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

Archives for November, 2018

A Closer Look at Mike Desalvo's Builder's Choice bike

If you saw our post about our favorite bikes from the Chris King Open House, then you'll recognize this bike, and you'll also understand why we wanted to look at it in a little bit more depth! 

Mike's idea is that of making a bike that he's into building–which in some ways might seem like a no-brainer–but given that custom builders are in many ways are building bikes for other peoples moods, they don't always get to build the bikes that they might be most into.  Thinking about this though, it really seems like if you're getting a bike that the builder is stoked-on, you're most likely to get the best bike that builder can make, so it's really a win-win for everyone: the builder gets to build the bike that makes him happy to build, you get to ride the best-thought-out, most stoke-filled bike you can get from that builder!

This bike also highlights the new Chris King Matte Turquoise color, which we're really stoked-on.  The matte finish of the components sets-off the deep gloss black of the fork and front triangle, while simultaneously tying in with the brushed ti of the rear!  There are only four more of these bikes available, and whoever manages to snag one, is going to have a killer ride for sure.

Check out the photos, and if you like what you see, check out Desalvo Cycles!  If you just need to get some of the lovely matte goodness, we can help you with that!


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Centerlock Hubs Compared

Centerlock hubs have come into their own, and now Chris King, White Industries, and Phil Wood all have offerings! We've got your breakdown of

** Looking for this week's Promo Code? Read on to the end of this post... **

As Shimano's centerlock rotor mounting standard has become widely accepted by hub manufacturers and us riders alike, there is now an increasing number of options available, and we all know that where there are choices, there are questions!  Now that Phil Wood's new Centerlock Disc hubs are joining the White Industries CLD and Chris King R45D Centerlock in our store, we thought it would be a perfect time to talk about the differences between the three. 

While opinions vary from rider to rider on whether ISO (6-bolt) or Centerlock is the best standard, we do tend go with the latter when there's an option.  The simple, one-tool installation and removal is easy on the wrists, very secure, and just feels like an elegant, modern solution to disc mounting.  It's lower profile, and should offer slightly better aerodynamics (though we haven't found any studies on that), but most importantly, it just works well.  Whether you're already a fan of centerlock or not, we hope this post will help you understand more about the options that we have to offer because we feel that they're really good ones!

There are a number of considerations when it comes to choosing the best hub, so rather than comparing each of the parts, we'll just talk about the key points of each.  That way you can see which one has the features you're looking for!

White Industries CLD and CLD+

Like all White Industries hubs, the CLD is beautifully machined in Petaluma, CA.  It's available in a standard 135/142mm  rear and 100mm OLD front version called the CLD, and a 148mm rear and 110mm front boost version called the CLD+.  Both versions are available in White Industries' full range of colors: polished silver, black, gold, pink, purple, red, or blue anodized (though the colors do come with a slight up-charge).


We really like the fact that each of of these is available with the full range of White Industries freehub bodies, so if you want an XD driver on your gravel bike, you can do that no problem.  Speaking of freehub bodies (including the new Shimano Micro Spline compatible one!), White Industries makes all of theirs out of titanium, which not only means they're lightweight, but it also makes them more durable than an aluminum variants.  This is mainly a consideration for the classic Shimano HG style because the individual cassette cogs will tend to dig into aluminum freehub bodies to varying degrees over time.  A titanium freehub means no marring, great durability, all without the weight of steel! 

If there's a place where the White Industries hubs fall behind the others in this post it's probably their bearings and bearing adjustment, which uses a simple system of set screws to hold the adjustment ring in place.  White Industries, like most other hub companies (that's important!), uses stock sealed cartridge bearings.  That's not really a bad thing, but in this group, it's a small disadvantage.  Some might even say that it's probably better to leave bearing manufacture to bearing companies, but as we'll see later, that's not the end of that story.  One upshot of this type of bearing is the White Industries only offers a 60 day warranty on the bearings in their hubs (which is longer than most considering that many companies consider bearings disposable, and don't warranty them at all), but when compared to Chris King's 5 year bearing warranty, it's a bit on the short side.  A potential positive of this choice though, is that the bearings are all standard sizes, and so are readily available should you need to replace them.  On top of that, you have choices when it comes to replacements: there are steel, stainless steel, and ceramic bearing options out there, and on top of that, you have choices of different seals and types of grease.  All of this lets you tune your bearings to your riding conditions and needs, and makes this 'disadvantage' look a lot more like a potential advantage.  And importantly, this also allows these hubs to be more affordable than the other options.

Overall White Industries CLD and CLD+ hubs are really great hubs.  They're lightweight, have an extremely smooth and low-drag freehub with a distinct, but not overly loud sound, and you get all of that for a lot less money than the competition.  We recommend them highly, and use them on many of our own bikes!

Chris King R45D Centerlock

The R45 was Chris King's fist deviation from their classic 72 tooth ring drive mechanism, and this centerlock disc version of that hub uses that same new mechanism.  Along with the new 45 tooth ring drive, which reduces drag when coasting, this is also the first (and currently only) hub that Chris King offers with a centerlock rotor mount.  This hub is available in Chris King's super-rainbow of colors, which, as of this writing is: Black, Silver, Red, Navy, Mango, Turquoise, Matte Jet, Matte Slate, Matte Punch, Matte Mango, Matte Turquoise.  These hubs are available in 24, 28, and 32 hole drillings.

The R45D Centerlock has a lot going for it, and high on the list of its positive attributes has to be its bearings.  While you can make the argument that it might be best for a manufacturer that makes only bearings to be in charge of that part of the hub, Chris King seems to have proven that that's not always the case because the bearings in these hubs–like the bearings in all Chris King products–are second to none, and they've got a warranty to back it up!  These bearings tend to feel slightly stiff when they're brand new, because, like the best old Campagnolo hubs from yesteryear, they are made to break in and give decades of smooth riding.  All you have to do is periodically service them and adjust the hubs!  It's safe and justified to say that these bearings are in a league of their own, and they are an important part of what you're paying for when you invest in Chris King parts.  They're also one of the big reasons we love this stuff so much!

Beyond the bearings, you have the Ring Drive mechanism.  Now whether or not you love the classic Chris King buzz sound, it's hard to deny the fundamental design merits of this freehub design.  By completely engaging two rings, drive force is spread out much more widely than it is in a traditional pawl design, and on top of that, you get super fast engagement (though slower on the R45 than on Chris King's other hubs with their greater number of teeth).  Like the bearings, the freehub mechanism is designed to be serviced periodically, and only gets better with age.

So with all of the really special aspects of the R45D Centerlock hubs, are there any downsides?  Yeah, the answer is yes, in certain circumstances.

  • First, the R45D Centerlock is only available with an aluminum Shimano HG 11 speed driveshell option, so if you want to use a Campagnolo, Sram XG, or one of the other cassette options designed around an XG driver, you're out of luck–at least currently.
  • Second, the R45D Centerlock isn't available in a boost version.  Because this is a road and gravel-specific hub (with its focus on lightweight and low-drag), where boost spacing isn't used, it might make more sense to say that currently Chris King doesn't currently offer a centerlock mountain bike hub.

These may or may not be deal-breakers for you, and if they are, we have the other options for you that are available with multiple driver and spacing options!  For many riders, the limitation to a Shimano Driveshell isn't a limitation at all, and road, cross, and gravel bikes with boost spacing isn't really a thing, so the R45D Centerlock hubs will work great for most riders.  At the end of the day, these are arguably some of the best, if not the best road disc road hubs on the market: you might be able to find slightly lighter hubs, or hubs with more freehub options, but you won't find a lightweight hub that will only get better with time, and that you can expect to ride and still be proud to ride in 10 or 20 years.

Phil Wood Centerlock

This one's fresh out of the anodizing tank, as it were, and is set to start shipping any day (which is why we don't have a photo of it in the wild). If you're familiar with Phil Wood's other hubs, you'll have an idea of the their design philosophy: make it durable, polish it well.  Well, of course there's a lot more to it than that, but it's not without reason that Phil Wood has built up a reputation for making extremely durable parts with finishes that you can get lost in.  Hubs with the iconic red script logo are built to last, with beautifully polished hub shells, and heavy duty axles, and easy-to-service freehub designs.  These hubs are available for 100mm OLD, 9mm QR, or 15mm thru axle front spacing, and 135mm QR or 142x12mm TA rear.  Like the other options Phil Wood hubs come in a wide range of colors, and like White Industries, those colors cost a bit extra.  Because Phil Wood does small runs of each color, sometimes there's a bit more of a wait for some of the options, which currently are: Silver, Black, Red, Blue, Green, Purple, Pink, and Gun Metal Gray. 

The centerlock hubs have high flanges with windows to save weight, and because of how much smaller the rotor mount is than their ISO hubs, these should save some weight when compared with their other disc hubs.  With the different axle and driveshell options available, these hubs can be built for light-weight or maximum durability, so you can really tune them for your needs!

Phil Wood, like White Industries, uses sealed cartridge bearings in stock sizes in their hubs.  What sets them apart, however, is that those bearings are completely custom made for them, and they bring nearly 50 years of sealed bearing experience to those bearing designs, specifying everything from bearing tolerance to seal gap and type.  Phil Wood was by most accounts the first company to use sealed cartridge bearings in bicycles, and since the early days, they've been known for have the best out there.  All of their bearings are also filled with their well-known and loved Phil Wood Waterproof grease.  They also have standard, and low-drag carbonyte options available.  There's a good reason why Phil Wood replacement bearings have long been the go-to for anyone looking to upgrade the stock sealed cartridge bearings in their hubs (and other parts): these are a big step above much of the competition, and are designed to give long service intervals with low to no maintenance.  

Phil Wood has used a simple, but effective freehub design for quite a few years, but last year it got a few upgrades including a new 40 too drive ring with five, individually-sprung pawls.  All of this makes for a freehub that has the same great durability as the previous version, but with faster engagement.  Based on our experience, Phil Wood freehubs are among the easiest to service of any currently available, and like the rest of Phil Wood's line, are designed with maximum durability in mind.

Since the company's start in 1971, Phil Wood has been in the business of making hubs.  In the time since, they've tended to stay away from trends to make things lighter at the expense of durability, and have instead focused on making really high-quality parts that are worth investing in, and that holds true today.  These hubs might not be the lightest, they might not have the fastest engagement, but they are beautiful, work flawlessly, and are designed and built to last.  If you you think they're the right hubs for you, you're probably right because they are fantastic, and come with our very high recommendation!

So which one is best for you?

While each of these options represents one of the best hubs available, they each have their strengths, so below you'll find some of the key points compared.

Color Options

White Industries:

  •  Polished silver, black, gold, pink, purple, red, or blue anodized

Chris King:

  •  Black, Silver, Red, Navy, Mango, Turquoise, Matte Jet, Matte Slate, Matte Punch, Matte Mango, Matte Turquoise

Phil Wood:

  • Silver, Black, Red, Blue, Green, Purple, Pink, and Gun Metal Gray

Spacing Options

White Industries:

  • CLD front is available in 100mm spacing for 9mm QR, 12mm TA, or 15mm TA.
  • CLD+ front is available in 110mm spacing for 9mm QR or 15mm TA.
  • CLD rear is available in 135mm QR or 142x12mm TA spacing.
  • CLD+ rear is available in 148x12mm TA spacing.

Chris King:

  • R45D Centerlock front is available in 100mm spacing for 9mm QR or 12mm TA.
  • R45D Centerlock rear is available in 135mm QR or 142x12mm TA spacing.

Phil Wood:

  • Centerlock Disc front is available in 100mm spacing for 9mm QR, 12mm TA, or 15mm TA.
  • Centerlock Disc rear is available in 135mm QR or 142x12mm spacing.

Freehub body (driveshell) Options

White Industries:

  • Shimano HG 11 speed (compatible with 8/9/10 speed with included spacer).
  • Campagnolo.
  • Sram XD/XDR.
  • Shimano Micro Spline compatible freehub body in the works.

Note: all White Industries drivers use the same titanium construction and 3 pawl/ 48 point engagement.

Chris King:

  • Shimano HG 11 speed.

Note: only available with aluminum driveshell, so there are no stainless, or Campagnolo options available for the R45, though they are for other Chris King hubs.

Phil Wood:

  • Shimano HG 8/9/10/11 speed.
  • Campagnolo 9/10/11/12 speed.
  • Sram XD.

Note: all Phil Wood drivers available in heat treated stainless steel or 7075 aluminum.

Still have questions?  There are a lot more details on each of the product pages, so check those out, but if you have more, we're here to help!  Give us a shout, and we'll help you figure out the best option for you! 

Once you've decided which hub will work best, use the code below to save!

THIS WEEK'S PROMO CODE = 12_Centerlock

Buy any Centerlock hub from Chris King, White Industries or Phil Wood and get 12% off.
Just use code: 12_Centerlock when you checkout. Applies to any quantity of hub purchase.
Valid until midnight Nov 14th.

Click Here To Read More.

Dropset Fit Roundup

Chris King DropSet compatibility revisited

You may have read our first blog post about which DropSet fits which bike, but now that we've worked with more customers, and done more digging to find out which bikes work with which DropSets, we figured it would be a good idea to do a followup post! 

First a little refresher on the different models:

DropSet 1: IS41/28.6 45/45 degree Upper Bearing, IS52/40 45/45 degree Lower Bearing (fits many Santa Cruz, Yeti, Alchemy, IBIS).
DropSet 2
: IS42/28.6 45/45 degree Upper Bearing, IS52/40 45/45 degree Lower Bearing (fits OPEN plus many Specialized, Trek, Cervelo and other major brands).
DropSet 3
: IS41/28.6 45/45 degree Upper Bearing, IS52/40 36/45 degree Lower Bearing (fits forks with a 36/45 degree crown race).

Below is a list of the bikes and brands we've checked out.  It's not exhaustive by any means, and we encourage you in any case to take a look at your headset bearings (they will almost always have their dimensions etched onto the outside of the bearing) before ordering just to be sure yours matches the information we have! 

If you need help finding the correct headset for a bike that's not on this list, we'd recommend checking the Cane Creek Headset Fit Finder, and then calling us so that we can make sure you get the right one!


The new Cosmic Stallion uses the an integrated tapered IS42/28.6 IS52/40 headset, which translates to a DropSet 2 headset.  Pretty much every All-City frame is compatible with a Chris King headset, and many will also work with the options we have from White Industries and Phil Wood, but we're sticking to DropSet compatibility here, so we won't go into detail on the others!

Ibis Cycles:

Most of the Ibis frames use one of the InSet variations, but the Hakka MX uses and integrated tapered IS41/28.6 IS52/40 headset which translates to the DropSet 1 headset.

Mason Cycles:

All Mason Cycles frames currently use integrated tapered IS42/28.6 IS52/40 headsets, so they work with the DropSet 2.  

Santa Cruz:

The vast majority of Current Santa Cruz bikes use integrated tapered IS41/28.6 IS52/40 headsets, so they work with the DropSet 1.  The few exceptions to this are the V10, which uses  an Inset 5 and the Jackal, which uses an InSet 3.


Many, but not all Trek bikes use the DropSet 3.  The best idea with these is to remove your headset bearings and check the size, because Trek uses many different headset styles and standards across their line, and some are completely proprietary, while others will work fine with an aftermarket headset like DropSet.


Many Specialized bikes use a DropSet 2, but because of the wide range of variations between the models it's hard to say with much certainty until you look at the bearings in your bike, so that's what we recommend doing in order to determine which will work best.  One example that we've researched is the current S-Works Tarmac Disc, which uses the DropSet 2


The 3T Exploro uses an integrated tapered IS42/28.6 | IS52/40 headset, which translates into a DropSet 2.  Currently there isn't a Chris King headset that will work with the Strada, which uses a smaller lower bearing.


The Open U.P. uses an integrated tapered IS42/28.6 | IS52/40 headset, like the 3T Strada above, so it uses a DropSet 2 as well.  This is true for all versions of U.P., including the 'Classic', 'New', and the U.P.P.E.R.


Genesis, like some of the other brands already mentioned, uses a variety of headsets, some of which have Chris king equivalents, and some of which don't.  We've found that many of the ones that use integrated headsets use the DropSet 2, but we recommend checking the bearings in yours before ordering. 

Beyond this list, Chris King has these general compatibility notes:

The DropSet 1 is compatible with Santa Cruz, Yeti, and Alchemy, among others.

The DropSet 2 is compatible with Open, 3T, All City, Low, Cinelli, and Lynsky, among others.

The DropSet 3 is compatible with the Santa Cruz Stigmata (without baseplate), among others.

Given the vast array of variations in headset dimensions right now, it's beyond the scope of this post to list everything, because in many cases finding out what will fit what takes some research, so we'd love to hear from you about any new fits that you find.  This will help us help other riders to find the right headset for their bikes!

And of course, if you need our help figuring out which headset will fit your bike, we're here, so just give us a shout!

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Black Axles Now Standard On Most Chris King Hubs...

As you might have seen, black axles and end caps have been available up to now only on Chris King Matte hubs, or as an optional upgrade.

But new for 2019, Chris King will now be shipping all hub colors with the exception of SILVER with the black axles, axle clamps, end caps and driveshell.

Matte Punch Boost AB hub shown with both black parts (standard) and silver parts (custom).

So good news all round for fans of the black parts, but we're all about customization here at AVT, so if you are still looking for a pair of Chris King hubs in any color with the silver parts (or a pair of Silver hubs with black parts for that matter!) we've added that as an option AT NO EXTRA CHARGE! 

A pair of new gloss black Centerlock R45 hubs, previously available with silver parts as standard, now with black parts.

Just contact us once you've placed your order if you'd like to change the parts color - and please allow a few extra days for hub assembly before shipping.

Click Here To Read More.

Our Black Friday Sale is here!

Our Black Friday Sale is on now! From now through Monday, November 26th, we're offering 15% OFF SITEWIDE!

Well, it may not quite be Black Friday yet, but it's close enough as far as we're concerned! 

Between now and the end of the day on Monday, November 26th, we're offering 15% OFF SITEWIDE when you use the code BlackFriday2018 at checkout!

This is your chance to get those wheels, that headset, bottom bracket, or anything else we sell at a HUGE discount, and it won't last, so be sure to use the code before Monday ends!

Black Friday Terms & Conditions:
- Discount code is valid until midnight Monday 26th November.
- Discount code cannot be used in conjunction with other promo codes.
- Free USA shipping over $75 and International over $350 still apply.
- Please allow extra time to prepare your order for shipping during this busy time! Most orders placed during the promotional period will ship towards the end of the week of 26th November or the start of the following week.
- Please also allow additional time for certain products which are assembled on demand including many rear hubs and wheels.
- AVT’s office including email / live chat / phone support will be closed over the Thanksgiving Holiday (Thursday 22nd & Friday 23rd Nov). We will re-open again on Monday 26th, but please be patient as we catch up on inquiries & orders received over the holiday period.

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That's One Classy Brompton You've Got There....

Custom built Brompton folding bike that uses all the the best parts from Chris King, White Industries, Paul Components, and Phil Wood!

A month or so ago a customer bought some shiny bits from White Industries, Phil Wood, and Chris King to finish out his special folding bike build.  Now we've got photos of the finished bike, and we're pretty impressed!

This bike uses White Industries' beautiful VBC Square Taper cranks and matching big ring with a Phil Wood Square Taper bottom bracket, so this rider will be able to just ride his bike day after day without worrying about his bottom bracket going bad!

The parts that he's chosen for this build are perfect because they not only give the bike the look he's going for, but they're all durable enough to last a lifetime! From the Chris King 2Nut Headset to the Phil Wood Brompton front hub and Square Taper bottom bracket, and Paul Components Polished Canti Levers these parts blend durability with good looks, and really are perfect for the bike that you just want to ride for a long time!

We just love the details on this bike, so take a look at the rest of the photos below

As always, if you're working on a Blink Build, we'd love to hear from you! 

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