Eurobike 2010: Chris King tweaks headset design for 2011

Plus 142x12mm axle mountain bike hubs

Chris King have finally addressed the Achilles' heel of their otherwise bulletproof threadless headset design with the addition of a proper tapered split ring to the upper compression ring for 2011. 

The current O-ring method of centring the compression ring has been functional for years, particularly for roadies and short-travel cross-country riders. However, today's longer-travel machines place more demands on that old system

More aggressive riders have been finding that the O-ring can't adequately handle the load, resulting in creaky and occasionally loose front ends, and in extreme cases, wear marks on the steerer if that O-ring isn't replaced regularly. 

The new tapered split ring setup – similar to the system Cane Creek and others have been using for years under license from Dia-Compe – instead rigidly locks the upper compression ring to the steerer so there's no chance of movement. So what? Huckers, it's time to crack out those Chris King headsets again, especially now that the company have also added new tapered versions for 2011.

New for 2011 from chris king are additional headset sizes for tapered steerers: new for 2011 from chris king are additional headset sizes for tapered steerers

New for 2011 from Chris King are additional headset sizes for tapered steerers

In hub news, Chris King have added a 142x12mm option for their mountain bike hubs for expanded compatibility with modern frames. While this may seem to be a trivial factoid (developing a new axle probably isn't an enormous undertaking in terms of engineering), it's more significant as a sign of the standard's increasing popularity.

Chris King only integrate new headset, bottom bracket or hub standards when they're good and confident that they're going to be around for a while, so the addition of the 142x12mm size to the range – not to mention the plethora of bikes we spotted at Eurobike using it – indicates to us that we're only going to see more of this in the years to come.

Chris king have added the 142x12mm axle to their range of hub options for 2011: chris king have added the 142x12mm axle to their range of hub options for 2011

Chris King have added the 142x12mm axle to their range of available options for 2011

James Huang

Technical Editor, US
James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA

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