Chris King designs bike components that will last, made responsibly and precisely, with functionality taking precedence over fashion. They’re simple to service and – thanks to the brand’s legendary bearings – get better with age.
Since 1976, Chris King has achieved fame within the bicycle industry for the quality of its sealed, angular contact bearings. These components, inspected and assembled by hand, are the basis for all Chris King’s most famous products, including headsets, bottom brackets, hubs and most lately wheelsets. Everything that turns on a bike will be of assured quality when it’s made by the iconic brand.
Iconic is the right word to use when describing their most recognisable product, the Chris King hubs, complete with distinctive ‘angry bee’ sound due to the swiftly engaging fine tooth configuration of the ratchet. Completed with hand polished, colourful anodised hub shells, they’re known in the MTB community for being easy to service, long-lived, and getting faster with age rather than wearing out.
Available in four sizes, the Inset Headsets are built with the same principles as Chris King’s original headset design that revolutionised the market by being stronger, sturdier and better looking than any available at the time. The InSetTM headsets share all these qualities but are designed to fit bikes with tapered or oversized headtubes, compatible with zero stack, mixed zero stack or external cut headsets and tapered steerer tubes.
Chris king Wheelsets
Designed to bring the advantages of carbon fibre to the offroad arena, Chris King’s wheels are built around their famous hubs and a unique carbon rim that is made using FusionFiberTM technology, a nylon fibre binding process, rather than the more toxic epoxy resin. You can choose the all-road 700c GRD23 wheels or select the 29”, 27.5” or mixed MTN30 wheels, with all four fun-to-ride sets being both fully recyclable and made with rims protected by the King Lifetime Warranty.
ThreadFit™ T47 30i Bottom Bracket
Chris King instigated the T47 design, which uses a threaded shell that doesn’t creak like a press fit design and houses a larger diameter bearing, for lower resistance when pedalling. Made with King’s bearings, it fits tightly and burnishes rather than wearing out. It’s easy-to-service and offers low drag, with a smooth feel. It’s available in four variants, to fit 30, 24 and 24 stepped spindles, while an adapter can make it fit five shell widths with the 30mm and two each with the other two spindles.Shop ThreadFit T47 30i Bottom Bracket
ABOUT chris king
Chris King started out by designing a better headset at the suggestion of a visitor to the bike shop where he worked. The result was an ultra-smooth, ultra-resilient headset, originally built using polished medical bearings cast off from a factory where King also worked.
In time, Chris King designed his own bearings – a lucky thing, since the business soon took off. In the 90s, a magazine credited the brand with 50% of aftermarket headset sales. It also produced the prototype for the first ever threadless headset.
Chris King makes everything it can under one roof, at its Portland, OR headquarters. By valuing function over fashion, it has earned a reputation for making top-of-the-range products. The team never hurries to introduce a component or a process without first making sure it’s the best that it can be and does what it’s designed to do.
The company sources high quality domestic materials and, since production takes place on the premises, under the supervision of Chris King’s own highly trained staff, each product is of legacy standard and bears the hi-spec finish you’d expect from a premium brand.
Chris King has made it clear over the years that encouraging turnover and obsolescence to drive sales may work for the cycling industry at large, but it’s not his way. His company therefore keeps a backstock of spares and backwards compatible parts, to make sure its products will outlive their owners with a little care and regular servicing.
Its disciplined and thorough approach to production, using meticulous designs, the best materials, stringent protocols and thorough quality checks, ensures that new products will serve their owners for many a year without problems. However, should issues arise, Chris King is known for the quality of its warranties. In particular, all hubs, headsets and bottom brackets, including the bearings, are warranted for the life of the original purchaser.
The brand goes further to earn its green credentials, though. The company will only work with environmentally conscious suppliers and takes care to follow environmentally sound practices and apply eco-friendly principles in every area of the business.
So successful has it been in this endeavour that it was named the first ever Certified B Corp in the bike manufacturing industry in 2020. It has since let the certification lapse, but the same cannot be said of its green agenda, since Chris King continues to pursue tangible improvements. Its latest initiative has been the creation of eco-friendly rims using a zero-waste process.
Chris King and Saddleback
Chris King joined Saddleback as our hub partner back in March 2011. It produces the best aftermarket hub available, which combine perfectly with ENVE rims and are used by our Master Wheel Builders to create exceptional wheelsets here at our Yate headquarters.
In April 2016, the full Chris King range – including headsets and bottom brackets – came under our care, making the brand an even more intrinsic part of the Saddleback family.