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Cane Creek Helm MKII Air Fork

Vital Rating: (Excellent)
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Cane Creek Helm MKII Fork
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Cane Creek Helm MKII Fork Review

A viable 35mm fork option against the bigger competitors

Rating: Vital Review
Cane Creek Helm MKII Fork Review

Zach Petersen spent a few months aboard the Cane Creek Helm MKII air fork, smashing it and bashing it on every type of trail. The 35mm 29er fork with 140mm of travel held up against the likes of RockShox and FOX, and its easily adjustable travel was highlight. The short-coming is a bit of heft and a less-than-desirable finish durability. Watch his video review to see Zach in action on the fork with some *scientific* tests thrown in for good measure.

Cane Creek Helm MKII Highlights

  • Available in Air (Tested) or Coil
  • 29er options in 130, 140 (Tested), 150 or 160mm travel with 44mm or 51mm offset
  • 27.5 options in 130, 140, 150, 160 or 170mm travel with 44mm offset
  • High- and low-speed compression adjustment
  • Low-speed rebound adjustment
  • Positive and negative air chambers
  • Internal travel adjust in 10mm increments
  • End-stroke ramp adjust on air fork
  • Weight: 2,080g Air (Tested), 2,340g Coil
  • Price: $899

Strengths

  • Rebound and compression knobs are easy to use with obvious detents
  • No major gaps between adjustment clicks for easy setup
  • Adjustable travel is simple and doesn’t require additional air springs
  • Quiet riding fork from start to finish, no creaking
  • Excellent sensitivity in small bumps

Weaknesses

  • Finish rubbed off quickly
  • No 170mm for 29er
  • Heavier than in-class competition


What's the Bottom Line

The Cane Creek Helm MKII mountain bike fork is an excellent, well-performing fork that has nice small-bump sensitivity and ample support on trail. Tuning the fork to find preferred settins is very easy and the simple 10mm travel adjustments are a highlight of the Helm. There is a bit of a weight penalty when compared to its in-class competitors, and the finish proved fragile when having the bike in a pickup truck with a tailgate pad. The Helm is a viable trail and enduro fork option for those looking for easy setup and something different from the rest.



Below: Cane Creek's press release with details about the fork

Cane Creek Cycling Components is proud to announce the release of the HELM MKII suspension fork. The HELM MKII is the first major revision of Cane Creek’s HELM fork lineup and improves on its predecessor in nearly every way. To celebrate the launch, Cane Creek has also announced a Hot Pink limited edition of the fork with only 50 units available.

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The HELM MKII includes a newly designed damper featuring a new compression and mid-valve circuit for increased support and control while a new SKF oil seal head and 2.5 weight damper oil reduce friction and provide a more supple ride-feel.

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The air spring has also seen a significant redesign with a new air piston designed to reduce friction, an increased air volume for better traction and suppleness, and a threadless seal head for easier travel change. In addition to the updated damper and air spring, the HELM MKII features a variety of external usability improvements including easier to turn knobs and a D-LOC bolt-on axle.

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The fork also includes low-friction SKF wiper seals on the castings. These seals are typically seen as an after-marketing upgrade on most suspension forks, however they are a stock feature on the HELM MKII.

The HELM MKII also includes all of the innovative features of the original HELM fork including a tokenless air volume adjustment design, independently adjustable positive and negative air chambers on the air spring and rider-adjustable travel which allows HELM MKII owners to change the travel of their fork at home with just a few common tools.

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“The development of the HELM MKII was all about reducing friction and providing the most supple and responsive fork for riders,” said Jeff LaForge, senior design engineer at Cane Creek. “The result is a fork that’s at home on the rowdiest trails out there while providing an incredible range of adjustability and versatility for different riding styles and rider weights – all without compromising performance.”

The HELM MKII comes in 29/27.5+ and 27.5 wheel sizes with both air and coil sprung versions available. The 29/27.5+ version of the fork is available in 51mm and 44mm offset and is adjustable from 130mm to 160mm of travel. The 27.5 fork is available in 44mm offset only and is adjustable from 130mm to 170mm of travel.

27.5-inch in flat black, 29-inch in glossy


29/27.5+ models of the fork will come in a gloss black finish with matte black stickers and the 27.5 model will come in a matte black finish with gloss black stickers. Aftermarket sticker kits are available in brushed silver and gold.

Additionally, a launch edition Hot Pink HELM MKII is available in 29/27.5+ only and is limited to 50 units worldwide. Orders for the Hot Pink HELM MKII will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Customers interested in the fork should place their orders as soon as possible as supplies are not expected to last long.

The Helm MKII retails for $899 while the Hot Pink limited edition retails for $950. Both are available now through Cane Creek retailers and distributors or factory-direct through www.canecreek.com

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HELM Mark II Specification

  • MSRP $899.00
  • WEIGHT 2080g (29 Air) | 2340g (29 Coil)
  • STANCHION 35mm
  • WHEEL SIZE 29-inch and 27.5-inch
  • MAX TIRE SIZE: 29-inch, 64mm wide by 749mm tall // 29-inch w/ 27.5+, 75mm wide by 739mm tall // 27.5-inch, 65mm Wide by 714mm tall
  • HUB SPACING: 15x110mm BOOST spacing 
  • ATC / OFFSET: 29-inch, 568mm at 160mm Travel / 44mm and 51mm options. 27.5-inch, 553mm at 160mm Travel / 44mm Only 
  • DAMPER: High Speed Compression - 10 Positions // Low Speed Compression - 17 Positions // Low Speed Rebound - 10 Positions 
  • AXLE: D-Loc 15mm Bolt-on thru axle, Unique to HELM 
  • COLOR: 29-inch, Gloss Black // 27.5-inch, Matte Black 
  • SPRING TYPE: “Double Air” Spring System with independent positive and negative chamber // Traditional Coil Spring

Specifications

Product Cane Creek Helm MKII Air Fork
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain, Freeride / Bike Park, Trail
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b), 29", 27.5+
Travel
  • 130mm
  • 140mm
  • 150mm
  • 160mm
  • 170mm
Spring Type “Double Air” Spring System with independent positive and negative chamber
Damping Updated damper with a new compression and mid-valve circuit, a new SKF oil seal head, and 2.5 weight Motorex damper oil
External Adjustments High-Speed Compression: 10 positions
Low-Speed Compression: 17 positions
Low-Speed Rebound: 10 positions
Crown Single
Front Axle 15mm x 110mm (Boost)
Brake Mounts Post mount
Steer Tube Diameter Tapered
Steer Tube Construction
Stanchion Diameter 35mm
Colors Black/Silver, Black/Black, Black/Gold, Limited-Edition Pink
Weight
  • 4 lb 9 oz (2,070 g)
  • 4 lb 9.4 oz (2,080 g)
Miscellaneous • Tokenless air volume adjustment design
• Newly designed damper featuring a new compression and mid-valve circuit for increased support and control
• Redesign air spring with a new air piston designed to reduce friction, and increased air volume
• Threadless seal head for easier travel change
• Internally-adjustable travel in 10mm increments – 130mm to 160mm on 29/27.5+ version; 130mm to 170mm on 27.5 version
• New SKF oil seal head and 2.5 weight damper oil reduce friction
• Max tire size – 75mm wide x 739mm tall (for 27.5"); 64mm wide x 749mm tall (for 29/27.5+)
• Offset – 44mm, 51mm (29/27.5+)

D-Loc thru-axle system:
--Hard anodized aluminum cam lever closes against a self-lubricating brass clamp washer for axle function longevity
--Easy keyed entry axle and lock system
Price $899
More Info

Cane Creek Launches New Helm MKII Fork (press release)

www.canecreek.com

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