Review: 2011 Cane Creek AngleSet

10/26/2010 : sicklines

Cane Creek announced their AngleSet some time ago. It allows you to alter the head angle to be steeper or slacker on a bike. We got our hands on one and have been using it for a few weeks. Read more about our experience with the AngleSet inside.


2011 Cane Creek AngleSet

, Review: 2011 Cane Creek AngleSet

(click to enlarge)

So what does the Cane Creek AngleSet do?

  • It allows a rider to change the headtube angle on their bike.  It offers adjustability of -1.5º,-1º,-.5º,0º,+.5º,+1º,+1.5º

What forks are the AngleSet compatible with?

  • The fork steerer tube must be a straight 1 1/8 (the current AngleSet’s won’t work with a tapered fork yet)

What are the headtube requirements?

  • A Traditional 1.5 headtube (AngleSet model ZS49 — ZS49/30),
  • A tapered headtube that uses 44mm top and 49mm bottom (AngleSet model ZS44 — ZS49/30),
  • or a tapered headtube that uses 44mm top and a 56mm bottom (AngleSet model ZS44 — ZS56/30)

What comes in the box?

  • Cane Creek sells the AngleSet currently in three main configurations based on the headtube requirements above.
  • Additionally you can purchase the specific cups for your bike if you don’t need all the cups
  • The complete contents of the ZS49 – ZS 49/30 kit that works with a traditional 1.5″ headtube includes the headset bearings, lower cup, gold gimbals, tophat, top cover, compression ring, starnut, preload bolt, crown race, and three top cups that let you achieve (+/- 5º, 1º or 1.5º)
, Review: 2011 Cane Creek AngleSet

ZS49 - ZS49/30 Anglset (click to enlarge)

, Review: 2011 Cane Creek AngleSet

(click to enlarge)

, Review: 2011 Cane Creek AngleSet

box contents (click to enlarge)

, Review: 2011 Cane Creek AngleSet

top assembly components - (left to right) gimbal - bearing - compression ring - top cover - preload bolt and top cap - 1.5 degree cup - 1 degree cup - .5 degree cup

, Review: 2011 Cane Creek AngleSet

bottom assembly components - (left to right) crown race, bearing, gimbal, lower cup

How does it work?

  • The easiest way to understand it is to visualize it as a series of ball joints. once under compression the gimbals will self align.  Depending on the top cup that you install, you can achieve a slacker or steeper headangle.
, Review: 2011 Cane Creek AngleSet

Angleset assembly cutaway

, Review: 2011 Cane Creek AngleSet

top cup with gimbal (click to enlarge)

, Review: 2011 Cane Creek AngleSet

partially assembled with bearing (click to enlarge)

  • The Cane Creek AngleSet does not depend on headtube length.
  • CaneCreek has designed the AngleSet so that it will not unevenly wear the bearings out in the headset as they found other angled headsets could do previously.

How easy was installation?

For our testing purposed we installed the AngleSet on our Intense SlopeStyle 2.  It uses a traditional 1.5″ headtube so we installed the (AngleSet model ZS49 — ZS49/30).

, Review: 2011 Cane Creek AngleSet

SlopeStyle 2 installation (click to enlarge)

The AngleSet was quite a bit easier to install than previous angled headsets that we’ve used.  Cane Creek took a lot of the complexity out of the installation.  With the K9 system for example, it required ordering a specific headset that was based on the headtube length of the bike. By designing the AngleSet to work with all bikes no matter what the headtube length, Cane Creek makes purchasing, installing, and stocking headsets a bit easier.

, Review: 2011 Cane Creek AngleSet

instructions (click to enlarge)

, Review: 2011 Cane Creek AngleSet

instructions (click to enlarge)

The cups are flush so this helps the headset install much like a regular headset.  They install with just a regular headset press. With other angled headsets, it was harder to install straight because the cup itself was also angled. The surface of the headset press could press the cup in crooked, but the AngleSet does not have this installation hiccup.

, Review: 2011 Cane Creek AngleSet

flat cups help make installation easy (click to enlarge)

The lower cup doesn’t need any specific orientation.  This means that only the top cup has to be aligned to the center of the frame.  With other angle adjusting headsets we’ve used it required both headset cups to be centered. The AngleSet simplifies step this quite a bit.

, Review: 2011 Cane Creek AngleSet

notice the alignment notches in the top cups (click to enlarge)

, Review: 2011 Cane Creek AngleSet

as you could imagine the 1.5 degree cup has much more offset than the .5 degree (click to enlarge)

After you decide if you want your bike slacker or steeper and by what degree, you then install the top cup.  The top cup has a forward and rearward notch that help you visually align the top cup.  If you want to slacken the bike, you orient the laser etching degree mark on the outermost side of the headtube.

, Review: 2011 Cane Creek AngleSet

top cup installed in -.5 degree (click to enlarge)

The main cup itself is flush so it was easy to set the headset in.  Additionally there is a small shelf recessed on the cups so you can install the top cup a little bit and check orientation before fully pressing the headset in.  Cane Creek also designed some wiggle room into their system so even if you don’t have the top cup perfectly aligned it will still work fine.

, Review: 2011 Cane Creek AngleSet

everything mocked up (click to enlarge)

Any Issues or concerns?

Since the Cane Creek AngleSet is not headtube specific, sometimes the angles might not be 100% of what you were seeking.  If you have a short headtube you might end up with a bigger change than you were looking for and similarly if you have a long headtube you might not get enough of a change that you were after.  This isn’t a huge deal in our opinion as they include 3 different angled cups so you should be able to achieve within reason what you were after with the contents.  The usage of flush cups and clear markings for the top cup centering made installing the AngleSet almost as easy as a traditional headset.  All interfaces need grease, so be sure to apply it to all areas as specified in the instructions.

The gimbals were easy to install and get into place but we found there was some settling to the headset after the initial install.  After you install the headset we recommend double checking that the gimbal is set properly as initially ours didn’t feel fully set.

We were told by Josh, one of the Cane Creek engineers, that he felt the trick to getting the gimbal’s installed right the first time was to first start with the lower cup.  Install the bearing in the gimbal and place it on top of crown race on the fork.  Then slide the assembly up together into the lower cup.  After that step, assemble the top gimbal with the bearing and compression ring without it being on the fork.  With the assembled top gimbal/bearing/compression ring in one step install it in all together as the compression ring needs to be inside of the bearing to seat correctly.

, Review: 2011 Cane Creek AngleSet

  • Cane Creek AngleSet +/-1.5º ZS49 – ZS49/30 135.3g
  • Cane Creek AngleSet +/-1º ZS49 – ZS49/30 132.5g
  • Cane Creek AngleSet +/-0.5º ZS49 – ZS49/30 132.2g

Visit our verified weights section to see more verified weights.

, Review: 2011 Cane Creek AngleSet

  • AngleSet with only +/- 1 degree cup – MSRP $149
  • AngleSet with +/- .5 degree, +/- 1 degree, and +/- 1.5 degree cups – MSRP $199


The AngleSet we feel is something that many riders will be interested in for 2011 and onward.  It allows you to tweak and alter the stock settings of a bike without having to re-weld a new headtube on the bike as well as opening up the possibilities for a manufacturer to try different geometry settings.  The AngleSet certainly isn’t right for everybody or every bike.  If you like to tweak your bike or know what you’re after, the AngleSet allows you to reach those goals easier.

It would be awesome if the top cup didn’t have to be physically be swapped out to achieve different head angles. With the introduction of the AngleSet , we suspect more companies will include this headset on select bikes as it gives the consumer a bit more control over their bike and how it is setup.  The AngleSet is a wonderful tool that has built nicely upon the principles of earlier angled headsets.

You may also like...