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There are a few brands in the bicycling realm that speak volumes about the user's passion for the sport, and perhaps none of them have become so widely known as Chris King. The universal acceptance of Chris King components is based largely on their blend of function, durability, and drool-worthiness. The formula has been refined continually since 1976, when 20-year-old Chris built the first sealed-bearing headset in response to the fragile loose ball headsets of the day. Word quickly spread that these headsets would easily outlast the frames they were pressed into, and in short order Chris King headsets became the only choice for those in the know. The buzz only grew louder in the '90s with the introduction of the first hubsets, which used the patented Ring Drive mechanism to produce the trademark sound and bombproof durability that have made them one of the most sought-after performance upgrades on the market. And yes, many of those first hubsets still see regular use to this day.
While it would be easy to focus on Chris King's jewel-like finishes, rainbow of colors, and astounding durability, the process that goes into making these components is arguably just as impressive. In King's Portland Oregon workshop, the impact of the work on both the employees and the environment plays a central role. Metal shavings are fastidiously recycled, petroleum-free oils are used to lubricate the machines, and biodiesel powers the facility. That commitment to minimizing the impact of production doesn't end at the factory doors either—as much as possible, raw materials are sourced from US-based companies, ensuring not only premium quality but compliance with the strictest environmental standards. Where other companies source bearings overseas, Chris King makes them in house. Gourmet lunches and incentives to commute by bike are perks of working for King. It's not easy, but that's not the point. Chris King knows that building the finest components in the world means being uncompromising about doing things the right way at every step of the process.