Strata Cake is helping bike geeks add a bit of flair and shed a few grams in an often-overlooked component: headset spacers.
The St. Louis-based company 3D prints headset spacers from granulated carbon fiber mixed with polylactic acid. These CARBONCAKE spacers are made in-house and are available in 5mm, 10mm or 20mm heights. Plus, you can custom order a spacer even taller. According to Strata Cake owner Mark Claiborne, a 30mm CARBONCAKE weighs 8.6 grams and is 3.9 grams lighter than a similar-sized spacer from a leading carbon-fiber manufacturer that he uses for comparison.
Claiborne’s background is in CNC manufacturing, metal works, plastics, and product design and development. As an avid mountain biker and former bike mechanic, he was looking for a way to add a custom touch to his bike while also dropping a little weight. That’s when he turned to his 3D printer.
“I wanted to be more than a 3D printer hobbyist, and I’m a big bike nerd,” Claiborne said. “I looked at my bike for opportunities where those two aspects of my life could intersect. Headset spacers are crazy simple, but stacking multiple sizes of spacers to get the right stem height can be unsightly and cumbersome.”
Like Henry Ford’s Model T, you can have a CARBONCAKE in any color you want as long as it’s black. The surface of the first spacers produced featured a barcode pattern. The latest versions feature a triangulated surface that Claiborne says is twice as strong.
Retail pricing varies and is based on the size of each spacer; on average the cost is $1.50 per millimeter. stratacake.com
Author: Nick Brennan is a regular contributor to Terrain Magazine.