When you've got a product that is as good as Chris King's NoThreadset you don't have to make changes to it very often, but that doesn't excuse it from upgrades when they might make it a better headset. So this NoThreadset 1-1/8" Headset w/ GripLock is better than ever before. You might be asking, "how is this possible?" We've stated before that Chris King makes the best headsets on the planet. Well, competition breeds innovation and change, and GripLock is the result. On the top, Chris King's GripLock upper bearing cap uses a new compression design. This assembly replaces the older style, one-piece bearing cap that contained the O-ring. Instead, GripLock uses a split compression ring to center the steerer tube in the upper bearing, and when you preload the assembly, the split ring provides additional surface area against the steerer for a more secure and safer interface, especially on carbon fiber steerer tubes. Otherwise this is exactly the same Chris King 1-1/8" NoThreadset that you know and love. It still uses the same in-house manufactured sealed cartridge bearings. They?re fully serviceable, and they?re made from surgical grade stainless steel. The constant contact seals you get on a King are easily removed to allow for user servicing, yet provide an impervious barrier to the worst grit and grime of riding. The Chris King NoThreadset 1-1/8" Headset w/ GripLock is available in a variety of highly polished and anodized colors. It fits frames with a 1-1/8" (34mm ID) straight head tube and forks with a 1-1/8" straight steerer tubes. Chris King Headsets have a 10 year warranty against manufacturing defects.
Just a note when reading the reviews. Be careful as there are imitations out there, actually exact copies apart from the quality. When you look at where the negative reviews purchased their product from, it is more often than not it was from EBay. Make sure you buy from a reputable bike shop. Spending the extra $20 dollars will ensure you get the real deal and also supports local jobs.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 5, 2011
Strengths: Look, Stength, Smooth
Weaknesses: Wiggle, cant handle aggressive riding
While it looks nice, is machined well, and has the "10 year warranty" I am unsure about this guy on longer travel bikes. I have had issues on my 5spot with play in the head tube. I seem to have it under control now and am satified. On the vpfree there is certainly issues. It does not feel secure and mechanics cant seem to do anything about it. As an engineer I am certain that these are produced to spec and made out of solid material. Like others said below, the design of the interface between the upper bearing and the top cap underestimates the forces produced by the wheel and subsequently the fork. A longer travel fork produces large moments on the headset/headtube. Bottom line is I will probably continue to use them because of the value and durability. Make sure someone experienced instals it or else your investment will be for nothing.
Similar Products Used: campy, shimano, Cane Creek, Tange
Bike Setup: got several
from Portland OR
Date Reviewed: March 24, 2011
Strengths: So freaking good to look at! buttery smooth, after the new grip lock design this headset rules more than the world and user serviceable sealed bearings!
Weaknesses: price, but shoot when its this perfect I understand!
after the revisions with the new grip lock top cap this headset takes the cake for THE sickest headset on the market, super strong, pretty, decently light, a warranty that you can't beat! Did I ever say how good it looks and performs?
Similar Products Used: FSA, cane creek, Aheadset, all the rest
Bike Setup: cannondale caad and intense socom,
a Cross Country Rider
from Fort Collins, CO
Date Reviewed: September 22, 2010
Strengths: Light, pretty, smooth, presses into frames like butter, transfers between frames VERY well
Weaknesses: Poor top cap / upper bearing interface design.
That is what is wrong with this headset.
Please, do NOT buy this if you run longer travel 26er or any travel 29er. It may work, but only for a while; it's a crudshoot.
Wordy, but worth reading:
Bikes with front suspension and especially long travel/fork length bikes need not apply. Rigid forks have been good with this headset, aside from a longer a-c 29er. As soon as I use it with a suspension fork, the top cap cannot take the forces and it moves around. This produces clicks and pings that can be heard and felt. With the stock pre-load cap it WILL NOT stay tight. I imagine a headlock may help, but headsets should stay in place without a constant pre-load. Every suspension fork I've used on any wheel size has produced this behavior. Even a 285mm rigid fork on a 29er gave me some issues in the beginning.
The issue might be in the tiny interface between the top cap and upper bearing...not enough of an angle and not enough surface area. And for the books, I am 140lb...I don't know how 200lb people get away with using these.
And no, I don't fault installation with the performance of the headset. CK components will always default to that excuse! Frames are not perfect; facing is not perfect. A well engineered headset will be able to take up these small imperfections (see Cane Creek). Beyond that, I don't believe that even a perfectly installed CK headset could handle a 120mm travel 26er under an aggressive rider.
So, rigid bikes? Perhaps. I have done 3' drops on a rigid bike with no problem.
Worth it, new, price wise? Not in the least.
Just replaced with Cane Creek 100 on 150mm front susp. hardtail, night and day difference.
Similar Products Used: Cane Creek S3, S6, S8, 100, internal, etc... countless loose and cage bearing 1", many older Aheadset
Bike Setup: Used on:
-26er with 150mm travel (no good)
-26er with 100 mm travel (no good)
-29er with 100 mm travel (no good)
-rigid 29er with 425mm fork (ok)
-rigid 29er with 470mm fork (ok)
-rigid 29er with 485mm fork (ok most of the time)
a Weekend Warrior
from palo alto, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: September 7, 2010
Strengths: good looking, smooth
Weaknesses: price, and you become a CK W H O R E
it's a good headset if you can get it for less then 70
not worth any more
I bought a used cane creek s3 for 20$ and it is AS smooth
the s3 is same thing without a ridiculous price tag and without goofy colors
if you have that kinda of money good for you but I would recommend a cane creek s3 any day unless you find a cheap CK
4 chilis because of overrated price tag
Similar Products Used: cane creek s1-s3, a few fsa
Bike Setup: santa cruz superlight with talas shocks
a Weekend Warrior
from KL, Malaysia
Date Reviewed: March 30, 2010
Strengths: Buttery smooth, quality finish, variety of colors
To see is to believe! My friends would also say that I should try out CK headsets and after a few ribbings, I decided to take the leap. I initially bought it for my Spark and I immediately noticed the difference from my previous headset (FSA). Within a week, I also changed my Pivot headset from Cane Creek to CK. I was that impressed.
Well worth the money and definitely improves bike handling!
Bike Setup: Scott Spark 10 (XTR groupset with CK BB and hubs) and Pivot Mach 5 (XT groupset with CK hubs).
a Weekend Warrior
from CT, USA
Date Reviewed: December 23, 2009
Strengths: Durability, performance, weight, looks, everything else about it.
Weaknesses: A bit expensive but you get what you pay for.
This is a superior product. Under the same conditions that killed many other headsets, it works great. Still feels new after a full season of DH and off season XC, never had to adjust it once. The sealing system is fantastic, as is the overall quality and precision of the machining. The spew about it being unsuitable for big bikes is unfounded BS.
Similar Products Used: Numerous Cane Creak "Aheadsets" and Ritchey Logic headsets.
Bike Setup: '06 Kona Coiler, DT Swiss hubs, MZ and Fox suspension.
a Cross Country Rider
from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Date Reviewed: July 27, 2009
Strengths: Great bearing life, well-sealed, nice looking, excellent materials and workmanship.
Weaknesses: Poor design. Free-floating top-cap. Steerer braced by a rubber o-ring washer. Develops creaking and always noisy. Loosens immediately on rough downhills with long-travel fork. Impossible to keep tight with certain fork/stem combos.
All my buddies run these headsets with their XC/trail bikes, and swear by them. The bearings are clearly exceptional.
After being convinced to run one, I've had nothing but two years of problems. Ordered a replacement today, had enough, convinced the rep is all hype. The gross amounts of flex and movement in this headset snapped my stem bolts and bent my headset cap bolt (pulled out the star-nut) on different occassions. The headset loosens at least once weekly and I've had to make adjustments on many many rides.
My steerer, stem and top-cap show tons of wear and the metal is eroded (from flex and the moving top-cap-steerer interfaces).
I ride all XC with no drops over 1.5', but I ride rocky trails with sharp-edged bumps and these types of hits will knock the headset loose with ease.
Extending my fork travel on a bumpy or rocky trail, I can get almost instant headset loosening.
While I'm not an engineer, I have a lot of hands-on mechnical experience. There's no reason why this system could be flex free at the top cap, as it's floating completely free from the inside (fork steerer) tube (except for a rubber o-ring). When it flexes from a radial load (force on the wheel), the wedge-shaped interfaces at the bearings push sideways, and that makes them work like a jack to push the stem off the steerer in an axial (upwards) direction.
No amount of locking force seems to be able to stop this. The integrity of the system as-designed depends on a very tight head cap lock, but I think that modern forks can develop enough force to overcome the ability of the cap to hold everything together without play.
If you're running a longer travel fork or riding burly trail, do yourself a favour and look at another system with a split-wedge top steerer lock shim -- a true mechnical lock on the steerer is important for isolating/containing the sideways and upward forces on the head of the bike. This design doesn't work with modern bike setups/fork travel.
Similar Products Used: FSA Orbit, FSA Pig, Cane Creek S-3
Bike Setup: Ti Hardtail, 5.5" travel fork
a Weekend Warrior
from Lincoln, NE
Date Reviewed: May 15, 2009
Strengths: Solid as a rock, smooth as butter. I'm 2 years out on this headset and it still performs like I installed it yesterday. My setup is fully rigid, and it shrugs off everything I throw it's way.
At first I balked at the price, but then went ahead because the shop would install it for free. Best purchase I made on the entire bike. I had thought before that the Chris King reputation was just hype, but now I'm a convert. It's worth every dollar I spent on it.
Strengths: EVERYTHING. UNDERLINED A HUNDRED TIMES. This is one of the best things ever to happen to my bike. Tough, durable, color matched...i could go on forever.
Weaknesses: ARE YOU F'ING KIDDING ME?
I am ending this debate now. Chris King headsets are the absolute best headsets on the market today. not tough enough for AM/FR/DH? That is the biggest pack of lies in recorded history. Why do you think you see these sets on 90% of all bikes(including AM,FR,and DH bikes)? It's because they work. No, they do not get dimples, no, they are not built out of crappy chinese steel (they're not even steel!) and yes, they do last. I have a friend who's been using a king headset for seven years and it hasn't shown any signs of wear. If anybody here reads Mountain Bike Action (kudos to them, BTW) they praise King headsets heavily. Do you know why? It's not because they're hardheaded numbskulls, it's not because they are paid to endorse King headsets, it's because they're GOOD. I have been using mine for a year or more (and it's only because i bought a new one about a year ago, and i know what you are all thinking- it was because i like to have the most modern componentry on my bike...if i hadn't switched, this would be my fifth year straight of using one King headset) and it still works like it just came out of the box. if anybody read that whole thing, congrats. Bottom line, best headset in the entire world. And yes, it's worth the $130.
This is the first review I've posted on mtbr. I've built up three different bikes using the same Chris King headset and Thompson seatpost. I chew through every other component and frame, but the Chris King headset just keeps getting moved to the latest build-up. I'm honestly not sure how these guys stay in business because if you buy ONE of these headsets, you're set for life! I met a couple of the Chris King guys at Sea Otter last spring and they were as cool as the product they make. Keep it up, guys!!!
Strengths: Lightness, durability, precision machining, lasting anodization, tightness of seals, excellent customer service (kind folks behind these components), replaceability of worn parts.
Weaknesses: Being attractive means having to watch the bike a little more, and installation should be done with proper presses. Just "rubber mallet"ing it in doesn't really do it justice.
This is one of those "Install it and forget it" parts. If you go cheap on bearings, you end up having to do an annual checkup involving purging bearings and regreasing/resealing them. Not the case with these headsets. If you have a King headset, yes, you can replace bearings, or regrease them, but odds are they will not require it for at least a good 3 years of hard woodland abuse. There are a few headsets around which are as good, Hope, StrongLight, Token (the Ceramic one), and a few exotic ones, but none are as easy to get replacement parts for, or match the price to useability ratio. King also offers a Ti baseplate for those of us who use suspension forks with carbon crowns, saving the crown from getting splinter cracks. Saves 12 grams too (haw-haw). Even at $135 MSRP, these are the way to go; for weight/useability you can't do too much better. If Hope headsets were under $100, they would reign the niche, but not much else competes.
Similar Products Used: Token TiRamic headset, Several Cane Creek offerings.
Bike Setup: Custom Ti Hardtail: Xyclone disc wheelset, Hope Mono-Mini brakes (SS/Float), Sid WorldCup/Pushloc, Cobalt Ti BB, Syntace stem/post, RaceFace Next SL bars, X-0 drivetrain (XTR f/d), Crank Bros Cobalt Ti BB, basically what's light and strong... My headset is a red King alloy with a Ti baseplate, I use a Hope Head Doctor hidden under the King stem cap (carbon steerer on the SID), and a ProBolt Ti stem bolt. Installed using a Park Headset Press.
from Huntersville, NC, USA
Date Reviewed: August 23, 2008
Strengths: Weight, looks, colors.
Weaknesses: Is definitely not a headset for an aggressive rider that does downhill or freeride. Will wear out and begin to have play.
This headset is good for a short time but cannot handle aggressive riding. Is best suited for XC or light AM. Save money go with FSA Pig DH Pro or RaceFace Diabolus. They can handle the aggressive jarring of DH.
Building up a new rig and need a 1.5 headset? I got a great deal on a lot of parts and I have no use for this so I'm hoping a fellow mtbr can put it to use at a nice discount over retail!
[url=http://classifieds.mtbr.com/showproduct.php?product=84697]Chris King 1.5 Nothreadset Black - Buy and Se ... Read More »
Brand new. Bought a bunch of parts from a guy that had to cancel his build and sell of his parts for cash. Used the stuff I could but now selling off the rest.
I simply can't justify to the gf that I need to build another complete bike simply because I have a headset ;-) Someone take this off ... Read More »
Hello to all of you :)
I would like to make my own headset cup press adapters, as I own a turning lathe. I'm looking for a person who owns the Chris King cup press adapters an is kind enough to measure them.
I found a drawing in different thread, but I'm looking for a confirmation. I attached it.
... Read More »