacer stack. It is not placed inside the headset. (Note that the Interlok Filler Ring is not necessary for placement of a non-Interlok stem with Interlok top covers or spacers.)

  • How do I adjust my threadless headset?

    It's a good idea to periodically check for good headset adjustment. There should be no looseness, play or knocking in the headset. If you detect any of these, then your headset should be adjusted. It's a relatively simple, straightforward task and we've created a short video to walk you through the process.

  • Does my threadless headset need maintenance and, if so, how should I take care of this?

    Yes, all moving parts on your bike should be regularly serviced and your headset is no different. Check out our instructional video on headset maintenance for a quick walk-through.

  • Can I replace my headset's bearings without replacing the entire headset?

    In most cases yes, especially if your headset uses sealed cartridge bearings.  The first step is identifying the model of your headset. Cane Creek branded headsets should have model names that can be referenced for replacements.  If your headset is the OEM or factory installed headset it is usually necessary to upgrade to a new unit.

  • What are the advantages of threadless over threaded headsets?

    Threadless headsets reconfigure the way the frame, fork and stem go together, thereby making the steering assembly lighter, simpler and more functional with better feel. A threadless headset serves double duty by tying the threadless steering tube to the frame and setting the stem position on the steerer. As a result, threadless systems eliminate headset locknuts and the stem wedge and quill, saving up to a half-pound compared to threaded systems. Equally important is the savings of time, tools and labor—once the headset cups and crown are in place, one 5mm hex wrench sets the bearing-preload bolt and tightens the stem bolts. Threadless headsets are also much less likely to rattle loose, and they can be kept in check with the same simple 5mm adjustment. Finally, the stem/steerer interface is much more secure—instead of a prone-to-flex stem quill rising out of a steering tube, the stem clamps around the steerer tube.

  • Why is a compression ring so critical to threadless headset technology?

    The compression ring creates a solid interface between the steerer tube and bearing, eliminating movement in the steerer. This keeps the steerer tube centered under various loads.

  • What is tapered technology?

    Traditionally fork steerers and head tubes were a single diameter from top to bottom.  Tapered technology is using head and steerer tubes of varying diameter (larger toward the bottom) to create a stiffer more efficient front end on bicycles.

  • Do I need a tapered head tube to use a tapered fork on my bike?

    In most cases, yes.  However; with the introduction of certain models from Cane Creek, tapered forks can be run in two straight head tubes.  The classic 1.5” head tube has an inside diameter (ID) of 49.61mm, with use of our ZS49/28.6 TOP assembly, a tapered fork can be used instead of the straight 1.5” that head tube was intended for. With the EC44/40 Bottom assembly, non tapered 1  1/8” head tubes with a 44mm ID can utilize a tapered fork as well.

  • Can I run a tapered fork with my 1-1/8 head-tube?

    Cane Creek was the first headset company to offer a tapered solution for 1-1/8" head-tubes. Called XX-44, this bottom assembly enabled the use of 1-1/8" to 1.5" tapered forks on straight, 44mm head-tubes. This gave consumers more options, and frame designers more flexibility when creating the perfect ride.

    Due to the popularity of the design, the EC44/40 (External Cup for 44mm head-tube, 40mm crown race seat) Bottom is now available in both the class-leading 40-Series and the premium 110-Series of headsets. This tapered solution fits 44mm head-tubes only; a "traditional" 1-1/8", 34mm version is not available.

    Please note: Nominal insertion bore depth for 44mm head-tubes is 9mm. EC44/40 requires an insertion depth of 15mm. Park Tool Reamer 788 should be used with the supplied spacer to reach the 15mm bore depth for EC44/40 Bottoms.

  • How does AheadSet fit into the Cane Creek product line?

    The AheadSet was the original threadless headset. AheadSet has found a niche as a product line of quality value-oriented threadless headsets, many of which come as original equipment on new bikes. Cane Creek threadless headsets are more high-end, using leading-edge designs with high-quality materials.

  • Well then, who should I call with questions?

    The simple answer is if it's branded Cane Creek, we're your first stop for any service/technical questions. If not, you can always contact the branded company directly. As the definitive source on threadless headsets, feel free to call us with any of your questions (regardless of brand) and we'll do our best to help. You can reach us at:  800-234-2725

  • Why is my AngleSet making noise?

    Make sure your AngleSet is installed correctly. You can download out PDF on "Keys to Proper AngleSet Installation" here, which also contains a link to our installation videos. 

10 FAQs

  • Where did the S1 go?

    The S1 became the 10-Series EC34/28.6 | EC34/30 in 2011.  10-Series are available in other models as well.

AngleSet FAQs

  • Is my bike AngleSet compatible?

    The AngleSet requires a minimum head tube Inside Diameter (ID) of 44mm.  If your frame has an ID of 44mm or larger on both the top and bottom it is AngleSet compatible.  Certain head tubes will only be able to utilize a straight 1 1/8” steerer with the AngleSet (see link).

  • Can I mix and match AngleSet cups to create different angles?

    Cane Creek has engineered, designed and tested Angleset in partnership with a variety of frame manufacturers, up to 1.5 degrees of offset. We don't recommend building configurations beyond what is offered in stock assemblies.


  • What's the difference between AER and AER-Series II?

    The key difference between the original AER and the AER-Series II is the bearing itself. Working closely with Saint Gobain, the makers of the Norglide bearing, Cane Creek was able to optimize its use for bicycle headset applications. Our engineers also redesigned the machined parts of the headset models, manufactured in Fletcher, NC. The AER-Series II builds on the success of AER, and with no compromises carries forward the legacy of being the world's lightest headset!

  • Do I need a special bike to use the AER headset?

    Nope, the AER headsets are available in a wide range of fits to work with most modern road bikes.

  • How durable is the AER?

    The AER headset shares many features with our other headsets and should last a very long time.  The only wear item is the Norglide bearing itself.  Laboratory testing gives the Norglide bearing a lifetime of about 450 hours but in real life you can expect to inspect and replace the Norglide bearing about as often as you would a chain.

  • Is the AER-Series II Norglide bearing compatible with my old AER headset?

    Yes, it sure is.

  • Can I use a regular headset bearing with the AER-Series II?

    We’re all about serviceability here at Cane Creek so the AER-Series II IS and ZS models were designed to allow the use of either the ultralight Norglide bearing and an aluminum bearing seat, or a standard headset bearing.  This gives you the ultimate in lightweight without being tied to specialized parts.  For ZS44 and IS41 models, a standard 41mm 36°x45° bearing will replace the Norglide bearing and its seat.  For IS42 models you must use a Cane Creek 41.8mm 36°x45° bearing (#BAA0174K or BAA0174S).

  • Can I use the AER-Series II on my mountain bike?

    No.  Due to the cutting-edge nature of the technology, we recommend that the AER be used only on road bikes.  The durability of the Norglide bearing technology has not been fully verified for off-road use.  Use of the AER headsets in offroad applications will void the warranty.

  • What about the AER spacers and preloads? Can I use those on my mountain bike to shed some weight?

    YES! The AER spacers and preload assemblies are plenty strong enough for mountain bike use.

  • Is the AER difficult to install?

    No, not really.  Once upon a time you could install most headsets with a block of wood and a hammer but the headset, like most everything else has become much more sophisticated in the last few years.  When installing the AER it is crucial to use proper headset installation tools and techniques.  If you lack either the tools or the techniques, it’s best to leave AER installation up to your local shop mechanic.  When it comes time to preload the headset it is important that you slow-down and take the time to do some real fine-tuning.  The sweet-spot between loose and too tight is smaller on the AER than most other headsets so it’s important not to rush things.

  • Should I grease the Norglide bearing?

    The Norglide bearing is designed to run without grease.  However, adding a little low-friction grease such as one of the many suspension lubes that are available on the market may make the initial setup a little bit easier and it won’t hurt anything.

  • I only see top headset assemblies. Where are all the AER bottoms?

    We strive for light weight in all of our headset products and because of this, you just can’t get much lighter than our 110 headsets when it comes to the bottom assembly.  As a result we decided to focus on the top assemblies for AER-Series II because this is where the technology makes the most difference.  The one exception is the EC34 model which is available as a complete top and bottom assembly.

  • Is the AER available in colors like the 110?

    The AER-Series II headsets receive a special type of anodizing known as CompCote, which is only available in black.  CompCote provides a very smooth, very durable surface for the Norglide bearing to slide on and greatly contributes the low coefficient of friction between the headset and the bearing.  CompCote is also very wear resistant, which ensures that you will go through many Norglide bearings before wear on the headset itself ever becomes an issue.  While CompCote can be colored (as seen in our gold AngleSet gimbals), the colors are difficult to control and are often not very pleasing.  Choosing black ensures that the AER will always be consistently attractive and that all mating parts will match.

  • Can I use InterlokĀ® spacers with the AER headsets?

    Yes you can.  All AER-Series II headsets are designed for Interlok® compatibility.

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