The proprietary design of the company’s AngleSet headset makes it possible to change the actual headtube angle of a mountain bike by 0.5 to 1.5 degrees for the perfect trail geometry. The design has become extremely popular with riders who want one bike to handle both tight, twisty enduro courses and steep, pucker-factor downhill runs.
For roadies who account for every single gram, the AER headset is one of the lightest on the market—more than 50-percent lighter than comparable headsets–and features a Norglide composite top bearing that weighs an incredible 1.5 grams. All three headset models are made at in the North Carolina factory.
Quality products require quality people, and there’s no shortage of either at Cane Creek. Personality abounds at the company, with characters like Gary Maltby who you’re likely to talk to if you call the customer service line. Not only can Maltby get radical both up and downhill on a bike, but the guy has become somewhat of a bike shop celebrity thanks to his “Gary Gauge”—a plastic headset measuring tool that was developed to help bike shops keep their S.H.I.S. straight. Also known as Standardized Headset Identification System, S.H.I.S. helps make sense of the mind-boggling complications of modern tapered and integrated headsets so shops always get the proper headset bearings for customers.
Engineers who shred
On the suspension side of things, having engineers who double as product testers helps ensure the absolute best quality product available. Brandon Blakely is a suspension engineer who also happens to be one of the fastest downhill racers on the Eastern Seaboard. His time in the saddle along with that of fellow employee and pro downhiller Evan Voss is invaluable to helping develop products like the DBAir and the DBInline.
The longevity of employees at Cane Creek is a direct reflection of the longevity of the company’s products. Vice President of Sales Peter Gilbert, has been with the company since 1988, back when it was still Dia-Compe, and the longest-tenured employees have been there since 1974.
As Cane Creek continues its expansion into the suspension world, its also has to make sure it can keep up with the growing demand for its products. To maximize the company’s efficiency, they’ve implemented production improvement practices to optimize production times.
With 30 years of manufacturing experience, David Hall joined Cane Creek two years ago as director of operations to help improve manufacturing process control. Hall tapped into the know-how of North Carolina State University and their Industrial Extension Service to streamline the shock assembly line. Before the collaboration, a shock took 34 minutes to build. Now Cane Creek builds the same shock in a mere 14 minutes.
Through personality, passion, production efficiency, perseverance and pride, over the past 40 years, Cane Creek has emerged as a model for how companies in the bike industry can still thrive with an American-made philosophy.