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  1. #1
    Mulleticious
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    Chris King Inset headset problem: GripLock won't stay firm

    Has anyone else had issues with the Chris King headset - Inset 7 for tapered steerers 1 1/8th" to 1.5"?

    I have play in the fork because I can't get the so called GripLock top of the headset to stay firm on the top bearing within the top cup - it is slightly loose, no matter how hard I tighten down the top cap. I have tried extra spacers so it's not that.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigwheelsRbest View Post
    Has anyone else had issues with the Chris King headset - Inset 7 for tapered steerers 1 1/8th" to 1.5"?
    yeah, half the pople that use them. CK headsets are well known for not staying tight, it's an inherent design flaw. keep re-tightening it or buy a different brand...


  3. #3
    Mulleticious
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    Quote Originally Posted by .WestCoastHucker. View Post
    yeah, half the pople that use them. CK headsets are well known for not staying tight, it's an inherent design flaw. keep re-tightening it or buy a different brand...
    Ha. That's a joke after already spending 120 ($180) on the f-ing thing. Why are CK so highly regarded - I don't get it?

  4. #4
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    That flaw only applied to older CK headsets before they were using the widely used and patented spit-ring compression-ring. This was relatively recently in the world of headsets, but your headset should use this and should be able to tighten down like any other headset. CK got on board with the superior industry standard before tapered steerers were out there, so shouldn't be the issue. I've noticed as a bike mechanic that sometimes you bottom-out the stem/top cap even when you don't think you are, or sometimes you are getting star-nut slippage. The bottoming out as not as obvious as you might think though and sometimes you have to try spacers at different thicknesses than you'd first think are correct.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  5. #5
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    i'd be inclined to think JM might actually know what he's talking about...


  6. #6
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    Run your headset without the top cap containing the oring etc.

    Chris King Inset headset problem: GripLock won't stay firm-image.jpg
    Quote Originally Posted by BigwheelsRbest View Post
    Has anyone else had issues with the Chris King headset - Inset 7 for tapered steerers 1 1/8th" to 1.5"?

    I have play in the fork because I can't get the so called GripLock top of the headset to stay firm on the top bearing within the top cup - it is slightly loose, no matter how hard I tighten down the top cap. I have tried extra spacers so it's not that.
    I have had exactly the same issue as you describe. Upon reassembly and fully greased up, I think everything is fine, then a week later a creak returns and there is some play.
    This evening I completely removed the black top cap and internal oring whilst keeping the tapered locking section and inner bearing contact assembled on the steerer. Running a quality headset spacer (remove the scuff washer too) directly on the alloy tapered locking ring happens to tighten up the headset bearings perfectly with no play.
    The king bearings are really well sealed anyway so I'm going to try this 'ghetto' arrangement in anger. As a designer and engineer I have doubts about the king oring pressing everything tight. I think it takes a compression set (becomes squashed into one shape) and will no longer provide uniform downward pressure on the tapered locking ring.
    If I remember I'll post an update!
    Last edited by mad_inventor; 10-09-2013 at 01:47 PM. Reason: To add photo

  7. #7
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigwheelsRbest View Post
    Ha. That's a joke after already spending 120 ($180) on the f-ing thing. Why are CK so highly regarded - I don't get it?
    Because it is so well made and long lasting that it will continue to not stay tight for you for decades.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesbond3 View Post
    Great post I never knew about this thing so it is quiet helpful really great,...
    Your post is quiet helpful too. Thanks for the yard signs printing signs. :/
    Bikes, lots'o bikes

  9. #9
    Mulleticious
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    Because it is so well made and long lasting that it will continue to not stay tight for you for decades.
    lol

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by .WestCoastHucker. View Post
    yeah, half the pople that use them. CK headsets are well known for not staying tight, it's an inherent design flaw. keep re-tightening it or buy a different brand...
    I heard this too often as well. When I built up my last bike I was set on a CK headset. The manufacturer told me to steer away from them as they had a tendency to come loose.
    Let's make like a Bike and get the Huck outta here...

  11. #11
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    Doesn't work well

    Quote Originally Posted by mad_inventor View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I have had exactly the same issue as you describe. Upon reassembly and fully greased up, I think everything is fine, then a week later a creak returns and there is some play.
    This evening I completely removed the black top cap and internal oring whilst keeping the tapered locking section and inner bearing contact assembled on the steerer. Running a quality headset spacer (remove the scuff washer too) directly on the alloy tapered locking ring happens to tighten up the headset bearings perfectly with no play.
    The king bearings are really well sealed anyway so I'm going to try this 'ghetto' arrangement in anger. As a designer and engineer I have doubts about the king oring pressing everything tight. I think it takes a compression set (becomes squashed into one shape) and will no longer provide uniform downward pressure on the tapered locking ring.
    If I remember I'll post an update!
    Right. Now I have given the bike a blast I can report back that running the headset without the top cap and washers is not a decent solution. Everything seemed fine when the bike was stationary although it soon loosened up when riding. I tightened it a little but still some knocking could be felt upon heavy braking. Tightening it a little more still caused the headset to become slightly stiff and still a fine knocking could be felt.
    I have now decided to go back to the recommended assembly and surprise surprise it all feels great on the bike for now... I'll give it a week or two and I'll report back.

  12. #12
    Mulleticious
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    A quick follow up from my side -

    I kept playing with it - taking it on and off a bit, and also when changing from my squishy to rigid fork as well. Eventually it seems to have settled into place nicely and is firm and staying that way. It's just a damn finicky design to get right from the word go.

  13. #13
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    Smile New fix

    Quote Originally Posted by mad_inventor View Post
    Right. Now I have given the bike a blast I can report back that running the headset without the top cap and washers is not a decent solution. Everything seemed fine when the bike was stationary although it soon loosened up when riding. I tightened it a little but still some knocking could be felt upon heavy braking. Tightening it a little more still caused the headset to become slightly stiff and still a fine knocking could be felt.
    I have now decided to go back to the recommended assembly and surprise surprise it all feels great on the bike for now... I'll give it a week or two and I'll report back.
    Reporting back on my InSet headset - surprise surprise it started creaking AGAIN....
    Now I have thought long and hard about this situation. Chris King components are usually quality through and through so why should this be an exception? I have tried all manner of ways of setting it up as I described previously but also using different grease, using no grease, using copper-slip anti-seize and even LocTight thread-locking it together! Nothing has worked - it consistently wants to creak.
    SO... Having inspected all the individual parts carefully, it seems that the main culprit simply has to be the green o-ring (It seems to be some kind of soft o-ring material which deforms quite easily). My belief is that the space where the o-ring sits is completely filled with the o-ring under normal compression of the whole headset assembly. This squeezes the o-ring onto the steerer tube whilst also pressing down onto the internal tapered wedge sleeve to lock everything tight - Great IN THEORY. In practice I believe the o-ring material creeps slightly (squishes about a bit) which tends to allow the tapered wedge to move which causes the creak.
    I purchased an o-ring cord kit with many sizes of o-ring extrusions which you cut to size. I have measured the headset parts and cut different diameter o-rings to fit. I have tried different thickness rings out and I seem to finally be having some success (WAHAY!). I don't want to get too excited too soon so I will report back when I have some slightly longer term testing results. I will also be ordering exactly the right size full o-rings to replace the o-ring cord which is in there for now and I'll let you know the exact ISO o-ring size then.

    Fingers crossed!

  14. #14
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    I had JUST received an Inset 7 Grip-Lock headset and also noticed that it relies upon the o-ring for applying bearing tension. And you're right, any polymer will creep over time, so I quickly returned it for a Cane Creek 110. The 110 is a lot more elegant design with a captive split ring. Load on the upper bearing cap is transferred directly the bearing without the use of any materials which will creep.

    I also noticed that the CK baseplate rocked quite a bit the lower cup assembly (not installed on the bike) compared with the CC baseplate. Perhaps the angle on the chamfers is different between the 2 designs.
    Pivot Mach429

  15. #15
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    What are you guys talking about? The CK Insets have a split compression ring, and the rubber o-ring everyone is complaining about. Have you taken apart your top assemblies and lost the compression rings? These things go together just like any other headset and are of imo superior quality. You guys are having installation issues.


  16. #16
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    Re: Chris King Inset headset problem: GripLock won't stay firm

    That's exactly the issue. While the CK (now) has the compression ring, it still relies upon an o-ring to compress the compression ring. The Cane Creek designs apply force directly onto the ring via the bearing cover.
    Pivot Mach429

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