Chris King's New DropSet 6 Headset is Built for Abuse

Feb 12, 2024 at 15:03
by Matt Beer  
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Headsets may seem like a mundane component but they can certainly cause headaches when they wiggle loose. Chris King's DropSet 6 is now available in the IS41/IS41 standard for straight steer tube forks, most frequently found on downhill bikes, and features their patented GripLock retention device to avoid that dilemma caused by jarring impacts.

The GripLock uses an isolated wedge system that allows the bearings to be preloaded properly and stay tight without needing to crank down on the top cap. They say that standard headsets without the isolation of the GripLock wedge are susceptible to loosening over time and transmit undesirable forces to your steer tube.
DropSet 6 Details
• Patented GripLock retention device
• 41mm, 45x45-degree bearings
• Made-in-house bearings
• Lifetime warranty
• Available in all Chris King colors
• MSRP: $176 USD ($296 with ceramic bearings)
chrisking.com/

bigquotes...is accomplished by isolating the thrust force that passes through the steerer tube from the bearing race that provides the radial force that preloads the headset bearing adjustment. In standard headset systems this preloading wedge is affected by each impact that runs through the steerer tube making the headset more susceptible to coming out of adjustment.

This is why a non-Griplock equipped headset will come out of adjustment in rough terrain or over a long ride; the wedge has been essentially hammered out of position. At the same time this hammering effect causes the wedge to clamp down repeatedly on your steerer tube. This repeated clamping could have an adverse affect on steerer tubes in particular those made out of advanced materials like carbon fiber where it could potential score and fatigue the steerer tube.
Chris King

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Good enough for the Santa Cruz Syndicate.
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All of the colors of the Chris King rainbow.

The DropSet 6 retails for $176 USD with stainless steel bearings, or $296 for the ceramic option. Both version are made by Chris King at their Oregon, USA facility and come with a lifetime warranty.

Author Info:
mattbeer avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2001
361 articles

175 Comments
  • 101 1
 It is kind of funny to hear Chris King talk about their "patented GripLock" tech. Didn't Chris King essentially avoid using a tapered split ring when it was protected by the Aheadset patent, and use an inferior o-ring design (for years) that scored steerer tubes? And conveniently, when that patent expired in 2010, guess what showed up in their headsets.
  • 10 1
 Yeah my CK headset made a 'nice' ring around the steerer of my Marzocchi Z150FR fork, and the headset was always well adjusted. They weren't great for long flexy forks.
  • 12 0
 KING as did not make XD hub body/Hubs cuz they thought it was a fad.
  • 39 2
 @racecase: Yeah and they stopped making Campagnolo freehubs. And Singlespeed hubs. And the amazing stainless singlespeed cogs. And spare parts for those hubs. I get the economics of focusing on what sells most; but that wasn't why I spent a premium on Chris King stuff. Other hub manufacturers have a better track record for longer term support and supporting more niche stuff IMO.
  • 12 0
 @nspace: To their credit, I am still running my Chris King SS hub/cog from 2007.
  • 24 1
 Don’t forget that they also refused to make integrated headsets for years, calling it an inferior system.
  • 3 1
 @thustlewhumber: Same, no complaints about quality of the product—I just hope I don't need parts!
  • 37 0
 @panthermodern: Well it definitely is an inferior system.
  • 25 10
 100%. I don't have time to support a brand that shit talks a competing patent for decades and then adopts that patent's designs the moment they're able.

I can't think the last time I saw a new mountain bike with King components on it. I9 and Onyx have all the market share for hubs, Cane Creek and Wolftooth for premium headsets. King is still living on a reputation they build in the 90s when everything else sucked. Plus they did all of their dealers dirty during the pandemic.
  • 21 3
 @nspace: Choose Hope instead and you won't have to hope for spare parts to be available!
  • 5 0
 @GTscoob: can you explain how they did dealers dirty? Asking because we just became dealers after a ridiculously rigorous application.
  • 5 3
 @b1k35c13nt15t: In a nutshell, without any advance notice, they dropped most of their B and C customers. This affected a lot of bike shops, smaller manufacturers, framebuilders, etc. This included restricting access to their products on Q from what I recall.

Just another way that King has stepped aside and let newer, more competitive products steal their market share.
  • 2 0
 @racecase: Oh Mighty ISIS
  • 25 2
 2010. Y'all can really hold a grudge.
  • 3 1
 *scored steerer tubes _and_ came loose every few rides on long travel single crown forks, no matter how perfectly installed/adjusted.
  • 5 4
 @barp: Everytime I see someone praise Hope I think about how they did so many people dirty by not warranting their faulty fatbike hubs. My hub body is split right down the middle as did many people's fatbike hubs.
  • 10 0
 @barp: I went with White Industries on my recent build. Easy to service. Spare parts are always available. Full gamut of freehubs available (which are also titanium!), and Sean is a pleasure to deal with; always picks up the phone and happy to answer questions! Fantastic company.

Have had good experiences with Hope too (but their seat clamp design is a massive turd).
  • 2 1
 @BrambleLee: If 2010 was the only blip on the ol' CV, I would agree.
  • 7 0
 @barp: Hope all the way. Got Hope headsets and BBs on 3 bikes, the oldest HS is 12 years old and still smooth as butter. Also the only BB30 that has never died on me.
  • 6 0
 @GTscoob: If you want a good hub look into Hadley. I have a set on my big bike on wheels made in 2006 and the wheels are still going strong (with hard Shore use). The hubs? Still on original bearings, spin as new. The freehub has yet to be rebuilt and still as new. Impressive is an understatement.
  • 5 0
 @ajantom: Use to use Hope hubs in the old days (first one was the ti glides) but the bearings needed replacing ever year it seemed, even the front. Bulb was the same. Once I switched to Hadley I haven't gone back. Hope brakes, however, are another story.....25 years and I refuse to use anything else.
  • 10 0
 I started with 2-pot Hope brakes when people on the Forums were still calling disc brakes overkill and said they would never catch on. I loved them even though I could barely bleed them and a lot of shops had no clue. I had to ship them to that lovely English ex-pat (can't recall his name) in Cherry Valley (Inland Empire, SoCal) just for a bleed and service. I still have a LARGE array of their rotors hanging on the garage wall from the early farm-equipment-looking jobs to the lightning bolt laser cut units. I ended up not caring about brakes as much when the Industry caught up, but Hope will always have a place in my heart. There is still a faded sticker on a window at the back of the flat: "I've got Hope. have you?" So British. Oi!
  • 3 0
 @chuoi152: Never heard about that! What model was it? I actually have a Pro 4 Fatsno that's running just fine, although I can't say I have a lot of miles on it.

And to be clear, I was just praising them for keeping parts available for old products, because the perfect pun presented itself.
  • 1 0
 @nspace: Man, I still have a 90's 'Speed Racer' rear hub I keep meaning to rebuild. It's amazing they are still in business and able to provide parts and service for ancient products. They are the best kind of small North American company that should be supported if at all possible - respect to you for doing that!!
  • 5 0
 @corerider: Hadley is another example of OG bombproof underground MTB component making. \m/
  • 5 0
 Especially when talking about a ”dropset”. Chris King used to have long rants on their website why putting the bearings directly in the frame is a horrible idea…
  • 1 0
 However, King had licensed the the split ring from Canecreek (together with other ahead technology) but chose not to use it for some reason.
  • 5 0
 @suspended-flesh: I'm still rolling on a Hadley 15 years going.
  • 3 0
 @chuoi152: Personnaly it's their cassette made of english cheese with a proprietary freehub for an exorbitant price that they stopped sourcing instantly after I bought it that left me a bit sore.
  • 4 0
 @GTscoob: DT Swiss may have some market share there too
  • 1 0
 @BrambleLee: you bet we can
  • 3 0
 @suspended-flesh: Sad part is most people don't know about them or have ever seen them. I recently had a rear wheel built up for a hardtail with a 157 Hadley rear and the shop was over the moon about the hub. Couldn't believe the quality and engagement, and no one in the shop had ever seen one. I guess it is true about marketing and exposure.....
  • 2 0
 @corerider: They could probably use a company website. They have a pretty dormant IG, too
  • 2 0
 @corerider: I’ve had king, dt, Hadley and now i9 1/1. Hadley are the best I’ve seen, so smooth and very well sealed. Take apart a king after a season and do the same for the Hadley and the amount of gunk let in the king by comparison is not even close. Their headsets still don’t have a sealed lower race and their bearing just use a dust seal, not even a a real wiper lip. Used to live king and they were great at one time but they’ve not kept up.
  • 62 6
 Chris king makes beautiful components but they are expensive and I am not sure they perform better then some less expensive domestically made headsets
  • 35 16
 They don't.

That's the point. CK is BLING. They are the 20" rims of the bicycle world.
  • 28 2
 TLDR: CK headsets are reliable and will probably outlast your frame. Reliability wise they are AAA. Performance wise (I imagine you are thinking about it being smooth) I cannot tell a difference between other good brands headsets (FSA, CC, Hope). IMO CK headsets are among the finest looking as well.
With that being said I´d advise you buy one if you plan to keep it for a long time or need abnormal reliability, but if you change bikes every couple seasons, go with a Cane Creek or Hope and you´ll be fine.

...

I´ve had a CK headset outlast a frame (the frame cracked due to fatigue (10+years of use)). I still have the headset but since it is an old standard (1/8 press fit cups), today it stands as a paper weight. Funny thing to see it outlast a frame and a few standards...
I also have a FSA PIG DH headset that is still going strong on the commuter. It functions based on lack of maintenance, absolutely not a single drop of grease and water/dirt/cow manure ingress, but no impact or extensive use.
On my XC (spark 2020) bike I also use FSA headsets and already bust 3. I buy them because they are cheap, but they are not that reliable. I might go with a CK for this bike when the current headset fail, but that will depend if I plan to sell that bike soon or not. I should´ve bought CK in the first swap probably. I guess I´d see more value added, but now, on the 4th season and 4th headset I dunno if I will keep this bike for too much long. Believe it or not I consider that a negative when considering a CK headset (or I can buy one and put an old one when it is time to sell, let future me worry about that). On the enduro I have Cane Creek headset that is still going strong after 2 seasons with little maintenance required (the bike doesn´t get too much use tho, but it is the one I abuse the most).
I also had hope headsets that never gave me a headache but I do not have any in my current fleet.
  • 11 0
 @totaltoads: I've swapped at least five from old to new bikes for customers, but never have I needed to change a bearing because of wear or rust. They are expensive, but getting a new bearing every year or two is aswell.
  • 8 0
 @NickBosshard: Same here, I bought a CK headset in 2020 for my Spec Enduro and it is currently in the 4th Frame (since the Enduro always cracks sooner or later) but the headset is still going strong.
  • 11 0
 @totaltoads: you obviously don't have a bmx background.
  • 2 2
 *than
  • 10 3
 Cane Creek 40 for life. I just change the bearings sometimes, keeping the cups. It's damn cheap and it perfectly does the job. What else?!!
  • 11 0
 @RockCrawler: I have a 'Rasta' CK headset that has been feelin Irie since the 90s with no issues.

I should add that back in the day when you got a new frame you took it to a NORBA race and Chris would personally install it at his booth. Prior to that he put thar Rasta version in at a very early Sea Otter by the headlights of his ond pickup truck. He always faced your headtube as well...
  • 4 0
 I have only just replaced an FSA on one of my bikes, which I bought in 2008 I think. For me a headset lasting a long time is an expectation, not an exception. It's a very basic object. I replaced it with a very cheap Brand X one and I have similar expectations because it's a lump of aluminium with some bearings in it.
  • 9 0
 @suspended-flesh: legend! King used to volunteer at the Enduro races and cook lunch for everyone with food from the local market.
  • 5 0
 @sammyboy2038: he also use to serve freshly grilled tri-tip BBQ from his booth at Interbike Dirt Demo...
  • 4 1
 @rbeach: Beat me to it. I have had an FSA ORBIT MX on my road bike for two decades, 15000km of Belgian weather and potholed roads and still rolls as smooth as I'd like it to. I've been eyeing CK and WT for the added bling, but the damn thing refuse to die... Headsets are not a comodity, I'd say buy the one you like the most because you'll be basicaly married to that thing.
  • 2 0
 @freebikeur: True, but my point was that you don't need to spend a lot to have a headset which works for a long time.
  • 32 0
 As a pre-teen we would practice and do some local races in Santa Barbara, CA. Original home of Chris King, I remember the vast majority of bikes had CK headsets installed - was always a headset I wanted. Every Dan's Comp catalog I'd circle it and ask for Christmas. My parents were very practical and instilled in me that a standard Cane Creek headset is just fine. All to be said, as an adult I finally splurged and purchased my dream headset.
  • 5 0
 Nothing wrong with Cane Creek. But if you have the money...
  • 8 0
 @fiatpolski: . I am a huge king fan, have several sets of hubs and headsets. The in house bearings are best in the industry. I have 2 hubsets on DJ bikes with over 16 years of abuse!

but to be honest, the chris king headset retaining systems using o-rings is total garbage and always makes some creek sounds under heavy load. This is where say a 110 or hellbender 70 may in fact be a better headset minus the matching bling. I ended up buying a 110 for my altitude rally a few years ago since king didnt have a drop in headest for me, and it ended up being a way more silent headest.
  • 12 1
 They are one 100% jewelry. I've bought two in my life, haha. I figure people have no problem spending 200$ on a button up shirt which can get gravy splashed on it, what is wrong with this bit of fashion that'll last years and years if you so desire.
  • 4 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards: 16 years on king hubs is pretty unreal, very few hubs are holding up like that. and I have never had to replace a king. so I'd say the in house bearings is worth the money, just wish they would go to a traditional wedge design.
  • 2 1
 @BoneDog: I'm on my second set of hubs. First ones had the internals warrantied after a couple of years (which also led to sketchy moments) and the newer set have come loose more often. I'm not sure I'm blown away, personally. Man they look nice, though!
  • 8 0
 sorry but the phrase 'dream headset' made me chuckle
  • 11 0
 What’s the point of being an adult if you can’t buy your dream headset?
  • 1 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards: I still have the pewter 1 1/8 straight CK I bought in the late 90s. It sits in a plastic jar.
  • 6 7
 @jesse-effing-edwards: yeah, I always wanted Chris King hubs (still do), but they also have a history of needing frequent tweaks and fixes at shops. They kind of feel akin to like bmws or something.
  • 2 0
 @panthermodern: That seems to be the case for me to. I'd rather set and forget hubs, but, on my second set I had a bit of a deal and got the matte slate with matching headset and it looks friggin badass on my 'other' bike, haha. There was a time when you had far fewer high-ish engagement hubs, so King had that too, but now hope etc. are all adding more engagement so there's less of a need. For all my king knocking, I've actually trashed every other hub I've had, so maybe they are good!
  • 7 2
 @fiatpolski: maybe unpopular opinion but CC110 > CK. And props to the Cane Creek warranty dept for supporting me when a CC110 headset on a used frame I bought crapped out (older unserviceable design); they sent me a brand new one, no questions asked.
  • 3 6
 @BoneDog: "best in the industry"

By what measures? Please link me to your data, would be very keen to know how you have reached this conclusion objectively and with evidence.

If you can't do that then you're just trying to justify your purchases.

It's fine to like nice shiny things, I definitely do, but lets not make things up - but maybe you're not, maybe you have the empirical evidence...
  • 4 3
 @rbeach: Chris King and their bearings are widely regarded as some of the best in the bike industry for almost forever. You don't need pedantic 'source??' or 'eveidence??' social media explicitives to know this if you have been around for any period of time in the industry. I am sure someone has tested this out at one point or antoerh. That said, like Chris King or not, willing/able to afford their components or not...thier headsets in particular have a long track record for a large portion of bike riders over the last 30+ years in the industry as some of the best with the bearings being top quality. You have just as much access to Google as @BoneDog ....
  • 2 1
 @rbeach: funny comment
  • 1 0
 @browner: dream big aye
  • 3 3
 @rbeach: I love my hopetechs, DT's, Hadleys, and Kings. I've wrenched on DH bikes for over 18+ years. I have a fleet of personal bikes with all sorts of different hubs.

When a customer comes in the shop with a pooched hope freehub body for the 3rd time, we sell them king hubs, and usually do not hear from them ever again. I have customers who are in the 250 lbs+ range riding XL enduro bikes, with 10+ seasons on their king hubs with zero issues.

I personally have 7 sets of chris kings hubs, some of which I originally bought in 2005 and were on my primary bike up until I finally gave up on boost spacing adapters and microspline freehubs maybe some 3 seasons ago. They are now repurposed on my commuter. bombproof

So my empirical evidence is first hand experience wrenching and riding bikes. King hubs are truly unreal. Hopetechs are my second favorite from a bling and cost point of view.
  • 3 3
 @BoneDog: King doesn't hold a candle to Hadley in my experience.
  • 3 2
 @bman33: Yes I need evidence for your claims. Please demonstrate to me exactly how they are the "best". What measures are you using and how are you determining it?

Belstaff charge a lot of money for their motorcycle jackets and are very expensive. Are they the most protective? No. Are they the most technologically advanced? No. But they are stylish and comfortable, which are measures.

So yes, I need your evidence.
  • 3 2
 @BoneDog: You're confusing first hand (i.e. anecdotal) experience with empirical. Lucky you work in a shop and not a lab.
  • 3 1
 @rbeach: We are talking about bike hubs and someone working at a bike shop. That's about the best data source possible. No lab rats necessary! I do enjoy getting notifications of these moronic comments.
  • 4 0
 @corerider: I want Hadleys, but they seem to actively avoid selling their product. Basically no web presence and shops can't get them easily access them. I hate forking over all the dough for a company that feels outta business. But yes, they check all the boxes for me.
  • 2 1
 @MidwestMountains: He is just being a pedantic troll. He knows it.
  • 1 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards: SAME. I love the idea of Hadleys but as a guy that's spent a decade in digital marketing and eCommerce, I really can't support a brand that actively is stuck in the stone age.
  • 1 0
 @GTscoob: Hadley has great stuff. I worked for a custom wheel builder most of the 90's and early 2000's. Love the Hadley hubs and old school BB's, but they barely have a website. Their marketing is accident if it exists at all, but their stuff is solid.
  • 2 0
 @GTscoob: it is so ridiculous. If they would get an online presence AT ALL, they would probably beat out all the other fancy hub makers as there stuff just seems bulletproof. But in Canada, but I basically have no option. I too work in marketing/advertising and the way they avoid sales is down right offensive. Just sell the brand!
  • 1 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards: it's mad to think that in 2010 guys we're just as frustrated that Hadley had no web presence or advertising
m.pinkbike.com/forum/listcomments/?threadid=94428
This makes me what to give up my obsession with King and go get a set of Hadley hubs Smile
  • 2 0
 @realfoodkev: dudes were literally using the world "ridiculous" to describe the lack of web presence. So dumb!
  • 2 0
 @rbeach: 7 hubsets, some of which with over 100,000 km over the span of nearly 20 years is empirical data. small study, but there are more numbers to it then just a parking lot test. im convinced these are the best hubs
  • 27 0
 "they can certainly cause headaches when they wiggle loose"

Now imagine the headache if someone decided to route cables trough a headset!
  • 11 0
 Blimey, their old headsets were built for abuse. I had an 1-1/8" that got passed on from frame to frame, and I'm pretty sure I'd still be using it if tapered headtubes never came along.
  • 2 0
 I have an old SIR 9 as a singlespeed with a straight steerer. The King headset in that bike moved around a couple times and has to be ~15 years old now. The bearings are still silky smooth and it never comes loose.
  • 2 0
 @Offrhodes: The red one in my 25YO Cannondale is going strong, but the red anno had turned a little.... pinkish.
  • 3 0
 Had the same black CK 1-1/8" headset though 5 different brands of broken frames. Stupid abusive riding and big breaks, sheered down tubes, etc. Headset remained perfect.
  • 2 2
 CK headset remains the only headset that I've ever broken (split cups)
  • 13 3
 I’ve been running CK headsets and bottom brackets for almost 30 years now on all my bikes. Haven’t had a single issue with any of them. I’ve been on the same CK BB and headset for the last 12 years and I just moved them to my new frame. That makes the sixth frame they have been on now. That’s value friends.
  • 7 1
 Other companies should really up their finishing game. I'm sure King sells a majority of their headsets to people who just want their bike to look cooler, in some cases so they can match the hubs. There are options for red, purple and typical colours but the matte slate and finishes like that look so good and almost no one does anything similar. If I'm spending 1000s on a bike, an extra 150 on my headset which I see all the time is not a huge increase in the grand scheme of things. It's one mediocre dinner or a pair of nikes. If you do invest in really nice hubs, it's great to be able to match the headset etc. exactly. Why Chris King doesn't make seat clamps is beyond me.
  • 5 0
 Different brands occupy different parts of the market though - Wolf Tooth and Hope for example make headsets and seatclamps in lots of colours but the finish is miles apart from Chris King stuff (as are 95% of other brands)

Does this matter? - only to probably a select few people who really care as the parts still look great installed, just maybe not so good in the hands or when really close-up.
  • 1 2
 @justanotherusername: But these guys could easily pull off some cooler finishes. CK is expensive cause of the machining quality and the bearings and the cool-guy tax. I think Hope / CC could offer more unique finishes and still charge quite a bit less than CK
  • 1 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards: What do you mean by unique, just quality of finish itself or a texture thing?

If you are talking about quality of finish - Chris King parts are unlikely to be machined to a different standard as the competition but the post machine finishing is much more extensive, from what I gather some items are individually hand polished, in this case it will take more labour time to polish the part than make it by some margin.

If you mean a different type of finish, well CK only really make headsets and hubs and many of the different finishes are limited quantities so a logistical nightmare for a larger range.

The realistic reason others don't to it is because it isn't worth it to them or most of their customers.
  • 8 2
 All the stuff theyve written about their system isolating thrust loads makes absolutely no sense. Not as in "I don't understand it", but more "I understand it and its nonsense". This headset uses a split taper ring just like any other. If it didn't your headset would have play you couldnt remove.
  • 3 0
 Apparently the GripLock is protected by US Patent 8662517, which expires in 2031, so I guess it's not identical to all the others? But from a cursory glance through the patent drawings, I don't see the difference. Anyone?
  • 2 0
 @barp: Only difference I can see is that the load path doesnt go directly through the tapered split ring, instead bypassing it and being transmitted directly to the upper bearing race. The split ring is preloaded by a compressible material trapped between the split ring and the headset top cap. However the split ring is still the part that fixes the steerer tube in position, so putting a compressible material in there seems to achieve roughly the opposite of what was intended, allowing movement between the two parts that are intended to remove play. The split ring is not however isolated from the loads, its just got some built in slop. If anything this would cause more wear on the soft aluminium (or carbon) parts, not reduce it.
  • 3 0
 @gabiusmaximus: My reading of the patent is they wanted to ensure the surface of their top cover and inner ring were able to meet for steering, and it also ensures a fairly consistent preload on the collet/split ring, rather than relying on the user's torquing of the stack off the star nut to get it right. Basically, it prevents a hamfisted user from overloading the split ring, and ensures good sealing. It is not as ideal a result as a good mechanic with clean surfaces/fasteners and a torque wrench, but it is probably a better result in many real world installations.

It is also demonstrably unnecessary, since every other headset I've ever used works just as well.
  • 2 0
 @barp: a griplok headset has a solid ring that sits on the bearing. That is then pressed onto the bearing by a split wedge that sits inside of it and is preloaded down by the topcap and oring.

It’s actually pretty clever and makes a really nice fit. You could debate if the extra parts are necessary but it is not the same as a “standard” headset.

bermstyle.com/chris-king-inset-tapered-headset-with-griplock
  • 7 0
 Wonder if they're strong enough to handle neighborhood pavement laps with the kids in tow? They can be quite brutal.
  • 4 0
 I had 14 stitches in my shin from one of those.
  • 2 0
 How many wheelies are you doing along the way?
  • 2 0
 @nickfranko: LOL, that's all I do! The kids think I'm a superstar. Love it!
  • 9 5
 CK stuff is simply the shit. I've used them on mine and Mrs Roxtar's last 5-6 bikes. They rule in any situation that rotates due to their far superior bearings. That said, the headset is the one place I've always felt might not be worth it, as the main force on a headset is impact, not rotational. However, I might be rethinking that. One reason CK bearings are so good is their amazing hardness. This would help against impacts. That and the tech they explain above may change my mind.
  • 1 0
 As long as you will have the frame long enough or can swap the headset to your next bike, it is worth it.
  • 5 1
 A CK headset does not die. Never change a bearing, maybe service them if you're bored every 5 years. It's a one time fixed cost with less maintenance than any other brand. When you're done sell it for pretty darn close to what you bought it for 5, 10 or 20 years from now. Best headset (bearings) on the planet.
  • 1 0
 True but in 5 years I’ve had 3 different headset standards
  • 1 0
 This is absolutely true, expensive yes. Worth it if you've got it, no doubt
  • 8 1
 Why anyone would manufacture a ceramic headset is beyond me....
  • 9 0
 I did wonder what the upoint of a ceramic bearing that sees maybe 180° degrees of rotation
  • 2 1
 It's the Emil edition.
  • 3 0
 "isolating the thrust force that passes through the steerer tube from the bearing race that provides the radial force that preloads the headset bearing adjustment." That makes my head hurt. There must be a simpler way...maybe "headset preload is isolated from radial bearing load".
  • 10 1
 It makes your head hurt cos it doesn't actually make sense. All they've actually done is put a split tapered upper compression ring in, just like everyone else uses. It doesn't isolate any of the things they are claiming it does
  • 4 1
 @gabiusmaximus: lol don't worry about the details; it comes in nice colours!
  • 1 0
 @Tambo: A pretty perfect description of the state of the cycling industry as a whole right now
  • 8 5
 A couple years back I got tired of replacing rusty headsets & bottom brackets every few months that used Enduro bearings (Cane Creek, RWC, etc.). I had already tried using "Premium" versions (CC 110, Hellbender, etc.) and they still all rusted out within a matter of months. I sucked it up and got Chris King, and they are still flawless. This year I pulled them apart just to check and flushed the grease while it was open, but they didn't really need it.

So, going forward, every bike of mine will get the stock headset/BB removed and stored in the proper receptacle (trash can) and replaced with a CK one if my current ones don't fit. My silver CK BSA30 BB and eeWings will keep moving from bike to bike as forever components.
  • 5 1
 Can I ask how your stainless bearing Cane Creek headsets 'rusted out'?
  • 3 2
 @justanotherusername: well, they turned orange-brown and stopped moving. Like many other shitty Enduro bearing products.
  • 12 3
 @andeh23: Cane Creek bearings aren't Enduro though are they, or are you saying they are the same in terms of quality?

More importantly though - why didn't you ask CC for a replacement using the 110yr / 1yr minimum warranty you have with their headset? - strange you just binned hundreds of dollars of product in a matter of months without caring to get support.

Are you sure it wasn't the '40' headset you were using - again I find it odd to hear a full stainless bearing went rusty in a matter of months to the point it wasn't possible to rotate it.

Sounds like you are a bit confused here, or talking plain old shite.
  • 5 0
 @andeh23: Do you store your bike at the seashore?
  • 4 2
 @gtill9000: Its made up nonsense, he's confusing enduro and CC bearings and likely used a cheaper non-stainless model which is how it rusted.
  • 2 0
 @gtill9000: don’t be ridiculous, aquariums are far more practical for bike storage than the seashore.
  • 4 1
 @gtill9000: I do in fact live on the coast, but my bikes are stored in a garage. I had multiple CC 40 bearings die. After the second set, I stepped up to 110 bearings because they're inter-compatible with 40 cups. Still rusted out but lasted about 9 months instead of 6. For bottom brackets, I had a CC Hellbender bottom bracket (the one with the "solid oil" bearing) and that thing rusted solid within a few months. CC did send me some SKF bearings as a replacement and quietly discontinued that line. While waiting on that, I tried a RWC BSA BB which had Enduro bearings, which also rusted out. It's not just me, other guys who live here have experienced the same thing with CC/FSA headsets and BBs. The solution that works here is CK.
  • 3 0
 @justanotherusername: 440C stainless is what they use for bearings, and it will rust. I had the same experience with a 110 headset. Not worth the money. However, I’ve had multiple CK headsets without issue. They have better sealing.
  • 4 1
 @FatSanch: why didn’t either of you use the warranty available to you and get replacement 110 bearings - you would have received replacements.

And yes, 440 will corrode / rust, but getting one to the point it’s so rusty it won’t rotate in a few months would likely require deliberate neglect.
  • 2 1
 @justanotherusername: mine never felt nice from the get go and never got so bad that I felt like going through the trouble. Sold the bike and honestly went with cheap headsets for the last year due to changing standards and bikes. Recently I built a bike with the express purpose of keeping it for the next 10 years. It got a King headset and bb.
  • 3 0
 I have used a CK headset in a bike since 2000, and refuse to use anything else. Expensive, yes. You get what you pay for. I have a CK headset in my deceased 2006 Foes Fly (which died in 2014) and with no service at all, full Shore use, the headset spins as new.

The headset is one component, since it is press fitted, I take comfort in knowing I get the best. If your HS fails, I am loathe to repress a headset since with each install it slightly reams the headtube and makes it wider. This is not good. I never swap or replace headsets, and CK gives the comfort of reliability, quality and smoothness. It truly does outlive bikes....
  • 3 0
 Chris King has been focused on sustainability since The 90‘s. They started using soy based machining oil and use a press to reclaim/recycle it, then send the resulting aluminum pucks for recycling. They also brought anodizing in house because bovine was doing it to their environmental standards.
I have a huge amount of respect for them for that alone. I still have a bike in service with a CK Headset from 2001, with absolutely no maintenance.
  • 3 2
 But don’t the cow farts offset the environmentally conscious anodizing?
  • 2 0
 @boopiejones: ha! You and autocorrect got me. Those damn cows dump all the chemicals down the drain!
  • 7 2
 If you could please do the reach adjusting headset for the general public, that would be awesome.
  • 3 0
 It would be $350+ from Chris King and you can already get them from Works Components, Nukeproof, Superstar etc.
  • 3 1
 I had a 1" one CK headset I rode when I was in my twenties and riding my bike enough that I would wear out clipless pedal shoes in under a year, and they were flawless. That was a long time ago, but they don't seem to have changed in regards to product quality.
Their rear hubs on the other hand, now that is a different story. In the 90s, they were the first hub to have appreciably faster engagement, and that was a serious thing for technical riding, and especially trials. There simply was no competition at the time (that I'm aware of).
From 1999 to 2003, I bought three King rear hubs- a 135mm classic, a 135mm non-disc single speed, and a 135mm ISO disc. Every one of them had a wobbly rear axle. There were two choices- tighten the hub enough that the wobbling was gone, but then have drag and chain sag when back pedaling, or loose it enough to eliminate drag and chain sag but leave the axle slightly loose.
Every time I see a King rear hub, I walk up to the bike, grab the tire and move it laterally. Every King rear hub I've done that to rattles. Every one. Which is around thirty hubs. I had a frenemy who did this to my bike whenever he saw me with it, with the implication that I was an idiot who wasted money on bling. He was wrong at the time because King rears' low weight and fast engagement were still in their own class, but now the market is loaded with options that are as good or better.
Another issue (hopefully now solved) is that the adjuster lockring used an English measurement hex key and was recessed so that you either had to remove the wheel and then the rotor to adjust it, or use a wonky ball wrench. It was a major PITA to do either of these- take the wheel off, try to adjust the hub, put the wheel back on, try it out, find it was too loose or too tight, try again.
I kept up some correspondence with CK for some time trying to solve the problem but finally just gave up because what they were suggesting didn't work; they even got passive aggressive with me because they knew their product has a problem that is next to impossible to solve.
So yeah, never again a King rear hub.
  • 6 1
 My current CK headset has been in my last 3 frames. And still going.
  • 5 0
 I have a FSA THE PIG for nearly 8 years and never had a maintenance...
  • 10 8
 Came here wondering if Pinkbikers could find a way to trash Chris King. Quickly found that if it isn't cheap, guaranteed for a lifetime, and the most innovative thing ever than it is garbage.
  • 1 0
 "Came here wondering if Pinkbikers could find a way to trash Chris King. Quickly found that if it isn't cheap, guaranteed for a lifetime, and the most innovative thing ever than it is garbage."

Comon Prime, you've been here long enough to KNOW the answer to that one without even looking Smile
  • 4 0
 I have never regretted changing out the mid-grade FSA or Cane Creek headsets that come with most bikes with a CK.
  • 3 0
 Isn’t the option really just between either a CK or Enduro?

Every headset I see other than CK is a few aluminum pieces and an Enduro bearing.
  • 3 0
 Does anyone know why tapered roller bearings never caught on for mtb headsets? They're the standard way of doing this on the moto side and seriously bombproof.
  • 1 0
 CK headsets are the best and very reliable. The BB’s for U.K. weather however are not! Swapped many before giving up on them!
Still don’t understand if I can use this new one on my Transition Spire?! Anyone know? Should it have some sort of cup to be pressed into the frame so the bearings sit inside first?
  • 2 1
 They are good ,but I think the best product in the Chris king is their bb ones ,man they are the best thing in the world without many maintenance,expensive yes but they last at least 20 or more time then the shimano ones ,it is for me the best product of them ,when I bought them I thought,yeahh right,but in the end ,what a product,thanks CK
  • 3 0
 All fine and dandy, but what are you waiting for to do a run of Titanium headsets?
  • 3 0
 A 300$ ceramic bearing headset is what we really need on a downhill bike . Thank you
  • 2 0
 I remember an indestructible steelset with extra long sleeves which once installed, was impossible to remove without physically cutting the fram off of it.
  • 2 0
 Some criticism here is justified, but most of it is not.

What gets forgotten is that Chris King manufactures their own bearings – a feat that should not be overlooked.
  • 3 2
 I'm going to just come out and say it - Having used CK and Hope everything for years, I can honestly say that Hope stuff [overall] is better...I don;t buy CK headsets and hubs anymore - Hope is just too good now...
  • 5 2
 The SYNDICATE is dead long live the SYNDICATE!!!
  • 14 14
 When I walk by a custom bike build and I see a CK headset I'm like look at this bougie thing and when I see a CC headset I think. This person rides their bike and wants no bullshit.
  • 4 1
 I’m with you on boogie bs but there’s a place for the expensive stuff. If you’re going through headsets and bottom brackets yearly then it can be worthwhile. Their bb has been amazing.

On my ss I’ve had 2 cc 40 rusted to death, a hellbender that self destructed from mud intrusion. Cc stepped up and gave me a 110 and it’s been perfect… but that 110 is the same price as a ck.

My other mtb has a ck hs and it’s been zero fuss for… gosh… 11 years.

What I really wanted to hear about is the ‘patented grip lock’. I bought a used road bike with ck headset that wouldn’t stay tight. I paid $40 for the grip lock and problem is solved. Sure feels like their original oring design was defective but at least they made and sold me an upgrade.
  • 1 2
 @captaingrumpy: news flash, the hellbender is the 110
  • 3 0
 @konadan: maybe today that’s true, they hellbendered everything. mine was the original slamset hellbender and my 110 was pre hell bendering. 110 is a damn nice thing to install. Nice labyrinth seals and just solid feeling.
  • 4 1
 @captaingrumpy: Had same issues with 2 CC 40 rusted to death, after that I decided to go with CK and is been like their reputation, flawless. Yes, they are very expensive but if you consider the headache and going through a couple of sets from another brand. Then money wise it suddenly breaks even at least, IMHO there is nothing like peace of mind and not worry about something that should just work.
  • 9 9
 Anyone who doesnt understand the value of a chris king headset(or hubs/bb) needs to wake up. The BEST bearings in the biz and for most users King parts will outlive them or the bike they ride for years.
  • 1 5
flag Thegnarberries (Feb 14, 2024 at 9:35) (Below Threshold)
 downvoted cause yall know im right haha
  • 4 1
 Three out of three of my rear hubs rattled all the time. It didn't cause any damage, but a 400 dollar hub should not rattle.
  • 1 0
 --
  • 2 0
 you guys replacing headsets? If I change bikes every 3 - 4 years, there is a lots of parts I never look for replacement
  • 2 0
 CK making a play for relevancy! Nice! Hopefully they can make a comeback with their hubs too...
  • 2 0
 Why would you spend $300 on a headset that isn't a cane creek 110? They're garuntied for life
  • 1 2
 Having used various made in america products in different industries, I'll be sticking with Hope for most things. The only american made products that have impressed me if my Schiit gear. Most is made to really terrible tolerances.
  • 2 0
 Hope that the legal team has signed off on the "built for abuse" 'cause the warranty team sure as hell has not.
  • 2 0
 But does it come in green?
  • 2 1
 Nerd Alert! Caution: Comments in this thread are extremely pedantic and bitter.
  • 1 0
 Chris King is to bicycles what Timken is to railways.
  • 3 0
 I have no doubt that this is a clever reference...just wish I got it ...
  • 2 0
 Headsets come loose?
  • 2 3
 daaaaamnn, I rather change my headset bearings each season rather that paying that price.
  • 1 1
 Well, if the same bearings last multiple years, why not but damn $180....
  • 1 2
 Chris King was hipster before hipster was hip. All the time in that Portland bubble is showing
  • 4 5
 Everyone hates on CK unless you have had a bike with their stuff…
  • 3 4
 Exactly. Downvoted by someone who has never used CK products…
  • 5 2
 I had three King rear hubs and all three of them had rattly axles. It didn't cause any damage mind you, but a 400 dollar rear hub should not rattle. I was a mechanic at the time and could and did solve some real problems, but my rear hubs were always either rattle-free but draggy or rattly but drag free. I've seen around thirty King rear hubs and every one of them was slightly loose.
  • 3 5
 Looks nice! Too expensive when there’s cheaper, better options available
  • 7 10
 Cane Creek 40 works fine.
  • 6 2
 That has not been my experience.
  • 2 1
 @Explodo: what could be an issue with headset? Shot bearing? You can get a new one in any LBS... what else can break there? I have CC 40 on my Session for 3 years now, and not really sure how long the previous owner ran it, but it has 0 issues with about 15 - 20 days hard DH riding every year in any weather conditions but rider that is soo soo and constant bottom outs and occasional crashes lol Big Grin
  • 3 5
 @valrock: The one 40 I used went bad(bearings) within a year. I don't bother to re-buy parts that fail that quickly.
  • 1 0
 Though I've not tried the 40, I recently (last year) got a 70 and I'm quite pleased. I've owned several CK headsets, and can say I'd rather have the CK, but sometimes the price tag causes reflection. I installed one of the early 1" NoThreadSets (stamped logo, no laser etch) in a frame ~25 years ago, and is still silky smooth.
  • 2 0
 I've had poor luck with the bearings in the 40. I've been using the Hellbender 70 since they came out and have not had any issues with those. I did once put a 110 series lower bearing in a 40, that once held up.
  • 3 0
 @als802: The hellbender and the 110 use the same bearings I believe.







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