Chris King has earned an enviable reputation for his hubs, headsets, and bottom brackets.
We got up close with his new R45 disc brake road hub at the London Bike Show.
A cut-away model of a standard hub revealed its inner workings, which are shared by the new, disc-specific incarnation.
King uses a drive ring and driven ring system, in combination with a helically cut spline, in preference to spring-loaded pawls. His system offers 45 points of engagement, as opposed to the four-pawl system typical of many hubs. The net effect is faster engagement of the freehub, and, thanks to the helical spline, which pulls the clutch plates closer together under load, less chance of slippage.
The bearings are surgical grade stainless steel, positioned to create an angular contact patch, which allows them to be preloaded to cope with their inevitable reduction in size over time. Ceramic bearing kits were shown at the London Bike Show for all King products (hubs, bottom brackets, and headsets) but the advantage is said to be limited to weight reduction.
While the mechanism will be familiar to connoisseurs of King hubs (it’s a feature of his ISO, ISO Disc, and Classic offerings), this new miniaturised incarnation might be. The reduced size has added greater compatibility with Campagnolo’s freehub bodies, whose deeper ‘fluting’ requires a smaller internal mechanism. The R45 is compatible with 10 and 11-speed systems.
The disc incarnation of the R45 hub is brand new. It’s configured with a 135mm spacing, making it suitable for cyclo-cross bikes, road machines equipped with disc brakes, or lightweight cross country mountain bikes. It weighs around 240 grams, compared to around 215 grams for the standard, non-disc incarnation.
Precision doesn’t come cheap. Expect to pay around £350 for an R45 disc-specific rear hub.
Prototype push-fit bottom brackets were exhibited by King at the London Bike Show. Three types were shown: a BB30 offering, one for a 24mm axle, and a reducer kit from 30mm to 24mm. See the gallery below for images.
We also spotted road equivalents of the Carbon TI chainrings favoured by mountain biker, Christoph Sauser, winner of last year’s Cape Epic, on the Bromley Bikes stand, which had exhibited the Chris King products.
Carbon TI is an Italian firm who, unsurprisingly, make products from carbon and titanium. Here, the chainrings are hollowed titanium, into which a carbon mounting plate has been pressed. Expect to pay £300 or more for an outer chainring; £150 or more for an inner ring.
The company also makes elegant and lightweight seat post clamps, quick release skewers, chainring and jockey wheel bolts.