Journal

OEM Partner Highlight – Litespeed

OEM Highlight: “A LEGACY FORGED IN TENNESSEE. A LIFETIME OF GREAT RIDES

Over 30 years ago, we started listening to cyclists who wanted something strong and durable, yet light and agile. It was a tall order, but our team of designers was up for the challenge. While the rest of the industry scratched their heads, a new breed of bikes was born in Chattanooga, Tenn. We discovered a new way to work with titanium and created a new and exciting cycling experience.” – Litespeed

Production of the new Litespeed T1sl at the American Bicycle Group in Tennessee.

WE MAKE ‘EM LIKE WE USED TO

What’s the best way to protect quality and design standards? By building a talented team and keeping it intact.

Surprise Me 2018 – Speedvagen

DON’T BOX ME IN, BRO…

Surprise Me 2018 is here. Inspired by surfing. Loose washed lines are paired with hardline graphics in transparent colors. Its raw and subtle, yet still is without a doubt a #Speedvagen Racing Machine.

#eeBrakes – REMARKABLY POWERFUL, POWERFULLY LIGHT.

    

ONE AND DONE

We do each SM scheme for one year and then it goes in the vault. In a given year, we end up building and painting a handful of SM’s for riders on nearly every continent. The fifteen to thirty Surprise Me owners from a given year have a kinship with each other. Surprise Me owners as a whole have a connection with each other. Risk taking. A little rebellious. Doesn’t take stuff too seriously. Likes to shred.

Find out more about the Speedvagen Surprise Me 2018 Design* here

*You have from now until the end of the year put in your deposit for any 2018 bike with a Surprise Me paint scheme.

    

Being Frank – No Greed Here

 

Brent Graves Cane Creek
Brent Graves, President and CEO

If it was not so inaccurate and frequent, it probably would not bother me so much. But seemingly a week cannot go by without someone commenting how a “greedy bicycle company” did this or that. As I write this it dawns on me how hilariously off-the-mark such comments are. Actually, it can be argued that the bicycle industry would be in a healthier place if companies were better equipped at running profitable businesses. But the reality is most, and I mean nearly all, bicycle businesses were started as a labor of love versus a means to increasing shareholder wealth. Hence the popular bicycle industry saying: To make a small fortune in the bike business, start first with a BIG fortune.

So why get irked by inaccurate labeling? Oh my, I just hit one of my own hot buttons: labeling. Everyone I have ever met, whether I liked them or not, has had a complex personality. Attempting to distill that complexity into a few labels is more than a disservice, it’s criminal in my opinion. Fred is more than just a Democrat, a roadie, or a tree-hugger. The group of people that form a company is even more complex. Therefore a label such as “greedy” falls even further from what they are about. But I digress.

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to work with or at least meet many of the leaders in the bicycle industry. And while their agendas and motives varied, none of them, with one exception, indicated or demonstrated that greed was a driver. Some just want everyone to enjoy bicycles as they do, some want to save the world with bicycles, and some want to win with the best bicycle products. Certainly there are many decisions and strategies related to how they run their business that I disagree with, but in no case have I witnessed the bicycle being used as a tool for greed.

One has to look no further than the parking lots of bicycle companies for evidence of lack of greed. They are full of WRXs, GTIs, Elements, 4-Runners, Miatas, and other fun/active-lifestyle models that are at least 3-5 years old – not new BMWs, Jags, and Porsches. One bicycle company president I worked for drove a Camry, another a well-worn Audi S4 Avant, and a VP I reported to a Ford Explorer. Don’t get me wrong, there are some car guys in the business. But they usually have toiled for years for that old 911, and the rest of their “collection” is a mini van for family duties, a 6-year old F-150 for a daily driver, and a clapped out Civic with a fart can for the teenager.

And then there is the knowledge of what things cost: tooling for a fork casting or a frame mold, the FOB cost of an injection molded brake hood or an extruded seat clamp, and the duty and freight to get it from there to here. Add to that the costs of doing business – salaries, advertising, insurance, rent, etc. – the margins everyone in the supply chain requires to stay alive, and it is easy to see when things don’t seem to add up. Like the unbelievable amounts the late 90’s Schwinn/GT group was spending. They had to have had a secret to making a lot more money than the rest of us… or they were living on borrowed time (and money). History clearly shows it was the latter.

Yes, we all strive to be profitable. However, profit and greed are two very different things. In Cane Creek’s case, being profitable ensures that we can reward our employees for their great efforts, invest in the company to ensure we are around for many years to come, spend on research and development of new product ideas, support and promote cycling in our own backyard, and be as prepared as possible in today’s uncertain world. My experience and knowledge tell me that’s the same situation for every other bicycle company. While we are all far from perfect, and you’re likely to have had an experience or two to make you question a company’s motives, I can assure you that most everyone in this business is here for the right reasons, and they are not getting rich.

eeWings – Guaranteed to Last

The Toughest Cranks – Guaranteed

Cane Creek eeWings now come with a 30-day 100% satisfaction guarantee. Regardless of the reason, a rider can return their eeWings to the place of purchase within 30 days for a full refund. That’s in addition to the existing 10-year warranty. In honor of our new guarantee, watch as Jeff and Andrew put the eeWings Titanium cranks through their paces then – when you’re done – order your set today.

Pink Headsets

 

Limited Production Order Deadline: October 5th

The precision, quality, and performance you have ridden with for years is now available in PINK!

Now until October 5th Cane Creek Cycling Components is offering a limited production run of our 110 Series and Slamset headsets in an anodized pink colorway. Thoroughly compliment the performance and beauty of the El Rosado edition eeBrakes set.

These headsets will be produced based on demand and will ship in December 2018

Don’t miss out!

Order your Pink 110 Series or Slamset headset and spacers now.

 

Slamset S.H.I.S

IS41/28.6/H4.6 (Top) |  IS52/40/H1 (Bottom) 

IS42/28.6/H4.6 (Top) |  IS52/40/H1 (Bottom) 

ZS44/28.6/H2 (Top) |  EC44/40/H12 (Bottom) 

ZS44/28.6/H2 (Top) |  ZS56/40/H4 (Bottom) 

110 Series S.H.I.S

EC34/28.6/H16 (Top) |  EC34/30/H12 (Bottom)

IS41/28.6/H9 (Top) |  IS52/40/H1 (Bottom) 

IS42/28.6/H9 (Top) |  IS52/40/H1 (Bottom) 

ZS44/28.6/H8 (Top) |  EC44/40/H12 (Bottom) 

ZS44/28.6/H8 (Top) |  ZS56/40/H4 (Bottom) 

Get your S.H.I.S Straight ! Use Cane Creek Fit Finder to correctly identify your headset here.

 

 

Being Frank – The Balanced Bike

 

Brent Graves Cane Creek
Brent Graves, President and CEO

Some good ideas get buried under Marketing. While unfortunate this is not surprising, particularly in this day and age of ever shorter attention spans, immediate stimulus requirements, and more and more brands trying to grab a piece of the market pie. But that is for another blog. This blog is about one of those buried ideas. It is not a new idea – I actually wrote a piece on this idea for a company news letter about twenty-five years ago. And it’s not an idea that I can claim is solely mine. Nonetheless, it is an idea that can enhance a rider’s riding satisfaction, ease her anxiety, and likely save her some money.

The concept of the Balanced Bike is simple to understand but can be difficult to implement. The quality and price of parts on a Balanced Bike are relative to their contribution to the performance/function of the bike given its intended use. Puncture-resistant tires on a commuter, hydraulic disc brakes on a mountain bike, and lightweight carbon wheels on a racing bike all seem to make sense – titanium cranks on a coffee shop bike, not so much. But given the large number of models available of those products and their functional relevance, the difficulty stems from determining what is really needed and what is more than enough.

The Dura Ace and 105 rear derailleurs (RD) are of the same design, they do the same thing the same way, and they are interchangeable. This has been the case for many years and is not limited to road parts or Shimano – one can substitute “SRAM, XX1, and XXO1” if so inclined. The Dura Ace derailleur weighs less due to better grade materials (a splash of titanium in place of steel) and materials processes (a dash of forgings in lieu of castings or stampings). And occasionally there’s a different functional spec, as in the case of the Dura Ace RD using cartridge bearings in the pulleys instead of bushings. Go ride new Dura Ace and 105 bikes back to back, and if you feel a difference in shifting, it’s probably due to the competence of the person(s) that assembled the bikes. However, after 10,000 or 20,000 miles the Dura Ace parts are going to maintain more of that new feel and function due to those better materials and materials processes. So if you’re a pro racer training and racing 20,000+ miles per year, Dura Ace does not put your bike out of balance. On the other hand, if you ride less than 5,000 mile per year, never pin a number on, and have a full-time job, upgrading to a Dura Ace RD instead of, say a set of larger volume, high-quality tubeless tires would not lead to a Balanced Bike.

To be fair, let’s consider two Cane Creek products: the 110 and 40-series headsets. While our engineers can make your eyeballs spin explaining the detailed design differences between the two, functionally the designs are the same. So how would each fit into the Balanced Bike idea? If you prefer to ride in nice weather, and cycling is just one of the activities biding for your limited leisure time, go with the 40-series. But if cycling is an obsession and pouring rain or sub-freezing temperatures are just challenges, the 110 would be the way to go.

Lastly, it’s not just about the brands and the marketing of their offerings. The various systems are not equal in their contribution to your riding satisfaction and performance. No one is ever going to lose a race because their seat post is 45 grams heavier (the weight of a Snicker’s bar). However, 45 grams on a rim will add seconds to your time during your club’s annual hill climb competition. After all, the rim is THE most important component with regards to weight due to the fact that it’s rotating and that it’s rotating in a big circle.

So the Balanced Bike places emphasis on the parts that will positively impact one’s riding the most and de-emphasizes those that have little or no impact. WARNING: Many times this is not in sync with how brands position and market their parts. For example, one rider’s Balanced Bike may include a mix of SRAM GX and XO1 parts. It may also be more balanced with mid-level aluminum wheels but top-of-the line shock and fork.

With all this said, if you want the more expensive stuff, go for it! As a sucker for high-end goodies and CEO of a company that offers a range of premium parts, I’m certainly not going to tell you that you shouldn’t. But make sure that you are informed and honest with yourself about what is really going to affect your riding satisfaction. Lastly, do yourself a favor and don’t skimp on those parts that really do matter for your style of riding.

Experience ee

Precision, ingenuity and the love of the ride… That’s the essence of ee

In the fall of 2016, renowned cycling components designer Craig Edwards joined forces with Cane Creek, forming a lasting partnership to not only manufacture and distribute his game-changing eeBrake but also to work hand-in-hand with Cane Creek designers and engineers to develop new products that pushed the sport of cycling into new frontiers.

From that partnership, Cane Creek’s ee line was born.

What Makes a Product ee?

In order to earn the right to be called ee, a product must meet the highest standards of function and innovation. This begins with a rigorous product development process designed to take great ideas and turn them into excellent products.

This unique approach and uncompromising commitment to meticulous execution results in products that have surpassed previous industry bests and whose beauty is truly in their function.
We use this process to guide us internally and hold ourselves to this high standard so that we know we have achieved a product of the highest quality and performance that can be deemed the best.

Three guiding principles shape the framework and practice of the ee design process:

Free of Convention:

We believe in innovation rather than following established standards. An ee product is born from questioning the norm and using a new lens to discover connections between different but related facts. When joined together, these facts can create a clear view of something novel, which has never been seen, developed or commercialized before. Something that is truly revolutionary.

eeNut

eeNut

How do you improve on an age-old design? Ignore it completely.
The starfangled nut has been around since the origin of the threadless headset and is, still to this day, at the heart of threadless headset preload design. So when Craig Edwards set out to create a lighter weight preload assembly designed for carbon steertubes he could have easily been bound by that classic design.

Instead, however, he broke free from convention and developed a recessed cone shape that created increased tension and stiffness facilitating precise headset adjustment setting it apart from both the original star nut design and other lightweight caps.

Relentless Engineering:

Engineering is the practical application of art and science. Lessons learned from earlier experiences become the foundational underpinnings of further advances. This process is repeated until the assurance has been gained that all aspects of the product requirements have taken it beyond the state of the art.

eewings spindle

While designing eeWings, we knew we wanted to design a crank that is both extremely durable and ultra-stiff while remaining in a weight class that’s comparable to leading carbon cranks. The solution? A design that relied on both relentless engineering and the choice to use titanium, a superior yet expensive and difficult to work material.

Throughout the development process, this focus on relentless engineering and testing resulted in some truly superior features including a 30-tooth hearth joint joining the crank together, hollow tube arms for a superior stiffness-to-weight ratio and a CNC machined aluminum preload with a titanium bolt for a more precise and durable setup.

Slave to Logic:

The design process draws upon intuition, imagination and systemic reasoning to explore the many possibilities of what can be created. Maintaining a strict adherence to logic-based decisions creates boundaries for product development ensuring that it is the best it can be for the right reasons.

eebrake regular mount

eeBrake pad holders offer simple and easy tool-less pad installation and removal. This was achieved by asking a simple set of logical questions:

There must be something better than the standard “set screw” design.
Why not make a tool-less pad holder?
Can a no back out feature be achieved without a tool?
Pads can bend. How can the design take advantage of a pad’s inherent flexibility?
Design idea: permanantly place the “no back out” feature on the pad holder and design a way to bend the pad around the “no back out” feature during installation.

ee Attributes

The end result of this simple yet effective protocol is a better product that achieves remarkable results. To gain the ee designation a product must display the following attributes:

Beauty in Functionality:

Performance and purpose are prioritized over preconceived notions of what a product should look like. The function of the product must be so extraordinary that the resulting form that it takes defines the appreciation of its appearance.

Peerless:

An ee product is unequalled on multiple levels. It bears uncompromised quality and is the very best that can be offered in that category.

Counterintuitive:

An ee product cannot be taken at face value, it exhibits the most unlikely idea and contradicts conventional wisdom. When a person first looks at the eeBrake, the appearance suggests one of stiffness and power, yet also of weight. The awe a person exhibits when they pick it up or see the actual reading on a scale suggest that their intuition had told them something different.