Tuesday, February 16

My field trip to Cane Creek with Stabby

Sorry about not posting yesterday, but I swear I made the most of my day off. Instead of going to work I planned a field trip with Stabby to Fletcher, NC to visit the Cane Creek factory, headquarters, and play room. This seemed like a better option than sitting around watching Big Worm ride back and forth to the courthouse all day in the rain while I waited for the banks to re-open on Tuesday. I was right.

Upon arriving Eric Smith ushered us directly to the head honcho's office to apparently give us a once over before they let us get near the expensive stuff. This is Peter... and his passport:

Underneath that artsy photo of Peter and his passport is a brand new old stock wooden case of stainless steel Campagnolo housing. It's worth $1,000,000 on eBay or it makes a nice six dollar end table.

There was a sweet display of instant engagement silent clutch hubs that will never see the rear of a bicycle (unless someone gives them instant engagement silent clutch bionic eyes and puts them close enough to the rear of a bicycle for them to see it with their instant engagement silent clutch bionic eyes).

And this is the real Peter (not the passport wielding paper Peter) hurrying to hide something that they mighta been trying to keep under wraps.

He says this was a mock up of a brake lever for Interbike that was used to demonstrate the new (at that time) BRS return spring, but I have another theory. Perhaps the Cane Creek marketing guy caught wind of a MONSTER cross thread on the MTBR 29'er forum and got the wrong idea, he told the engineering guy to get with it, and now you see the results of trying to stay ahead of the game without doing enough research. I could be wrong, but I rarely am.

Peter pulled this outta his bag of tricks:

This was made way back in the day in conjunction with Hayes. This is the Speed Check brake, and it was a cable actuated hydraulic beast with a metal matrix rotor. All I can say is thank God for engineers and V-brakes (actually it was pretty freaking cool and weighed 1/3 as much as it seemed like it shoulda).

This is a carbon rotor... it weighed next to nothing and apparently it stopped next to nothing.

I stuffed my pockets with whatever I could fit in them while Stabby distracted Peter with his moonwalking skills. We were escorted out to the floor when I was caught trying to stick $1,000,000 worth of NOS Campy product down my pants. Yes, we were going to see the factory that once produced the original Rock Shox RS-1 way back in the day when Herbold was the Steve Peat of the downhill world and when Ned Overend made mustaches cool (not for the sake of irony). BTW: Rumor has it that Peter has been in the bike industry so long he remembers when Ned was a rambunctious kid with a lot of potential but there were a lot of doubts as to whether or not he could ever grow a decent mustache. "Ned never backed down from a challenge" Peter said.

Out on the floor we saw Jeremy and Shane assembling Double Barrel shocks (finally, something from this decade to look at).

Jeremy (in the foreground) was putting the newly assembled shock onto a dyno machine thingy. Every shock is assembled by hand and cycled thoroughly, brought up to normal operating temps (determined by..YES!!! LASERS!!!!!), and all this info goes into a computer thing so cool I wasn't allowed to take pictures of it. The Double Barrel shock is the most adjustable shock on the market (they showed me a bunch of squiggly lines on a screen just to prove it) and Cane Creek puts a lot of pride into this bad boy. It's almost enough for me to want a squishy bike... almost. While we were in the shock assembly area I happened to see a Niner WFO test frame in a box with a Double Barrel shock mounted up, and Stabby had to snatch my credit card and cell phone outta my hand. Bastard. I so want to run over English children again.

These shelves were full of Double Barrel shocks ready to go out the door, but Stabby had the foresight to wear cargo pants. Way to go Stabby. He plans on building his own RoboCain MK2 at home with all his ill gotten goods.

I found out that it takes this much bar stock aluminum...

to make this many 110 bearing covers...

and this much curly aluminum waste product.

And that's why the Cane Creek 110 headset retails for around $140. This is my theory as I stopped listening to what the tour guide (Eric) was saying for awhile, and I had to fill in the blanks in my notebook later. Some would argue that the value of the 110 is in the details; the captured compression ring, split-lip bearing, friction minimizing face seals, premium headset alloy, scalloped Interlok spacers, or premium finish and colors... not me. I'd say the fact that it takes one metric ton of aluminum to make two headsets has to be the reason it costs so much, but since I have was not listening I could be entirely wrong. I'll have to consult Stabby's notes later.

Apparently Cane Creek is taking the 2010 Interbike Foxy Boxing tournament seriously this year, as they've stopped using this space to make track wheels to make room for a gym.

And apparently they also needed a place to store their novelty sized Christmas balls.

I also found this laying on the floor of the gym:

Eric (our tour guide.. I think he does something other than guide tours, but I couldn't figure out exactly what) told me this was just gym equipment, but I think it's a lower race from an AER headset for their monster cross project. They'll stop at nothing to hide the embarrassment aside from actually just hiding this shit out of sight so visitors don't happen upon it at every turn.

In one of the more secret rooms that I snuck into I found this piece of equipment on the floor:

The engineer told me it was a proprietary Cane Creek WDMS (Weight Distribution Measuring System... they like acronyms at Cane Creek) used to measure the weight bias of a rider on a bike in order to properly set up suspension. I told him it looked like two bathroom scales and a homemade robot squid, but he then asked me if I'd seen the big brake lever yet, and then asked Eric to escort me from the room.

After all was said and done and Stabby and I were walked through the exit door metal detectors (who woulda thought) and after cleaning out our pockets and removing our booty(pirate treasure not bodacious asses) I was presented with my belated Valentine's gift.

Just how special is this thing?

How special???

This is the Reserve World Bicycle Relief Edition Stainless Steel 110 headset... for one "Team Dicky". It has all kinds of new features on the inside that I am not at liberty to discuss. It's like a 110 that drank to much Power Thirst. I mean it's made with lightning... real lightning!! This headset will make your bike go so fast Mother Nature will be like "s-l-o-w d-o-w-n", but you'll be like "fuck you*" and kick her in the face with your energy legs....

Sorry, where was I? Oh yes, there are some pretty cool things going on inside this headset, and I'm not allowed to talk about them at this juncture (wouldn't be prudent), but I can say that they aren't actually made with real lightning.

Oh yes, thanks to Eric for showing me and Stabby around and everybody at Cane Creek for putting up with our questions. I tend to be quite nosy, and unfortunately I'm never very thorough with my research since I'm too busy trying to stuff my pockets with goodies. Of course there were all kinds of tidbits that I left out (the Thudbuster testing machine was pretty cool), but these kind of posts take a lot out of me. Investigative journalism is new to me, and I'd prefer to leave it to the professionals.

Keep the American aluminum recycling industry working. Buy a Cane Creek 110 headset today.

* Eric likes my new use of excessive foul language, and I like to keep my sponsors happy.


George said...

Does the headset come in "gun" flavor?

dicky said...

Not yet, but Manana is right around the corner.

Luis G. said...

Meh, I was expecting a spy photo of a Cane Creek 110 bottom bracket...

Big Dave said...

Next time you visit, ask them if they've made enough profit on that POS seatpost to cover their legal fees used to shut down Moxey.

cornfed said...

I miss their aeroheat wheels.

Feeling extra un special now...

onelegmatt said...

That "curly aluminum waste product" actually has a name, it's swarf.

Wow, you learned something today!

Billy Fehr said...

I love swarf!