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The Chris King Bling: Part III

by Michael Webber |

While bicycle do technically have teeth, it’s fairly uncommon to see them augmented with a rhinestone studded grill. Is that really a thing? Do we all know what a blinged-out grill is? See here, here, and here for examples. Are you ready to upgrade your ride? Who best to do so, but a collaboration between you, Above Category, and our friends in Portland making the Chris King bling!


Beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder, but we think if you’ve spent any amount of time on the AC Journal, you’ll agree that the bling we put on your bicycles are indeed beautiful. Read on for some of those details.


As we have journaled about previously, Chris King has recently unveiled their new matte anodized color options (matte jet (black), matte mango, matte punch (pink), matte slate (grey), and matte turquoise). While these will likely offer additional opportunities for matching your current component and paint mix on your existing, or pre-natal bike, there now exists a new aesthetic upgrade offering for your currently owned Chris King hubs. Are your Mango R45’s looking drab with their high-polish silver axle bits? Assuredly not, but augmenting them with black might be just the elegant switch to make your bicycle fresh.


Going forward, Chris Kings hubs will come stock with the black axle assemblies (with the exception of the original silver hubs), so, conversely, if the silver axle components would look better with your color choice, then silver can still be had. I personally would love to see a combination, that would make sense of course, with silver axle components, silver spokes, and a matte turquoise hubshell. Gauntlet thrown!


Receiving the CKPC upgrade treatment has been something that we at Above Category have been delivering for some time now. Oftentimes though it’s in the more subtle and obscured locations on your bike. Why would one settle for a stock lock ring on your cassette when you could shave a few grams by substituting it for a Chris King Titanium lock ring—a R45 cassette isn’t even required for this improvement. The aesthetic upgrade isn’t lost either with this subtlety. The sight of one of these viewed through the dropout cut-outs of your Corretto is one of head-nodding amazement for those who are aware of that distinction. This level of attention can be had for a more economical investment as well by going with an aluminum version as well.


If ever you find someone bent over closely examining your crown race (or baseplate as they are called by Chris King) you’ll know they have very good eyesight, because the upgrade they’re probably looking for is the subtlest of them all. This feature is pretty challenging to visually determine once installed, noticeably lighter in the hand when compared to its stainless cousin, once it’s mounted there is only the near indiscernible outer radius that makes it apparent. The Chris King headset baseplate comes in titanium as well, gram shaving some more, but again really emphasizing the no-stone-unturned approach to detailing the very best of features for refining the beauty of your bicycle.

Of course, if you didn’t opt for ceramic bearings with your initial purchase of Chris King hubs, bottom bracket, or perhaps even headset, there exists an upgrade option that really is not seen, but certainly is felt. Going ceramic will provide the ultimate smoothness in pedal and rolling efficiency. Visually evidenced by the black bearing circlips that indicate the ceramics inside and also by your ride buddies struggling behind you pushing unnecessary watts.


Back to some of the color upgrade options for Chris King, their headset spacers are offered in obvious color matched pairings. These are no ordinary stack spacers, again, impossible tell whence installed, but each of them—beyond the 6mm option—have an internally machined inner surface dropping some weight no doubt, but ultimately contributing to those details. If something requires precision machining like the inside of a headset spacer, you can be certain the remaining features are dialed and equally precise. There is never any question as to the accurate consistency of a Chris King headset spacer height. (Keep in mind, these are measured in less than common heights: 3mm, 6mm, 12mm, 25mm). The bigger issue is the actual color match, because for the time being, most folk’s stems are going to be either black, black carbon, or possibly silver. We’ve spent many a debated hour or more deciding on what color combination of stack spacers to use, and oftentimes, it isn’t what we would have initially expected, see Dusty’s recent Duende Journal post to see what I mean.


Colors and materials. Black, Matte Jet, Matte Mango, Matte Punch, Matte Slate, Matte Turquoise, Navy, Red, Silver; Aluminum, Stainless Steel, Titanium. Who knows if any of those combinations would look good in your mouth, but we can attest how awesome they look on your bicycle—let us bling out your bicycle’s grill with some of the beautiful “rhinestones” the folks at CKPC have to offer.


Did you miss Part 1?

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Did you miss Part 2?

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