Chris King Alloy Ride Disc wheelset review

Supremely stout, reasonably lightweight and exceptionally well built

BikeRadar score4.5/5

The Chris King Alloy Ride Disc road wheelset's 1,693g weight won't set any weight weenies' hearts aflutter but then again, most consumers don't reach for the Chris King brand based solely on its showing on the scale.

In keeping with the company's long-standing hallmarks, the Alloy Ride Disc wheelset is exceptionally well built, enviably stout, and pretty to look at too.

    Chris King sticks with the tried-and-true for the Alloy Ride Disc, including off-the-shelf components and traditional build methods. Our test set featured the company's latest R45 Disc hubs, Sapim CX-Ray bladed stainless steel spokes, and HED's fantastic Belgium+ wide-profile, tubeless-ready aluminum clincher rims – all held together in a traditional 28-hole, three-cross pattern front and rear with externally located nipples for easy servicing.

    Rather than resort to straight-pull spokes or some exotic flange shape, chris king sticks with tried-and-true methods - and they work very well here:
    Rather than resort to straight-pull spokes or some exotic flange shape, chris king sticks with tried-and-true methods - and they work very well here:

    Rather than resort to straight-pull spokes or some exotic flange shape, Chris King sticks with tried-and-true methods – and they work very well here

    That formula may not be groundbreaking but the execution is outstanding. Not only did our test wheels arrive perfectly straight and true but also the spoke tension was appropriately high and remarkably even (verified with an FSA tensiometer). Chris King seems to have done a good job of pre-stressing our test wheels, as we haven't had to touch them over three months of steady testing – including several cyclocross races on notoriously bumpy and rocky Colorado ground.

    While the wheels may only be so-so in terms of weight, they're fantastically stout and rigid with credit likely going to the generous spoke count and thicker-walled Belgium+ rims (HED uses the same profile on its own Ardennes Plus wheels but with a thinner and lighter extrusion).

    External nipples make for easy maintenance: external nipples make for easy maintenance
    External nipples make for easy maintenance: external nipples make for easy maintenance

    The HED Belgium + rims are a touch heavier than what HED uses on its own wheelsets but they're still very wide and tubeless compatible

    That rigidity was very noticeably while riding too, not just on a test bench. Steering felt more immediate and precise on pavement as compared to most other lightweight disc aluminum clincher wheelsets we've used lately, and we found ourselves pushing the front end harder than usual on cyclocross testers. This was especially true on rougher courses where we could aggressively drive the front end through a corner instead of simply hanging on for the ride.

    Progressive-minded riders will find much to like with the HED Belgium + rims. The very wide profile (roughly 20mm internal width) gives standard 23mm road tires a far fatter-than-usual profile for tangibly improved grip and ride quality as compared to a more typical 15mm-wide hoop. That broader base also worked well for cyclocross-sized rubber with minimal casing squirm even in hard cornering at just 22psi.

    Both hubs features adjustable bearing preload and knurled steel axle ends for a firm grip even on chromed dropouts: both hubs features adjustable bearing preload and knurled steel axle ends for a firm grip even on chromed dropouts
    Both hubs features adjustable bearing preload and knurled steel axle ends for a firm grip even on chromed dropouts: both hubs features adjustable bearing preload and knurled steel axle ends for a firm grip even on chromed dropouts

    Both hubs feature adjustable bearing preload and toothed steel axle ends for a firm grip even on chromed dropouts

    Freehub speed isn’t something most roadies care much about but we did find the R45 hubs' comparatively quick eight-degree engagement speed to be useful on some technical cyclocross climbs. Despite dramatically reducing seal friction as compared to Chris King's ISO disc hubs, we've had no issues with bearing contamination on our Alloy Ride Disc test wheelset, either, even after several less-than-careful power washings.

    Bottom line

    The Chris King Alloy Ride Disc wheelset is an excellent choice for riders who prioritize durability, longevity and stiffness over very low weight. While they're not particularly inexpensive, they're still reasonably priced all things considered – not to mention far from heavy – and our experience suggests that they'll last for ages too.

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