If you've got a bike frame with a 44mm straight headtube you have a couple of fork steerer options. You can run a 1-1/8" straight steerer with zero stack (ZS) cups, but if you'd like to use a 1-1/8" - 1.5" tapered steerer, Cane Creek makes it possible with this 40 Series Tapered ZS44 EC44/40 Headset. The 44mm headtube is just roomy enough for a tapered steerer as long as the lower cup houses the bearing outside the head tube. As such, this headset is technically a traditional tapered 40-Series, but the 1.5" lower cup has a 44mm O.D. skirt for the press-fit into the frame. It will do the same job as the more expensive 110 Headset, but like the Ford Model T, it's only available in Black. That saves you some bucks.
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 44 Tapered Headset is anodized Black. Cane Creek adds laser etched graphics including their Skink logo. This is a tapered traditional headset that will mate a fork with a 1-1/8" - 1.5" tapered steerer tube to a 1-1/8" ZS straight head tube having a 44mm i.d. The top bearing cover is compatible with Cane Creek Interlok spacers.