Weight Weenies

CAAD9 Headset Top-Cap Lower Option
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Author:  JN2Wheels [ Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:25 pm ]
Post subject:  CAAD9 Headset Top-Cap Lower Option

My brand spankin' new 52cm CAAD9 has a 25mm carbon cone headset cap. This is excessive stack in a stock setup, in my opinion, and both my local dealer and cannondale tech support have given me the run around in trying to find a compatible lower profile option. Cannondale even went so far as to suggest that I shouldn't even try to use a lower stack setup as the geometry would be impacted. (Lars @ Cannondale, this is baloney) This kind of support is mucking up what should have been an exciting experience!

Anyway, 25mm is about 8mm higher than I'd like. My LBS offered a canecreek IS3i top cap (maybe 2i?), but it didn't cover the bearing well enough and there was no rubber lip seal. The CAAD 9 upper headset bearings dont settle in flush with the top of the headtube, so any top cap has to extend down around the bearing a bit further than most aftermarket solutions. I think the canecreek IS comes with a 36x45 bearing which is why it didn't adequately cover the 45x45 bearing that comes stock. I really like the weather protection that the stock cap includes, and find it hard to believe there isn't a lower profile option available from Cannondale.

I did search the site, and found this thread : viewtopic.php?f=3&t=65615&hilit=cannondale+CAAD+headset&start=0
It provides a lot of answers, and shows that the headset used in my frame, confirmed by cannondale as the Tange IS24CLT-25, should have some other top-cap arrangements that fit like stock. Specifically the one at this link : http://www.tangeseiki.com/tangeseiki_ne ... 013293.gif , has a 17mm cap option that would be nearly ideal! (Ideal would be a 15mm carbon cone spacer/top-cap, one-piece, as light as possible, with the weather protection of the stock setup.)

Does anyone know how to get a hold of a replacement top-cap such as this one from Tange? Are there any other options worth pursuing?

I know the CAAD9's are really popular on here, so I'm sure there have been, or will be others who have needed to lower their stack a bit below that ridiculous stock cone cap.

Thanks for any help or links people can throw down!


Author:  bikerjulio [ Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: CAAD9 Headset Top-Cap Lower Option

was just rebuilding my CAAD on the weekend. they use Italian (Campy) style headsets, and Campy made both hi and lo top caps. mine is lo. Sometimes the LBS mechanics will keep bins of bits - so you'd have to scrounge around.

found a picture


Author:  Weenie [ Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: CAAD9 Headset Top-Cap Lower Option

Author:  Junior Varsity [ Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: CAAD9 Headset Top-Cap Lower Option

There are a few options with a shorter bearing cover. However, the stock bikes come with the 25mm setup as that is how most people who buy the bike will ride them. If you get really desperate you can just use the bearing "clip" without a cover and just put spacers on top of it until you find the cap you need. Most shops will be able to order it from a wholesaler but Cannondale does stock the headset cap from the slice which will be lower and work perfectly. You may have to buy the whole headset but I am not sure. Good Luck.

Author:  JN2Wheels [ Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: CAAD9 Headset Top-Cap Lower Option

Wow - These are cup and cone bearings. I honestly didn't think high end stuff (except DA hubs) did this anymore. I naively thought all Headsets now a days were sealed bearings. Also, these don't come cheap do they! But the 15mm stack of the taller one is perfect. Thanks for the outside-of-the-box option!

JV - Thanks for the suggestions. Its only 8mm higher than I'd like it, so I can certainly deal for a while until I find a better solution. The weather is crazy bad here, but training must go on, so gotta keep that top cap where it is for now. The slice, at 8mm, seems like it may be a good option. Add 2 5mm spacers on top, and there I go. Didn't realize this would be a perfect fit, so I'll definitely check if my LBS would swap them around.

I would still ultimately like to get ahold of that Tange IS24LT-17, and would certainly buy a whole new headset to have some spare bearings and a fork crown race around. Anyone who can point me somewhere I can order this would be my hero!


Author:  leadag [ Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: CAAD9 Headset Top-Cap Lower Option

i went with a ritchey WCS headset on my CAAD9, from PBK.

sealed bearings.

i'll see if i can get a pic for you

Author:  Junior Varsity [ Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: CAAD9 Headset Top-Cap Lower Option

I would just order a replacement headset from a Slice 2 via your Cannondale Dealer. That way you have the spared and the lower cap.

Author:  JN2Wheels [ Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: CAAD9 Headset Top-Cap Lower Option


How nicely does the top cap meet the CAAD9 headtube? Is there a rubber lip seal? From the pictures, it looks like this headset may be exactly like the tange IS24's. Ritchey WCS has a 16.8mm stack version that would be GREAT. And they can be found relatively cheap, too. This may be the way I go. If it matches up and seals nicely.

But I will definitely check with the LBS about the slice headset. I would prefer a one piece cone option (aesthetics), but if the ritchey doesn't cut it, and I can't find a tange, then the slice headset with spacers will be the way to go. Its always nice to have some extra bearings and a fork crown race around.

Author:  clingenpeel [ Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: CAAD9 Headset Top-Cap Lower Option

You can buy either just an FSA campy style top cap, or just buy the entire headset...which is what I did....FSA wants alot of money for just the carbon headset topcap spacer...I found the entire headset, with topcap, for just a little more..ebay, of course....you can get the FSA headset with a 8.7mm or 15mm top cap...I needed the 8.7mm to work on my 50cm caad9...and, yes, the bike did come with a 25mm one stock.

Author:  bradeng [ Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: CAAD9 Headset Top-Cap Lower Option


About $40 for the whole thing. The top cap is low profile and also does away with the split compression ring as well.

Author:  JN2Wheels [ Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: CAAD9 Headset Top-Cap Lower Option

This conversation has been very helpful. For those finding this thread in their own search later... check out these additional threads,


Ultimately, I think its as simple as getting a campy hiddenset compatible headset. Whether that be Ritchey WCS, FSA Orbit CE, Cane Creek IS-3i, Campy Record, Tange IS24LT, etc. Low profile (7.5 mm) and medium profile (15mm) options exist in all of these. Amazingly, the super high version cannondale includes as standard isn't something the aftermarket sees the need to match. Huhmm. Super low options, such as the flybike BMX style bradeng posted above, are around for those trying to eek out those last 5mm of stack.

I would love to find that 17mm tange version, but those don't seem to be anything other than OEM. So, I'll just pick up the nicest 15mm I can find.

Is there any real reason to spring for the actual Camp Record Hiddenset, instead of the sealed bearing systems everyone else uses?

Thanks for the input.


Author:  bikerjulio [ Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: CAAD9 Headset Top-Cap Lower Option


$45 BIN

Author:  petal666 [ Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: CAAD9 Headset Top-Cap Lower Option

One reason to buy the Campy record headset is I'm still using one from 2001 and it working fine.

Author:  JN2Wheels [ Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: CAAD9 Headset Top-Cap Lower Option


This is exactly the kind of stuff I like to hear. I very much like the idea of being able to tear it down, inspect, clean, etc., and bring it back to new smoothness. I also have the (perhaps irrational?) thought that a loose ball setup can be adjusted to that perfect solid-but-free state easier than the sealed bearing setups.

How do you find the weather protection? How often do you disassemble and re-grease? Are the upper and lower bearing assemblies different size? Does the carbon top cone/cap have a rubber lip?

Thanks for the input...

Author:  bikerjulio [ Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: CAAD9 Headset Top-Cap Lower Option

Campy integrated headsets have interchangeable bearings.
Since the lower one takes most of the wear, you can change around.
Given clean riding conditions these things last many years.
The outer races have a seal.
Use lots of grease on the lower for extra waterproofing.
I'd say maintenance needs depend entirely on conditions, but it's so easy to work on that it's no big deal to take apart & inspect.
the upper cap effectively shields the top bearing. all the ones I look at are squeaky clean.
look at the campy parts pages too for more info.

Author:  Weenie [ Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: CAAD9 Headset Top-Cap Lower Option

Author:  cure [ Thu Feb 03, 2011 7:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: CAAD9 Headset Top-Cap Lower Option

sorry to bring this back to present. i'm having this same issue, looking for a low profile, but is it as easy as finding a cap and just swapping that cone shaped cap that comes with my caad9? i mean i dont need to take apart the fork and such, only the cap is what i need to lower it?

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