Chris King InSet 5 Headset $159.00
Shiny on the inside.
If you've got a bike frame with a 49mm ID head tube, it will accept a fork with a 1.5" steerer tube. But it also leaves you plenty of opportunity for use with other steerer tube dimensions as long as you use the right headset. This Chris King InSet Model 5 Headset will allow you to mate a fork with a 1-1/8 to 1.5" tapered steerer to your bike. And since it uses King's low-stack InSet top cup, you can get your stem a bit lower if you like (a good thing for smaller riders on long travel bikes).
This Model 5 Headset benefits from Chris King's GripLock upper bearing cap. This assembly replaces the older style, one-piece bearing cap that contained the O-ring. Instead, GripLock uses a split ring to center the steerer tube in the upper bearing, and when you preload the assembly, the split ring provides additional surface area against the steerer for a more secure and safer interface, especially on carbon fiber steerer tubes. We'd consider this to be a mixed headset because the upper bearing cup contains the bearing within the head tube. In contrast, the lower bearing cup houses the bearing outside of the head tube. We're big fans of tapered steerer tubes because of the perfect balance between light weight and steering stiffness. The traditional lower cup allows the larger 1.5" bottom bearing, giving you precise steering and a bulletproof system, not to mention that the fork can be built with a stronger, stiffer crown.
The Chris King InSet Model 5 Headset is available in eight polished-to-perfection anodized colors -- Black, Navy, Red, and Silver. The base plate can be exchanged for one that fits 1-1/8" straight steerers (sold separately).
- Compatible with 1.5-to-1/18-inch tapered steerer tubes, and headtubes with upper and lower internal diameters of 49 millimeters
Reviews & Community
Better than other available options
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I bought this headset because I will never use a Cane Creek again, and there aren't many other readily available options.
It works well, but has its shortcomings. King prides itself on precision, which is all well and good if the other parts it interacts with are equally matched. To create a seamless fit, the frame and forks must be reamed and faced to precise tolerances. This requires expensive tooling or labor from a shop.
I'd like to support brands like Hope that work well, last a long time, and don't require the tolerances of King, but they are hard to come by. So in the meantime I'll make due.
Bottom line: Works as it should, but nothing special.
Chris King Inset 5 from above
Top cup is a full inset to allow for lower handlebars. Helps compensate for longer travel single crown forks.
Chris King Inset 5
49mm head tube to 1.5 to 1 1/8" tapered fork.