Cane Creek HELM Works Series 130 Climb Switch

First things first, we need to get one thing straight: Cane Creek’s proprietary Climb Switch Technology is not a lock-out.

In fact, we’re strongly against a full lock-out, and we’ll explain why below. For now, suffice it to say, if you experience a full lock-out, it will feel like riding a rigid fork, and could be down-right dangerous if you forget to re-open the compression for the descent. That’s why we, and most other suspension manufacturers, tune the closed compression (“lock-out”) damping force so that it only feels really firm, appropriate to the bike it is on, and will “blow off” (or re-engage) when the suspension takes a big hit (like if you forget to re-open the compression). So why do manufacturers and riders use the word “lock-out”? The term connotes a firm force in the compression damping, but it does not denote a fully rigid setting. It’s just a matter of semantics… call it what you want, but we’re going to stick with Climb Switch.

Now that we’ve settled that little issue, what is “Climb Switch” and why do you want it?

What is Climb Switch Technology?

Traditional “climbing modes” (aka what a lot of riders call “lock-out”) only address half of climbing dynamics, requiring the rider’s body to respond to the rest. Climb Switch provides climbing-specific damping in both compression and rebound. The suspension firms significantly, but is still active while you climb, which results in better connection to the trail, more control, and increased efficiency without annoying pedal-bob.

Why Climb Switch? 

HELM Works Series 130 is equipped with Climb Switch Technology, seen before on Double Barrel suspension. Why would you want Climb Switch? As alluded above, suspension gives us two things: comfort and better traction & handling. Utilizing suspension in technical climbing is helpful for maintaining traction and not getting jostled around, but too much bobbing can create inefficiency in your pedaling. HELM Works Series 130 allows you many clicks of high speed compression adjustment to tailor the amount of squish you need for your climb, but the final “click” restricts the flow of oil so that the fork has a very firm pedaling platform (and you can leave your low speed compression adjustment alone). Double Barrel Climb Switch works very similarly.

TECH SPEAK: Our Climb Switch Technology is a dedicated compression circuit with completely different internals than the high and low speed compression adjustment on the standard HELM. When you activate the Climb Switch on the HELM Works Series 130 or Double Barrel suspension with a Climb Switch lever, you are completely restricting the flow of oil through the low speed circuit. This prevents the high speed circuit poppet from “blowing off” except under extreme forces (like forgetting to open up your compression on the descent). In essence, it feels really stinkin’ firm.

On the standard HELM, you would have to close both high and low speed compression to mimic the same feel, but it still wouldn’t be as firm as Climb Switch. HELM Works Series 130 is optimized for cross-country and short-travel trail bikes. Climb Switch Technology is a crucial feature for long days in the saddle and optimal performance on climbs and descents alike.


Curious about more in-depth Climb Switch Technology and it’s introduction on Double Barrel suspension? Read more about Double Barrel Climbing Efficiency.