Kendallwrote a review of Cane Creek Helm Coil 27.5 Boost Fork on February 17, 2020
Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
I had the pleasure of testing out the Helm fork on a 6.5 mile loop of fairly technical singletrack in the St. George area, and was thoroughly impressed with its performance for all aspects of riding. Set up for 160mm travel on a Santa Cruz Megatower (160mm rear travel 29er), the fork paired perfectly with this aggressive enduro steed.
As most would assume, the Helm terrorized every rock-roll, drop, and rock-garden with an unapologetic, unphased bravado that left me smiling on every down-hill section. Wherever you point it, it goes. The small-bump compliance lets you skip and bounce through less-eventful sections of trail with confidence, and the mid-stroke to end-stroke ramp up soaks up big, consecutive hits that would likely stump most air forks. Having ridden the Megatower with a Fox 36 in the 160mm and 170mm set up, I can fully attest to the capability of the Helm fork as my favorite of the three when it comes to descending. Everything about the fork felt great for on the downs, although the consecutive hit capability is the thing that stood out to me the most. The support for popping and playing was still there, yet the fork seemed to reset its travel between hits in a way that air forks don’t typically do, allowing for more aggressive riding on chunky descents.
The Helm surprised me the most when I was climbing. Having never ridden a coil fork, I was expecting bobbing from the front end when I stood up to pedal, but was thoroughly impressed with the Helm’s pedaling efficiency. I am someone who likes to stand up a lot while climbing, and the Helm provides a rock solid platform with minimal give off the top of the travel. When I stood up to climb, it just felt like an air fork, except the small bump compliance was still there. I found myself motoring over smaller rocks and bumps that I would typically steer around, except the Helm just let me carry through them whether standing or sitting.
The only instance when the Helm acted unexpectedly was on technical climbing bits, when I was really gunning to get up through square-edge hits on rocky features. It only happened once or twice on my loop, but I noticed when I was really pushing to get on top of something with my weight over the front tire, I dove a little deeper into the fork’s travel than I was expecting. This can probably be explained by my mediocre ability on technical climbs, but it seemed worth pointing out and likely would have caused me a little more grief on a longer loop.
Overall I was quite impressed with the Helm fork and I would be interested in owning one in the future. A 170mm travel option seems like it would be pretty neat, although I’d be lying if I said I found the bottom on the 160mm setup.