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Chris King Gen 4 Hubs Get Universal Parts, Swapping Driveshells Now Easier & Cheaper

Chris King Gen 4 hub updates
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Chris King has always been about making the most precise components – it’s right there in the name. Their hubs are works of art, with their patented RingDrive system buzzing away as you coast. But that RingDrive precision came at a cost, namely a more complex service procedure and costly driveshell replacements.

Chris King had already phased out their needle-bearing design of the RingDrive system in 2019. Moving from that to a twin-bearing system reduced drag by more than 20% and made for a system that was lighter and easier to manufacture. The issue was that adapting the current hub design to the current twin-bearing system required multiple axle and internal driver body variations.

Now with the Gen 4 hubs, that all changes.

“Previous iterations of our hubs needed to balance compatibility with evolving external technologies, like the SRAM and Shimano drive systems, with our patented internals and bearings. With those core systems having stabilized, it gave us an opportunity to rethink what was going on inside our hubs, and so we took the chance to simplify things for our riders and streamline manufacturing.

For Gen 4 we undertook a holistic development process for each of the three hub products Boost CenterLock/6-Bolt, R45D, and R45, collapsing the specs into a design that allows for a universal axle and internal parts. In previous generations, we chased specs that led us to different bearing sizes, etc. Gen 4’s universal parts have allowed us to streamline manufacturing, and as a result, helped us reduce hub prices AND the cost of the small parts long-term riders will want for hub service and upgrades.”

King Sales Manager Greg Hudson

Notably, Chris King points out that “this is not a performance-based evolution.” Essentially, the hubs now use universal parts which allow King to offer drive system conversion kits for just $80 (for hubs that are already converted to or sold as Gen 4). Compare that to their previous conversion kits which were up to $380 in 2023. Better yet, the Gen 4 system is backward compatible with previous King hubs, so you can convert your existing hub to Gen 4 – though these conversion kits are more expensive. “Moving forward, Gen 4 R45D and Boost 6-Bolt conversion kits are priced at $275, which includes the axle, adjusting clamp, bearings, and driveshell. Similarly, Boost CenterLock conversion kits are priced at $250, inclusive of the axle, bearings, and driveshell.”

At the time of writing, prices for new Gen 4 hubs weren’t available, though we know that driveshell conversion kits for new hubs should run $80 since you only need to change out the driveshell. Chris King says that Gen 4 hubs are now shipping and are being built into their complete wheels.

Specific improvements with Gen 4 include:

  • Brand new driver/axle system
  • Improved compatibility/ease of changing Driveshell types
  • Lower-priced conversion kits
  • Better XDR user experience with threaded Driveshell end cap
  • Easier assembly and disassembly (no axle wedge)
  • Simpler preload adjustment (no spacer spring to compress)
  • More versatility due to universal axle and internal parts
  • More cross-compatibility due to common bearing sizes
  • Backward compatibility with previous generations of King hubs
  • Gen 4 R45D hubs utilize an updated adjusting clamp that allows for disc removal without the need to remove the adjusting clamp.

chrisking.com

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34 Comments
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Craig
Craig
14 days ago

The question is when are they bringing back the BMX hub spec? Pros are still scouring eBay for hubs and parts.

Alex
Alex
14 days ago

Chris King no longer supports Campagnolo so other than headsets they don’t exist to me.

G-Bike
G-Bike
14 days ago
Reply to  Alex

Who even still rides Campy? LOL

Track
Track
13 days ago
Reply to  Alex

Campy is dead.

Tim
Tim
13 days ago
Reply to  Track

There is a widespread perception that they are struggling, but how true is this really? Is there really any evidence that they are on their way out?
If Campy did vanish, it would be a major loss.

Robin
Robin
13 days ago
Reply to  Tim

There’s no evidence that they’re struggling, just speculation based on questionable assumptions.

People assume that because they don’t “see” (and that “seeing” is questionable) Campy no one rides it. Yet, they seem to sell everything they make.

It seems that comment sections are filled with people who think their assumptions are facts or that their “observations” are statistically significant and representative of the whole cycling population. Critical thinking seems lacking.

nathan
nathan
13 days ago
Reply to  Robin

No pro tour teams ride campy. The biggest bike brands stopped selling bikes with campy. But other than that you’re totally right there’s no evidence and they are absolutely flourishing.

Robin
Robin
13 days ago
Reply to  nathan

Ah so pro teams riding some kit is evidence of that kit maker’s financial health? Interesting. So you must have seen Campy’s books. And since you’re so in tune with Campy’s finances, why do they sell virtually everything they make.

Since Campy’s a private company, you have no clue about the health of the company. You’re guessing. That’s all.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
13 days ago
Reply to  Robin

You do realize that teams are paid to ride groupos don’t you? Campy can’t rationally afford to sponsor a team now.

Caspar
Caspar
12 days ago
Reply to  Robin

I seem to remember Shimano bailed out Campy yrs ago , when they were close to going belly up. Wonder if the big S still,owns a chunk of the little c…. anybody ?

Tim
Tim
12 days ago
Reply to  Caspar

Why would Shimano do this? It sounds dubious to me.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
13 days ago
Reply to  Tim

They’ve been minimally specced as OEM parts for a while but now there are plenty of companies that wouldn’t even think of selling a Campy bike. Ekar is keeping them somewhat relevant but that’s about it.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
13 days ago
Reply to  Alex

Realistically, even Campy has given up on Campy. They did this a long time ago. Now their only Innovation is adding a cog first

Tim
Tim
13 days ago
Reply to  Veganpotter

I had the same feeling about “adding a cog first” a long time ago, maybe when they went 11 speed.
In my view though, innovation hasn’t brought us much in road bike drivetrain performance for quite a while (don’t ask me to put a date on that). Okay, 2-piece cranks with external bearings and hollow arms, that’s a pretty substantial improvement over square taper, but beyond that I don’t see introduction of new tech bringing serious improvements.
Road biking comes second to mountain for me, so correct me if I am wrong.

Harvey
Harvey
12 days ago
Reply to  Veganpotter

Overpriced, proprietary everything. I have one boomer customer who insists on keeping his aging campy bike alive, which I’m happy to do, but every repair he huffs at the price. At this point a 105 group would blow his mind but that brand loyalty runs deep.

Mark Petry
Mark Petry
11 days ago
Reply to  Veganpotter

Campy will be sold off as a luxury brand as soon as Valentino passes, he’s what 83 now, the kids want a payout. After that it will be logo gear like sunglasses and hoodies

Rim Brake enjoyer
Rim Brake enjoyer
12 days ago
Reply to  Alex

They’ll really miss the 7 you’re uhh pee’ens they’re not going to be able to sell to by not supporting campy.

Bumscag
Bumscag
13 days ago

I wonder if they fixed the axle clamp design or if you still have to take the darn thing apart to install a rotor lockring?

Tim
Tim
13 days ago
Reply to  Bumscag

Ever King rear hub I’ve ever seen either has chain sag when backpedaling, or has slightly loose bearings.

Harvey
Harvey
12 days ago
Reply to  Tim

Had bearings go out on a customers CK bottom bracket. Called up to ask for bearings, and they wanted me to send it in, and they refuse to let my shop install new bearings which is about as simple as it gets. Fairly rude about it to boot. Customer is on Wheels Mfg now, and CK never gets recommended beyond headsets for retro builds.

Tim
Tim
12 days ago
Reply to  Tim

This includes three that I owned when I was on the King bandwagon. I tried a lot of times to get them to work as they should but to no avail and finally just rode with them a bit loose; it actually did them no harm. Back then, high engagement hubs were few and far between, but that’s no longer the case.

Tim
Tim
13 days ago
Reply to  Bumscag

There is definitely a persistent cult of King that thinks King can do no wrong, evidence be darned.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
13 days ago
Reply to  Tim

I have a King headset that has over 200k miles on it. I’ve never repacked them, I just pop the cups out to add anti seize grease every other year(titanium bike). But they’ve always been smooth so I haven’t touched them. Hubs? They were a nightmare and always needed preload adjustment, and that’s with 3 sets. They were all terrible

Tim
Tim
13 days ago
Reply to  Veganpotter

This pretty much echoes my experience- headset great, rear hub not great.

Tom Wenzel
13 days ago
Reply to  Bumscag

I think you need the Chris King Bespoke Rotor Lockring Installation Tool for $399.

Cletismckloskey
Cletismckloskey
13 days ago
Reply to  Bumscag

This is fixed. Quote from the article.

“Gen 4 R45D hubs utilize an updated adjusting clamp that allows for disc removal without the need to remove the adjusting clamp.”

David
13 days ago
Reply to  Bumscag

The latest ones I saw had a smaller adjuster but they were MTB rather than an r45.

Mr. P
Mr. P
13 days ago

Loving the bearings on the outer edge of the shell pushing the load on the axle further toward the frame dropouts rather than the bearing taking the load near the middle of the axle like most modern hubs.

Grillis
Grillis
13 days ago
Reply to  Mr. P

You should see the https://www.k-o-m.co.uk/ hubs then.

syborg
syborg
13 days ago

Is the rear hub loud, quiet or silent. IMO CK rear hubs are obnoxiously loud.

JNH
JNH
12 days ago
Reply to  syborg

I have two, the newest from 2010. To begin with they are extremely loud, after about 1000km they quieten down, I assume because the drive rings wear in. Now both of them still make the distinctive buzz but at a fairly unobtrusive volume.

malcolm frazer
malcolm frazer
13 days ago

The last Chris King hub I had developed a crack in 4 of the 6 rotor bolt holes after around 20000km mostly commuting and some light touring. The local (NZ) supplier basically said tough luck as it was just out of the warranty period. I’m a light weight at 75kg so definitely not overloaded, rotor bolt hole failure is potentially catastrophic! Never again, not even a headset, not worth the bad local service or quality risk.

SomeGuy
SomeGuy
11 days ago

Chris King makes great headsets.

Rim Brake enjoyer
Rim Brake enjoyer
11 days ago
Reply to  SomeGuy

It’s 2024. You’d really have to try and find a “bad” aftermarket headset. I had an FSA headset go 90,000+ miles before I ended up crashing a breaking the frame.

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