Chris King Headsets

Chip \'oyler
Chip \'oyler Posts: 2,323
edited October 2010 in Road buying advice
Anyone got one (particularly the Inset version)?

They sound the dogs bollox - are they?
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Comments

  • RDB66
    RDB66 Posts: 492
    Probably...All CK stuff is top notch.
    A Brother of the Wheel. http://www.boxfordbikeclub.co.uk

    09 Canyon Ultimate CF for the Road.
    2011 Carbon Spesh Stumpy FSR.
  • andyp
    andyp Posts: 10,105
    They are fit and forget headsets in that they last and last and last with minimal maintenance so the reputation they have is well earned in my experience.

    That said, Cane Creek are beginning to build a similar reputation for a lot less money.
  • mrushton
    mrushton Posts: 5,182
    I have CK on all my bikes. They require minimum maintenance (altho a bit of lube always helps) and the company are god to deal with. The Cane Creek 110 is a rival ut as expensive. The CK stuff is/was cheaper in the US. I had some holidays in the US and used to order the stuff and have it delivered to my hotel or to a good LBS in the city I was visiting. S I got some Oakley custom stuff from a shop in Boston, paid for it and collected it. I found discounted CK headsets and had them sent to my hotel. I think it was Branford Bikes back then and the cost was £60 each.
    M.Rushton
  • I think they're only worth the money if you really abuse your bike. If your rides are mainly dry, with the odd wet one, and you don't ride on cobbles, any decent headset will probably outlast the bike.

    I would fit Chris King on a custom made bike that I intend to keep for the rest of my life.
    left the forum March 2023
  • gkerr4
    gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    i'm amazed they sell any - have you seen the prices? how good can any headset be and when was the last time you didn't "fit and forget" a headset - and even if you fit a cheaper one and have to replace it you can do it many times over and still be cheaper than a CK!!
  • softlad
    softlad Posts: 3,513
    gkerr4 wrote:
    i'm amazed they sell any - have you seen the prices? how good can any headset be and when was the last time you didn't "fit and forget" a headset - and even if you fit a cheaper one and have to replace it you can do it many times over and still be cheaper than a CK!!

    +1

    I think just about every headset I've ever owned has been 'fit and forget' - except for an appalling piece of junk from Mavic in the early 90s.....
  • Chip \'oyler
    Chip \'oyler Posts: 2,323
    gkerr4 wrote:
    i'm amazed they sell any - have you seen the prices? how good can any headset be and when was the last time you didn't "fit and forget" a headset - and even if you fit a cheaper one and have to replace it you can do it many times over and still be cheaper than a CK!!

    Well I must be a freak then cos I have had to replace headsets in the past - if you do enough miles and get caught out in the rain eventually they go rough.

    I was thinking of getting a CK to pop into my best bike. As it's a frame I'm going to be using for many a year I thought a nice piece of precision engineering would complement the frame.

    Plus after doing the Tour of Flanders Sportive I'm addicted to cobbles and planning to do P-R - the CK should last me well on the Kassein!
    Expertly coached by http://www.vitessecyclecoaching.co.uk/

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  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    It's your money and your choice Chip, I know I will be going for a CK when I order my custom steel bike soon. It's the only choice for me.
  • Gazzaputt
    Gazzaputt Posts: 3,227
    Ran CK when I used to MTB. Had one headset for 8 years without any problems at all.
  • John.T
    John.T Posts: 3,698
    A CK headset is worth while on any bike that does many wet miles without mudguards. I got my Trek 5200 in 2000 and went through 2 headsets in 3 years. I fitted a CK and have only looked at it twice. First time I just put it all back. Second time I thought it best to add a little grease as I thought I ought to do something having stripped it down. It is still as smooth as ever but I may have another look this winter.
    I used to go through 1 H/S a year on the mtb but 3 years on I have not yet looked at the CK on my Santa Cruz.
    They may be expensive but are good value in the long run. If you change bikes frequently then don't bother.
  • FransJacques
    FransJacques Posts: 2,148
    High dollar headsets are a crock - any Campy or Shimano model is as good as performance wise and better in value. The prices are silly.

    The reaming and facing of the head tube and keeping the bearings adjusted are 90% of the longevity of a HS.

    CK has made the least important bearing surface on your bike their niche. People think these things are indespensable if you have a parlee or a seven or a custom serotta. It's ok to be bike-proud, but good value can be had at £30-35.

    Get a Record or Stronglight and spend the rest of your money on better tyres and one of those neoprene lower headset covers if its rainy near you.

    John T, however, your story is interesting but on my 1998 Lemond Zurich beater I have a 1" Ultegra that is incredible - 1000s of miles of wet commuting, wet sportiving, and 3 x Flanders. 2 of which were the full 250 kms.

    I just don't see the need.
    When a cyclist has a disagreement with a car; it's not who's right, it's who's left.
  • Gazzaputt
    Gazzaputt Posts: 3,227
    High dollar headsets are a crock - any Campy or Shimano model is as good as performance wise and better in value. The prices are silly.

    The reaming and facing of the head tube and keeping the bearings adjusted are 90% of the longevity of a HS.

    CK has made the least important bearing surface on your bike their niche. People think these things are indespensable if you have a parlee or a seven or a custom serotta. It's ok to be bike-proud, but good value can be had at £30-35.

    Get a Record or Stronglight and spend the rest of your money on better tyres and one of those neoprene lower headset covers if its rainy near you.

    John T, however, your story is interesting but on my 1998 Lemond Zurich beater I have a 1" Ultegra that is incredible - 1000s of miles of wet commuting, wet sportiving, and 3 x Flanders. 2 of which were the full 250 kms.

    I just don't see the need.

    Ever ran one?
  • bompington
    bompington Posts: 7,674
    1000s of mile on my old raleigh (1995) so far, I'll swear at least half of them on wet roads. A couple of years ago I noticed it felt a bit graunchy, so I turned the bike upside down and soaked it in oil, it's been fine ever since!

    I'm not sure that I'd buy a headset that cost more than my bike. :shock:
  • Chip \'oyler
    Chip \'oyler Posts: 2,323
    High dollar headsets are a crock - any Campy or Shimano model is as good as performance wise and better in value. The prices are silly.

    The reaming and facing of the head tube and keeping the bearings adjusted are 90% of the longevity of a HS.

    CK has made the least important bearing surface on your bike their niche. People think these things are indespensable if you have a parlee or a seven or a custom serotta. It's ok to be bike-proud, but good value can be had at £30-35.

    Get a Record or Stronglight and spend the rest of your money on better tyres and one of those neoprene lower headset covers if its rainy near you.

    John T, however, your story is interesting but on my 1998 Lemond Zurich beater I have a 1" Ultegra that is incredible - 1000s of miles of wet commuting, wet sportiving, and 3 x Flanders. 2 of which were the full 250 kms.

    I just don't see the need.

    I would have taken notice of your post but you used the word CAMPY. So I'm going to disregard your opinions as you clearly know nothing about cycling :wink:
    Expertly coached by http://www.vitessecyclecoaching.co.uk/

    http://vineristi.wordpress.com - the blog for Viner owners and lovers!
  • John.T
    John.T Posts: 3,698
    High dollar headsets are a crock - any Campy or Shimano model is as good as performance wise and better in value. The prices are silly.
    I have not seen any Shimano headsets since threadless steerers came in. Non on their website.
    Campag ones are indeed a bit cheaper but only by about 25%. I doubt if they are as well sealed as CK, which is the reason for CKs long life. They never used to be any better sealed than normal run of the mill ones. Bearings, etc, were of very good quality.
  • John.T wrote:
    High dollar headsets are a crock - any Campy or Shimano model is as good as performance wise and better in value. The prices are silly.
    I have not seen any Shimano headsets since threadless steerers came in. Non on their website.
    Campag ones are indeed a bit cheaper but only by about 25%. I doubt if they are as well sealed as CK, which is the reason for CKs long life. They never used to be any better sealed than normal run of the mill ones. Bearings, etc, were of very good quality.

    I've had Shimano threaded headsets, both the Shimano 600 and more recently a 105. They are very good, I've changed the 105 only the grounds that it was ugly, but the bearings were sealed as opposed to the Campagnolo Record I have replaced it with.
    left the forum March 2023
  • FransJacques
    FransJacques Posts: 2,148
    38 bucks for a Record headset - it comes in many different sizes and formats: http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/pp/road-t ... dsets/HSTR The Stronglight ones are usually dependable as well. Chainreaction & Wiggle (to name 2) have more than you can shake a stick at. At least at JE James they're under £100! Hallelujah http://www.jejamescycles.co.uk/chris-ki ... 88515.html

    CKs *were* a solution to a problem that existed in the 80s/90s with 1" headsets taking an absolute beating from rigid forked MTBs and later 1" ahead sets with suspension forks making it worse as people rode faster but wrenched less - believing the ahead hype that it's set and forget.

    These days with hidden headsets the last word is cool is having a blue or red or green anodized King headset on your custom Seven or Indy Fab. It's a belt and braces solution for a problem that's been solved with up-sizing the headtube dia.

    From my shop days what I saw was - if someone buys a King headset, they think "it's a lot of money" so when they install it they ask the shop to face and ream the HT, curing the original issue but attributing the outcome to the headset not the proper prep.
    When a cyclist has a disagreement with a car; it's not who's right, it's who's left.
  • John.T
    John.T Posts: 3,698
    All my headset failures were due to good Yorkshire cr*p getting past the poor sealing on the bottom race. Top race was fine. Nothing to do with the amount of hammer they got.
    As I said, earlier 2 headsets in 3 years, 1 CK still as good as new on the same bike after 7 years. Case proven. Cheaper, less well sealed H/S are fine if you use mudguards or only ride dry but my CK is now past cost break even with no sign of wearing out yet.