Chris King's stainless steel bearing bottom bracket is a modern classic, and now the Portland, Oregon-based company are bringing out a new version with lighter, tougher and smoother-rolling ceramic bearings.
The ceramic balls are harder than steel ones, making them more durable, and they're also more spherical, with fewer imperfections, which reduces friction. Twenty-four are squeezed into each BB, where they roll on stainless steel races.
King say that, because of the efficiency of the bearings and the reliability of their sealing system, they can get away with using just a small amount of low-viscosity lubricant, which helps further reduce drag. The bearings are fully serviceable – a task made easier by the company's new BB Injector Tool.
Bearings aside, the new bottom bracket is identical to the existing steel version in every respect apart from colour – the centre sleeve, axle sleeves and seal retainer snap ring are silver rather than black so you can tell the two BBs apart. Both units are made in the US.
The new BB will be available in road and mountain bike versions, and will be compatible with most 24mm-axled cranks, including Shimano Hollowtech II, FSA, Race Face, SRAM GXP, Truvativ and Bontrager units. The cups will be available in 10 colours: black, silver, pewter, red, navy blue, green, gold, mango, pink and brown. Prices start at $199 – expensive, but you do get a five-year warranty.