Weighing in at only 282g for the rear and 150g for the front, the Chris King Disc hubs are not your standard issue, boat anchor, downhill gear.
With Chris's standard 19.5mm axle, proven bearings, and the patented RingDrive engagement mechanism, these hubs provide the performance demanded of cross-country racing yet are fully capable of handling hard downhill abuse.
a Cross Country Rider
from Coeur d'Alene ID
Date Reviewed: September 18, 2009
Strengths: Set it and forget it.
Weaknesses: A little pricey.
I don't know what other reviewers are complaining about. I have had these hubs for about 5 years and have done NOTHING to them. They just work. I recently sent back my rear wheel because there was some side to side play. After five years of riding with no maintenance, this is to be expected. I sent the wheel to Chris King and got it back about a week later. They charged me $25 for labor and replaced everything except the shell for FREE. What more can you ask for in customer service?
a Cross Country Rider
from Bend, OR
Date Reviewed: May 3, 2009
Strengths: Rebuildable. Kind of an eco friendly alternative in a throw it away society. If you read the manual, you figure out that 2 allen wrenches will tighten up that side to side wobble in a couple of seconds.
My first King wheelset stopped buzzing after 3-4 years of riding aggressive XC twice a week. I took it into a shop, $35 to clean it and lube it (I was expecting to drop like $100 and therefore put it off for a few rides) and it's good to go.
Second King wheelset, rear hub started to have side to side play during the second ride. I thought I would have to take it in to the shop for service (didn't want to spend the $, nor lose trail time), looked up the King FAQ site, and was stoked to find out that to tighten things up (and lube too) all you need is a couple of allen wrenches. Try it, the whole axle comes out, everything is there ready for some lovin!
I think hub shell stretching is a bit of a myth, anything with bearings that carries a load and is out of adjustment is going to wear prematurely. Back the nut off your cars wheel bearing and see what happens... things will get sloppy but don't blame it on the hub stretching...
Similar Products Used: Hope Pro 2, Hadley, Maverick, BETD/Goldtech
Bike Setup: Various Intense XC full suspension bikes, and custom steel 29ers.
from Stumptown, OR
Date Reviewed: May 10, 2007
Weaknesses: Yep its me again from 2005, see previous review below. I kept riding this rear hub even though it wobbles, but now I've run into a new problem. The ratchet that had been a great selling feature (immediate engagment for pedal kicks) has blown up on me. I can now spin entire revolutions w/o the ratchet engaging. Had to walk out a few miles uphill on my last ride to get back to the trailhead because the freehub is toast.
I think there is an option to swap out the aluminum for a steel one, but I'm not sure yet if that would replace the ratchet or just the shell so will do some research to figure it out. Also haven't determined yet if this is something my local shop will do or if they have to send it back to King.
Depending how steep the estimates I get turn out I'll give it a try but may be time to retire this hub and relace w/ a new brand.
Great out of the box, but over time have had issues that I'm not thrilled about.
Updating my 2005 rating because I'm not as upset today, and I'm sure there are other hubs out there much worse that deserve fewer chilis.
I'd love to see a post from anybody who has also stripped out the freehub on a king rear discotek and any word on what it took to fix/replace that.
Bike Setup: All of my bikes were equipped with king hubs and won't in the future
a Weekend Warrior
from Sydney, Australia
Date Reviewed: June 7, 2005
Strengths: Light weight, solid feel, build quality, ease of adjustment during bedding (2x 5mm Allen Key), steel freehub option.
Weaknesses: Has slipped a few times (may be my own fault).
These feel great from the start. Solid engagement inspires a lot of confidence when pedal kicking (trials), and the quick engagement really helps when setting up for a move, though not quite "instant".
A word of advise: DO NOT pedal too hard (e.g. pedal kicking) when bedding in, this may lead to some slipping and when that happens you could be damaging the teeth inside. How do you know when they are damaged? When rolling the distinctive king sound is not a constant "whooooooom", and the pitch varies. It may also slip a little if you try to pedal after a big jump. The original oil in the hub maybe a little thicker than necessary, so change to a lighter oil (check bike forums) to remedy this, at the cost of more King roar. ;)
I was a little worried when I read the previous review about hub stretch, I have done trials and urban riding (lots of stair jumps) on mine and haven't had to readjust after the 4th tightening of the hub (that was in january).
All in all, great hub, solid as, pair it with king cogs and you have a sweet rear drivetrain.
Similar Products Used: Formula (Cheap hub), Shimano XT, Hope XC, Dice Roullette (all disc)
Bike Setup: DMR Sidekick, Hope M4 brakes, Mavic D321 rims, shimano drivetrain, FSA headset and cranks.
a Cross Country Rider
from Stumptown, OR
Date Reviewed: February 18, 2005
Strengths: sealed bearings are great flashy
Weaknesses: KING REAR HUBS HAVE A SERIOUS DESIGN FLAW. It seems to be something that nobody wants to talk about after they shell out the big bucks for these hubs. I was in denial after my 1st one (non-disc 8spd) failed me back in 2000, bought the disc version too in 2001. Now its happened again and I'm convinced. Basically if you don't like your wheel built like a wet noodle (actually tighten your spokes so your rims will last more than a season) then the hubs "stretch out" and the bearing cartridges become loose in the hub. The result is a back wheel that wobbles side to side. It takes a couple years for this to happen, but its happened twice now. My opinion is that in their effort to make the hubs too light weight, they don't leave enough material to make the hubs durable/reliable. So if you want to fork out big bucks for a sweet hub that rides great for a year or so, they're ok. But if you want something to last when it costs that much you should definitely look elsewhere. This review has been stewing in my head for the last 5 years, its time the truth be told and the King-worshippers out there finally be told that the emperor has no clothes.
DON'T BUY A KING REAR HUB! THEY'RE CR*P. If you like a well built wheel with tight spokes these hubs are not for you. The industry has been brainwashing everyone that these are the "must have" hubs. They're not that great.
*yes* I'm aware that they sell replacement bearing cartridges in graduated sizes to address this problem. But why should we have to buy a bigger bearing cartidge every so often due to a flawed design? Please King, just fix the source of the problem. It will be a service to all your customers and maybe put some credibility back in your brand.
I expect some will find this hard to believe. Let me assure you I've been riding for 15 years, on King rear hubs (2 now) since 1998. I've run them on hardtails, I only weigh about 165 lbs, I've ridden these hubs mostly on local Oregon/SW Wash XC trails and many times on the 'shore. As any BC rider will tell you a loose sloppy wheel is going to fold quickly when riding the rocks/roots encountered and tight wheels w/ big rims are the way to go.
Interestingly enough my experience over the same time period w/ King front hubs has been stellar, no complaints at all. I run my front wheel equally "tight" as my rear wheel.
Weaknesses: Custom tools required for full service, break in period if not handled correctly can ruin hubshell / bearings.
Holy moley these are solid hubs.
I've got 2.5 years on these hubs, probably around 8000 miles of trail riding - mostly Central Texas with some trips to Utah mixed in. These things have outlasted two pair of rims, have needed only regular servicing, and still spin like new ( just got them fully serviced ).
I'm a SOLID Clydesdale. I originally switched to these after braking four XT freehub bodies in the fall of '01.
What can you say about something that Just Shuts Up And Works?
Expensive, but worth it for the peace of mind and longevity.
Note: DO TAKE CARE to do your proper servicing, and do pay close attention during breakin of new hubs.
If you're a high-torque rider then just skip straight to the HD/steel driveshell and rear axle components and you'll be most happy.
If you ride lots of miles, these are the bomb. If you're just a weekend warrior ( no shame, just qualifying ) then maybe these are a bit pricey for that usage level.
Bike Setup: Titus QuasiMoto, DiscGoTech hubs (HD stell driveshell/axle), 180mm Magura FR brakes, some more rubber bits, some plastic bits, some metal bits
a Cross Country Rider
from Boulder, CO
Date Reviewed: May 27, 2003
Strengths: Strong. Light. Beautiful.
Weaknesses: A bit fiddly. Noise will annoy your riding buddies, especially when you're on their a##. Alumninum driveshell can deform, even if you use XT/XTR cassettes with integrated spider.
This is the only hub I can ride.
I am a clydesdale rider who actually likes to climb. Problem is, I'm 220lbs and ride a 33lb bike in Colorado and Utah. With a 22 tooth front ring and a 34 tooth rear, I'm constantly subjecting the hub to ~240 foot-lbs of torque, with peak loads of above 300 (standing on the pedals and pushing/pulling while clipped in).
Shimano hubs last 2-4 months, Suntour XC-Pro last ~2 months, a Kore "Hoochie" hub lasted 1 ride! I don't break the hub, only the free-hub (ratchet) mechanism. Pop-pop-grind-oops no more forward motion -- "infinite" gear.
Chris King ring drive hubs are rated to 800 ft-lbs. I've even run a 20tooth/34tooth combo on Slickrock. I've never broken one.
Similar Products Used: I am afraid to buy anything else because I've gotten so used to breaking rear hubs. Shimano, Kore, Suntour hubs break too easily, traditional freehub designs cannot take high-torque climbing.
Bike Setup: 2 years on the universal-disc hub w/ alumninum driveshell. 6 months on my new ISO-Disc Stainless Steel (Trials) driveshell.
from Vancouver BC Canada
Date Reviewed: March 12, 2003
Strengths: tough, low maintenance, cool choice of colors(i got the red one), light, smooth bearings, engagement(72 teeth)
Weaknesses: the sound of those 72 teeth attracts too much attention(which is good to some extent), price was not really a weakness since i had high hope for these hubs and it performed like a 290$ hub
nice hub, formidable for both big drops or long/uphill rides, these one of the most expensive hub out there but it is also one of the best to my experience, if all goes well for this rear hub and i have enough $$ i'll definitly get 1 more CK hubs for the front
Similar Products Used: some shimano hubs, engagement not nearly as good as the CK ones
Bike Setup: downhill
a Cross Country Rider
from San Diego
Date Reviewed: February 2, 2003
Strengths: Awesome bearings that are rigid and free flowing. Excellent power input characteristics (I guess if you have 3 times as many cogs --72 vs. 24--as your competitor in, it is instant on). Absolutely gorgeous finish and set.
Weaknesses: Sounds is a little annoying when coasting. However, the first time you peddle up a hill you know its quality in these hubs. ($310 for set is little expensive but they are very high quality)
I am an extremely hard rider on components (bent more of them then one can count) and these hubs are just barely getting warmed up. They are highly engineered and quality components that look great (mine are red). I have not had any of the initial break in period that people talk about (they worked well right away and have not had to adjust). I love these things and are great for people who push there equipment and value precise handling.
Similar Products Used: Shimano XTR and Mavic crossmax
Bike Setup: Cannondale CAAD 4, avid extreme brakes, D321 rim, competition DT swiss 14 spokes and Chris King hubs, Race face carbon cranks.
dave, follow-up review
a Cross Country Rider
from pojoaque, nm, usa
Date Reviewed: January 9, 2003
Strengths: design, weight, quality, longevity, quick engagement, ease of adjustability
Weaknesses: i'm not a fan of the buzz sound, i guess the only answer is to not coast much!
to clarify a couple things from my earlier review. after a good long break in these hubs are now my buddies. they finally spin very freely. i think it was just a matter of getting the various bearing seals warn in a bit. the adjustment tolerance issue that i complained about earlier was more accurately attributed to the xt disk brakes which had such small pad clearance that absolutely any play in the rear hub manifest as pad rub. i put on some hope minis which actually retract the pads and have had no further rub problems. the kings have proven to be tough and reliable at a very reasonable weight. i do find that i need to do the clean/lube about twice per year to keep them running well, just as described in the manual.
Similar Products Used: the crapy ones they put on the bike from the factory
Bike Setup: Trek 8000LT, psylo race, hayes, raceface crank, king hubs and headset
from san diego / sierra mtns.
Date Reviewed: May 28, 2002
Strengths: light weight but fairly rigid, smooth engagement on freehub, easy servicing, killer customer service & 5 y. warranty
Weaknesses: it's mostly psychological, but the drag of the freehub is not as light as my shimano XTR rear hubs. However my chris kings have only 100 miles i.e. some add'l break-in is likely...
I chose the Universal (DiscoTek) rather than the new ISO chris king because I like the peace of mind that if a rotor mount bolt head breaks or threads strip then all i have to do is order another Chris King adaptor and it's all fixed, cheap and easy. The bearing preload was easy to fine-tune; i waited until I had about 100 miles of hard riding, then adjusted the bearing preload as per the chris king instructions and was able to get a nice silky feel with no slop. I've done some long vertical drop rides already w/ this hub / brake setup, and it's all worked perfectly. I used the white teflon loctite sealant (NOT the red type) for all threads in assembly. Chris King tech support was great; they sent me an extra copy of the manual, some grease, and made me feel very good about the purchase. 123bikes.com built the wheelset for $569 complete w/ adaptors, 317 rims, silver brass nipples, black Wheelsmith 14/16 spokes, and the build quality is great. So the actual cost of this sweet hubset (i chose the pewter finish--swanky) was LESS than I would have paid for Hopes or Hugis, neither of which have the bearing quality / overall reputation of the Chris Kings. I'll post a follow-up when I have 1,000 rocky single track miles on 'em.
Similar Products Used: shimano XTR, XT, Ringle, and classic chris kings
Bike Setup: ellsworth truth, Hope Mini disc brakes, Mavic 317 etc...
a Cross Country Rider
from Canton, MA USA
Date Reviewed: April 19, 2002
Strengths: Light weight, fast engage, easy to work on, reliable mechanism
Weaknesses: The standard 5mm hollow axle broke after 9 months. Bolt on much better, but is a pain to adjust with discs
The King hub is an impressive piece of engineering. I have destroyed Mavic, XT, White Industries, and Hugi drive mechanisms, but the King, like the headset, is rock solid. This is a hub geared toward mechanics - if you watch the lube (esp under colder conditions) and lube the ring drive and bearings regularly, this hub is invincible. The tool kit for the hub is damn cool, and you can service everything yourself. I did break the standard axle, and got a bolt-on rear which has been rock steady. The only annoying thing about the bolt-on is that to adjust preload on the bearings, I have to take the rear rotor off. However, once it is dialed, the setup kicks major ass. It's like a BMW - you will know where your money went when you hop on your steed with these bad boys
Bike Setup: Airborne Hardtail, Z2 Atom 80, Thomson, King, XT discs
a Cross Country Rider
from Central Illinois
Date Reviewed: March 12, 2002
Strengths: Strength, Reliability, Ease of use, Lack of worry, Looks, Warranty, Customer Service, Ease of maintenance, Cool clickity-clack rear drive-train noise...
Weaknesses: ...hmm...maybe the price, but these are well worth it.
Before I got the Kings, my typical rear involved rebuilding my rear hubs 4-5 times a year. No I am not writing about mud and dirt getting into the hub, rather I am referring to the freewheel just giving a loud SIGH and retiring itself. yeah, its real fun to have to bring cone wrenches, a #10 allen, and an extra freewheel on epic rides.
With the Kings, ZERO complaints other than...where's the King bottom bracket at.