Latest news, product updates, technical how to's, bling builds and more from AVT Bike.

Archives for September, 2018

A Look Back At Previous Chris King Open House Events

This years Chris King Open House is coming up on October 13th and we'll be there... It's a big deal as its normally the first time that everyone (dealers, customers, frame builders) gets to see the 2019 colors from Chris King in person, fitted to some awesome custom built bikes.

We have a pretty good idea of the 2 new colors that are coming which were previewed earlier in the year at EuroBike. This year's builder line up looks better than ever including; Allied, Argonaut, Breadwinner, Co-Motion, DeSalvo, Sklar and more. If you're interested in attending in person it's open to all and takes place on October 13th at Chris King HQ in Portland (more info here).

To get you in the mood, here's a look back at some of the best builds from the last couple of years, starting with last year's Santa Cruz Matte Punch showcase. All images courtesy The Radavist.

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Chris King / PRAXIS C32 AVTWorks Carbon Wheel Review

OK before we start I should warn you, this is a very short review.... for good reasons! 

Back in January I was on the lookout for a new set of wheels for my IBIS Ripley LS. Our home trails here in Ashland, OR are some of the best All-Mountain terrain on the west coast so I needed something with a great blend of decent weight, stiffness and generally awesome trail performance that can handle week-in-week-out abuse.

The PRAXIS C32 carbon rim is one of the widest on the market, so perfect for many of the newer, wider 29er tires on the market (up to 3"). Its certainly not an XC type rim, but then again its designed to handle way more abuse.

So, how have the wheels performed in half a year of regular riding, through various trail conditions and weather? Well, here's where the review starts to get short! I can honestly say these wheels have been faultless and I am struggling to say much other than they have handled everything that's been thrown at them.. kind of in a way like you don't notice they are there, which is what exactly what you want in a set of premium hand built wheels.

I'm not the type of rider who takes a lot of shuttles, so they have had to cope with plenty of uphill riding (like this weekend's race down the North Umpqua Trail which had 13k ft of climbing). A couple of minor spills the first week of having the bike were more down to getting used to a full-sus again after a year or so on a steel hardtail, so again I can't fault the wheels for their downhill ability. On a bike like the Ripley LS which really gets up to speed fast on straighter, rougher technical sections the wheels really accelerate fast.

On more technical, twisty trails there were no problems with wheel stiffness, they track like they are on rails and put all the emphasis back onto you as a rider to navigate technical turns. Which is kinda just how you want it really... i'm more than happy to be held back by my own riding ability and not my equipment!

While we normally recommend to customers to check the bearing tension on new Chris King hubs after a few weeks use these have stayed fitted to the bike since I got them and both the wheel bearings and rims are running smooth and straight with no follow up issues after the wheel build. Its getting to that time of year where the hubs could use a quick lube and service to keep them going through the wet, muddy winter.

If you're looking for a set of new custom wheels give our team a shout and we can talk you through the many options... these start from $1599 with White Industries hubs and are also available with Chris King, Phil Wood or Paul Components hubs.

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Why Sometimes A HEAVY Hub Is A Good Idea!

Here at AVT we supply parts to customers all over the world for some very different applications. Sure, much of what we do tends to be focussed on high performance gear, but mixed in with this we sometimes get some more unusual requests like this one from Aussie, Nigel Smith who has been touring the world for 7 years and is still going (check out his fully laden touring rig above).

Given the extreme demands a fully laden touring bike like this places on parts like hubs, it was no surprise to hear that Nigel has already gone through several pairs of Shimano XT & Novatec hubs in recent years. With an upcoming 20,000km leg of his world tour coming up in Africa he was looking for something more robust, that would last the distance and cope with the daily punishment on tour in remote parts of the world.

Step forward the heavy duty, high quality Phil Wood touring hubs which weigh in at an impressive 731g for the pair. But for once weight is certainly not everything, these hubs are without doubt some of the strongest on the market with stainless steel internals that withstand much higher loads than regular hubs. They also allow a greater degree of serviceability on the road, should you need to take them apart to service.

So we wish Nigel well on his tour with his new hubs and we'll be following his progress on his Instagram page:

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Upgrading the axle on your Chris King ISO Disc hubs.

With all of the different axle and driveshell standards available today, it can start to seem like a given hub will only work on one specific frameset, with one drivetrain, but thankfully, that isn’t necessarily true!

All of the hubs we sell are made to be backward and forward compatible because their designers don’t want you to have to buy something that will only work on your current bike. Your Chris King hubs are long term investments that will last through the years and across bikes and drivetrains, so they need to be able to be kept current!

Whether you have a front hub with a quick release axle that you’d like to convert to 12mm thru-axle, or a rear hub that needs a standard change, the swap is easy.  We recently had to swap the axle in a Chris King rear hub, and wanted to show the simple steps involved. This applies directly to all Chris King ISO and R45 hubs. For Chris King Classic hubs, the steps are very similar, but involve different tools.  Note: because of the different hubshells involved, boost and non-boost hubs are not interchangeable.  

A note on Boost compatibility. Currently Chris King does not offer any replacement axles to upgrade non-Boost hubs to Boost standards. The only way to get Boost compatibility is to purchase a pair of Boost hubs.

Tools needed:

2.5mm allen key

Small flat head screwdriver

Small quantity of a high-quality lubricant such as Chris King Performance Hub Bearing Grease, a 10wt motor oil or Tri-Flow.

Chris King Axle Hub Cone Tool (if you are working on a front QR hub).

Parts Needed (to swap front hub from QR to 12mm Thru Axle):

Chris King Axle PHB783

Chris King Axle Clamp PHB702

Note: If you are looking to perform this upgrade on a hub other than the front QR one we have shown here, you can browse the parts required here, or please contact us and we can help you find the exact parts needed for the hub in question.

Step One

Insert the screwdriver into the small split in the end cap, gently twist and pull it off.  The cap is shown below after removal for clarity.

Step Two 

Use the 2.5mm allen to loosen the bolt on the axle adjusting clamp. Unscrew and set aside the axle clamp.  Note: both bolt and axle clamp have standard threading, so they turn counterclockwise to loosen.

Step Three

Press out the axle from the non-driveside of the hub toward the driveside. Firm hand pressure should be enough to remove the axle. The driveshell (freehub) might stay in the hub or it might come out as well. It isn’t necessary to remove the driveshell from the hub, but if it comes out it’s not a problem, and you can simply reinstall it by gently pushing it into the hubshell while twisting clockwise. You will hear a click when it is fully seated.

Step Four

Put a few drops of lubricant on the new axle (just enough to wet the surfaces that will be touching bearings, as well as the threaded portion of the axle), and slip it into the driveshell, threaded side first.

Step Five

Now thread on the adjusting clamp until it touches the bearing.  Check for binding and play, readjust if necessary, and if all is good tighten the 2.5mm allen bolt to 10 inch pounds.

At this point you’re all done, so go ride your bike!  After making adjustments to your hubs, it’s a good idea to check them for play in the first couple of rides just in case something settles a bit.

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The benefits of being small...

Keeping design, engineering, and manufacturing all under one roof has many benefits, and agility is definitely one of them. Like the Chris King hubs mentioned in our last blog post, White Industries designs their hubs to be backwards compatible, so that as they respond to new standards, their older hubs don’t become just become obsolete.

This past week White Industries showed-off their new Shimano Micro Spline-compatible freehub body, which they were able to develop, test, and manufacture quickly so that riders who use their hubs, or who want to get a sweet US-Made hub for their new bike won’t be stuck without an option when the new Shimano XTR comes out.   

Being able to respond quickly to changing industry standards means that they (and us a AVT!) are able to keep riders who use their products current and adaptable to changing standards without needing to replace an expensive hub.  Like their other freehubs, this new one will be backwards compatible with many of the hubs they've made in the last 20 years, so you can rest-assured that your White Industries hub will probably* be compatible with whatever the next freehub standard might be.

This combination of the ability to make products quickly thanks to USA based manufacturing, without having to wait for prolonged research and development schedules (and the longer lead times with manufacturing in say Taiwan), plus the desire to make products that don’t go out-of-date every time a new drivetrain or axle standard comes out means that when you buy a White Industries hub (and really any of the other brands that we carry), you’re making an investment in a quality piece of equipment that will last and stay current for a long time to come. 

We’re really happy to be able to ride that type of product, and also to provide it to you, so let us know if you need help figuring out what would work best for your riding style and bike!   

* Disclaimer time.. while we certainly expect new freehubs such as this to be backwards compatible with the majority of existing White Industries hubs there is an element of speculation about this and we obviously can't guarantee they will be backwards compatible with 100% of existing hubs, but it's safe to say most of them!

All images courtesy of Bike Rumor - read more on their Interbike coverage of White Industries new gear here.

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