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1 Inch Chris King No Threadset Install

Old 11-12-21, 11:18 AM
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Rdmonster69
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1 Inch Chris King No Threadset Install

Hello , A little background.

I purchased a 2000 Lightspeed Classic frameset and am planning a build out to have a long dreamed about Titanium bike. The frame is in great shape and I have been busy re-brushing the entire frame. With the exception of a tiny dent near the bottom bracket on the drive side and some scuffing (probably from dropped chains/chain suck) the frame look amazing. A bit of red scotch brite and it is almost invisible. This model has a 1 inch head tube.

I have a 1 inch Chris King No Threadset ordered. This was what the bike originally came with even though it has a quill stem pictured in some catalogues most that I have seen are thread-less. Could have been a mid production change. Regardless I am going thread-less as with an adapter I can put a modern stem on it. There are plenty of Ritchey forks on line with a 1 inch steerer tube that are reasonable in price so that is the set up I will go with.

I have built bikes before and installed headsets. I have a generic home made tool with all thread and big washers I have used as a press for bearing cups.

My question (finally lol) is should I take this to a bike shop. I read the instructions for the installation and they mention face reaming, chamfering, determining squareness etc which I can not do like as shop can. I doubt it is a real expensive job so would I be better served by having a shop set the cups as well as the crown race on the fork ?

I have done all right up to now on builds but this is a much more important project to me. I have a Lightspeed factory sticker kit for that model on the way so an essentially brand new titanium frame with classic euro geometry and updated componentry is going to be pretty slick.

Thanks in advance
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Old 11-12-21, 12:05 PM
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Usually on a high end frame they have already reamed/faced the headtube and fork lower race. We would do it at the shop, based on frame and it was usually just to clean the paint out which could cause an alignment issue if left. If the frame is bare metal... it has probably already been done. If you are using a loose bearing system it matters more than if you are using a sealed bearing system. If there is no paint on the frame & fork, then i would say your return isn't going to be much of anything by taking it to the shop. I don't know what tools you have but i would personally set it myself, You can tell after getting it together whether or not you have a problem because the fork rotation will go from tight to loose. if you have that after installation, take it to the shop. If not, go ride. Spend the extra cash on tires.
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Old 11-12-21, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by canopus View Post
Usually on a high end frame they have already reamed/faced the headtube and fork lower race. We would do it at the shop, based on frame and it was usually just to clean the paint out which could cause an alignment issue if left. If the frame is bare metal... it has probably already been done. If you are using a loose bearing system it matters more than if you are using a sealed bearing system. If there is no paint on the frame & fork, then i would say your return isn't going to be much of anything by taking it to the shop. I don't know what tools you have but i would personally set it myself, You can tell after getting it together whether or not you have a problem because the fork rotation will go from tight to loose. if you have that after installation, take it to the shop. If not, go ride. Spend the extra cash on tires.
This is what I am thinking. My cup setting tool is essentially a long piece of all thread with large washers and bolts on each end. I have set several headsets with it and have not had any issues. I may fab up some spacers that snuggly fit this cup to make sure things stay square.

The frame is bare, no paint whatsoever. Any thoughts on retaining compound or just press 'em in and let them be. I have never used retaining compound on any headset nor is it advised by CK so I am inclined to skip it. I am just feeling very detail oriented about this as I want it to be really neat lol !!!
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Old 11-12-21, 12:21 PM
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No retaining compound should be needed, a straight up press fit is fine. Sounds like it will be a nice build!
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Old 11-12-21, 12:24 PM
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What was wrong with the original CK no-thread headset? Just curious because I thought these lasted pretty much indefinitely.

Also, if you are thinking you want to do the work yourself you could get started by knocking out the old headset cups from the head tube. Once these are out you will get a better idea of the condition of the head tube & how accurate the internal diameter is.

Can I ask how much the Chris King 1” no-thread set sells for these days? If I were to guess I imagine that’s like a $240 part in today’s economy.
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Old 11-12-21, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by masi61 View Post
What was wrong with the original CK no-thread headset? Just curious because I thought these lasted pretty much indefinitely.

Also, if you are thinking you want to do the work yourself you could get started by knocking out the old headset cups from the head tube. Once these are out you will get a better idea of the condition of the head tube & how accurate the internal diameter is.

Can I ask how much the Chris King 1” no-thread set sells for these days? If I were to guess I imagine that’s like a $240 part in today’s economy.
Frame is completely bare, no bearings anywhere. The PO probably kept the set up for something else. The internal diameter seems solid at a fraction over straight 30 top and bottom when I mic'd it. Internal of the head tube has a bit of grease and what not in there but nothing else (marring, dents, burrs etc) and of course no corrosion !!

I paid 142 bux shipped with a 15 dollar off coupon from Performance Bike. The code is in their website !!
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Old 11-12-21, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by mprince View Post
No retaining compound should be needed, a straight up press fit is fine. Sounds like it will be a nice build!
Thanks !! ! I will be posting a build thread once I get all the parts so there will be a nice long thread in March hopefully. I can get a full rim brake Dura Ace group set for about 2 K and have found them in stock in a few places. I probably am gonna go with this because I have always wanted a DA bike and I did say "dream bike". I would also like it to be lighter than my Domane ...just because : )
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Old 11-12-21, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Rdmonster69 View Post
Frame is completely bare, no bearings anywhere. The PO probably kept the set up for something else. The internal diameter seems solid at a fraction over straight 30 top and bottom when I mic'd it. Internal of the head tube has a bit of grease and what not in there but nothing else (marring, dents, burrs etc) and of course no corrosion !!

I paid 142 bux shipped with a 15 dollar off coupon from Performance Bike. The code is in their website !!
142$ actually sounds like a really good price for such high quality, made in USA bearings. Is yours silver or some other color? Be sure to follow the instruction manual that comes with your Chris King headset for the best results. Since your frame is titanium, my understanding is that either grease or copper anti-seize compound should be applied to the mating surfaces before you press the cups into the frame. Good that there is no corrosion. People say that titanium doesn't corrode. I'm not a metallurgist but my understanding is that "galling" can occur where dissimilar metals "weld" themselves together if not properly isolated with the use of anti-seize. Hopefully the Chris King instruction sheet will speak to some of this.

BTW, I have a compact titanium road bike "Veritas" that has a silver (1-1/8") no-thread headset and Ritchey carbon fork. This bike also has Dura Ace but this one is the 7800 group with 2x10 gearing. I can post a photo when I get home from work if you are interested. It is a pretty cool bike with a unique shock absorbing ride and exceptionally tactile at climbing.

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Old 11-12-21, 03:36 PM
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Be aware that Chris King headsets have the bearing cartridges "spun" into place and they cannot be removed from the cups, at least not by the home mechanic. You have to seat the cups into the headtube with the bearings in place by applying the seating force to the cup edges. I've installed several headsets this way using a homemade headset press made of a long 1/2" or 5/8" threaded rod, a couple of nuts and a stack of big (fender) washers large enough to overlap the cup's edges all around. I've also added a disk of thick leather under the bottom of the washers to protect the cup edges and this has always worked very well.
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Old 11-12-21, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Be aware that Chris King headsets have the bearing cartridges "spun" into place and they cannot be removed from the cups, at least not by the home mechanic. You have to seat the cups into the headtube with the bearings in place by applying the seating force to the cup edges. I've installed several headsets this way using a homemade headset press made of a long 1/2" or 5/8" threaded rod, a couple of nuts and a stack of big (fender) washers large enough to overlap the cup's edges all around. I've also added a disk of thick leather under the bottom of the washers to protect the cup edges and this has always worked very well.
I think you posted this somewhere else !! Very similar to my set up sans the leather which I will probably add. I also read about the non removable bearings....didn't know if it was every headset or what.
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Old 11-12-21, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by masi61 View Post
142$ actually sounds like a really good price for such high quality, made in USA

BTW, I have a compact titanium road bike "Veritas" that has a silver (1-1/8") no-thread headset and Ritchey carbon fork. This bike also has Dura Ace but this one is the 7800 group with 2x10 gearing. I can post a photo when I get home from work if you are interested. It is a pretty cool bike with a unique shock absorbing ride and exceptionally tactile at climbing.
By all means post your bike. Would love to see it !! I don't think titanium suffers from galvanic corrosion or react much with any other metal but I will research. The Ritchey fork has 3mm more rake than the stock fork. Hope that's not a big difference in handling etc. I wish the head tube was 1 1/8 as that would give me lots of options compared to 1 inch.

ETA the headsets are 150 but on the Chris King website. Not bad but pricey compared to runnof the mill headsets. I got black with white lettering....was gonna go red but want the seat to match.?....keeping it low key lol.
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Old 11-12-21, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Rdmonster69 View Post
By all means post your bike. Would love to see it !! I don't think titanium suffers from galvanic corrosion or react much with any other metal but I will research. The Ritchey fork has 3mm more rake than the stock fork. Hope that's not a big difference in handling etc. I wish the head tube was 1 1/8 as that would give me lots of options compared to 1 inch.

ETA the headsets are 150 but on the Chris King website. Not bad but pricey compared to runnof the mill headsets. I got black with white lettering....was gonna go red but want the seat to match.?....keeping it low key lol.
Black with white lettering sounds nice. There is a Chinese eBay seller that makes a really cool 1" titanium stem that takes 31.8mm handlebars. I bought 2 for myself. The original ad for the 1" one might not be up any more but on the ad for the 1-1/18" steerer one, there may be a "custom" option that you can select. I'll have to check back with you on this.

I will post a photo or two of my titanium Veritas later tonight or tomorrow (I work 12 hour shifts and am pretty spent right now - haha). By the way, I have carbon Ritchey everything on this Veritas: fork, stem (carbon over aluminum), handlebars and best of all is the "Superlogic/Flexlogic 27.2 x 350mm 2 bolt (for 7x9 carbon saddle rail) seatpost. The seatpost has the "Flexlogic" feature which means it has some built in compliance. This feature, combined with the titanium frames inherent shock dampening qualities and running slightly lower tire pressures with my tubeless wheels (right now I have my latex tubed wheels on there while I have my tubeless rear wheel re-spoked by my LBS wheelbuilder). This bike can be ridden pretty much in the "gutter" over broken pavement without all the shock and discomfort compared to my days of riding high pressure clinchers with butyl inner tubes and not as compliant tires.
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Old 11-12-21, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Rdmonster69 View Post
I think you posted this somewhere else !! Very similar to my set up sans the leather which I will probably add. I also read about the non removable bearings....didn't know if it was every headset or what.
Yeah, I've probably described the same headset press in other threads here in the past. No, most other cartridge bearing headsets let you remove the cartridges from the cups by hand. FSA, Shimano, Velo Orange, Cane Creek, etc. all have removable cartridges. Chris King is the only exception I know of.
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Old 11-12-21, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Yeah, I've probably described the same headset press in other threads here in the past. No, most other cartridge bearing headsets let you remove the cartridges from the cups by hand. FSA, Shimano, Velo Orange, Cane Creek, etc. all have removable cartridges. Chris King is the only exception I know of.
i have used a few other types just didnt know if all king sets were fixed in or if some were loose
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Old 11-12-21, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Rdmonster69 View Post
i have used a few other types just didnt know if all king sets were fixed in or if some were loose
The few Kings I've seen all had fixed bearings so I assumed they all do. BTW, install your new King headset properly and plan on having it for a looong time. I have a 1-1/8" No Threadset installed in a Litespeed frame that is 16 years and 55,000 miles old and still working perfectly.
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Old 11-12-21, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by masi61 View Post
What was wrong with the original CK no-thread headset? Just curious because I thought these lasted pretty much indefinitely.
Almost indefinitely but even the King headsets can be vulnerable to decades of neglect.

My 1993 Trek 5900 OCLV came with lots of nifty titanium components, including a titanium Chris King 1" threadless headset. I bought the bike used from a friend in 2019, and it had been used as a TT/tri-bike by the previous owner.

After several months of happy riding, in December 2019 I noticed a bit of grinding and sluggishness in the headset. When I tried to drop the fork for inspection it wouldn't slide out easily so I tapped it very carefully with a rubber mallet. The CK headset came apart and the fork steerer tube was coated in a tan/brown crust. Even the cartridge bearings came apart and the headset was filled with the same crusty brown stuff.

At first I thought it was rust or lime scale, so I used CLR to clean it up. Zero effect on the crusty gunk.

Then the penny dropped and I realized what it probably was.

My best guess was it was an accumulation of years of sweat and electrolyte/drink mix drooled down the headset and fork from the rider leaning across the aero bars. Eventually it built up and dried out enough to cause problems.

I've seen identical stuff in the rear hub of another tri-bike, also sealed cartridge bearings. Again, it appeared to be dried crusty residue from sweat, electrolyte/drink mix or... worse. Like, urine. Not unheard of with diehard tri-folk. Or marathoners -- recently a 30something woman sort of shame-bragged about pooping herself during a full marathon but refusing to make a pit stop. She was prepared with absorbent undies and determined to finish with her best time, exhaust problems be damned. Endurance athletes are a strange breed.

Anyway, I emailed the folks at Chris King. They offered to service that older titanium headset for $25. I keep forgetting to send it to them. The 2020 pandemic rolled around and other stuff took priority. Meanwhile I've installed a basic Origin8 1" threadless headset, but eventually I'll re-install the original CK unit. If I'm correctly recalling an interview with Chris King himself several years ago he admitted the titanium headsets weren't any better but, hey, it was the early 1990s, the first monocoque carbon fiber frames were catching on with some pros, and suddenly everybody was a weight weenie, so titanium seemed spare-no-expense sexy. And it is. That early Trek 5900 has a titanium American Classic seat post, single-bolt Ibis stem (much prettier and more svelte than the 4-bolt FSA stem it wore for awhile in 2019), White Industries bottom bracket and one or two other titanium bits. Properly set up that bike could still be a featherweight by contemporary standards, although it really needs a lighter fork. The original carbon fiber fork was made like a steel fork -- solid wrapped, not hollow -- and the steerer tube is steel, quite heavy.
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Old 11-13-21, 07:50 AM
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As promised, here is my Veritas titanium bike. I call it a “super compact” and I adapted this small bike for myself. I’m 5’11 and it is comfortable for me.
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Old 11-13-21, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by masi61 View Post

As promised, here is my Veritas titanium bike. I call it a “super compact” and I adapted this small bike for myself. I’m 5’11 and it is comfortable for me.
Very cool …… I have the same DA crank/rear DR on my Trek 2.3 as well as Michelins (power road and endurance) ….. I spent last night brushing Ti and am gonna work on my head set tool later today 😎
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Old 11-13-21, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Anyway, I emailed the folks at Chris King. They offered to service that older titanium headset for $25. I keep forgetting to send it to them.
Wow, $25 to refurbish a Ti headset? I it were mine it would have been in the mail to CK an hour after I got the offer!
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Old 11-13-21, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Rdmonster69 View Post
Very cool …… I have the same DA crank/rear DR on my Trek 2.3 as well as Michelins (power road and endurance) ….. I spent last night brushing Ti and am gonna work on my head set tool later today 😎
The Michelin Power Competition front & Power Endurance 25mm tires were just installed. I’m using Vittoria latex tubes and run the pressures down a bit - like 79psi front / 83 psi rear and the ride quality is really good.

The Dura Ace 7800 component group is great. I have managed to no longer have proper use of the nifty old “Flight Deck” system. I think the problem lies with the “Hudz” aftermarket brake lever covers. The rubber nubs don’t quite actuate the buttons like they should.

Be sure to post photos of your Litespeed build as it progresses. Also, you said you plan to build it up with Dura Ace - which series are you thinking of, the new 9200?
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Old 11-13-21, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by masi61 View Post
The Michelin Power Competition front & Power Endurance 25mm tires were just installed. I’m using Vittoria latex tubes and run the pressures down a bit - like 79psi front / 83 psi rear and the ride quality is really good.

The Dura Ace 7800 component group is great. I have managed to no longer have proper use of the nifty old “Flight Deck” system. I think the problem lies with the “Hudz” aftermarket brake lever covers. The rubber nubs don’t quite actuate the buttons like they should.

Be sure to post photos of your Litespeed build as it progresses. Also, you said you plan to build it up with Dura Ace - which series are you thinking of, the new 9200?
Yeah ....new Dura Ace if I can swing the loot.... I can get a full mechanicl groupset for 2k ....probably use a king BB too .....also the DA C24 seems like a relative bargain. I will post a build thread when I get all the stuff and get started after Christmas
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Old 11-13-21, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Wow, $25 to refurbish a Ti headset? I it were mine it would have been in the mail to CK an hour after I got the offer!
Now that I check back on my emails with CK back in 2020, I'm not sure that $25 includes parts. But even if parts are extra, the headset only needs new cartridge bearings, rubbery seals, and the retainer clips. Everything else in the headset is in good shape. So maybe $50 at most. I'll update after I finally get it done.

It's one of those projects that seemed to get shoved farther back and deeper on what I euphemistically call the project table. More like the junk and clutter table by now. It includes at least one rear wheel that needs a new hub, some 8-speed Dura Ace STI shifters that need degunking... probably a couple other projects...
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Old 11-13-21, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Rdmonster69 View Post
There are plenty of Ritchey forks on line with a 1 inch steerer tube that are reasonable in price so that is the set up I will go with.
If you're not in a hurry, why not try to find something more exotic like an Easton Aero?


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Old 11-13-21, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
If you're not in a hurry, why not try to find something more exotic like an Easton Aero?


I didn't know such exotic coolness was out there !!
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Old 11-14-21, 12:07 AM
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Kimmo 
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It's pretty thin on the ground for 1"... I paid au400 for that fork, used, close to ten years ago
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