Have you ever wondered what goes on inside a Chris King hub? Or have you ever wondered what goes on inside any rear hub for that matter? Nope? Just us then? That’s fair enough, we are a little weird like that. Just ask anyone who’s come to a Singletrack dinner party! But if you’re nerdy like us and you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind the cool sound of a Chris King hub buzzing away, then you’ll love this.
Today we had the chance to catch up with the crew at Saddleback in Bristol, who have recently become the UK distributors for the full range of Chris King products. In the workshop at the new Saddleback facility was a bunch of sweet hub cut-away models designed to show us some of the black magic that goes inside a Chris King rear hub.
*Warning: video of lots of clicky things within*
Indeed, behind the iconic ‘Angry Bee’ sound of a King hub is an intricate assembly of components that are designed to provide you with super fast engagement and rock solid durability. 72 engagement points to be exact, which has become the hallmark of a Chris King rear hub.
The mechanism that Chris King use is their patented Ring Drive. In essence, it’s not dissimilar to the DT Swiss Star Ratchet system, but with a few important differences. In the above photo, you can see the two hardened steel drive rings, which feature interlocking teeth that slide across each other while you’re coasting, and lock together when you pedal. It’s these angled teeth that make that distinctive buzzing sound when you hear a Chris King hub coasting along the trail.
Where the Ring Drive mechanism differs from a DT Swiss hub is this part. It’s a worm drive interface between the primary drive ring and the freehub body.
The floating drive ring slides over the worm drive on the freehub body as you pedal. The harder you pedal, the more firmly the drive ring engages with the freehub body. As such, the Ring Drive system is capable of managing some monster torque.
In the above photo, you can see just how far inboard the Ring Drive mechanism is located inside the hub shell. This means the freehub body is better supported inside the hub, rather than being closer to the end cap like many other hubs. You’ll also be able to see the main spring in the centre of the hub, which is what pushes the inboard ratchet ring into the opposing ratchet ring. Also of note is the large roller bearing that’s found in the middle of the freehub body, where it better supports the hub axle.
Still looking blankly at the screen? Yeah, we’re still trying to wrap our tiny minds around the concept too! However, we managed to get some handy videos to show exactly what’s going on inside that clever Chris King rear hub.
Ross, our friendly technician mate at Saddleback, kindly took us through the guts inside a Chris King rear hub. If you want to see how all the individual components work, check out the above video.
Naturally, we asked Ross how quickly he could assemble a Chris King rear hub while filming him. With a stop watch.
Then Charles decided he could do it faster, so we filmed and timed him too!
As it turns out, it’s quite a simple process to disassemble and reassemble a Chris King hub, or at least it’s a lot easier than we were expecting. Saddleback will be stocking the entire range of Chris King hubs, headsets and bottom brackets, and they carry a full range of tools as well. If you’re a bike shop wanting to get your hands on some of the King tools required to do everything in the above video, or you’re simply a rider who’s looking to find out your nearest Chris King stockist and service centre, get in touch with Saddleback for more info.
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