Interbike 2010: Chris King Grip Lock System

The rumors are true, Chris King is now offering a split wedge compression system they have termed the Grip Lock. While somewhat similar in function to other set ups, in typical King fashion it is impeccably engineered and completely Chris King.

Grip Lock will currently be shipping only on the inset model headsets, or it will also be available as a conversion kit for any CK headset since 1991. King says that the bikes that will benefit the most are longer travel mountain bikes with slacker head tube angles, stating that it should improve durability and reliability.

My first impression upon seeing the system was to question the timing of the release, and I asked if it had anything to do with the fact that the Cane Creek Aheadset worldwide patent expired this month. I was surprised by their response, when King told me that actually after they produced a wedge style headset around 1992 (which they found to dig into the steerer tube and axed the project) they have paid into the patent ever since and simply saw no need for the design until now. They also feel that the nature of the new design is much better than current competitors on the market, and state that you no longer have to struggle with a super tight o-ring to install it.

Get the breakdown of the design after the break!

The Grip Lock starts out with a Chris King Dust shield that has a recess for a fairly large o-ring to sit in.

This is then followed by the split wedge that sits over top the o-ring, with the wedge pointed down.

Close up of the bearing race which houses another o-ring along its perimeter.

The bearing race presses in over the split wedge while the o-rings and wedge hold everything together very tight.

The entire assembly in one piece.

Comments

Zoltan - 09/30/10 - 4:09pm

Soooooooooo…when can I buy one?

ShopMechanic - 10/02/10 - 12:59am

Of course paying a licensing fee to Cane Creek for each headset had nothing to do with the decision. They were just making the call based on engineering alone. Right…

Just in case someone wants to jump all over me on this one; King headsets have always been the best but they always had an Achilles heel which was the upper bearing race. I suppose expecting King to admit that the cane creek design was better but was so poorly executed that it became a moot point is too much to ask.

[...] addition to their new GripLock upper headset cups covered in this post, Chris King had a new 142×12 thru axle option that’ll fit any [...]

John - 02/06/12 - 3:38pm

Huh, poorly executed? I’ll put. Cane Creek 100 pr 110 series headset up against any headset from Chris King any day of the week. They roll just as smooth, last as long if not longer and come with a 100 year, yes that’s not a typo, a 100 year warranty. CK makes real nice products, but a lot of people have bought into the hype that everything they put out is the gold standard and it is in some cases, it is not in others.

And yes, you are correct, the GripLoc design is a direct imitation of the Cane Creek design on which the patent just expired this past year. It certainly was not engineering devised by Vhris King despite their marketing claims.

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