Despite the small but steadily rising crop of coil-over rear shocks, coil-sprung forks are still on a bit of a downward spiral. So we were excited to see Cane Creek introduce the Helm Coil here at Eurobike.
The new coil spring assembly can be internally adjusted to offer from 130 to 160-millimeters of travel, 10 millimeters less than its air-sprung sibling. You won’t need to add or exchange any parts, though it does involve removing the lowers completely. Cane Creek will be offering three different spring stiffnesses, and you can fine-tune them with up to 8 millimeters of compression preload. The chassis is the same between the coil and air-sprung Helms, but if you’re thinking of dropping a coil in a fork born with air, beware. The small amount of damage a coil spring will inevitably do to the inside of a stanchion tube will prevent the seals in an air spring from ever holding, so if you’re thinking of changing over, it will be only once.
The Helm uses a relatively traditional bladder-contained damper, offering high-speed compression, low-speed compression and low-speed rebound. So the only change you’re likely to feel is that which you’d expect from going from air to coil. But as Cane Creek product manager Sam Anderson points out, the coil version rides slightly higher, and offers some more natural mid-stroke support, though you lose the tunability of Cane Creek’s air spring. The coil system adds about 200 grams to the overall weight of a Cane Creek Helm fork. It’s still only available in a 27.5-inch version, and will be shipping by the end of 2017. In the meantime, we’ve got a long-term test of the Helm Air dropping very soon, so stay tuned.