Chris King is a byword for high quality bike jewellery, and its headsets renowned for superb durability. The company’s taken a similar approach with bottom brackets.
This outboard model is designed to work with threaded bottom bracket shells and 24mm spindles such as Shimano, RaceFace, FSA and Truvativ cranks, with the latter using adaptors (which are included).
The beautifully machined alloy shell comes in nine anodised colours, and the finish of our test model has remained undimmed despite a year’s hard use. It’s the same story with the bearings, which are as smooth as the day they left the factory. We put this down to attention to detail – with a background in medical instruments, it’s no surprise Chris King’s 24 high-quality stainless steel balls per bearing are shaped with extremely high precision.
Strength is excellent, while sealing is superb (it’s upgraded over the headsets’ to lead the unpleasant life of a bottom bracket). The BB is user serviceable, with a grease injection tool (£45) allowing you to refresh them or even switch to thinner, lower friction lube for race/summer use.
The price can’t be sidestepped, and considering you can buy five Shimano XT bottom brackets for the price just one Chris King unit, and there are no fancy ceramic bearings at work, this seems a bit of a hard sell.
But the sheer quality and durability has won us round, with a year of hard use making no difference to its smooth running at all. Chris King is so certain of the durability that it offers a five-year warranty.
Our only niggle is that the plastic spacers that sit between the crank axle and bearings can be pushed out when fitting, making it a slightly trickier process than with other types, but it’s not something you have to suffer with often.