Eurobike: Road hubs from Chris King

Lighter, quieter and silkier plus new BB and headset

Chris King will launch a new set of road-specific hubs this December that are lighter, quieter and have less drag than the current Classic model that some find to be too loud and have too much friction to be proper racer-appropriate bits.

The new driver mechanism is based on Chris King's current RingDrive but with a smaller overall diameter, titanium ratchet rings with 45 teeth instead of the standard steel ratchet's 72 teeth, and softer springs. The result is nearly silent freewheeling with none of the 'angry bee' buzz that usually characterises Chris King hubs.

The road-specific RingDrive mechanism also significantly reduces friction with further improvements coming from slightly less aggressive sealing and by eliminating the roller bearing in the freehub body. 

Chris King rightfully says the road hubs don't need as much load capacity as the mountain bike hubs and they aren't likely to see as abusive an environment, either. 

Other changes include narrower flange spacing on the rear for more equalised spoke tensions between the driveside and non-driveside, radial-friendly flanges, lower available drillings, and a smaller-diameter alloy axle that will finally allow for a Campagnolo-compatible freehub body – eventually. 

For now, Chris King will offer only a Shimano/SRAM-compatible body but we'd have to imagine a Campagnolo version is imminent.

The smaller axle diameter will finally allow for a campagnolo-compatible freehub - eventually. chris king will only offer a shimano/sram-compatible body for now.: the smaller axle diameter will finally allow for a campagnolo-compatible freehub - eventually. chris king will only offer a shimano/sram-compatible body for now.

The smaller axle diameter will finally allow for a Campagnolo-compatible freehub - eventually. Chris King will only offer a Shimano/SRAM-compatible body for now.

Target weight for the new hubs is impressively competitive at 200g for the rear and 100g for the front. 

Suggested retail prices of US$359 and US$149 is inline with current Chris King hub models, too, and of course, the new road hubs will be available in the usual array of ten anodised colors. 

New bottom bracket

A new bottom bracket was on display (available soon) to fit 24mm tapered axles, so will be compatible with SRAM and Truvativ cranks.

ISO disc hubs are now available in almost all sizes with 135mm x 12mm rear hubs as well as 15mm front hubs on offer - these are either the larger diameter 20mm hub shell, or the smaller diameter (and slightly lighter) quick release hub shell.

A new Inset, low stack, press-in headset available in three flavours will also be hitting the shops in the following types:

  • 1 1-8" (Upper and Lower cups are 1 1-8" InSet)
  • Tapered ( 1 1-8" Upper cup with 1.5" Lower cup)
  • Mixed Tapered ( 11-8" Upper InSet cup with Lower external type cup)

We’re told that frames will have to be prepared and faced for this new headset “by means of a tool that looks like something out of a Terminator film!”

We look forward to seeing the tool!

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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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