Chris King’s DropSet headset lineup now has an IS41/IS41 option for downhill bikes, fitting the straight 1-1/8″ steerer found on most double crown DH forks.
This sixth iteration of their signature headset design has the same GripLock feature as the originals, and that’s the key benefit for rough-and-tumble riders like downhill racers.
What’s GripLock? Glad you asked.
Chris King’s GripLock is a four-piece upper headset cap (E) that protects the headset bearing and prevents things from coming loose while riding. It works by stacking a wedge-shaped split ring (H) on top of the upper bearing ring (J). That ring nestles into the upper bearing (K), acting like a bearing race but for the bearing’s inner/top race, and then the wedge (H) literally wedges between the race and the fork’s steerer tube.
This sandwiched design distributes lateral loads from impacts (the bumps your hitting) away from the bearings, reducing stress on them. And if the upper race (J) tries to move upward, which would cause the headset to get loose, it constricts the split wedge (H), making it squeeze tighter onto the steerer, which prevents it from slipping upward, thus preventing the headset from becoming loose.
Yes, this makes it more difficult to remove a Chris King DropSet headset, but unless you’re swapping forks, there’s likely little need to have to remove it.
The new DropSet 6 headset is compatible with their included baseplate and all 45º integrated crown races. It’s also compatible with carbon and alloy steerer tubes. It’s available now in all of Chris King’s colors, plus two-tone black and gold. MSRP is $176 with steel bearings, or $296 with ceramic bearings.