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Chris King AeroSet Brings Fully Internal Cable Integration to Classic Headset

Chris King almost managed to sneak their new AeroSet headsets past our watchful eyes, combining fully internal cable routing integration with their sought-after craftsmanship... and now pretty classic looks, too.

Chris King AeroSet 3 fully internal routing headset
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Whether you have a smoothly-integrated carbon frame or a more classically-built steel or titanium bike, you likely will now be able to hide all the cable on your next custom build inside a Chris King headset…

Chris King AeroSet 3 fully internal routing headset

Chris King AeroSet 2 fully internal routing headset, ENVE Custom Road detail
c. ENVE – Custom Road with Chris King AeroSet 2

We first spotted AeroSet version #2 (hmm…) a year and a half ago integrated into the US-made ENVE Custom Road carbon road bike. And then AeroSet 3 found its way into the recent Moots Vamoots CRD ti road bike.

Chris King AeroSet 3 fully internal routing headset, Moots Vamoots CRD detail
c. Moots – Vamoots CRD with Chris King AeroSet 3

The unifying theme of course, is the oft-desired Chris King headset dropped into a premium American-made custom bicycle AND no cables in sight. We can debate the necessity of completely internally routed cables – no really, we did debate that with some of our favorite bike mechanics around the world – but there’s no arguing that it results in a slick setup.

Chris King AeroSet 3 fully internal routing headset, road riding
photos c. Chris King

Of course, many of the downsides of routing your cables through your headset into the frame come back to the fact that needing to replace a headset bearing becomes a very expensive and complicated project. Now, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that anyone buying a custom ENVE or Moots road bike can afford to pay a pro mechanic. But in any case, why not start with the trusted durability of some US-made, premium steel Chris King sealed bearings and stave off the inevitable for a bit longer.

Full disclosure: I have more than one Chris King headset that’s still spinning more than two decades later with very little servicing, having outlived their original bikes.

So what’s really new here?

Chris King AeroSet 3 fully internal routing headset, cable routing rendering

Admittedly, the Chris King AeroSet 3 headset isn’t some new innovation. We’ve seen tons of other integrated routing headsets from the likes of Acros, Deda, FSA, Token, and many more component makers over the past few years. Even compared to the more classic headset lineup, the only thing really new in the AeroSet is a new machined top cap to direct your cables in between a 1.5″ bearing they already had (same as the InSet 7) and your 1.125″ steerer tube.

The big news here is that it is that a traditional press-in version is available for those who want and need it!

Tech details

Chris King AeroSet 3 fully internal routing headset, clean Moots front end

Chris King created the AeroSet 3 because “Aero is everything“…. well, and more cyclists were begging their custom frame builders for the combination of internal routing and the prestige of a King headset.

Chris King AeroSet 3 fully internal routing headset, ENVE In-Route system compatible

Developed together with Enve – first in the more integrated AeroSet 2 setup for the Custom Road bike – the new AeroSet 3 features top & bottom 1.5″ bearings and a keyed bearing top cap with two cable routing ports that line up with the Enve “In-Route System” stem or one-piece cockpit setup and split spacers. Officially, the AeroSet is only compatible with an ENVE In-Route cockpit, as that is to align routing with the stem & spacers (only available from Enve), compatible with electronic and mechanical 1x & 2x drivetrains.

All you really need to fit it is the straight 44mm headtube that many modern steel, titanium & custom carbon frames use, then you can press in the mostly classic-looking set of oversized 1.5″ cups. Of course, if you want to route your front brake internally as well, you will need a fork with an internal routing channel into the steerer tube and down the fork leg.

Chris King AeroSet 3 fully internal routing headset, Moots 44mm headtube

The new Chris King AeroSet 3 headset is intended for new custom bikes. Assuming your new (or even existing) bike meets all those compatibility points, a qualified mechanic should be able to drop an AeroSet 3 into your bike and upgrade you to fully internal cabling. Note: A drop-in internal headset version will likely also be coming in the future too, for carbon builders that use internal headsets.

The AeroSet 3 includes all of the trusted Chris King headset tech – lightweight machined aluminum cups, long-lasting & serviceable premium heat-treated steel sealed bearings made in-house, GripLock upper bearing cap, all designed, engineered & manufactured in Portland, OR in the USA.

Chris King AeroSet 3 – Pricing, options & availability

Chris King AeroSet 3 fully internal routing headset on workbench

The Chris King AeroSet 3 headset sells for $375 making it the most expensive headset in their lineup. (Does anyone remember their titanium NoThreadSet?) But at least you can get it in a bunch of shiny anodized colors to match your Chris King hubs & bottom bracket. After all, it was developed specifically for custom frame builders looking to add fully internal cable routing. The AeroSet 3 is available in matte black, shiny black, two-tone black with gold logos, silver, red, gold, dark midnight gray & matte turquoise – through all regular Chris King dealer shops & bike builders, and includes King’s lifetime warranty. More colors will come be added as Chris King build up more stock over time.

Chris King AeroSet 3 fully internal routing headset, Mosaic custom road bike
c. Mosaic

So far, we’ve seen bikes from Enve, Moots, Mosaic, Speedvagen, and more fitted with Chris King AeroSet headsets. We imagine there will be a lot more in 2023.

Chris King AeroSet 3 fully internal routing headset, Speedvagen custom road bike
c. Speedvagen

ChrisKing.com

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35 Comments
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mud
mud
7 days ago

What happens when you wipe out and jackknife you fork?

Greg
Greg
7 days ago
Reply to  mud

Same as with any other headset…

Dylan
Dylan
7 days ago
Reply to  mud

Usually a nasty case of road rash. As far as the bike, maybe the brake hose reduces the thud of your handlebars impacting the top tube a little more than with conventional routing, but probably not enough to be significant.

Jaap
Jaap
7 days ago
Reply to  mud

And what happens when you drop your bike out of a helicopter?

KC Jones
KC Jones
7 days ago

I have a Ti NoThreadset on a custom bike – it’s nice.

P M
P M
7 days ago

Now this is just stupid.

Jaap
Jaap
7 days ago

Quite a few people around me have been asking for this, good to see CK got the message.

Oliver
Oliver
7 days ago
Reply to  Jaap

Were they asking for it to be $400 though?

Gary
7 days ago

So no handle bar height adjustment besides continuing to increased your drop? or am I missing something?

Exodux
7 days ago
Reply to  Gary

I think I see stem spacers on some of these builds, so it shouldn’t be much difference then a traditional headset/ stem.

Gary
7 days ago
Reply to  Exodux

So if you lower the stem and don’t replace those spacer above the stem without cutting the steer tube, how do you compress the bearings?

Exodux
6 days ago
Reply to  Gary

Unless I’m missing something or I don’t understand your reply, the star nut, top cap with a 6mm bolt and tightening the headset as you would if you had a standard headset. I’m I wrong?

Zach
Zach
6 days ago
Reply to  Exodux

You are correct. I’m running spacers above this very stem on my Melee.

With a carbon steerer, it is a compression plug instead of star nut, but basically the same idea. I like to use an extra long compression plug that goes down to where the stem clamps.

Gary
5 days ago
Reply to  Zach

Thank you, I posted this question because when I scour the internet I only find flush topcaps to the stem ( with this setup). I have yet to find one with a spacer above the stem between the top cap and stem. Thanks….

Charlie
Charlie
7 days ago
Reply to  Gary

You are missing something. The spacers are split in half so you can remove or add them at any time.

Doc Sarvis
Doc Sarvis
7 days ago

The CK I knew years ago would never have fallen for this crap.

Tom Jones
Tom Jones
7 days ago
Reply to  Doc Sarvis

Yeah. It seems that King isn’t so interested in the normal folks anymore, only the “premium” clients matter now.

LargeD
LargeD
4 days ago
Reply to  Tom Jones

Chris King has always been a premium product. Twenty years ago a King Aheadset was $125 when you could buy a Dia-Compe Aheadset for $25-$30.

Tom Jones
Tom Jones
3 days ago
Reply to  LargeD

Agreed. Always has been a premium product. Sometimes tough, an average Joe wants a really nice part on their average bike. Like a touring bike with rim brakes, a single speed or a 1 inch or 1 1/8 threaded headset.

Tom
Tom
6 days ago
Reply to  Doc Sarvis

100% agreed.

LargeD
LargeD
4 days ago
Reply to  Doc Sarvis

They still offer standard headsets, so what are you crying about? Let me guess, all change and/or progress is bad as a red hat member of “Make America Great again”?

Tom Jones
Tom Jones
3 days ago
Reply to  LargeD

What’s a standard headset?

LargeD
LargeD
2 days ago
Reply to  Tom Jones

external cups that oused the bearings, you know the type everybody used before drop in headsets became the norm.

LargeD
LargeD
2 days ago
Reply to  LargeD

“housed”

Big Dave
Big Dave
7 days ago

Proprietary headset that works only with proprietary stem that only boutique builders use…

Cool if you are one of the 1% that can afford a Mosaic or something.

I’m more interested in the fenders on that Speedvagan

Kelvin C
Kelvin C
7 days ago
Reply to  Big Dave

It’s a japanese brand call Honjo. I think Speedvagen custom painted them. Velo orange have similar offerings as well.

Exodux
6 days ago
Reply to  Big Dave

It appears that you wouldn’t have to run the cables inside the stem, but rather in front of the steerer as I’ve seen on some bike models.

threeringcircus
threeringcircus
7 days ago

No objection to the headset, but that goofy looking stem is a deal breaker.

Carsten
Carsten
7 days ago

The interesting question is what kind of special fork is mounted. As far as I understand it, the lines run through the steerer tube into the down tube.

DaveJ
DaveJ
7 days ago

Well, at least this headset appears to use a non-segmented, or continuous compression ring, so it shouldn’t punch holes in your steerer tube if you hit potholes. Unlike Specialized (pre-recall), FSA and others.

P M
P M
5 days ago

Soooo, none of you have commented that this should t be necessary in the first place…

Kelvin C
Kelvin C
5 days ago
Reply to  P M

Necessary for only to those who wants it. There are so many different things in their product line to cater to different needs. The outcry seems overblown and it doesn’t mean that the aeroset headset is replacing anything in their current product lineup.

P M
P M
5 days ago
Reply to  Kelvin C

Dentists need bikes too. 🙂

Huffagnolo SuperMagna
Huffagnolo SuperMagna
2 days ago

So do people hate Chris King now? It is just silly! They are making a product for the times. King has always been a quality product made in the U.S. it is not a cheap part but it is not a cheap part. If you are building a custom frame slapping a cheap headset on it doesn’t make sense and if you want everything integrated this is the way to do it. Is this product for everyone, no but you don’t have to buy it you can still buy a regular headset from them or get something from Phil Wood or White Industries or Wolf Tooth if you want a different MUSA headset or go Cane Creek as well and either get MUSA or at least from a US company. Nobody is forcing anyone to purchase this headset or have integrated cables if they don’t want. That is on you if you want them or not

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