Chris King has been making headsets for over 40 years. But in that time, they have stuck to press-in type headsets. That meant if you had a frame with an integrated headset, you were forced to look elsewhere. Now though, that all has changed thanks to the new DropSet 1.
According to Chris King, the reason it’s taken so long was that they needed to overcome an integrated headset’s natural tendency to lose preload. When the bearings aren’t firmly pressed into a cup and sit loosely in the frame, they can move or shift which eventually causes the preload to lessen, and that leads to loose, potentially creaky headsets.
Way back in 2010, Chris King unveiled their new GripLock compression system. After years of using a cap with simply a tight fitting o-ring, the GripLock system was a big departure that preloads the headset independently of the steerer clamp. CK claims that this retains preload better than competing systems and because of that, they were able to use it to finally offer an integrated headset that they could stand behind.
Also a first for Chris King – they’ll be offering the DropSet in stainless steel or ceramic bearings. This again is in response to the fact that integrated headsets apparently see more abuse than their press-in counterparts. Claiming that the ceramic version will be more durable in wet and corrosive environments than their stainless bearings, the self-lubricating ceramic bearings should have a longer service life.
Offered only in the S.H.I.S. IS41/28.6 – IS52/40 bearing size with a 45/45° bearing seat, the headsets will fit bikes from makers like Santa Cruz, Yeti, Ibis, and Alchemy. CK says that this is one of the more common standards and sees it as the most likely to continue in a sea of changing standards.
Currently available only as a pre-order, headsets will start shipping on August 13th for $125 in stainless, or $245 in ceramic and in all colors.
- Patented GripLock design
- 10-year built-to-last warranty (the same as every Chris King headset)
- Legendary made-in-house bearings. 41.0mm 45/45, 52.0mm 45/45
- S.H.I.S. IS41/28.6 Upper Bearing, IS52/40 Lower Bearing
- Available in all colors