With Cane Creek's 40-Series Headset, you don't have to worry that spending less will equate to getting less performance. It's the working class headset that offers serious durability and smooth performance, rivaling their 110-Series Headset. Part of the money you save if due to the fact that they sell it only in Black, though Cane Creek makes sure that it gets a good polished finish before it sees the ano tank.
Where the 110 headset has cups machined from 7075 T6 aluminum, this 40-Series Headset is crafted from 6061 T6 alloy. The functional difference is one of a few grams, with the higher tech alloy of the 110 headset allowing a lighter overall part. This 40-Series Headset spins on Cane Creek's black oxide bearings. The races and balls start out as 52100 steel and are then given an acid bath to make them more corrosion resistant, while still being porous enough to retain grease. They are angular contact bearings (ACB), which resist both axial and radial loads equally well. The cartridges are sealed with what Cane Creek likes to call a Split Lip Seal, which has two contact seals per side to better keep out contaminants and hold in grease.
To augment the seals on the cartridge bearings, Cane Creek adds face seals to the crown race and top assembly. So what if the bearings aren't stainless -- grease kept in and muddy goop kept out keeps 'em running like new for a long time. In the event that you might wreck the bearings through normal use or abuse, you should know that all the internal parts in this 40-Series Headset are compatible with their top-of-the-line 110-Series Headset. So you could always upgrade to the 110 headset's stainless steel bearings. The Clip-Seal in the upper assembly holds all the parts together, including the compression ring. This makes assembly a cinch, since there are no loose parts to misplace or install backwards.
The Cane Creek 40-Series Headset is polished and anodized Black. Cane Creek adds laser etched graphics including their Skink logo. This is a traditional headset that will mate a fork with a straight 1-1/8" steerer tube to a 1-1/8" head tube having a 34mm i.d. The top bearing cover is compatible with Cane Creek Interlok spacers. The stack height for the top cup is 16mm and the bottom is 12mm.
The Cane Creek 40 is my go-to headset for customer's bikes, as well as my own. Available in every possible SHIS configuration, with top-of-the-line performance. The aluminum split-ring eliminates any need for adjustment down the line, and the sealed bearings run forever, but can be dropped into the cups if they do ever poop the bed. Pretty sure they are cut in North Carolina to boot, but don't quote me on that