Chris king headset woes continue

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  • Chris king headset woes continue
  • matlockmeat

    Since fitting a chris king inset a while back I have always had issues with it creaking.

    It’s so annoying and worst of all must be causing wear from the movement.

    I know exactly where it’s coming from, it’s the shite grip lock system.
    The idea itself isn’t the problem it’s the fact the grip lock has such little contact area with the top bearing and it’s such a tiny/flimsy bit of alloy.
    It simply can’t handle the load and will move. It’s needs to sit deeper in to the bearing to work IMO.

    So from doing some reading up on this issue it sounds like the best solution everyone goes for is to buy a Cane Creek 110.

    Anyone on here done this and if so did it solve the problem?
    I’m trying to find an exploded diagram of the 110 headset to check the bearing and split ring have a strong contact area.


    cane creek 40 series are fine, unless you need the bling factor of the 110 series. You can upgrade the 40 series with SS bearings when they wear out but mine have been fine for ages since the sealing is sound.


    I’ll take a look at that. Was just looking at the 110 because its a comparable premium headset


    Ive had Chris King headsets on my bikes for years.. Manitou HT 93 up to my present bikes a 2005 Ellsworth Truth and a 2012 Ellsworth Carbon Enlightenment.. never any problems. However Ive trusted my LBS to fit them. Im sure if I tried to DIY it would be a disaster.Cant see any point in spending big bucks on stuff only to f••k it up fitting it myself.


    my CK creaked when i missed out that thin plastic washer (scuff washer)thingy from between the headset & stem

    Had the same King headset in numerous frames for years-firstly with the original o-ring top cap and changed that for the split ring set up a year or two ago. Always used on hard ridden140mm hard tails without creaking or noise of any issues. Greased bearings once in that time and still smooth as when bought.

    What frame is it installed in? Is the head tube faced? Is the fork steerer bent?


    I used to be a bike mechanic and still am to some degree. Run a home workshop now, started fixing all my riding buddies bikes and went from there really. I’ve fitted 100’s of headsets over the years.

    I’m definitely fitting it correctly, even have a park tool headset press.
    I have another king headset on my other bike. It’s a king devolution with the older rubber oring design that was apparently problematic and wore down people’s steerer tubes. I’ve never had a single issue with that headset, it’s been completely creak free.

    The headset I am having the problem with is fitted to a tracer 2 frame. The frame was new to me so this king headset was fresh in. It’s an inset version on the top cup as my frame has full 1.5 headtube.

    I can feel the top cap moving slightly when applying pressure to the left or right on the bars.
    The grip lock is just such a small piece of aluminium it just doesn’t sit deep enough in to the bearing.

    I’ve tried different forks, wheel, bars and stem so pretty sure it the top headset.

    As for facing, no it hasn’t been by me and that has been on my mind in case it’s not quite right.
    I have never had to face any new premium frame, to be honest it looked faced already (not sure if intense do this or not)

    I’m going to try a new headset and see what happens. Having a violent creak is so frustrating.

    From searching the tinterweb, it would appear a lot of people have this issue with the grip lock system on king headsets, they simply can’t stop it moving no matter how tight it’s done up.
    People who have had the issue fit a cane creek or hope and problem solved apparently.
    I’ve got all this info from MTBR forum so mainly American users I believe.


    Can’t really help much but I’m thinking of moving to a King headset on my Rune because the Hope one I have is not great. The lower bearings don’t seem to last long and it doesn’t seem to be all that well sealed. A lot of grit and water gets beyond the the seals.

    My ancient King headset on the Stanton is still going strong.

    Premier Icon flap_jack

    sounds like CK have had the management consultants in. 🙁

    Premier Icon takisawa2

    Never got on with King headsets.
    I know folk go on about them etc, but Cane Creek just seem to be a functionally better product.
    Their bottom brackets are very good though.


    You can tell the quality of a king is great. It’s just the poor grip lock system that is lacking.
    Bearing and cups are the finest quality.

    If anyone ever had a race face Steel DH headset they will know what I am on about.
    That was how to design a headset.

    The top cap inserted really far in to the bearing for a nice snug fit.
    This grip lock system just sort of floats on top of the bearing.

    I’ll be ordering a cane creek tomorrow so I’ll report back if that fixes it


    there’s very little negativity with king headsets.

    sounds like user error. not enough pressure on the split ring.


    never had a problem with Chris king headsets, not sure why you would be so against them.

    But, you may want to re-fit it.


    Definitely not user error more of a design flaw.

    My slightly older king headset which uses a different design is flawless.


    I’ve got two griplock ck’s and both are faultless, I have have had creaking, knocking and steerer wear with o ring versions though. Top caps not bottoming on steerer is it, preventing correct adjustment?


    Having exactly the same problem with my King Headset that is on a new Banshee Rune frame, both bought in November together.

    It’s driving me crazy. If you find a fix then I’m all ears….

    All the best,

    Premier Icon moff

    How about putting a spacer between the tapered griplock and the top cap?

    Is enough pressure being applied to the tapered part? Maybe the top cap is bottom out on something else.

    Obviously not ideal, but worth a try to see if it makes a difference.

    I’ve had griplock King headsets on two bikes. Never had a problem.
    There are some fake King headsets around; maybe you have one of them.


    Pretty sure it’s not fake. It came from the lakes of leisure. Certainly doesn’t feel fake.

    That’s a good idea Moff I will try that.

    Generallevi are you running a spacer between the scuff washer and stem or are you running the stem slammed?

Viewing 19 posts - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)

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