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How could a product as lovingly crafted and instrumental in the history of the mountain bike ever lose its place in the Dirt 100?

The Chris King headset is a true classic within the sport, and justifiably so. A product that will stand up to its promise of a ten-year guarantee is a product worth the investment. Sure, this isn’t the cheapest product in this year’s 100, but how many ‘normal’ headsets would you go through in ten years of riding? Furthermore, Chris King make every single component of their famous headsets, including the sealed bearing, at their facility in Oregon, USA. This fact alone surely justifies the headset’s price?

The sheer desirability of a King product doesn’t just come from its unbeatable performance and durability though, the ten colours are available in any combination you like (apparently their ‘DreadSet’ colour combo is very popular) which makes an incredible 6,561 different potential cup combinations.

Price: From £132.99
evolution imports 02082 900 807


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  1. app

    I totally agree with the ck being in d100 for the last 3/4 years but I have to point out that most people don’t keep there bikes 10 years these days, seems like 2 years more often than not and with all the different headtube sizes chances are your not going to base your next rig purely on your headset so for example a superstar headset is cheap, reliable and sorta bling and by the time you flip a new ride its time to get a new one.

  2. ..

    this is why ck should do 2 lines of products instead of being solely focussed on just the one (i.e the best of the best).

  3. chris-m

    We used to sell these all the time. They were the ‘go to’ headset. However, since Hope have brought out their new line of products with serviceable bearings, we have gone to selling perhaps two Kings per year. At £75 for the whole headset (or £33 per individual cup and bearing) it seems like Hope are the most economical one to go for and you’re supporting a British company. A good thing in my book! (Downside is, they only come in black).
    The Dirt 100 included many bikes from the same genre and I think (IMHO) Hope deserved their place next to King as an equal or at least as a quality alternative.
    King make beautiful stuff, but other companies are catching up, so to speak, so it’s making it very hard to justify the expense of a King. Also, I agree with App, a lot of people don’t actually keep their bikes for 10 years anyway, they normally have them for 2-5 years and then upgrade.

  4. troll hunter

    hope is overrated

    1. chris-m

      Fantastic explanation there, Troll Hunter! Would you like to elaborate? Not all of the parts Hope produce are up to scratch (design wise), but their products are top quality. Their brakes do need more power and the lever shape on the brakes needs re-designing, IMHO. I would however not say they are ‘overrated’.

  5. Leon

    Most over hyped product of all time…

  6. LemonadeMoney

    Bought a CK in 2003 and it’s been on 3 different frames since and still working great. But the last headset I bought, and any future ones will be Cane Creek 40 – cheaper than Hope.

    1. chris-m

      LemonadeMoney, Cane Creek isn’t the quality of Hope. It’s cheaper because it’s a cheaper product (like for like is the 110 model). You can pop the bearings out of Hope stuff and spray them with degreaser and just pop some fresh grease back in and it’s as good as new. Well worth helping out a British company too for only £23 more than the Cane Creek 40’s RRP. There is always something “cheaper”, but it doesn’t mean it’s the right option. You get what you pay for.

      1. LemonadeMoney

        ‘You get what you pay for’ – but you said Hope is equal to CK, so how does that work out with your philosophy?

  7. chris-m

    Because the Hope is reasonably priced and comparable quality. Granted, it doesn’t have “surgical stainless steel” bearings, but it’s “cheaper” because it’s made in the UK and doesn’t come in lots of colours. That’s not a sign of lack of quality. The Hope still has stainless bearings, which the Cane Creek you talk of doesn’t. Buying a King from the US would make it a lot cheaper! Even going for a better Cane Creek with stainless bearings would be a better choice.
    It’s within reason as far as getting what you pay for anyway. I don’t mean spending thousands as it’s going to be amazing quality and last forever, it’s about using your head and not going cheap for cheap sake and going mid-way. You’ll be getting near as damn it, the design and quality of higher-end products at more reasonable and affordable prices. Like XT or SLX groupsets. It’s just common sense, yes?!


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