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Are chris king components worth the cash?

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Are chris king components worth the cash?

Old 03-24-05, 09:37 PM
  #51  
gregseto
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I have a king headset and wheels. The headset should be a set it and forget it kind of deal, which it most certainly is with a king. It never goes out of adjustment, its light, warrantied, and (I'm told) easily servicable.

The hubs are another story. They are certainly light and easily servicable, but the question of money comes in. Is it really worth $400 for the classic hubset? Methinks not, you could concievably achieve the same lightness with many cheaper hubs, or bomber-ness with many as well.

The "72 pawl ring-drive" doesn't seem to be a huge deal for me. There is some lag, as there is with any rear hub I've used, if you were to "cock" the pawls by backpedaling, and proceed to pedal normally, but it is much less noticable than a shimano. But, in my opinion, the engagement system itself is not enough to warrant the price tag. What does warrant the price is the reliability, the fact that you're supporting a company with good intentions, the servicability, and, at least for me, the sweet chainsaw sound.
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Old 03-24-05, 10:21 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Raiyn
You know how some hubs hesitate slightly when you start pedaling? Especially under load? King hubs don't do that. Every mm that you move the crank translates into movement of the hub. They don't have the Shimano "lag"
I thought all bikes did this...Interesting.

Still not worth the cash on my $500 bike though. LOL a $120 headset on a $500 bike.
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Old 03-24-05, 10:26 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by swifferman
I thought all bikes did this...Interesting.

Still not worth the cash on my $500 bike though. LOL a $120 headset on a $500 bike.
Here's a good thread from a couple of years ago concerning engagement points.
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Old 03-24-05, 11:43 PM
  #54  
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BikeColorado, Dirtgrinder, Jim...man those were the days.

Engagement points (as you can see by the thread khoun posted) are near and dear to my heart. The only boutique part I own is a handley hub and it single handedly improved my riding INSTANTLY. 36 point of engagement is amazing.
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Old 03-25-05, 12:59 AM
  #55  
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Heh since then I've come to appreciate a loud hub. Still much to be said for Ninja silence
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Old 03-25-05, 01:26 AM
  #56  
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Shimano silent clutch...16 points of engagement, heavy as a horse and silend like ninja...
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Old 03-25-05, 01:52 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by Maelstrom
Shimano silent clutch...16 points of engagement, heavy as a horse and silend like ninja...
I thought you discovered that the silent clutch had 36 points? At anyrate, are those available for 9sp? I thought they were only compatible with 8sp bodies. Also as I understand it, those things used plastic and rubber parts inside and were horrible for durability. They were spec'ed on a lot of police bikes.
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Old 03-25-05, 02:41 AM
  #58  
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You think that CK hubs have good engagement, yes I agree they are nice BUT look at the Hadley trials hub. It is a) the only hub that is warranteed for trials, b) rule for DH, light and super strong aka trials c) has a whopping 108 engagement points
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Old 03-25-05, 03:00 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by Hopper
You think that CK hubs have good engagement, yes I agree they are nice BUT look at the Hadley trials hub. It is a) the only hub that is warranteed for trials, b) rule for DH, light and super strong aka trials c) has a whopping 108 engagement points
Hadley trials has 108 actually...normal hadley for dh and xc has 36...

True precision has 108 (or soemthing like that...) and costs a small fortune. A good balance in cost and performance is hope or hadley.
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Old 03-25-05, 03:01 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by khuon
I thought you discovered that the silent clutch had 36 points? At anyrate, are those available for 9sp? I thought they were only compatible with 8sp bodies. Also as I understand it, those things used plastic and rubber parts inside and were horrible for durability. They were spec'ed on a lot of police bikes.
I have heard 3 numbers and never got anything solid (it was discontinued so I can't even find recent info)...16 and 24 were most common and 36 was one of two trials riders.
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Old 03-25-05, 05:29 AM
  #61  
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well the 240 supposedly has "star ratchet system" (whatever that it). I cant say ive ever been dissapointed with it, only thing i dislike is that it will cost 80 bucks for the tool kit to service.
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Old 03-28-05, 03:25 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by Hopper
You think that CK hubs have good engagement, yes I agree they are nice BUT look at the Hadley trials hub. It is a) the only hub that is warranteed for trials, b) rule for DH, light and super strong aka trials c) has a whopping 108 engagement points
d) Makes an awesome clicky noise when coasting.
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Old 03-05-20, 08:42 AM
  #63  
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Yes!
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Old 03-06-20, 01:46 AM
  #64  
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I'm a pro mechanic and I've never totally got why some people are so into King. The bling is certainly fantastic, and I've never encountered a bad product of theirs, but their performance isn't amazingly exceptional. I like mid-end Cane Creek headsets--easy to find replacement bearings, great tolerances, sane price, versions for pretty much every possible headset standard. Really any kind of headset service is in most cases fairly infrequent and not particularly onerous--I don't get highly prioritizing long wear on this part. Their hubs are unique and I'll say that they do seem to have great service life (and as a wrench they're entertaining to service), but really there are a lot of really good options in the market that are lighter, have higher engagement, or both at lower prices. I would have a hard time choosing a very premium hub unless I had, like, an absolutely top tier groupset on the rest of the bike, name brand carbon rims, etc. I think part of their success is that they only make parts at the high end, and their products are highly visible and nearly never on stock builds. It's a way to say (or, depending on the anodization, scream) that you've got a slick, custom build.
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Old 03-06-20, 10:09 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by cpach View Post
I'm a pro mechanic and I've never totally got why some people are so into King. The bling is certainly fantastic, and I've never encountered a bad product of theirs, but their performance isn't amazingly exceptional. I like mid-end Cane Creek headsets--easy to find replacement bearings, great tolerances, sane price, versions for pretty much every possible headset standard. Really any kind of headset service is in most cases fairly infrequent and not particularly onerous--I don't get highly prioritizing long wear on this part. Their hubs are unique and I'll say that they do seem to have great service life (and as a wrench they're entertaining to service), but really there are a lot of really good options in the market that are lighter, have higher engagement, or both at lower prices. I would have a hard time choosing a very premium hub unless I had, like, an absolutely top tier groupset on the rest of the bike, name brand carbon rims, etc. I think part of their success is that they only make parts at the high end, and their products are highly visible and nearly never on stock builds. It's a way to say (or, depending on the anodization, scream) that you've got a slick, custom build.
more importantly CK, i9 or Onyx?
My favorites are Hadleys and maybe even Hopes for lesser budget builds
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Old 03-06-20, 02:54 PM
  #66  
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Just want to point out that King headsets made their reputation, and this happened way back when. Back then, a well machined headset with sealed bearings that never needed replacing was a big deal. Nowadays, many have picked up their game. They're still going off that rep.
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Old 03-06-20, 06:58 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by DorkDisk View Post
Just want to point out that King headsets made their reputation, and this happened way back when. Back then, a well machined headset with sealed bearings that never needed replacing was a big deal. Nowadays, many have picked up their game. They're still going off that rep.
Actually their rep is currently built off their hubs which just always work and never seem to have failures and their BBs which I find to be quite reliable. I've got a couple of their headsets but haven't bought a new one in years; probably about the same time this thread was started.
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Old 03-06-20, 08:23 PM
  #68  
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I have a Chris King headset on my commuting bike, about 15,000 miles on it, very easy to adjust out any play, no issues at all.
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Old 03-22-20, 03:21 PM
  #69  
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I like how this thread was resurrected from 15 years ago! Nice find!

Are King products worth it? It's one of those "in the eye of the beholder" situations if you ask me. They ARE indeed expensive. Why? Low production numbers, compared to most other components. High-end machining. Made in Portland, OR. Other brands, like Cane Creek, can offer probably 90% of the "quality," so if you're on a budget, pick an Asian-made, but high-quality alternative.

King headsets speak for themselves. If you truly want a headset that will not develop "indexed steering," or deteriorated bearings and races, the King cannot be beat. Easily flushed and regreased, a King will last (almost) forever. They were developed by Chris when he was racing in Santa Barbara. At the time, the only quality headset you could buy was Campy. And although high quality, they only lasted about a season of racing and training. Chris developed one that didn't wear out in a year. Everyone wanted one. And Chris King Precision Components was born.

The hubs. Things of beauty. I don't really understand the "instant engagement" obsession. That said, I don't want a freehub turning 90 degrees before engaging! But 72 teeth seems to offer about as immediate an engagement as I would want or need. King meets the "fast engagement" desire nonetheless if you ask me.

But the way the ratchets engage is a work of art by King. The spline drive is genius and so elegant. As a tandem mountain bike rider who has "blown up" three DT hubs, one LX (expected) and split a Phil Wood in half, freehub durability is of concern to me. Although the Phil is stout, I've subsequently cracked pawls in the freehub. Pawls simply cannot take the torque. And the King is the tandem hub of choice. The harder you pedal and the more torque you apply to the hub, the harder the ratchet plates engage. No other hub offers this.

The other thing about King hubs are the radial contact sealed cartridge bearings. These are completely different than every other "sealed bearing" hub on the market. DT, White Industries, Hope, Phil Wood, Hadley, i9 and all the rest utilize industry-standard radial cartridge bearings. They are non-adjustable. The ball bearings are permanently installed within the races. They do not tolerate lateral loads. Once they develop play, they need to be replaced. So if you use Enduro, NSK, CeramicSpeed or any other brand, you will eventually need a bearing puller to remove the cartridges and replace them. Not a big deal, but it does entail parts costs. King bearings, allow and require pre-load adjustment. This means the bearings don't develop unadjustable play, wear out and require replacement. Assuming you care for the bearings and do an overhaul when necessary, the bearings will last as long as the bike. Sure, there are exceptions, but in general, they don't fail like cartridge bearings and need to be replaced.

King products are made in the USA and thus have a price premium as a result. If you've seen overseas (Asian) production, then you know how they save money. Pollution regulations are virtually non-existent. Worker safety is also an afterthought. (I have a friend who visited a big frame producer in Asia. As he arrived, an employee was hurried out the back door so he wouldn't see him. He said, "Hey, where are you taking him?" They stopped and allowed him to stay - he was missing an arm that he lost in one of the factory machines.) So think of your USA made stuff as the Porsche of the auto world. Porsche produces a premium product in Germany (mostly) that costs more to make with living-wage employees with full benefits. No free lunch! I think it's worth it if you're going with a high-end build and appreciate true dedication to quality. Now I'll add that King is not the only producer offering such high-end componentry. i9 is another US producer that provides some pretty amazing products. But you have to pay more to get it.

(Two negatives of King products: the threadless headset can suffer problems under extreme conditions. Unfortunately, King chose not to, or was unable to, utilize the patented wedge-adjustable cup design held by Tioga (AheadSet). This has been a complaint by some. I, however, have never personally had to deal with it myself or at the LBS. And the second issue involves the R45 hubs. Many road users have experienced severe driveshell notching by the cogs. I feel King really blew it by not immediately recalling and redesigning the driveshells. It seems like just installing a stainless steel insert on the leading edge of the splines would have cost-effectively addressed the problem. This hurt their reputation unfortunately.)

I am in no way associated with King components. Just an avid user, fan and wheel builder who has appreciated their products for over 30 years.

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