As Portland’s largest bicycle company, Chris King Precision Components is in a unique position to be an industry leader. With the success of their mini-summit of bike builders and industry movers and shakers that wrapped up with a big open house event Saturday, the 42-year-old company seems to be embracing that role.
The halls of the Chris King factory were jam-packed for the “Open House” show on Saturday. Among massive industrial machines and assembly rooms that put together some of the most respected and sought after bicycle components in the world, hundreds of bicycle lovers got an close-up look at a very special selection of bicycles and the builders who create them.
For the man behind the brand, Chris King, the gathering must have felt bittersweet. A framebuilder himself, King decided to cease production of his Cielo brand just over one year ago so his company could focus more closely on its core business: designing, making, and selling bottom brackets, headsets, and hubs. King, who still spends about three days a week in the shop, is obsessive about quality and his company makes nearly every piece of their products themselves (yes, even the bearings). Manufacturing products in the United States is hard enough without having to constantly react to the whims of product managers and marketers who seem to push a new wheel size, head-tube size or axle configuration every season.