I have had the Cane Creek 110 IS on my Ibis Mojo for a year now, and it has been abused through mud, snow and rain, and has been subjected to constant rocky and bone jarring conditions. It has worked so well that I have pretty much forgotten that it was even on the bike. It has remained smooth and bind free, with nary an issue. Outside of setting the proper bearing preload, I have never done any real maintenance on the headset. It feels pretty much the same as when I installed.
20 years ago, Dia Compe introduced the world to threadless headset technology. The intertwined history thread of the Aheadset, Dia Compe and Cane Creek are quite interesting. In the mid 70′s Dia Compe opened a facility in Fletcher, NC to supply brake parts to some bike manufacturers. Around 1990 Paul Turner had Dia Compe build and distribute the Rock Shox RS-1 fork. John Rader, the designer of the Aheadset system, gave exclusive licensing to Dia Compe for the product, which Chris King and Hatta started to build. Dia Compe USA becomes a separate entity from Dia Compe Japan, making their headquarters in Fletcher. After a few years, Rock Shox ended its relationship with Dia Compe, soon Dia Compe starts building Aheadsets themselves. In 1996 the Cane Creek brand name was introduced in addition to Dia Compe. Later in the early 2000′s Cane Creek became the wholly used name. The threadless headset is U.S. Patent 5095770, which is owned by Cane Creek Cycling Components, and expires on September 29, 2010.
A funny side story was given by Cane Creek’s Jason Grantz: “The star-nut compression assembly, critical to a threadless headset, was discovered when a Cane Creek (Dia Compe USA) employee was thinking about how to adjust the compression leaned back in his office chair, and it broke. When he looked inside the bottom of his chair, he saw a very large star-nut.”
There are 3 categories of threadless headsets:
Traditional headsets (TR) – Two headset cups are pressed into the head tube, and the bearings reside in their outer cups.
Integrated headsets (IS) – Bearing cups (tapered bores) are an integral part of the headtube, and the bearings reside within the headtube. 2 sizes, Italian and Cane Creek.
Internal headset – Two headset cups are pressed into the headtube, but the bearings reside in the frame itself, meaning inner cups.
Headsets are something we take for granted, once they are installed, we pretty much ignore them, and forgot what an important purpose they perform. They are a simple set of parts, and are basically just some bearings, cups (except for Integrated Headsets) and bearing covers. However, these parts require quite a lot of precision to work effectively.
The Cane Creek 110 system is the culmination of many years of Aheadeset technology and knowledge, and is their flagship. The 110 comes with a captured compression ring, premium 7075 T-6 aluminum construction (3 Interlok spacers and 2 bearing covers), 2 stainless steel angular contact bearings with split lip seals, crown race, top cap, bolt and star nut. It comes with a 110 year warranty! The 110, 100 and AER headsets are machined onsite at their Fletcher, NC site.