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Chris King headset for DH?

JewBagel

Monkey
Apr 22, 2008
229
0
oregon
What are people's experiences with a standard king headset for DH? I've run Pig DH Pro's on most of my bikes with absolutely no problems but now I'm finally building a really nice DH bike and paying attention to weight. The people I bought it from recommend the Pig DH and they all ride the Pig DH Pros. Has anyone had any problems with ovalization of the headtube with the CKs? I'm a mechanic and not a hack rider who rarely breaks parts, I'm just a little hesitant to put an aluminum cupped headset in a 2700$ frame if there is a chance at ovalizing the headtube. I was also considering a FSA orbit MX deep cup since it has 22mm insertion on each cup.
 

RMboy

Monkey
Dec 1, 2006
879
0
England the Great...
Well there meant to be one of the best. I had one on my V10 and it was great, took loads of abuse, and the bearings still ran smooth.. Just with all headsets make sure you put them in well and you should have no problems.

The only issues i found with the Ck was that it make the stack hight even more, which was a bit annoying, especially if your headtube is already to big..

But i will say and alot of people don't agree with me, but there are other headsets out there nearly just as good, that will last nearly as long and be loads cheaper...

But if your building a pimp rig then yeah it will look the best!
 

Bicyclist

Turbo Monkey
Apr 4, 2004
10,157
1
SB
The problem I had with my King is that it came loose every other ride. There's no fixing it since Cane Creek owns the patent to the way a headset should be constructed. They're nice and bling but IMO they're not worth the price. Stick with CC or FSA.
 

.Pit Steelers.

Nostradumbass
Jun 18, 2006
1,431
0
Hawaii
If you put it in correct the FIRST, (1ST), THE NUMBER ONE, UNO, UN.

Then you will not have problems with it, it's not that hard to do. Put it in, get it seated, ride it, check it, and be done with it after that.
 

Sir_Crackien

Turbo Monkey
Feb 7, 2004
2,052
0
alex. va. usa.
well there was just a hugh thread on this very subject but from and engineering stand point the king head set is mechanically flawed. there is no compression device that actually locks the upper bearing to the steerer tube. its just a very tight fitting o-ring. this is that reason for some people they work well and some they don't. it your steerer tube is a little on the larger size the o-ring will be so tight it really cant move that much. if your steerer tube is not it can "relatively" move all over the place, causing creaking and a loosening headset (or one that never feels tight).
 
There are plenty of examples of people who have had no issues, but the reality is it is a flawed design. Search the threads, there is plenty of discussion on this.

Feel free to pay for an inferior product for the bling, but you may be in the unfortunate position that your steerer tube interacts negatively with the headset (too much slack) and you will end up with creaking, or worse, a headset than continuously comes loose.

Those who don't think they have any issue still have play, they just don't know it. My buddy looked for the source of play in his DH bike for years, it seemed to carry over to the next frame, he eventually found it was the headset.

Also, don't listen to those who rant on about the extensive installation instructions for a king, quoting tight tolerences and the like. No amount of frame prep and careful instalation overcomes a flawed design.

All CK headset installations display play between the bearing cap and the stem/upper crown. That is why CK headsets come with a "scuff washer" (this is CK actual name for it - a v thin white plastic spacer that sits on top of the bearing cap). It's a scuff washer, to stop the scuffing of the bearing cap from the inherent play.

Anyway, it's up to you, most people are unaware of the issue and will surely complement you on your bling headset, if that's what you want.

I'd save your pennies and get a decent headset.

Good luck,

JT
 

Zark

Hey little girl, do you want some candy?
Oct 18, 2001
6,257
7
Reno 911
Don't pay for overpriced headtube jewelry, you already have a good (better) headset.
Spend the $120 you would have on a weekend at a resort, riding your ass off.
 

JewBagel

Monkey
Apr 22, 2008
229
0
oregon
I was pretty sure the king wasn't worth putting in. I put them on my 29er, slalom, and road bike but that's probably all I'll use them for. My only other question is to anyone who has used the FSA Orbit Extreme Deep Cup, likes/dislikes? 7075Al cups and a 10 year warranty makes it seem worth it but I don't know anyone who has ridden one.
 

Kntr

Turbo Monkey
Jan 25, 2003
7,536
20
Montana
Ive run CK headsets for about 10years on lots f bikes. They always creaked and always came loose. I switched to a PIG and had no problems. Now I run a CC and I havent had a problem either.
 

DirtMcGirk

<b>WAY</b> Dumber than N8 (to the power of ten alm
Feb 21, 2008
6,417
1
Oz
As a member of the "clean plate club" I had issues on every DH bike I've run a CK on. It was an issue on my Demo, it was an issue on my Morewood, its been an issue on my Yeti. Yet, I still run them. Its an addiction I am working on.

It was getting so bad on my 303 that I was starting to lose my humor over the whole thing. I called King, in one of my less then chipper modes, and asked "Hey buddy, WTF?" They promptly sent me out one of the "pretension" devices they made. It was $35 for the deal, its billet and super de-lux, but it was kind of a kick in the balls to have to shell out more.

Then again, I am 235, run wide bars, and ride like a dump truck hell bound of Iowa...

If you do run on, get the device up front and save the BS.
 

Total Heckler

Beer and Bike Enthusiast
Apr 28, 2005
8,082
18
Santa Cruz, CA
I broke the bottom cup in half on mine. Worked great for 5 years though.

Sunline or FSA headsets work really well and they are cheaper.

Choose wisely... (in whisper voice)
 

CRoss

Turbo Monkey
Nov 20, 2006
1,329
0
The Ranch
They work for some and don't for others. With a dual crown fork I never had issues with my King. For the guy that said every King has play that is false. I had no problems eliminating play with mine on my trials bike. With a rigid fork any minute amount of play is noticed and annoying, and I could eliminate all play.

With a long travel single crown fork my king does have a slight amount of play.

As for the creaking issues every headset I have run develops creaks after riding in dusty conditions.

My king headset has been well worth the investment. I purchased it in 1998, it has been in 6 trials bike frames and is now in its 5th DH frame.
 

Polhill

Chimp
Feb 8, 2008
10
0
The King headset is a nice piece of precision machining. However, if you don't apply that same amount of precision to facing your frame before you install it you will likely have issues. The King headset doesn't use the same centering cone that a true A-Headset does so if the frame isn't prepped properly then the top centering cup on the headset will find a spot and wear itself a seat that will prevent the headset from staying tight. That kind of tolerance isn't achievable or even considered by most shops. King headset are best left on road bikes and XC rigs IMHO. I say save your money and by a Cane Creek 110. They are absolutely amazing. Durable, light, has a lower stack height than the King. They have a claimed 110 year warranty and just the right tolerances to allow for the small idiosyncrasies in alignment between the headtube and headset. FSA makes some pretty killer headsets too.
 

dropmachine

Turbo Monkey
Sep 7, 2001
2,923
10
Your face.
The reality is, a bunch of e-engineers who think they have the solutions to every problem out there and are smarter then everybody else in the bike industry will tell you its a flawed product, despite thousand and thousands of happy customers.

Is it overpriced? Yeah, probably. There are also headsets out there that work just as well. But last time I checked, this isn't a sport that runs on strict necessity, so if you think the color is pretty and you can afford it, stick on one, and tell everybody else to FO.
 

Sghost

Turbo Monkey
Jul 13, 2008
1,045
0
NY
When I first built up a DH rig I was concerned about the loads on the headset, so I bought the CK Steelset version. That was 7 years ago.
 

pelo

Monkey
Jun 11, 2007
708
0
Headsets are not rocket science. I´m saving my money.
 
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jcaramia

Monkey
Oct 28, 2007
914
0
Clifton, NJ
The reality is, a bunch of e-engineers who think they have the solutions to every problem out there and are smarter then everybody else in the bike industry will tell you its a flawed product, despite thousand and thousands of happy customers.

Is it overpriced? Yeah, probably. There are also headsets out there that work just as well. But last time I checked, this isn't a sport that runs on strict necessity, so if you think the color is pretty and you can afford it, stick on one, and tell everybody else to FO.
Somebody actually makes sense.:clapping:
 

CrabJoe StretchPants

Reincarnated Crab Walking Head Spinning Bruce Dick
Nov 30, 2003
11,726
545
Groton, MA
Somebody actually makes sense.:clapping:

:rolleyes:


It actually is flawed........it's pretty hard to argue it. I've had plenty of friends with creaking/constantly loosening CK headsets....in fact CK told one of them the top race was a "wear part" and cost like $15 to replace..........WTF? Shouldn't that only be the bearings?!?!


Just because there's thousands of happy customers doesn't mean it's perfect. There's actually a large number of people that aren't happy customers......sure the ratio might still be in support of CK products, but doesn't mean that there's a significant percentage of people who do find issues with their headsets.
 

dropmachine

Turbo Monkey
Sep 7, 2001
2,923
10
Your face.
Show me an unflawed product.

Its all about the RATIO of happy to unhappy customers. I'd say King has that one pretty much in hand.

BTW, I bet for every creaking king you can find, I can find 4 that never make a sound.
 

dump

Turbo Monkey
Oct 12, 2001
5,771
576
When I first built up a DH rig I was concerned about the loads on the headset, so I bought the CK Steelset version. That was 7 years ago.
I beat the piss out of my steelset when I had it. Serious abuse on that thing.
 

DirtyMike

Turbo Fluffer
Aug 8, 2005
14,407
965
My own world inside my head
I was pretty sure the king wasn't worth putting in. I put them on my 29er, slalom, and road bike but that's probably all I'll use them for. My only other question is to anyone who has used the FSA Orbit Extreme Deep Cup, likes/dislikes? 7075Al cups and a 10 year warranty makes it seem worth it but I don't know anyone who has ridden one.
The deep cups are fine, and its a decent product, but remember most frame will NOT accept them untill they have been properly eramed to accept them, there is a special adapter for the heat tube reamer for that.




If I repeated what someone else already said, Sorry
 

buma

Chimp
Sep 28, 2006
25
0
I rode a CK on the north shore for a while, never a problem. Different than DH, but with the drops and the torque... probably about as hard on 'em
 

DirtyMike

Turbo Fluffer
Aug 8, 2005
14,407
965
My own world inside my head
The reality is, a bunch of e-engineers who think they have the solutions to every problem out there and are smarter then everybody else in the bike industry will tell you its a flawed product, despite thousand and thousands of happy customers.

Is it overpriced? Yeah, probably. There are also headsets out there that work just as well. But last time I checked, this isn't a sport that runs on strict necessity, so if you think the color is pretty and you can afford it, stick on one, and tell everybody else to FO.
DOnt take this wrong, but, I have had Way too many customers pissed ab out loose/creaking CK headsets to say its not a flawed product, I am not especulating. I actually know how to, and do face and ream ALL headtubes before I install a headset. No matter how "Perfect" I follow Ck's<And other Mechs int he shop> Instructions, we still have an over abundance of problems with CK Headsets. We have more complaining with problems than we do those who have percfection all the time. I cannot tell you how many bikes have had issues with CJ headsets in our shop, that no matter what, still had problems, and once a different headset, usually Cane Creek, never had a problem again.

CK's tech answer has been in the past, "Face/ream the headtube" or " you need this tensioner device" or " Thats because the top race is a wearing item, you need to replace more often"

First one, Ok but We at our shop, ALWAYS face and ream frames if they have not yet been done, and if they have we still check to make sure all is good, the second two just blow me away, No other quality headset do we have these problems.

Many times this has been talked about, drawn out in detail, and explained with great detail. Its a flawed product, with one hell of a price tag.






P.S. it isnt just DH bikes we see the problems on. We see it on XC and roadies too.
 
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IH8Rice

I'm Mr. Negative! I Fail!
Aug 2, 2008
24,548
492
Im over here now
ive had a CK headset on everyone of my DH bikes and every other frame ive had and never had a issue with the headtube ovalizing.
like others said before, some frame mfg's dont recommend the deeper cups, but IMO they arent necessary.
just like everything else "high end" in mtbing it aint cheap, but its def. worth it
 

jcaramia

Monkey
Oct 28, 2007
914
0
Clifton, NJ
:rolleyes:


It actually is flawed........it's pretty hard to argue it. I've had plenty of friends with creaking/constantly loosening CK headsets....in fact CK told one of them the top race was a "wear part" and cost like $15 to replace..........WTF? Shouldn't that only be the bearings?!?!


Just because there's thousands of happy customers doesn't mean it's perfect. There's actually a large number of people that aren't happy customers......sure the ratio might still be in support of CK products, but doesn't mean that there's a significant percentage of people who do find issues with their headsets.
How can you say a great product such as the King headset, that hasn't been redesigned since day one, is flawed? Just because it is designed differently than most threadless style headsets, doesn't mean it has a flawed design. I am sure if they're are as many unsatified customers as you think there are, King would go back to the drawing board. In reality, people like their King headsets. Their sexy, durrable, and last forever.


(Look at the bold quations) Maybe your friend ****ed his up and CK said it needs to be replaced. Are you sure you or your friend didn't exaggerate the story a little bit because you and/or him are anti-CK? Even if CK did say that, its not like they get messed up that often. Plus its only 15$
 

Huck Banzai

Turbo Monkey
May 8, 2005
2,526
21
Transitory
for all the crap talk in here - the moot talk --

for all the ranting and banter

CK is still broadly/by far considered THE headset, by far most people have zero issues and love em, and that isn't changing anytime soon because you (the engineer, mechanic, messiah, persons who 'knows better' or whatever reason you have for knowing it isnt YOUR fault.) had or heard of a problem.

One of mine creaked once last year, it was awful, I cried.
 

CrabJoe StretchPants

Reincarnated Crab Walking Head Spinning Bruce Dick
Nov 30, 2003
11,726
545
Groton, MA
How can you say a great product such as the King headset, that hasn't been redesigned since day one, is flawed? Just because it is designed differently than most threadless style headsets, doesn't mean it has a flawed design. I am sure if they're are as many unsatified customers as you think there are, King would go back to the drawing board. In reality, people like their King headsets. Their sexy, durrable, and last forever.


(Look at the bold quations) Maybe your friend ****ed his up and CK said it needs to be replaced. Are you sure you or your friend didn't exaggerate the story a little bit because you and/or him are anti-CK? Even if CK did say that, its not like they get messed up that often. Plus its only 15$
What's funny is out of the 3 traits you mentioned, 1 is actually a fact.

My friend didn't **** up his HS, many people have gotten the same response from CK. And as for him being anti-CK, he has CK headsets on all his bikes, and has even bought more since the top race replacement.


And to argue that it CAN'T be flawed because it hasn't been redesigned at all is laughable. It hasn't been redesigned because:

1) other companies (CC?) own the patent for the compression wedge design that helps prevent loosening, and subsequent top race ovalization.
2) they sell plenty of headsets as is such that they don't have a major concern of losing their customer base
3) a LOT of people buy their headsets mainly due to their color selection........something not many competitors offer.



Argue it all you want, but that's the facts. I am in no way, shape or form biased, nor are any of the people I have mentioned in my posts. How can you argue the design is not flawed is beyond me, considering there are dozens of other headsets out there at 1/4 the price that have just as many loyal customers that swear by their performance and durability.


The mentality of "tons of people love them, they can't possibly be flawed!" is friggin' hilarious. How many very expensive and popular exotic cars are total turds from an engineering standpoint? That's just one example to this that comes to mind, but I'm sure there are many other analogous situations out there.
 
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TA..

!
Aug 21, 2007
228
0
Bionics department
The King headset is a nice piece of precision machining. However, if you don't apply that same amount of precision to facing your frame before you install it you will likely have issues. The King headset doesn't use the same centering cone that a true A-Headset does so if the frame isn't prepped properly then the top centering cup on the headset will find a spot and wear itself a seat that will prevent the headset from staying tight. That kind of tolerance isn't achievable or even considered by most shops. King headset are best left on road bikes and XC rigs IMHO. I say save your money and by a Cane Creek 110. They are absolutely amazing. Durable, light, has a lower stack height than the King. They have a claimed 110 year warranty and just the right tolerances to allow for the small idiosyncrasies in alignment between the headtube and headset. FSA makes some pretty killer headsets too.
I agree with most of what your saying, esspecially where CKs belong, everyone to there own there's always going to be different experiences!

I know my headtube was prepped properly yet I had the creaking issue on my bike mated to a Marz 66rc2x! I passed the same headset onto someone else who uses it on a XC bike no issues.

I replaced my CK with a Hope its been sweet for over a year in all sorts of conditions no creaking, I was bummed as I wanted a steel set at the time but they sent the wrong one!

I also have a King on my trail bike, 3years no issues, 6inchs above I'll look elsewhere and more than likely a CC 110..

Whats there 1.5 version like, same standard or have they improved upon the original design in 1/1/8th?
 

Huck Banzai

Turbo Monkey
May 8, 2005
2,526
21
Transitory
The mentality of "tons of people love them, they can't possibly be flawed!" is friggin' hilarious. How many very expensive and popular exotic cars are total turds from an engineering standpoint? That's just one example to this that comes to mind, but I'm sure there are many other analogous situations out there.
Most people who dont have a King, want one. Must be the pretty colors.

Nothings perfect, but you call flaw when I havent had any issues or need to replace anything on long travel and DC forks (Super T, 66, 888) 5yrs on one bike, 2 on the other. Lightest I've weighed through these 5 years is 230, so thats not the answer.

So if theres a flaw - looks like its being introduced somehow else......

inferences abound.
 
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CrabJoe StretchPants

Reincarnated Crab Walking Head Spinning Bruce Dick
Nov 30, 2003
11,726
545
Groton, MA
Just because YOU haven't had any issues doesn't mean other people haven't. I've seen/heard/read enough CK creak/wear stories, and seen them first hand enough to see how the design is "FLAWED."*



*Subjective, apparently.
 

CrabJoe StretchPants

Reincarnated Crab Walking Head Spinning Bruce Dick
Nov 30, 2003
11,726
545
Groton, MA
Again. Show me the perfect product.


Besides oreos.
There is no perfect product, except maybe brass cable housing ferrules.

However, what I don't get is why people swear CK headsets are the only way to go, when they are just as vulnerable to failure as other headsets 1/2 their price.