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Chris King Introduces Generation 4 Hub System

May 7, 2024 at 8:54
by ECHOS Communications  


Chris King Precision Components has announced a switchover to a new hub system, referred to internally as Gen 4. The new hub system's main changes are universalized drivers and axles. This is not a performance-based evolution. King’s signature bearings and RingDrive system remain the same, but Gen 4 makes service and upgrades easier and less expensive, with the intention of lowering the overall cost of ownership and increasing the useful life of each hub.

The evolution from the previous hub designs to the new Gen 4 system marks a leap forward in performance and serviceability. The previous generation featured the legendary RingDrive system coupled with a needle bearing design, which was phased out in 2019. Although effective, it was complex to manufacture, heavier, and exhibited 20% more drag compared to what was to follow. The twin-bearing system notably reduced drag; however, this design necessitated multiple axle and internal driver body variations. With the introduction of their Gen 4 hubs, CKPC streamlined the approach, offering universal compatibility and enhanced efficiency without compromising on their hallmark precision and durability.


bigquotesPrevious iterations of our hubs needed to balance compatibility with evolving external technologies, like the SRAM and Shimano drive systems, with our patented internals and bearings. With those core systems having stabilized, it gave us an opportunity to rethink what was going on inside our hubs, and so we took the chance to simplify things for our riders and streamline manufacturing. King Sales Manager Greg Hudson

Specific improvements with Gen 4 include:

- Brand new driver/axle system
- Improved compatibility/ease of changing Driveshell types
- Lower-priced conversion kits
- Better XDR user experience with threaded Driveshell end cap
- Easier assembly and disassembly (no axle wedge)
- Simpler preload adjustment (no spacer spring to compress)
- More versatility due to universal axle and internal parts
- More cross-compatibility due to common bearing sizes
- Backward compatibility with previous generations of King hubs
- Gen 4 R45D hubs utilize an updated adjusting clamp that allows for disc removal without the need to remove the adjusting clamp.


bigquotesFor Gen 4 we undertook a holistic development process for each of the three hub products Boost CenterLock/6-Bolt, R45D, and R45, collapsing the specs into a design that allows for a universal axle and internal parts. In previous generations, we chased specs that led us to different bearing sizes, etc. Gen 4’s universal parts have allowed us to streamline manufacturing, and as a result, helped us reduce hub prices AND the cost of the small parts long-term riders will want for hub service and upgrades.


Once outfitted with the Gen 4 system, transitioning to different drive systems will cost just $80. This represents a significant reduction compared to our previous conversion kits priced at $380 in 2023. Moving forward, Gen 4 R45D and Boost 6-Bolt conversion kits are priced at $275, which includes the axle, adjusting clamp, bearings, and driveshell. Similarly, Boost CenterLock conversion kits are priced at $250, inclusive of the axle, bearings, and driveshell.

The introduction of Gen 4 hubs underscores Chris King's commitment to sustainability by extending hub lifecycles and minimizing long-term ownership costs. Gen 4 hubs are shipping now along with being built into wheels.

Learn More Here

Author Info:
echoscommunications avatar

Member since Oct 11, 2017
81 articles

  • 55 1
 Why does the article say ‘this is not performance based evolution’ then not far after ‘marks a leap forward in performance’

Which is it chaps?
  • 47 0
 It's called marketing BS.
  • 37 0
 When AI writes your press release...
  • 5 5
 @riish: AI would’ve caught that.
  • 1 1
  • 2 0
 @Apfelsauce: AI doesn't really care about logic I found, it's great for chugging though data but for English it sucks. Maybe when AGI comes around we'll be getting good press releases.
  • 12 0
 "For Gen 4 we undertook a holistic development process" is pretty solid marketing speak too. I mean.....if I don't support a holistic development process, I'm likely part of the problem.
  • 2 0
 From what I understand, it is written by Echo S Communications. Read it out loud in a cave with a lot of echo (or with a digital delay effect of course) and it all makes sense. I'm sure they communicated it in their echo chamber and got the thumbs up.
  • 5 0
 @riish: Marketing departments have already been AI for decades. It's why the people who work there are called marketroids.
  • 1 0
 Haha, exactly what I thought when I read (and re-read) the press release. Can’t fool PB readers.
  • 1 0
 @tempnoo1: At that point (unless we’ve solved the control problem) we’ll have way bigger concerns than press releases.
  • 22 7
 Mixed feelings about Chris King lately. I went all out and got a nice new king hub set for my madonna. While I never had an issue per-say, there was nothing special at all about them and I would get the occasional loud clunk that sounded like it was coming from the hub internals when ratcheting up a steep climb in gear 1. They never even really sounded good with almost 1000km on them. My spank wheelset feels much more solid and sounds way crispier. I also paired it with a King headset that I was ALWAYS messing with. I replaced that with a wolf tooth headset and never once had to even think about it. Not even sure why im posting this, I guess I just feel a little foolish for being duped out of nearly 2k$. Ive had King hubs and headsets on other bikes and never had these issues
  • 6 1
 It's a data point, I think it's good to share!
  • 14 1
 I mean you’re talking about a company that ditched 6 bolt, what do you expect? They were a game changer back in the days of cup and cone Shimano hubs but these days you’d be better off on Hope / DT Swiss.
  • 5 0
That's been my take since I first had one of their headsets in the 90s. I just stick to basics like i9 or DT. I don't need perfection... I just need the Toyota Camry experience.
  • 4 6
 @thenotoriousmic: Because centerlock is a better design in every way.
  • 14 5
 Have you ever given them this feedback, to see what they have to say? Because bitching online doesn't sound like something constructive, regardless how you look at it.

And excuse me, but all the faults you are expressing above sound at least a bit vague. Your problems are that:

1. they were nothing special?
2. there was ”a clunk”, but not sure what it was?
3. they didn't sound good enough?
4. the headset is something you were always messing with, although you don't really tell why?

This is kindergarten stuff, honestly. The one with not soounding good enough is my absolute favourite. I will remember it for life, in the ”problems I have with my hubs” chapter.

Just for the record, King products have always been excellent to me, never ever had an issue with any of their stuff.
  • 1 0
 They come with pretty heavy grease from the factory so don’t count too loud.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: They must feel a little ashamed by this; none of the photo's in the article show the disc mount!
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: Oh yeah, Hope hubs with busted bearings after 20 miles of riding....
  • 7 2
 @Maxipedia: the lady doth protest too much? How dare someone criticize such a holy brand without science!
  • 3 2
 @Maxipedia: chill out bro sorry for criticizing the holy king. Ive had 6 sets of king hubs in my life and 4 bikes with their headsets, never had any issue and liked them so much I continued to pay the premium. That was until the most recent purchase, which i've experienced issues with.

Some rides Id have to tighten the headset mid ride. Best case, id have to tighten it multiple times per week. I am certain this wasnt mechanic error. Both a CC40 and Wolftooth headset worked flawlessly on that same bike. And yes there is no doubt that a factor in buying CK hubs is for the sound, among other reasons. At least for me anyways. And no i didnt feel the need to reach out to chris king. I am a very tolerant person and made them work for me. Just sharing my experience, ive spent over 8k with this brand.
  • 2 2
 @snide: I mean it’s pretty hard to feed a perfectly flat sheet a steel into a laser cutter and get it wrong where Shimano seem incapable of following through with their own designs by making a perfectly straight centre lock rotor right out of the box. Which is one of the reasons why shimano brakes have massive clearance because they know the rotors won’t be straight then you have the whole issue of the rotor rocking on the splines and coming loose, which you won’t have the tool to tighten out on the trail unlike 6 bolt. Probably the worst design in mountain biking. I won’t take anyone seriously who choose to use centrelock unfortunately so you’d be wasting your time responding as you’re obviously clueless. Wink
  • 1 0
 Have you had the hubs serviced or re-greased?
  • 1 0
 @redfoxrun: I am 5 years on mine and haven’t touched them since initially adjusting the tension.
  • 17 0
 I'd love to buy this, but my HOPE PRO4's have about 40 years of life left in them.
  • 4 0
 I bought Pro 4's based on reviews like this only to have short bearing life and freehub fractures.DT350 and Chromag R4 have been significantly more reliable.
  • 1 0
 I have 11 years of use and abuse on my Hope Pro 2 evos with no failures. I replaced the pawls and bearings for the first time last year but don't think they even really needed it. I don't ride in wet conditions though, so all my bearings seem to last forever
  • 1 0
 @enduro29er: no offense, but your either really light, or don't ride a lot. Their Free hub bearings do not last (at least in the Pro2 Evo.) Back when they were popular, three of us had them, and all three disintegrated the free hub bearings between 1.5 and 3 years. And that was when cassettes only went up to 36t...
  • 1 0
 @enduro29er. Or maybe the dry conditions are key? We don't live in dry conditions...
  • 1 0
 @SoloJoe: Yeah I live in the desert and my 6+ year old PRO4's are "like-new" inside. I was genuinely surprised when I took it apart recently.
  • 1 0
 @enduro29er: I would say size, weight, power etc... plays a big role as well as the typical weather conditions. I'm a reasonably big guy, and I can put down big watts (for very short periods).... enough to crack a freehub open but I also don't think a freehub should succumb to weekend warrior dad power like it did. I get no more than 1 season out of bearings, ~2000km or so.
  • 14 0
 Cut-a-way views of mechanical contrivances are friggin great.
I love "desk art" pieces like these, I wonder if you could purchase them?
  • 6 0
 I've been to some plastination exhibits and wondered the same thing.
  • 1 0
 Back when I ran a shop you could get one through the importer, I'm sure if you ask nicely they'd sell you one.
  • 1 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: Thats fair.
I did reach out to the guys at Cascade Components asking for any links that might not have passed QC, etc. They were great and hooked me up with a really cool piece of desk art that I covet to this day. Their links look like jewellery, and having it on my desk makes me smile.
  • 14 3
 If you’re thinking about buying anything from Chris King you should head on over to Glassdoor and read some employee reviews about working there.
  • 7 0
 or read reviews on their recent hubs ... I wouldn't risk my money and time, great history, just not great recent history.
  • 9 1
 I have no idea what changed. This press release needs some work
  • 1 0
 Reads like its now cheaper to change standards
  • 3 1
 As someone who has connections within the factory, and has seen the process, met the people and ridden the gear, I think much of this input is BS. It's an amazing company with a commitment to it's employees and products beyond the norm. WAY beyond. Hell, they even use canola oil for machining, and they are a B Corp to the core.https://chrisking.com/blogs/news/we-must-be-the-change-in-the-world-we-seek
  • 2 0
 My experience with Chris King hubs has been that they're a "buy it for life" purchase. I have every set I've bought and they all work flawlessly. I did buy the tool a few years back, but I've not needed it yet...which makes me feel a bit foolish. My King BBs, headsets, and hubs have all been absolutely great.

I like parts that don't require my thought.
  • 7 0
 Hadley ain't so bad either
  • 3 6
but then again i'm often wrong so take that with a pinch
  • 2 0
 @truenorthsimon: my favourite... Just extremely hard to get
  • 4 2
  • 2 0
 @truenorthsimon: Hadleys are amazing. Always have been
  • 1 0
 my thoughts on selected 'specific improvements' ...

- Better XDR user experience with threaded Driveshell end cap ... nice ... I think currently it's just pressed on, meaning the cassette/Driveshell can literally fall off when handling the wheel.
- Simpler preload adjustment (no spacer spring to compress) ... nice.
- Backward compatibility with previous generations of King hubs ... that is quite impressive - if you need to change your axle, now it's cheaper and has these other benefits.
- Gen 4 R45D hubs utilize an updated adjusting clamp that allows for disc removal without the need to remove the adjusting clamp ... nice - this extra step of removing the axle clamp before removing the disc lockring is small irritation.
  • 4 0
 Cheaper and longer lasting? Sounds good
  • 4 0
 Do you still need a proprietary and pricey tool to service the hubs?
  • 11 7
 Service Chris King hubs? No, never needed to do that. The most I've done to mine is wash them off after muddy rides.
  • 4 0
 Sweet. I wonder how they compare to onyx hubs. I love my vespers.
  • 4 0
 Onyx fan here. I like noise and I also like no noise. I almost feel like I need a mountain lion bell with silent hubs. Most lions are used to the buzzing and stay away.
  • 1 0
 Hated that spongy engagement on my classics. Drive bearing blew up so easy too
  • 4 0
 CK left my radar when they stopped making King Cogs.
  • 1 0
 Those cogs were amazing. They have also left my radar too!
  • 2 0
 dont like my king rear hub. constantly have to adjust preload comes loose. needed service few times to get rid of clacking sound. too finicky of a hub
  • 4 1
 @echoscommunications But does it still sound like angry bees??
  • 7 9
 Hopefully not. Quite is underrated
  • 1 0
 @petemacmtb: the sound of tires on trail is the best.
  • 4 0
 @petemacmtb: Is it quite underrated?
  • 1 0
 @barp: grrrr, I meant quiet!
  • 4 2
 Here I forgot all about these guys. We’ve all been bullied on to I9s and didn’t even know there was options.
  • 6 1
 You just wanted colorful spokes like the rest of us
  • 1 0
 still can't stand it that their dh front hub is 6 bolt while their dh rear hub is centerlock. irritates the fuggggg outta me!
  • 2 0
 be nice to get an old 135mm 9spd hub again.
  • 1 0
 I've got one on a ti GT hardtail. 20ish years and music to my ears. Hands down all time favorite hub.
  • 1 0
 I've got a nice red set of CKs just like you want and I'll never part with them.
  • 1 0
 @Explodo: and funn bolt for the win
  • 1 0
 never thought id see CK lower prices
  • 2 0
 Yep only 1 billion rupees now instead.of 2 billion rupees

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