Hello, my name is Anthony, and I have a problem – I am addicted to shiny components *insert round of sympathetic applause and back patting*. Yep, it’s true, but perhaps in this line of work it’s not a bad thing and in my defence these are not just any components – they’re Chris King components.
Why the big deal? I think headsets and bottom brackets get a bit ignored, if they’re any good they should just get on and do their job, unnoticed – that’s where Chris King comes in. Chris King brought out his first sealed bearing headset in 1976, with a background in medical manufacturing he made the headsets in his spare time and was soon struggling to meet demand. Through the 1980’s King headsets gathered a cult following and demand increased to an extent that it became a full time job for Chris in 1991. The rest as they say is history, products are still made in-house and every single component is hand checked before leaving the factory – which has its own dedicated cycle entrance!
A ten year warranty on all Chris King headsets (that includes bearings!) and a five year warranty (once again including bearings!) on external bottom brackets are just some of the features that set these well thought out, well designed and precision made components apart from the competition and explains why we have them here at PBK Towers. They really know how to shut up and get on with it, ride after ride, year after year.
So without further ado, let’s take a look!
Chris King NoThreadSet Headset:
Thirty-four years of experience have gone into the King NoThreadSet headset and it shows. Now available for 1″ and 1 1/8″ steerers the design original continues to set the benchmark for precision, performance and longevity. Manufactured in-house the headsets carry the trademark King ten year warranty thanks to sealed cartridge style bearings (which are also easily serviceable) made from surgical grade stainless steel. Hand checking ensures quality control so you know the King headset you get is nothing short of perfect. We are also carrying the NoThreadSet 1 1/8″ in Titanium, supply of these is limited as they only do two production runs a year, so be quick if you want to get your hands on these! Titanium cups and baseplate combined with stainless steel bearings make this headset incredibly strong, definitely one to buy for the long run.
Chris King headsets now feature the ‘Sotto Voce’ branding, more subtle than the original branding, ‘Sotto Voce’ blends nicely with the new colours available and is sure to compliment any bike (the original is still available). Perhaps one of the hardest decisions is what colour to have (just me?!), as well as the standard colours there are some special editions: If you buy a pink headset a portion of the sale will go to ‘Susan G Koman for the Cure’ foundation, a cause dedicated to eradicating breast cancer as a life-threatening disease; proceeds from the sale of the Rasta headset (which is particularly cool) will go towards the Wheels4Life charity. Established by Hans Rey, this charity provides bicycles to people in third world countries allowing them to expand their horizons, whether it be cycling to school or running a business.
Remember though, your Chris King headset must be fitted with the correct Chris King press tools to avoid damaging the bearings which come in the cups. A normal headset press will damage these bearings. It’s also worth noting how easy it is to give the bearings a refresh – simply snap off the cover, flush the bearings out with WD40, apply grease and pop a new cover on and your headset will be set for the next few thousand miles of use. As they say in these parts; the jobs a good ‘un!
Chris King Road Bottom Bracket:
The Chris King Road Bottom Bracket, an external type BB, is compatible with both Hollowtech II and GXP road systems. Chris King have taken their experience from headsets and applied it to bottom brackets, bringing legendary reliability and a five year guarantee, something you’ll struggle to find in any other external bottom bracket system. King have been able to do this by once again using their own precision made surgical quality stainless steel bearings. They’ve also used more, 24 to be precise, making the system stronger so it lasts longer.
Not content with that, King bottom brackets also have grease ports, simply attach the King bottom bracket grease tool (available separately, see here) and refresh your bearings, purging the old grease. This also allows you to run different types of grease according to the time of year or the sort of riding you’re doing. If you’re racing or training in the warm and dry (happy memories!) then you might put a lighter grease in making the bottom bracket faster. In the winter use the grease gun to insert a thicker grease, protecting your bottom bracket from the elements.
Once again, if you’re shelling out to fit a King bottom bracket you want to do it properly, it’s there for the next five years after all. Make sure you use the Chris King fitting tool to ensure you don’t damage the splines and finish of your bottom bracket. Now the technical bit: For a stepped 24 mm system (like SRAM GXP, Truvativ GXP or Bontrager GXP) use the included GXP converter washers; for a non-stepped 24mm system (Hollowtech II, Race Face X-Type and FSA MegaExo) just don’t fit the included GXP converters.
We’ve also got headset accessories including spacers (in all the colours of the rainbow!), top caps to give your headset a refresh, new baseplates/crown races and scuff washers as well as all the tools you need to fit your King headset or bottom bracket.