One of the best ways to upgrade your ride is wheels.
The wheels on a road bike spin more than 28,000 times on an average hour-long ride. The often-overlooked component, which connects the wheel rim to the spokes and directly to the axle, is the hub.
The iconic manufacturer Chris King has a reputation for producing high performance and reliable hubs. Founded in 1976 by Chris King, the company produces high quality bicycle parts specialising in hubs, headsets and bottom brackets.
Chris King (the man) is based in Portland, where the performance bicycle component factory has always been. I have been fortunate enough to spend time with Chris King. What shines through is his dedication to, and passion for engineering. When combined with a zero-compromise philosophy you get world class and enduring, bicycle bearing products. While in Portland (ahead of a bike ride down to San Francisco).
Chris gave me a tour of the Portland Factory, he explained that to produce high performance products with such low tolerances requires a content and focussed work force. A complimentary on site café is among the many benefits that help achieve that.
The Chris King R45 is the pinnacle of hubs for road riders and offers a high bling factor due to the number of shiny colours available. The very fast engagement achieved is due to the rethinking of the hub internals. Instead of the usual 24 teeth of conventional rear hubs these units have 45 teeth (hence Road 45). The design delivers high strength and a rapid pick up, which in simple terms means if you jump on the pedals for the town sign sprint, you’ll get there first.
Riding Chris King hubs is a unique experience. They have a reputation for rolling on and on, and that coupled with the sweet noise makes them so distinctive. Descending gentle slopes with Chris Kings and you really notice the difference, get in the tuck position and without turning a crank you fly past people pedalling away. The key is that they create their own steel bearings to a very high standard. The serviceability of the bearings coupled with reusable seals and snap rings, which are easily removed and reinstalled, guarantees many years on the road.
The mantra of buy cheap buy twice has never been truer where these hubs are concerned. Investing in these means you can enjoy the benefits of years of research, product development and fastidious engineering. They also look and sound cool.