Chris King Micro Spline Hubs Are Coming to Saddleback
By Stan Portus – 17 January 2020
Chris King is now producing Micro Spline hubs giving mountain bikers the perfect combination of sustainable, high performance hub tech and the latest drivetrain options.
We are super pleased to announce that Chris King’s new Micro Spline hubs will be landing at Saddleback in early February. Shimano kept a close guard on its new freehub body design, but the Japanese company has gradually released the license for the hub design to more and more manufacturers, of which Chris King is one.
The Micro Spline design was introduced last year as part of Shimano’s top-of-the-line XTR mountain bike groupset, which was updated to run 12-speed cassettes.
The engineering of the new Micro Spline design makes sense for a few reasons: the smaller diameter of the hub can accept a 10T cog, helping increase the gear range of the groupset; and with 23 rectangular splines the new design offers more spline surface area than the old Shimano Hyper Glide, reducing the risk of cogs digging in or the dreaded creak.
At first the Micro Spline license was only available for OEM companies (basically those that have a special relationship with Shimano), and several companies told Shimano that they would develop their own alternatives to Micro Spline regardless of Shimano releasing the license. As Shimano released the more affordable XT and SLX groupsets in 12-speed, the demand for Micro Spline hubs – and the pressure on Shimano – gradually increased.
For Chris King fans, not having access to Chris King hubs with Micro Spline created a real quandry: keep using Shimano but not their Chris King hubs or keep using Chris King but switch to another groupset brand. Here at Saddleback we heard plenty of stories of riders choosing the latter, testament to the incredible performance of Chris King.
Thanks to the new Chris King Micro Spline hubs, that issue can now be laid to rest. The new hubs come in a variety of options including ISO Boost (148x12mm) and ISO DH Superboost (157x12mm).
Both hubs will be available with Chris King’s made-in-house stainless steel or ceramic bearings and offer the same remarkable 72 points of engagement that all Chris King MTB hubs offer. There will also be a Micro Spline Conversion kit to convert pre-existing ISO B hubs to Micro Spline. Due to a new bearing and axle design the Micro Spline hubs are the lightest ISO hubs Chris King has ever produced.
The Chris King team has made it clear that they are willing to listen to what their customer base wants and will explore options to expand its Micro Spline range. At a wider industry level, it won’t come as a surprise to many if Micro Spline moves across to Shimano’s road groupsets at some point in the future.
In the meantime, Chris King’s Micro Spline hubs will be arriving at Saddleback in the next few weeks so stay tuned!