Hub Tech

Chris King hubs are high performance bicycle components designed to meet and exceed the extreme demands of all serious cyclists. With proper attention and reasonable regular maintenance, you will enjoy many years of reliable, high performance use from our hubs.


Adjust the Preload on the Bearings Directly after Building the Wheel:
Spoke tension pulling out on the flanges can slightly loosen the preload adjustment on the bearings. This is normal and requires only minor adjustments at the adjusting cone.

Use Steel Quick Releases for Maximum Rigidity:
Our 19.5mm axle is one of the stiffest available. However, performance will be maximized with the stiffest possible attachment to the frame or fork. For best possible performance, use a steel skewer. Titanium skewers are not recommended for use with either front or rear suspension.

Follow All Torque Recommendations

Do Not Use Thread Locking Compounds on the Axle/Adjusting Cone Threads


Hubs are inherently more complex and thus require more maintenance than our headsets to maintain peak performance. As a general guideline, the hub should be checked and re-lubed every 3-6 months and completely serviced once a year. Actual necessary service intervals will depend on riding conditions.

The periodic maintenance of the bearings and RingDrive™ is simple and may be performed by simply removing the axle with two 5mm hex wrenches. Complete service of the hub involving total disassembly requires our hub service tool or may be returned to us for service.

Check and Service the Bearings:
All of the bearings are stainless steel, so short term water intrusion should not lead to any substantial damage. Judging when to service the bearings is completely dependent on the riding style and conditions.

To check and service the bearings remove the axle using two 5mm hex wrenches as outlined in the hub instructions included with each hub. Newer hubs use a 2.5mm hex key with the helper hole which allows you to tighten and loosen with another 2.5mm hex wrench in the open hole, (see photo to the right). The needle bearing, because of its larger surface area, is the most likely to consume the most lubrication. Inspect and re-lube as necessary, especially if it appears to be absent of grease or if the grease is contaminated. To service the remaining bearings, follow the ìService of Bearingsî section in the instruction manual. If using a solvent based lubricant to clean the hub bearings, be sure to completely remove all residue and thoroughly re-lube all bearings and the RingDrive™ as outlined below.

Check and Service RingDrive™and Drive Shell:
From time to time the RingDrive™ may become louder due to loss or contamination of the grease. When servicing the bearings with the axle removed, visually inspect the hub's interior. Be aware that the grease may have darkened. This is normal and not cause for alarm. A small application of Chris King's special RingDrive™ grease between the drive rings is all that is necessary. If foreign debris is detectable in the grease and/or the grease looks hard or dry, then a complete cleaning and re-lubricating is needed.

To completely clean and re-lube the RingDrive™ remove the axle and drive shell to access the interior RingDrive™ area. Push the drive ring with helical splines inward to open a gap, exposing the drive teeth and flush the interior with a light solvent based spray lubricant (e.g., Bullshot aerosol or WD-40,) until the area appears clean. Blow off any remaining solvent until completely dry.

Re-lubricate by reopening a gap between the drive rings, and laying a bead of RingDrive™ grease on the teeth between them. Let the rings spring back together and then spread any excess grease that squeezes inward onto the helical splines of the movable drive ring.

The helical splines on the drive shell must be cleaned of any debris before reinserting into RingDrive™area of the hub. Do not substitute other brands of grease, as they may be too sticky for the helix of the RingDrive™.

In addition to minor servicing of the RingDrive™, a complete disassembly and cleaning may be necessary. As a basic guideline, complete servicing should be performed at least once a year. Refer to the hub service tool kit manual for the complete disassembly and re-assembly instructions. Be sure to clean and inspect all parts. To check the RingDrive™ teeth for wear, measure the width of the flats on the tops of the teeth. These should become no wider than 1mm. Replace if necessary.

A Note on Lubricants and Build Level Versions:
Rear hub versions 310 though 313 were originally designed to run on 20w non detergent or, preferably, 20w synthetic oil. This lubrication method works well, however, starting at version 314, we improved the system by converting it to run on a special grease. The special grease improved the cold weather performance, back pedal drag while freewheeling, and coasting speed. Sound deadening has benefited also. Do not attempt to run versions earlier than 314 on grease. This could cause sluggish movement of the drive ring leading to engagement problems. These earlier hubs may be upgraded at no cost to run on our special grease. This upgrade includes our new stainless steel needle bearing as well.

The Hub Upgrade Program:
Due to experience gained from riders and racers in the field our hubs have undergone several minor revisions that have continued to improve their performance. Each notable improvement is referred to as a new build level. The build level, or version, is designated by the first three numbers of the serial number (e.g., a hub with a serial number 310XXXXX is considered a version 310 hub.) Technical improvements added to each new build level are made available to all Chris King customers where ever possible.


Common questions and their likely solutions:
We are also available to answer your technical service questions during business hours Monday through Friday at 800.523.6008.

Hub will not stay adjusted.
(Front and Rear:)
When an adjustment is made, the axle end must be torqued to 110 inlbs to lock the adjusting cone's position correctly. With less torque, the hub may seem locked, however, when clamped in, the lock may loosen slightly allowing the adjusting cone to move.

Break-in is a normal function of the rear hub. As the angular contact bearings settle in, this causes a loosening effect on the preload setting. Expect to adjust preload directly after the wheel build and a few more times as necessary to complete the break-in period. After that it should be smooth sailing for months... If the axle lock is torqued correctly and loosening persists, contact our Technical Service Department for further help.

My hub creaks.
Due to the ability of noise to travel throughout a hollow frame, hub creaks are often confused with bottom bracket and other creaks. Isolating the true source of the noise is essential to effective trouble shooting.

1. The hub quick release may not be tight enough allowing the axle end to move in the dropout. In some cases, even if everything is properly tight, the axle may still move slightly in the frame. A little anti-seize on the drop-out faces may help. Solution: Inspect and tighten the quick release.

2. Some splined cog carriers fit loosely on our drive shells. Since both are made of aluminum, they may creak under certain riding conditions (e.g., water and dry dust.) Additionally, if the lock ring is not tight enough, the cogs may move under load. Solution: Apply a thin layer of grease or anti-seize to splines on the drive shell and check lock ring and torque to manufacturers specifications.

3. We have found that on some carriers the cogs (e.g., XTR titanium,) creak at their attachment points to the spider. Solution: Apply a light oil to the rivets fixing the cogs to the spider.

4. The hub has been designed to allow the easy removal of the axle and drive shell. This required having tapered bearing contact surfaces. These surfaces can go dry and may then make noise under heavy load. Solution: Check and apply grease or antisieze to the drive shell on the bearing contact taper adjacent to the o-ring (about the middle of the outside of the drive shell.) and on the adjusting cone on the bearing contact taper.

5. In rare cases, when the wheel has been built at very high tension, the large drive side bearing can become loose and cause creaking. Solution: Check to see if the bearing will slide out by hand. If this happens, we can supply an oversized replacement bearing.

The rear hub has an engagement problem.
The Ring Drive is a high performance engagement system capable of high load and extremely rapid engagement. It relies on the fine movement of the drive ring sliding on the helical spline of the drive shell. It is important that this area remain clean and properly lubricated. Dirt, debris, and/or drying lubricant may prevent it from functioning properly. Our hub is easy to inspect and service using just two 5mm hex wrenches. Recent improvements have been made to minimize abnormal sensitivity to engagement problems. Check the following for possible causes of misengagement:

1. Is the hub preload adjusted correctly? A loose hub may cause the drive rings to not engage properly. Solution: Check and properly adjust hub as necessary.

2. With our first build version, 310, running the hub with loose preload can occasionally cause internal rubbing, keeping the RingDrive™ from engaging properly. Solution: Improved main axles (identified by a stepped diameter near the bearing contact area,) are available through our upgrade program.

3. On versions 310, 311, and 312, large variations in spring pressure were discovered. A weak spring will make the RingDrive™ more sensitive to contamination. If in doubt, replace the spring. Solution: Upgraded springs are available through our upgrade program.

4. Beginning with version 314, the RingDrive™ was improved to run a special RingDrive™ grease instead of oil. This makes it quieter and coast quicker; it also gives it a much wider working temperature range (down to -20°F) In certain rare conditions, hard water or stream water intrusion into the hubs may cause early versions of the RingDrive™ grease to thicken or break down. This will impair the movement of the drive ring on the helical spline. Solution: Clean and re-grease with our most current RingDrive™ grease formula if used in extremely wet conditions. Further improvements of our current RingDrive™ grease will be available early to mid 1998. (Note: 20w non detergent or synthetic oil may be substituted in all versions in the RingDrive™ area.)

Note: In an ongoing effort to improve the water resistance of our hubs, versions beginning with 316 are using stainless steel drive rings. These little gems have allowed for stiffer springs and less sensitivity to different grease formulations. This upgrade is available through our upgrade program.


ISO Lefty® SuperMax and ISO Lefty® LD FAQs

The Chris King ISO Manual is available for download here and provides users with important product information. We recommend that all Chris King ISO Lefty® SuperMax and ISO Lefty® LD users read the ISO Manual before using this product.

Are there any specific tools I need to build my ISO Lefty® SuperMax or ISO Lefty® LD front hub into a wheel?
A Lefty® hub adapter tool such as Park’s® TS-TA or Cannondale’s® Lefty® wheel-truing dummy axle is necessary for accurate wheel building.

Proper wheel building technique is essential in creating a strong wheel. Wheel building is a skill that requires proper training and specialized tools and should be done by a trained professional. When building a wheel with our hubs we strongly recommend that you follow best wheel building practices.

The spoke tension on each side of the wheel should be as uniform as possible. Tension should not exceed 120kgf (1200N).

Chris King ISO Lefty® SuperMax front hubs are only compatible with Lefty® SuperMax systems.

With the use of our 1mm Disc Spacer ISO Lefty® LD front hubs are compatible with standard Lefty® (non-SuperMax) suspension systems

With the use of both our 1mm Disc Spacer and the proper disc brake caliper adapter our ISO Lefty® LD front hub is compatible with Lefty® SuperMax suspension systems.

Chris King Gen. 2 ISO LD Front Hubs can be easily converted to work with Lefty® forks by using our Lefty® Upgrade Kit. Our Lefty® Upgrade Kit comes complete with a Chris King Lefty® Axle, 1mm Disc Spacer, Lefty® Axle End Cap, and Cannondale® Axle Bolt. When converting an ISO LD Front Hub to an ISO Lefty® Front Hub make sure that your LD Front Hub is designated with a 1720 serial number prefix. Only ISO LD hubs with a 1720 serial number prefix can be converted to ISO Lefty® LD front hubs. This number is located on the hubshell.

LD Front Hubs with a 1710 serial number prefix are not compatible with our ISO Lefty® Upgrade Kit.

Follow the disassembly procedure on page 7 of the Chris King ISO manual to remove the standard ISO one piece axle and use the reassembly procedure on page 10 of the Chris King ISO manual to install your ISO Lefty® Front Hub axle.

Replacement Parts.
ISO Lefty® SuperMax and ISO Lefty® LD replacement parts are available from your favorite Chris King dealer or from our webstore.