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Chris King is a smart guy. Firstly, he invented the sealed bearing headset that would become the industry standard for excellence. Secondly, he listened to the industry when it shouted out loud that bearings could be inside the head tube if one wanted them there. This Chris King InSet Mixed Tapered Headset w/ GripLock is evidence that even when you don't want to do something, you can still do it with style and grace when you need to.
This isn't a full InSet headset -- it's what Chris King calls a "Mixed Tapered" headset. It has a 1-1/8" InSet (semi-integrated) upper cup and an external (traditional) 1.5" lower cup. The 1.5" lower bearing assembly is plenty strong and extremely durable -- it's not going to get notchy or disintegrate any time soon. The external lower is also good because if you have a favorite fork that happens to have a 1-1/8" steerer you can still install it, albeit with a reducer base plate.
Chris King's GripLock upper bearing cap uses a new compression design. This assembly replaces the older style, one-piece bearing cap that contained the O-ring. Instead, GripLock uses a split compression ring to center the steerer tube in the upper bearing, and when you preload the assembly, the split ring provides additional surface area against the steerer for a more secure and safer interface, especially on carbon fiber steerer tubes. The upper bearing assembly is super clean-looking because of its low profile. It also allows the frame designers the ability to increase the headtube length without raising the handlebar height. A longer headtube allows for greater steerer support and more surface area for the top and down tubes, both things that make the bike stronger as a whole.
The Chris King InSet Mixed Tapered HeadSet comes with King's regular 10-year warranty. It's available in Black, Navy, Red, and Silver. It fits frames with tapered 1-1/8 to 1.5" (44 to 49mm ID) head tubes and forks that have a tapered 1-1/8 to 1.5" steerer. It can be used with straight 1-1/8" forks with a reducer base plate (sold separately).
- The Inset 3 fits head tubes with a 44mm upper Inset and a standard external 1.5 lower
- Fits 44mm upper and 49mm lower head tube internal diameters