Wolf Tooth GeoShift Angleset Headset Review: The Future is Now


Wolf Tooth GeoShift Angleset Headset Review: The Future is Now

Is your bike getting old? Are you having trouble keeping up with yearly geometry inflation? Has your bike’s lack of low and slack geometry got you down? Well, if so, Wolf Tooth’s engineers have just the product you need: a GeoShift Performance Angleset Headset.

Spencer decided to install a GeoShift Angleset in his 2021 Ibis Ripley AF, hoping to catapult it into the future. Will his tinkering in this review portent the arrival of an updated Ripley AF? Or is he barking up the wrong tree? Read on to find out…

I swear if this article doesn’t finally make “yearly geometry inflation” a thing, I’m outta here. Anywho, it’s 2024 and, wouldn’t you guess it, bikes are getting slacker, bottom brackets heights might have finally bottomed out, and top tubes are still getting longer. We seem to be reaching the geometric edge of what is rideable.

Until recently, I’d constantly find myself checking head tube angles when new bikes came out, wondering, “How much more slackerer did this year’s model get?” In my opinion, we mere mortals might reach the limits of rideability somewhere between 65º to 63º HTA. Or, maybe, just maybe, the prophetic Grim Donut will prove me wrong.

But if you’re like me, stuck wondering if your bike would benefit from a couple degrees slacker up front, the genius tinkerers at Wolf Tooth Components in Minnesota have created a simple way to find the answer you need (or dive deeper into the rabbit hole of geometry geeking). Meet the 2º Performance Angle Headset.

2º GeoShift Performance Angle Headset by the Numbers

Wolf Tooth makes many well-engineered components to hack your bike and make it work in ways manufacturers never intended. Since throwing their hat in the headset ring a couple of years ago, the brand has started offering 1º and 2º GeoShift headsets designed to, you guessed it, slacken or steepen your bike’s head tube angle by 1º or 2º.

These headsets have always intrigued me as a way to customize a stock bike to fit your needs, and you know I love tinkering. If you would like to read more about head tube angle and its impacts on bike geometry, I will direct you to this great article straight from the wolf’s mouth.

Quick Hits

  • GeoShift Adjustment: 1º or 2º
  • Price: $105
  • Sizing:
    • ZS44/28.6 upper, ZS56/40 lower
    • ZS44/28.6 upper, EC49/40 lower
    • EC44/28.6 upper, EC44/40 lower
  • Head Tube Lengths:
    • Short: 90 mm to 114 mm
    • Long: 115 mm to 140 mm

The GeoShift line falls into the performance tier of headsets from Wolf Tooth. This means the headsets have a one-year warranty, steel oxide bearings, and a low-profile top cap option. While technically below their premium tier of headsets, they don’t lack quality.

Additionally, there are no integrated GeoShift options. Without being able to change the angle of the bearings to match the new steerer angle, there’d be too much stress on the bearings to be reliable.

Ibis Ripley AF Part Deux: The Slackening

I used a ZS44/ZS56 2º GeoShift headset (long) for my XL Ibis Ripley AF. Note the Ripley AF is already the slacker cousin of their venerable standard Ripley. With a 65.5º headtube angle, you may be asking: why even bother? Well, I love my Ripley AF and have been struggling to find a replacement I’m equally stoked on, but I always feel compelled to see if the grass is a bit greener on the slacker side. So tinker I must.

Thanks to John’s generosity a few years ago, I have an amazing Cane Creek Helm Coil fork on my current rig. It has the amazing ability to adjust travel in just a few minutes with minimal steps.

I had previously bumped the travel on the Helm up to 150 mm for the Ripley AF. In that overforked configuration, I found that the resultant bottom bracket rise and seat tube slackening made it hard to properly put my weight into the bike’s front wheel and thus produced a less-than-fun riding experience. This led me back to the stock 130mm travel.

That was until Wolf Tooth released their 2º GeoShift headset, which I felt was a proper amount to actually feel a difference once sag and all the jazz are factored in. I thought using the GeoShift headset would allow me to use more fork travel without having the seat tube angle get too slack.

I hypothesized that as the head tube angle slackens, the bottom bracket will drop and the seat tube angle will steepen. That bottom bracket drop was really the crux of this whole idea. Since the desert is quite rocky, I can’t afford to have a low bottom bracket.

2º GeoShift Performance Angle Headset Installation

Installing a GeoShift headset is pretty standard, with one exception: you better put it in the right way. The headset can be used both ways, to steepen or slacken by 2 degrees. They also provide some slick 3D printed drifts due to the high offset of the cups. They even have little notches so you can use a string tied to your seatpost to line up the cups if needed. Check out a great play-by-play instruction guide here.

Now, I forgot to take a “before” photo of my bike so I could make a sweet GIF of the geometry changes. D’oh! I’m also not a super fancy bike angle measurer, so I used what anyone would: my phone’s level app, which is understandably lacking in exacting measurement.

Before and after, I measured ~1º of angle shift for the seat tube and head tube angles with a loss of 4 mm to the bottom bracket. Since my phone doesn’t do tenths of angle degrees, it is probably not showing the two full degrees since the starting point was 65.5º. One thing I didn’t think about when installing was the loss in reach due to the upper cup offset, which is 3 mm shorter.

In addition to the 2º change, the bearings need to be moved out and above the frame, increasing the stack height marginally. There are just so many measurements to factor in.

Riding around the parking lot post-installation, the bike instantly developed that all-too-familiar slacked-out enduro bike feeling, with the head tube angle sitting around 63º to 64º. This was to be expected. I wound up setting my fork at 140mm to try and regain the marginal loss in bottom bracket height, which got it quite close to stock height again.

I think it’s important to note that the headset can be used both ways. I used it to slacken my head tube angle, thus lowering my bottom bracket, shortening my reach, and steepening my seat tube angle. You could install it the other way: steepen your head tube angle, raise your bottom bracket, and slacken your seat tube angle. Different strokes for different folks.

New Bike Day-ish

Ready to test out my super slacked-out short travel bike, it was time to hit the trails. We rode all the familiar trails, from the 50 Year rock rolls to the chunderfest of Mt Lemmon. The added suspension and front center are always welcome in Southern AZ. The ever-steeper seat tube angle helped manage the longer front center and keep things balanced.

I’m guessing Ibis has to be close to releasing an updated version of the Ripley AF soon, as it’s been a few years. How on the nose will my “custom” Ibis Ripley AF be compared to the new one? We will see…

Geometry Deflation

Jordyn, a local mechanic here in Tuscon, took a different approach with his Chromag Darco. I wanted to include his bike here as a case for using the headset in its positive orientation, which can be just as relevant.

Finding the Darco a bit too slack for his preferred riding, he used the GeoShift headset to add +2º his head tube angle. This, combined with an understroked rear shock, makes it the “best XC bike,” in his opinion. Sitting with a new head tube angle of ~66º,  a 160 mm fork, and 106 mm of rear travel, his Darco is quite a sight to behold.


  • An affordable way to customize geometry.
  • Includes drifts for easy installation.
  • Can be used to alter many dimensions of bike geometry in both directions.
  • 1-year warranty.


  • Lots of small changes in fit and geometry to consider, the most important for me being bottom bracket height.


If your bike geometry is feeling tired and you want to spice it up, I highly recommend Wolf Tooth’s range of GeoShift headsets for all your tinkering needs. Make sure to consider all the measurements that will shift when you install one of these headsets. Become unencumbered by the whims of the bike industry and take geometry inflation/deflation in your own hands. The power is yours.