Chris King has finally addressed the lone Achilles' heel in its otherwise bulletproof threadless headset design with the availability of a proper tapered split ring into the upper compression ring for 2011.
Admittedly, the current o-ring method of centering the compression ring has been functional for years, particularly for roadies and short-travel cross-country riders. Longer-travel machines now place more demands on that old system, though, and more aggressive riders have been finding that that o-ring simply can't adequately handle the load, resulting in creaky and occasionally loose front ends and in extreme cases, wear marks on the steerer itself if that o-ring wasn't replaced regularly.
The new tapered split ring setup – similar to what Cane Creek and others have been using for years under license from Dia-Compe – instead rigidly locks the upper compression ring to the steerer so there's no chance of movement. So what? Huckers, it's time to crack out those Chris King headsets again, especially now that the company has also added new tapered fitments for 2011, too.
In hub news, Chris King has also added a 142x12mm option for its mountain bike hubs for expanded compatibility with modern frames. While this may seem to be a trivial factoid (developing a new axle probably isn't an enormous undertaking in terms of engineering), it's more significant as a sign of the standard's increasing popularity.
Generally speaking, Chris King only integrates new headset, bottom bracket, or hub fitments when it's good and confident that the standards are going to be around for a while so the addition of the 142x12mm size to the range – not to mention the plethora of bikes we spotted at Eurobike using it – indicates to us that we're only going to see more of this in the years to come.