When I mentioned on Spoke’s Instagram and Facebook channels yesterday that I’d never owned anything Chris King, it was met with shock, awe and disdain. How could it have taken me so long? It’s not that I haven’t valued their quality and reputation, as Spoke reviewers Leif Roy and Aaron Young both run them. Leif’s is three years old and Aaron’s ten, both are spinning like the days they were purchased. When I asked Matt Whitaker, Chris King’s New Zealand distributor what makes a Chris King headset last so long and perform so well, he answered with one word. “Precision.”
Precision obviously comes at a cost, with a No-Threadset costing $260. But when you factor in that it will last you over ten years and probably through a few different bikes then it is money very well spent. At the time though, handing over that much money for such a small part seems like a big deal and to be honest that’s why I’ve never done it, even though I’ve wanted to…
This new headset is technically for a long-term review, but how you go about reviewing something that lasts over ten years is something I’m yet to figure out. I’m now on a quest to find the longest running CK headset out there on a reader’s bike. And I want someone to give me a good reason why a Chris King headset lasts so damn long. And you aren’t allowed to say “precision.”
To check out the full range of Chris King products available in New Zealand you can head here.
My first King ended up on the only bike i’ve ever had stolen. The second was an upgrade on my 1998 Heckler and still runs smooth on my ’09 Meta 6. Quality product built by people who care.
I’ve got one in a Bontrager Racelite frame 1997 vintage. 1″ threaded. Another in my Cove Hummer and another in my Commencal Meta SX LTD Black Ano frame. What makes them so good? Put it in the whole and forget about it. Well almost. Occasional cleaning of the races to get the build up of grit out, otherwise nothing to do. Worth every cent!!
The stainless bearings resist corrosion and the way they seat in to the races means
the load is spread out evenly. But most of it comes down to the precision – the bearings are pressed firmly in to the cup so there’s no room for any misalignment that would wreck the bearing. I inherited my first one in 2006 because it was “dead” back then but a quick clean up and it still lives in my commuter to ride every day!