Over the last 40 years, Chris King has become one of the most esteemed names in cycling thanks to the extraordinary quality and durability of its components as well as the brand's complete commitment to responsible sourcing of materials and environmentally progressive manufacturing. Saddleback is proud to be exclusive UK distributor of the full Chris King line-up, bringing the world's finest components to both MTB and road riders seeking a high-end upgrade.
A young bike enthusiast living in Santa Barbara, California, Chris King was a hobbyist bike engineer, welding up frames in his spare time and customising small components. A member of staff in his local bike shop suggested that improving headset design would be the ideal focus for the fledgling bike guru.
This meant improving the hardness and durability of the headset, achieved in part by King's use of cast-off bearings from his job servicing surgical devices. The result was an ultra smooth, ultra resilient design that wowed all who used it.
Very limited production of the sealed-bearing design began at the same time the new-fangled mountain bike was rumbling and rolling onto the scene. With cheap headsets unable to take the pounding required for off-road riding, King's headsets were soon migrated from riders' road bikes to MTBs, kick-starting demand for Chris King headsets, which remain the best in the world and one of the brand's most popular lines.
The King Cycle Group was formed in the summer of 1976 when King was only 20 and the lofty goal was set to create 100 per cent made in the USA components with extraordinary precision while maintaining environmentally sensitive methods. Now 40 years on and based in Portland, Oregan, the Chris King brand – with the man himself at its helm – still exhibits those bedrock principles.
The company's commitment to the environment is based on responsible sourcing of materials and manufacturing methods. All Chris King metal stock comes only from North American mills with verified responsible manufacturing and labour practices while metal shavings are compressed for recycling. In addition, 98 per cent of waste lubricants – made from sustainably produced domestic soy oil – are reused.
The precision of the resulting products also plays a key part in this philosophy. By creating fully serviceable components of such outstanding quality, useful life is extended to a decade or more compared to cheaper 'consumable' alternatives.
Each Chris King hub, BB or Headset begins life as a responsibly sourced metal bar. The components are CNC-machined and expertly hand polished to a tolerance of 0.01mm on the way to anodising and laser-etching.
The final assembly process of each hub also includes installing its beating heart – the patented ring drive system. This clever slotted spiral design pulls the spring-loaded ratchet freehub together under pedalling load and is also the source of near instantaneous engagement – as well as the distinctive Chris King freehub sound.
In addition to its legendary headsets and hubs, Chris King also produces a range of bottom bracket solutions that offer a rememedy to this most tolerance sensitive and creak-prone component. In November 2015, the brand launched its latest design, the T47, which uses oversized 30mm bearings with threaded cups to eliminate the issues that can accompany pressfit bottom brackets.
Chris King joined Saddleback as our hub partner in March 2011, a fittingly high-end combination to go with Enve rims. In April 2016, the full Chris King range – Including headsets and bottom brackets – came under our care, the brand becoming an even more valuable part of our elite cycling portfolio.
The Chris King NoThreadSet is the ultimate headset upgrade for roadies and mountain bikers alike who treasure precision performance, outstanding reliability and beautiful aesthetics. Engineered, manufactured and assembled in King's Portland, Oregon, HQ, NoThreadSet is built with Chris King's legendary in-house bearings, is available in nine gorgeous anodised colours and comes with the brand's industry-leading 10 year, built-to-last warranty.
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