chris king or hope?

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  • chris king or hope?
  • You get to spend more money on it and people notice it and go “ooooh a CK eh? thats nice” Think I’d get a hope, can’t be that much difference in them?

    P.S. This was based on no previous knowledge of either product.


    Have both. Hope.


    I have a king on one bike, bought when the exchange rate was better from Aspire. There is no way i would have bought one at full UK RRP. It is a nice headset but not that nice,

    Premier Icon beamers

    3 kings in our household. So Smooth.

    13 year old king headset on my litespeed, nuff said!


    If you will be using a long travel fork then go Hope. CK might start to creak…

    Premier Icon takisawa2

    I’ve just stuck a s/h King on one of my bikes. It’s silky smooth.
    But then again, so was the £25 Cane Creek S3 that has been on there for the last 4 years. (And will go on another bike).
    Honestly…unless I come across a bargain I’d not pay full wack for a King.
    Not overly impressed with the Hope I have on another bike either.


    What headset to get? are there any advantages of having the king over the hope?


    3 kings, one hope and an fsa orbit 11. Kings all like new, hope bearings gone loose and fsa’s in the bin. The kings are all older than both of the others.


    King almost every time – long travel forks being the exception.

    I like my Raceface Deus one. The hope one I had I never liked the bearings and had to have Hope replace them after a few rides. Well sealed though the Hope.


    My Hope is still silky smooth after 14 months being on me old bike. Why waste money on CK? I guess the fashion victims will prefer the CK. 😆


    Chris king would be my choice,and its got nothing to do with ‘fashion’.
    I think King make a better H/S than hope.
    Thats not to say hope dont make a top quality one,they do,in fact nearly all their products are top notch.
    Its just i believe king know more about headsets than a manufacturer that specialises in brakes.For starters they’ve been making them far longer and to the same design,so that must count for something.
    Another point is when you want something new and decide to sell it.CK will sell for a very good price.

    Mind you ,it can be fashionable to disagree with the norm 😉

    Reset headsets seems even nicer. I use FSA and don’t complain. Cheap, reliable, cheap again.

    Premier Icon shortcut

    CK almost every time. 4 bikes in the shed. 3 with CK. My oldest was bought second hand about 5 years ago and is still going strong and very smooth.

    The others having been in my posession for almost as long on various bikes without fault. If you buy one and get a sensible price you won’t regret it. Plus you can hand it down to your grandchildren!


    Hope here.

    Tried FSA for the 1st time and it disintegrated after 3 months despite the bike mechanic’s assurance that though cheap it was as good as CK / Hope. Won’t be doing that again.

    Hope are not as long lasting as CK full stop. The newer Hopes are allegedly better than the original ones which were a bit hit or miss. That said I had exactly this decision to make last week, but there were no black CKs in stock, so I got a Hope and got on with my life!


    Have cash? CK.

    Sensible? Hope.

    Premier Icon leeph

    Hope HS lasted three months on my DH bike.
    CK on the same bike – over three years old and still perfect.

    Premier Icon ahwiles

    +1 for the cane creek s3.

    MUCH better seals / design than the hope i’ve also got. but less than half the price.

    The s3 bearings have 2 seals at each end before you get to the sealed bearings, my hope headset has a delicate lip seal that has let no end of gritty rubbish through.

    Cane creek s3: – 2 years old, looked at once, reasembled with no maintainence. still running like new (smooth and silent).

    hope wotsit: 3 months old, full of grit, never ending tlc. needs new bearings.

    The problem with the cane creek s3 is that no-one will ever say:

    ‘ooo – an s3!’

    we should be more excited by cheap stuff that works well.


    I’ve had both, the Hope is in the bin, the CK is still on the bike(three different frames) nearly ten years on and super smooth, with one grease up about two years ago. The Hope lasted almost two years, at £60 as opposed to the £100 King – which is still good after almost ten years, it doesn’t represent particularly good value, or prudence to get the Hope.

    I wouldn’t ever buy a Hope headset again, the new ones are a bad design too, I had one of those as well, a standard FSA type set up but with lots of seals, EXTERNAL vulnerable seals which won’t last like a King. The bearing showed signs of spinning in the cup as well, if you follow Hope’s guidlines of packing all the contact and other surfaces with grease. Which is the only way they can attempt to waterproof it. When I took it apart after a couple of winter rides to service the fork, the headset had water between all the components, and there are quite a few in the Hope, this is when I noticed the evidence of the bearing race spinning in the ali cup – yes it was fitted correctly. I have a King on that bike now, second hand and of course it’s faultless – fit and forget.

    I wish I could say otherwise, and be patriotic, but they are sh!te from my experience.


    Its just i believe king know more about headsets than a manufacturer that specialises in brakes.

    Are headsets really that complicated? If King really know so much them how come their design doesn’t seem to fair well with long travel forks?

    I’ve used CK ones in the past and the bearings haven’t been any better sealed than the cheaper FSA ones I now use instead….


    You obviously haven’t taken a CK headset apar ChrisS, how about the stainless snap ring and seal system – have you removed that, and have you had a CK headset fail?


    I’ve had a hope (early one) and it’s lasted great, been on the same bike 7 years, 6 of which it was my all year round MTB, ridden regularly in very muddy conditions and hosed down before being left to rot in the shed. It’s still running fine.

    I’ve heard good things about Cane Creek headsets, so got 2 S8’s for £30 each (to go on different bikes so I can swap forks around more easily and because both the current headsets are fooked) after a bit of searching round on the internet, as my budget at the moment wouldn’t stretch as far as Hope even at the mo.

    the bearing balls in CK are VERY resilient (hubs and headsets).

    the headset races are SO simple to service too.

    there’s also the Cane Creek 110, but I’m a CK fan.

    fwiw, CK also do a Steelset for deep insertion / long travel duties.

    Premier Icon nuttysquirrel

    Never used Hopes but Kings are worth it (never thought i would say that!). I’ve got mine free for buying bikes I don’t need for wife, sister etc. but I would still buy one at RRP because they’re a great saving!!! You don’t have to be a mathematician to understand how much Cane Creek and FSA were gaining from me every few months.


    You obviously haven’t taken a CK headset apar ChrisS, how about the stainless snap ring and seal system – have you removed that, and have you had a CK headset fail?

    No I OBVIOUSLY haven’t…. 🙄

    I’ve have had CK bearings fill up with crap though.

    i have both king hubs,and hope,king are quality,light,strong,expensive and sound like a buzz saw,hope are the same but cheaper and the aftermarket care is second to none.on two occasions i sent the my rear hub back to hope for a service when they were totally dead,new internals etc,both times they replaced the freehub for no charge,just the servicing and friend had the same thing happen to him.king headsets are the only one you’ll ever need.mine has’nt had a total service since i got it 4 years ago,just light re-greasing it’s spot on,well worth the cash,either way king or hope you can’t go wrong


    I can’t see how you would be aware of the CK bearings filling with crap, without removing the stainless snap ring, ChrisS!? Or did the headset fail in some way, and that was your assumption?



    Yes, I’ve had one apart, yes I removed the snap ring, yes the bearings were contaminated with crap.

    And i’ve never had problems with long forks/creaking.


    I have a king. It creaks on my 5-spot with 36’s. I have worked as a cycle mech the world over and know about correctly facing frames, installing headsets and what torque to tighten the headset to.

    Looking into this further it becomes clear. There is no wedge that locks the top cap of the King in place, unlike Cane Creek who have the patent on the technology, and all the companies who use the cane creak licensed technology. The King simply has an o-ring to keep it centered. With the forces on a long travel fork the o-ring can be compressed leading to the top cap moving in relation to the spacer or stem sitting on top of it. As soon as there is any grit at this interface, then creaking occurs.

    Bearings etc will still be fine. Headset still works fine as long as you can put up with the creaking. I went about 6 months of summer riding without it creaking. As soon as winter hit and I was back into wet riding it has started creaking away again…

    Next time I would buy a high end Cane Creek headset.

    Actually, this article here explains it better.


    Very well explained – the problem is made alot worse with 29er’s and long forks, as I found.

    CK do say though the o ring needs anual replacement, but still it’s the design which needs improving.

    The Hope does have the split compression ring in the steerer tube which is very good, and alot better than the King


    Your two posts seem somewhat contradictory ChrisS, but if that’s your experience…..10 year warranty on the CK, hope (no pun intended) that you made use of that.

    Inzane, sounds a very valid explanation there on using long travel forks, I run 140 Vans on my 5 spot so, not quite in the same territory. I did go through a period with my old Blur of creaking headset (same headset of course). I was finding, in hot dusty conditions over time, that a small amount of grit/dust must have been getting onto the crown race taper, as when I cleaned this the creaking would dissapear.

    Premier Icon mattbee

    Just to prove that there’s an exception to every rule, my Hope XC headset was pre-ordered a month before they were available and is still going strong umpteen bikes and years of neglect later.

    Premier Icon mos

    TFR & muck off kill anything i’ve owned with a bearing or grease in, apart from King headsets.

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