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De-sucking a Chris king headset?

maxyedor

<b>TOOL PRO</b>
Oct 20, 2005
3,506
684
In the bathroom, fighting a battle
Unfortunately when i built both my Yeti and Foes, I put style too high on my priorities list, and put a king headset on both of them. Lately I've been riding the Yeti 60-70 miles/week which means every Saturday I have to tighten the stupid headset and my Foes is about every 25 miles. I'm 99% certain the bearings are not worn out, as they're still smooth as glass, and i know creaking is common with kings. Before I replace them both, I've heard King has a new wedge or something that solves the problem, anybody know which part it is, their website isn't very clear and there's nothing listed that isn't currently on my headset.

If no such part exists, what's everybody running for a sealed headset? Cane Creak still the best alternative? What about for a DH bike?
 

Polandspring88

Superman
Mar 31, 2004
3,075
0
Broomfield, CO
http://chrisking.com/parts/bearingcaps

Choose whichever color you want and selected the "GripLock" version. That's the one with a multi-piece split ring to assist with tightening up the headset. I purchased one a few years back when they first came out and it has remedied the creaking that came from my headset. If you don't feel like ditching King yet it's a pretty good way to fix it.
 

H8R

Cranky Pants
Nov 10, 2004
13,965
35
Well crap, $30 to make a $150 headset no squeak. Wonder what a used King is worth? Mite be the smarter way to go.

Is the head tube properly prepped? The top and bottom should be faced parallel and there should be a slight chamfer on the inner edges. Also, if there is any place where it's headset-to-paint contact, remedy this. (properly facing and chamfering usually does this). Take the frame to a shop that knows how to face/chase frames properly.

Also read: http://chrisking.com/tech/tech_headsets

The reason I ask is when a frame isn't prepped right, it typically requires a slightly looser adjustment than the headset should actually have to make it "feel" right. In other words, to keep the headset from binding because of slight misalignment, you may be adjusting it just slightly too loose than it should be and then it creaks and loosens up even more.

Kings are touchy this way but when set up right, they are creak-free (at least in the many I've installed).
 

jonKranked

Press Button, Receive Stupid
Nov 10, 2005
60,624
7,776
media blackout
Is the head tube properly prepped? The top and bottom should be faced parallel and there should be a slight chamfer on the inner edges. Also, if there is any place where it's headset-to-paint contact, remedy this. (properly facing and chamfering usually does this). Take the frame to a shop that knows how to face/chase frames properly.

Also read: http://chrisking.com/tech/tech_headsets

The reason I ask is when a frame isn't prepped right, it typically requires a slightly looser adjustment than the headset should actually have to make it "feel" right. In other words, to keep the headset from binding because of slight misalignment, you may be adjusting it just slightly too loose than it should be and then it creaks and loosens up even more.

Kings are touchy this way but when set up right, they are creak-free (at least in the many I've installed).
i'd also like to add to this: make sure your star fangled nut is installed in proper alignment. i had a king headset squeak once because the sfn was crooked, which resulted in the uneven application of preload force.
 

trailbildr

Chimp
Aug 14, 2012
17
0
Sounds like there might be no grease on the crown race. I've installed dozens (hundreds?) of King headsets and they last forever and a day. Grease everywhere that metal hits metal, use LocTite 242 (anti-seize) between the cups and frame. Tighten it. It's damn-near impossible to overtighten a King headset. Sure, sometimes it happens, but I usually crank mine down pretty tight.

You are more likely to see out-of-spec head tube diameters than bad King headsets. I still have my first King headset from 1993 in my Bontrager...

mk
 

Polandspring88

Superman
Mar 31, 2004
3,075
0
Broomfield, CO
also, regarding the wedge - it will solve the problem, but it occurs more frequently on dual crown forks than single
My Marz 66 @ 170mm was particularly bad. The damn thing would be clicking away and you could see the indications of metal-on-metal contact on the steerer tube. If it is for a longer travel application I would say get the wedge. I never experienced the issue on my XC bike with a 100mm SID.
 

maxyedor

<b>TOOL PRO</b>
Oct 20, 2005
3,506
684
In the bathroom, fighting a battle
Is the head tube properly prepped?
When I built the Yeti, I faced/reamed with the Park reamer. The Foes I just pressed it. They both creak, never heard of a frame going out of whack while the headset was installed, but it's possible.

i'd also like to add to this: make sure your star fangled nut is installed in proper alignment. i had a king headset squeak once because the sfn was crooked, which resulted in the uneven application of preload force.
I think this was the culprit on the Yeti. Finally had a chance to tear it all apart today and I know the star-nut was installed nice and square (used the Park install tool), but it was crooked like a Judge when I tire the front end apart today. Going to assume it's from constantly re-tightening everything. Who knows

My Marz 66 @ 170mm was particularly bad. The damn thing would be clicking away and you could see the indications of metal-on-metal contact on the steerer tube. If it is for a longer travel application I would say get the wedge. I never experienced the issue on my XC bike with a 100mm SID.
With the 888 on the Foes it was bad, but I was using a head-lock. Now with the 170mm 36 it's just silly how fast it gets loose, don't have a head-lock yet, probably machine one next week.

I only have a 130mm Float on the Yeti, wouldn't expect it to cause the issues it's been having.

Cleaned everything, put some fresh grease on the upper and lower race, going for a pretty clam 20 mile ride tomorrow, we'll see it if starts squeaking again.
 

Jm_

Turbo Monkey
Jan 14, 2002
10,387
2,557
AK
My Marz 66 @ 170mm was particularly bad. The damn thing would be clicking away and you could see the indications of metal-on-metal contact on the steerer tube. If it is for a longer travel application I would say get the wedge. I never experienced the issue on my XC bike with a 100mm SID.
And remember that a 4" fork on a 29er is damn near as long as that 26er fork. 29ers make for very long axle-to-crown lengths, hence 1.5 crown/steerers. It doesn't have to be a "long travel" application for this problem to raise it's head. It's a well known about and common problem. CK didn't want to use the aheadset patent, they were too arrogant, but once it expired they flocked to it and charged people to "upgrade".

The problem is that the CK headset is relying on an o-ring to hold everything tight (keep it centered). Of course it's just rubber so when your fork hits a bump, it's going to "pivot" on the lower cup and the o-ring will compress. The headset will move. None of this happens with headsets designed with the compression wedge. The "frame prep/installed wrong/grease it" stuff is just trying to deflect what the problem is.
 
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JohnE

filthy rascist
May 13, 2005
12,647
666
Front Range, dude...
Was having problems with wiggle with the CK hs in my YBB (Even started a thread on it...). Could not finger it out, even my LBS guy was at a loss, wanted to overhaul my freshly PUSH-ed fork. Stuck a Hope hs in it and have had no problems at all.


Kept the King, going to put a wedge in it some day in another frame and see how it works.
 

maxyedor

<b>TOOL PRO</b>
Oct 20, 2005
3,506
684
In the bathroom, fighting a battle
Little update, few hundred miles later, still just as bad. Been tightening my headset more than lubing my chain. Think it's going to get ejected, or sold off with the frame if I pull the trigger on an SB66.

Hardly ride the Foes, so tightening it every ride is less annoying, but I think it mite get replaced as well.
 

Udi

RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”
Mar 14, 2005
4,839
1,030
maxyedor, your original idea was on the money, and CrabJoe is 100% correct.

King headsets are fundamentally flawed, a headset without a collet (split ring) is always going to come loose - because even if you start with perfect tolerances, vibrations/movement and wear will cause an imperfect fit eventually. The split ring eliminates the need for everything to be perfect and the headset can be done up tight + stay tight.

It's also something CC had a patent on. King made loads of money by knowingly selling inferior product, until the CC patent finally expired at which point King started offering the split crown race as a "feature" or "improvement".

What they should have done is paid the royalty instead of ripping off their customers. If I bought one, I'd call up and repeat that in a polite manner, and request they provide the upgrade for free - as technically it's a fix for a problem they knowingly sold you because they were too tight to spend a few dollars on the patented and correct solution for a headset they overcharge for.

Alternatively, get a Cane Creek / FSA. Both use split rings, both are excellent.
 

Jm_

Turbo Monkey
Jan 14, 2002
10,387
2,557
AK
So strange... You'd think a headset would be pretty simple.

Ah well, pretty things...
It IS, it's pretty hard to screw up, they just found the one way to do it. More that they were arrogant and blamed the user for the problems when it became a known issue/problem though. Thinking that every manufacturer is going to make perfect products is a little bit of a leap, so it's more about what they do to address any issues that come up IME. Most reputable companies would have offered the split-ring free given the circumstances.