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Cane Creek Slamset ZS44/28.6 headset top assembly



Well-made headset that delivers a racy position while keeping out the elements

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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If you can't quite achieve that low race position with your standard headset then this Cane Creek Slamset ZeroStack (ZS) Top Assembly could be just what you are after. Your stem will be suitably slammed for that pro look and thanks to the sealed Hellbender bearings, keeping the elements out won't be a problem either.

  • Pros: Very easy to set up, bearing seals have kept the water and dirt out
  • Cons: Pricier than some of the main competitors

Many headset top assemblies can sit around 10mm proud of the top of the head tube, the equivalent of having another spacer between it and your stem. If you want to really get as low as you can at the front end, the ZS reduces that height to just 2mm, and that can be quite a noticeable difference.

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The ZS model is an internal/integral style headset that will fit your head tube if it takes a 44mm diameter bearing cup. It drops into your frame and then the bearing race is positioned inside that. The top cover then tightens in on top of that for a very clean looking and enclosed assembly.

The cups and covers are made from 7075-T6 aluminium alloy and are nicely finished, feeling totally smooth inside and out.

At its heart, the ZS uses Cane Creek's stainless steel Hellbender bearings which are designed to resist corrosion and stand up to the elements – should any get in. The headset has seen plenty of rain and mud over three months of testing and on inspection still looks like new.

Once assembled and adjusted, the whole setup felt completely smooth and that hasn't changed during testing. I'll keep an eye on things over the winter when the real abuse should start, but this is looking like a fit and forget item for many seasons to come.

> Customising your bike to maximise your performance – how a few changes can help you go faster

If you have an integrated style head tube where the bearing race sits directly into the frame then Cane Creek also offers IS versions (£49.99). These don't give quite as low a stack height as the ZS, but you are still only looking at 4.6mm above the top of the head tube.

Both the ZS and IS versions are available as full assemblies too.

When it comes to value, the ZS is a bit of an outlay at £74.99, especially when you can get the highly regarded Hope Technology Integral headset for around £40. It doesn't offer anywhere near as miniscule a stack height as the Cane Creek, mind.

Overall, the Zerostack is a very smooth headset that's simple to fit and adjust, and though it isn't cheap it should last you a long time.


Well-made headset that delivers a racy position while keeping out the elements test report

Make and model: Cane Creek Slamset ZS44/28.6 headset top assembly

Size tested: ZS44/28.6

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Cane Creek says, "The Slamset is a premium headset created for riders seeking to lower their handlebars further than the standard stack height without compromising bearing seal and proper preload. With the HELLBENDER bearing included, the Slamset excels at durability and longevity when it comes to steering performance."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

CUPS AND COVERS 7075 T-6 Aluminum, contoured and relieved to minimize weight and maximize strength

TOP COVER Low-friction upper bearing seal completely seals cup from contaminants and is fully captured by the top cover with no loose parts

CROWN RACE Aluminum crown race with integrated low friction seal

COMPRESSION RING Carbon friendly cap-in compression ring

Top BEARING HELLBENDER, sealed stainless-steel bearings

Bottom BEARING HELLBENDER, sealed stainless-steel bearings



External Cup (EC) '' 12mm bottom

ZeroStack (ZS) '' 2mm top, 4mm bottom

Integrated (IS) '' 4.6mm top, 1mm bottom


FINISH Anodized Aluminum

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
Rate the product for value:

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

The handling feels smooth and it keeps the weather out.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Well sealed against the elements.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Quite an outlay.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on

At the higher end of the market but it does have that zero stack height USP.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's a little pricey compared to some of the opposition, but it's well made and performs very smoothly.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 40  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for, and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

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