Weekender Ride

Chris King to be inducted into MTB Hall of Fame

Posted by on September 18th, 2006 at 1:50 pm

Alice Awards party

[Chris King at the
Alice B. Toeclips Awards]

Chris King, founder of Portland-based King Cycle Group will be inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame later this month at the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas.

King, who moved his company to Northwest Portland a few years ago, developed his first headset in 1976 in Santa Barbara, California. Since then Chris King headsets and hubs have become known as the standards by which all others are measured.

This quote from Chris (taken from their ’96 catalog) sums up his philosophy:

My Chris King wheelset

[Chris King rear hub.]

“It seems as though ‘good enough’ has become the standard. There are many reasons substandard quality components are not good enough; here are a few of mine. Like most people, I have limited time to work on my bike and I don’t like hassles, so the parts we design need to be easy to service. I certainly don’t like to get stuck out in the middle of nowhere so they also need to be reliable and durable. And, since we are in the business of making high-tech parts, we simply have to make them light.”

Cross Crusade #2 - Portland, OR

[Chris and his daughters at a
local Cyclocross event.]

Far beyond just another manufacturer, Chris King has built a company whose culture and business practices are leading the way just like his popular components. I have never met a business person more committed to both giving back to the community, creating a quality work environment and having as little impact as possible on the earth as Chris King.

At considerable financial cost, he has developed many internal operating procedures and processes that minimize environmental impact. From air filtration systems at their factory to an oil recycling system in their machines, King Cycle Group is a very responsible corporate citizen.

Congratulations Chris, we’re proud to have you and your company in Portland.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Jorge September 18, 2006 at 3:16 pm

    Well it’s about freakin’ time!
    Yeah Chris!

    (formerly ofCupertino Bike Shop and CycleCraft)

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  • Val A Lindsay II September 19, 2006 at 9:31 am

    Ditto, Jorge! And what a fantastic suit! Congratulations!

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  • Anonymous September 19, 2006 at 10:45 am

    “It seems as though ‘good enough’ has become the standard”
    seems funny that Chris King would say this when his own rear hubs are guilty of the same Cleche. Most people know how well-sealed his hubs are, but when that makes it a issue for your bike to freewheel properly when coasting you have a whole different problem. Its well known there is a break-in period on their hubs and its generally said that after “X” amount of time your rear hub should be freewheeling better. However, this is quite regularly NOT the case. Many people even after two years of consistent riding and having the hubs checked and serviced as suggested still have a chain that droops down and touches the chainstay when freewheeling. So, I have this freerider that says, “why do I care if my hub has a 108 point engagement (understood as: almost instant engagement) if the freehub has so much drag that the chain is drooping when I go to setup for something and when I move forward from a stop I have to take up all the slack in the chain before there is engagement of the cassette? that could be the difference of really being able to do a certain section of trail or not. Im getting sick and tired of this hub, Im just going to break down and buy something else.” I hear this guy and I agree with him. I have talked to the company several times regarding this and I dont get a very pro active response from them. So, while I think the headsets are out of this world, the front hubs are as nice as anything on the market and Chris King does own a spot in the MTB Hall of Fame, I have to laugh when I see a comment come right from his mouth like that. I dont think he’s addresses his own issues enough to make a sweeping generalization of the industry of bike parts manufacturers like this. He doesnt even seem to be concerned about his own issues as far as Ive ever noticed, so I guess he is guilty of allowing “good enough” to become his standard, as Chris King himself would say.
    anyhow, I dont get good response when talking to them about this, so I thought perhaps stirring the kettle in public might bring up some answers because quite honestly, people are getting tired of the rear hubs. I think he they a great product, I just think they need to get off their duff and fix an issue they have that they dont seem to want to address. Now that US manufactured Industry Nine wheels are on the scene its gonna be rough for King in the hub/wheel market if they dont get their act together.

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  • Patrick September 19, 2006 at 11:38 am

    But their colors….

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  • Chris DiStefano September 19, 2006 at 12:44 pm

    Dear Anonymous,
    Please contact me at 503-758-5924 or marketing at chrisking dot com. I am eager to speak with you about this issue and offer the full support of our technical services team as well.

    Same goes for everyone else visiting BikePortland; call or write anytime.

    Chris DiStefano
    Marketing & Communications
    Chris King Precision Components
    Since 1976

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  • Darren Pennington September 20, 2006 at 8:10 am

    Witness excellent customer service and blogger power all in one.

    Way to go Chris DiStenfano and hats off to the the culture of quality at Chris King Precision Components. Not every company empowers their employees, even their marketing and communication personnel to engage customers directly, let alone publicly.

    Hats off to Jonathan and his engaging readers (even the anonymous ones). This sort of interaction helps fuel the fire for quality products and excellent service everywhere.

    Compare the above posts to the Jammin’ 95.5 mess. My guess is that Anonymous and a few others will get service that exceeds their expectations and go spread the good word about Chris King products and company. If not, we will hear about it in future posts and, if need be, go freaky like we did on that disk jockey. In the end Chris King loses customers and reputation.

    Unlike 95.5, the company and its leader are too smart to let that happen.


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  • Scott March 6, 2008 at 9:20 am

    I have the very same issues that \”Anonymous\” refers to. I have had my CK rear hub rebuilt at two local bike shops a total of 3 times, and in frustration, I finally had it sent to CK for a total factory rebuild. I still had the EXACT SAME freewheeling problem AFTER the CK factory rebuild as before. In addition, I had specifically requested all new parts, and I did not get all new parts. I finally wrote a letter expressing my experiences and frustration to CK, and eventually received a phone call from someone at CK support. After wasting almost 45 minutes of my time on the phone explaining to me that \”my riding style\” (ie: backpedaling to avoid rocks on rocky singletracks) was the problem, and not the hub, the CK support rep offered to cover half the cost of my recent CK rebuild. Almost 3 months later, I have not received any refund. Furthermore, what I really wanted, was a CK rear hub that freewheels properly, and that I can back-pedal while descending to avoid rocks and other obstacles. During the course of my lengthy phone conversation, I made this very clear to the rep. I have had many bikes and many hubs, and have NEVER had these issues with any of them. I have swapped every single part (Chain, rear cluster, rear derailluer, front chainrings, etc…)in my drivetrain trying to remedy this issue, and it comes back to the CK hub every time. I even had a rear derailluer destroyed by one of these chain-suck instances. When I swapped an old Shimano wheel and hub onto this same bike, the problem disappeared. When I installed my CK hub/rear wheel onto another bike- it had the very same chain-suck and freewheeling problems- immediately. I am extremely frustrated, and will probably never buy a rear CK hub again; unless CK can fix my hub, or send me one that functions properly, and not blame \”my riding style\” for their clearly malfunctioning hub issues. I love their headsets and front hubs also, but have had nothing but grief with their rear hub. I know three other people with CK rear hubs, and 2 of them have the exact same issues- inability to freewheel or backpedal without instant chain droop- and subsequent chain suck. I am very disappointed in the level of support I have received from CK so far. In addition to spending almost 45 minutes on the phone condemning \”my riding style\”, I never received the 1/2 price compensation that was reluctantly offered. I have just left a message with Chris Destafano at the above listed phone number in repsonse to \”Anonymous\”, and hope that CK will take care of my issues once and for all. I am awaiting their response. FRUSTRATED in FLAGSTAFF, AZ.

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