Cane Creek AER headset potential issues?

Discuss light weight issues concerning mountain bikes & parts.

Moderator: Moderator Team

Post Reply
steveadore
Posts: 207
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2020 10:01 am

by steveadore

My 2021 Epic HT came with the following FSA headset from the factory: lower bearing TH MR170 (45x45 angle), upper bearing TH MR121 (45/45) and H2037 top cap (dust cover) with a slim extra shim between it and the compression ring.

I've ordered a spare headset for the bike, and based on the official manual info from Specialized, it is part nr. S192500021 (HDS Cane Creek, CAA2016). This is a Cane Creek AER with extra light alloy (blue) bearings, which looks quite nice, but the 45 degree chamfer on the bottom/external part of the upper bearing cartridge is absolutely minimal (1-2 mm). In fact, so is the chamfer on the lower bearing too.
//uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/202202 ... bf090c.jpg
Compared to that, the chamfer on the FSA is "regular" length (more than twice as long as the Cane Creek AER), similar to most other drop-in cartridge bearings I've seen and used over the years.
https://beyondthebike.ae/wp-content/upl ... 1600-5.jpg
The chamfer on the Cane Creek is so small that I'm actually worried how stable the interface with the carbon cups (part of the headtube inside the frame) will be, and whether this minimal interface will create problems either with the frame (only a narrow 1-2 mm section of the cup bearing the load) or the bearing (short life, slop etc.).
I'm really surprised Specialized specs this AER (it comes OEM on the S-Works models) as a part, but installed a much better designed (if heavier) regular TH MR121 on my Epic HT.

Is it worth risking the use of the Cane Creek AER at all? Or shall I stick with the FSA (and just replace the TH MR121 with an identical one when it comes to replacement)?

I haven't found much information about this Cane Creek model, except older complaints about durability (but those refer to the previous version that used Norglide bushings instead of ball bearings inside the cartridge).

zscs
Posts: 70
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:05 pm

by zscs

Good point with the smaller contact interface, I've never noticed it. If works fine in S-Works frames then I suppose that, won't cause any issues using AER bearings in the more robust non-S-Works Specialized frames. However, this is only my hyphotesis.

Using A.E.R. for years on my Canyon carbon hardtail (upper part is ZS with a aluminium pressed cup, only the lower part is IS) and have had a great experience with longetivity. During the 4 years of usage, 16-18k kms, several races, every possible weather conditions from dust to snow and also using it with a Niner rigid fork (!!), still running smooth. Only on the aluminium race crown can be seen some wear. (This needs to be replaced though, seals also damaged a bit.)

by Weenie


Visit starbike.com Online Retailer for HighEnd cycling components
Great Prices ✓    Broad Selection ✓    Worldwide Delivery ✓

www.starbike.com



steveadore
Posts: 207
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2020 10:01 am

by steveadore

Thanks. Sent you a PM (email) :)

boots2000
Posts: 1371
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 9:28 pm

by boots2000

My 2022 S Works Epic hardtail frame came with the AER headset that you mention. I thought it seemed cheap- Replaced it with a King Dropset 5. Now that is a headset!

steveadore
Posts: 207
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2020 10:01 am

by steveadore

boots2000 wrote:
Fri Dec 09, 2022 5:56 pm
My 2022 S Works Epic hardtail frame came with the AER headset that you mention. I thought it seemed cheap- Replaced it with a King Dropset 5. Now that is a headset!
Does that King DS5 have a wider chamfer? And does it need any shims between the compression ring and the dust cover (given that Spec. seem to be using not quite the industry standard depth dimension for the upper bearing cup)?

steveadore
Posts: 207
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2020 10:01 am

by steveadore

Just a quick update. This is what Specialized Rider Care has written to me:
"I took a look at the bearings for the My21 Epic HT and the correct part # is 

S142500003
HDS COMPLETE, INTEGRATED, 1-1/8" UPPER, 1.5" LOWER, 45X45 DEG, FLUSH 49MM TOP COVER (H2388), W/ MICRO SHIM & SPLIT CROWN RACE

the part number S192500021 is used in the MY20 EPIC/EPIC HT SW

The bearings are different and you are correct about the bearing not sitting correctly in the headset. I would not recommend using the Cane Creek bearings in you frame."

User avatar
rapsac
Posts: 189
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:35 am

by rapsac

Regular Cane Creek IS headset bearing show the same surface contact area as the AER 2 bearings, so I presume it will not pose a problem. Recently purchased an AER 2 bearing set myself and noticed the same thing.

by Weenie


Visit starbike.com Online Retailer for HighEnd cycling components
Great Prices ✓    Broad Selection ✓    Worldwide Delivery ✓

www.starbike.com



Post Reply