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Early 1-1/8 Chris King headsets.

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I am pretty stoked to have acquired these. I had been noticing in some of the mid 90's photos that the Chris Kings being used either had no logo or only the top cup had the logo with a block font. Saw these and snagged them, there is another one I might pick up as well.

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dope

 

When do you think these came out and when did they start branding the bottom cup?

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I don't have exact times, but let me grab whatever magazines I have handy and do a random sample. In the Jan 1996 issue of Snap Chuck T was running a King with the logo on top with no logo bottom on his Proto alloy Robinson (the issue was 1996, but the time was probably mid-95).  As was Gary Ellis on his black GT Speed Series in the Nov/Dec 1995 issue.

 

July/August 1997 Snap Danny Nelson is running a King with logo's on both cups on his Powerlite.

 

Apparently I have a thin font (not a block font as I was corrected) and it appears that Ellis and Townsend both had the modern logo on the cups that had the logos, hard to tell though.

 

I will drop the folks at King a note and see if they can break it down even further.

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Ask and ye shall receive, good info.

 

 

Jake,

 
Here is a response from Chris on your questions:
 
 
Here's what I can offer as I remember it:
 
Until approximately 1992, we had 5 models of headsets and were only marked with a stamped "King Sealed Bearing" on the threaded top nuts (no threadless versions):
 
1" Standard Stack (40mm stack height)
1" Short Stack (31mm stack height)
1" BMX (with the odd head tube size)
1-1/8" (used the 1-1/4" bearings)
1-1/4" (40mm stack)
 
During 1993 we began the NoThreadSet models after running an OEM order of 1" Aheadset style (wedge design) for Trek late in 1992 (I have a sample of this on my desk right now).  The NoThreadset design eliminated the wedge as it was problematic with creaking and locking itself to the steering tube after some use.  During this time all the existing 5 models above were fitted with the NoThreadset bearing cap and offered as threadless headsets.  At that same time we started experimenting with Laser marking, jobbing it out to a vendor in Camerillo, CA.  This would be the outline "KING" on the top cup only.  As to 1-1/8' headsets, only the older bearing style (1-1/4" bearing) in the 1-1/8" NoThreadSet would have had this outline mark on the upper cup only, and lasted only about a year.
 
Somewhere between 1993 and 1994 we started to consolidate the headset designs to optimize bearing size so the two 1" headsets became the "New Stack" 1" (at around 32mm stack and used the short stack base plate).  The 1-1/8" got it's own new bearing size as the market was rapidly shifting away from 1-1/4" headsets.  The industry wanted to use this one size (1-1/8") for everything including road and BMX.
 
During this time we had acquired our own Laser and began the block filled "KING" mark on both upper and lower cups.  Production during 1994 was probably all the newer consolidated bearing design headsets with block filled KING marks on both cups.  We did however, offer unmarked cup versions on request and moved quite a few over the following 10 years. GripLock for the threaded versions were released at this time and both these and the traditional 2-nut units were laser marked on the top nuts instead of stamping.
 
Dating becomes more complicated as we offered "Conversion Kits" to convert threaded headsets to NoThreadSets.  This would have covered old and new versions in all sizes (7 total versions).  There were some early Aheadset (wedge) style threadless headsets that would have appeared in 1-1/8" old style (1-1/4" bearing) headsets but only for about a year (1993).

 

 

 

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I have always been a big fan of the early King headsets. Mainly because few know about them. Nice to see them getting some exposure.

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