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Cross Bike Collector.....
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Ok, so some of you read an earlier thread in which I was solicitng help on a new custom wheelset. I had a few guys in mind, Troy @ ligero and Mike @ Oddsanendos. One of the problems I had with Troy was I couldn't reach him via email. He called me at work yesterday to explain he is bombed with mail and can't get to them all, he told me to call him right up to 10pm his time. Ergott, emailed me back within a couple hours and phoned me as well.
One thing that was common with all three builders was they felt it was too difficult to get Chris King hubs. And each tried to steer me in another direction with hubs.
Being a Portlander, and CK located in Portland, I gave them a call. I told CK that the 3 most visible builders on this forum were steering people away from there hubs because they were unobtainable. And that future sales of there product was compromised because of it. Here was CK's response:
CK told me they had a very well stocked inventory and anyone whom had filled out and application to be a CK authorized dealer would have very easy access to there product. I told CK about the three aforementioned builders, as they are the most renowned, at least on this forum, had built wheels in the past using there hubs so they must have filed out an application at some point? But felt they could not get CK hubs, especially in some of the odd colors (green, gold, mango) CK told me that they could not tell me if they had my hubs in the color I wanted as I'm not a CK dealer. They assured me they had a large inventory and could ship next day to an authorized dealer.
After speaking with Troy on Friday he is going to try to order my CK hubs, and the rims I want he will have in a few weeks.
So I'm wondering if any members have some inside info on this, Wheelbuilders telling me one thing and CK telling me another? Everybody and their brother can get there hands on a CK headset, but what gives with the hubs?
 

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I had the experience of Colorado Cyclist try to talk me out of a Chris King hub I wanted. They said that, compared to the competition, CK hubs were noisy and heavy. News to me. Took my trade elsewhere.

It could be that CK, along with other premium parts suppliers, are trying to restrict distribution to those retailers that will get prices, and thus margins, up. This is a typical strategy for small premium product producers in any market where end-user distribution is "overly" competitive. The internet continues to shake up distribution...
 

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wheelbuilder
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Their user agreement is geared towards retail locations. If you do not have a retail location, you cannot order direct from them. Most wheel builders do not have this business model. I spoke directly to CK about this and was told to talk to their manager who would be there on Mon. I do hope they reconsider their user agreement because retail locations are not the best place for their hubs. Most LBS would rather sell a set of prebuilt wheels because the margins are higher, there is no labor involved and warranty issues are sent back to the company that makes the wheels. Many consumers, who are interested in custom wheels, do not build them by themselves. They look to either their local guru of one of the many builders that offer their services online.

My dealings with Chris King were when I was on the books at a few shops. Since I am on my own, I have no direct channel. That is what makes getting hubs from them an issue. I never kid anybody into thinking that CK hubs are inferior in any way, but when you have other hub manufacturers more than willing to work with businesses like mine, it is very easy to offer an alternative. I look forward to contacting CK again on Mon. and establishing a working relationship directly with them and will post an update after I do. It is good for the industry to have a component maker with their reputation working with the grassroots operations like mine, Ligero and all the other independent wheel builders out there. We all benefit.

-Eric
 

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not my experience with CC

Cyclesafe said:
I had the experience of Colorado Cyclist try to talk me out of a Chris King hub I wanted. They said that, compared to the competition, CK hubs were noisy and heavy. News to me. Took my trade elsewhere.

It could be that CK, along with other premium parts suppliers, are trying to restrict distribution to those retailers that will get prices, and thus margins, up. This is a typical strategy for small premium product producers in any market where end-user distribution is "overly" competitive. The internet continues to shake up distribution...
I just had a king wheel set built by colorado cyclist and they did not try to talk me out of it, they actually said that they are probably the best hubs out there. I have ridden them a couple times so far and they are a great wheelset, the hubs are audible, but not as loud as some of the king mountain hubs I have heard. As far as heavy well there not that far off of the weight of hugi 240s, looking up published weights its about 30-35grams heavier for the kings and most of the weight difference is in the rear hub, not too big a deal for me, plus I like the better color options, I went for pewter
 

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ergott said:
Their user agreement is geared towards retail locations. If you do not have a retail location, you cannot order direct from them.
So they sell factory direct to shops, but you have to go through a middleman (and pay more)? That seems weird... I thought it would be the other way around...

I suspect that there is a lot "behind the scenes" business stuff going on that influences a builder or store's preferences on equipment... that aren't related to the quality or reliability of the product; like poor availability, poor service (slow, long wait, etc), poor communication and low margins, can all effect the desirability from the builders view, for an otherwise excellent product.
 

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Here is how my first conversation went with King.

Me- I am a custom wheelbuilder in Chattanooga and would like to set up a account to start ordering hubs.

King- Thats great, I will need a copy of your business license, tax id and we will fax over a copy our retail price agreement for you to sign. What did you say the bike shop name is?

Me- I am not a bike shop, I have a custom wheel business.

King- So you are not a bike shop?

Me- No, I only sell wheels.

King- Do you have retail space?

Me- Yes, I rent a comercial loft in downtown Chattanooga.

King- I am not sure if you me our criteria but you do meet the criteria for frame builders so we can sell you headsets if you need any.

Me- But I don't need headsets because you can't build wheels with them.

King- I will have to forward this to head of sales and see if he wants to approve your request until then you can order hubs through QBP.


I never did hear back from King and have had to work a deal with a local shop for them to order hubs for me and I get them things they can't like magnesium rims.
 

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Cross Bike Collector.....
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well Mr. Head of Sales @ Chris King.........

I'd sure beg to differ your business model. I'd like to have Troy @ Ligero build me a set of Cross wheels for my Portland made Stumptown, with Portland made CK headset, and yes, Portland made CK hubs.
Seems Ergott called and got the same thing, no retail shop, no hubs. So I guess you'd prefer that Cyclists all over the country use White Ind, Tune, or someone else's hubs rather than your own.
No resonable guy is going to pay extra for your hubs because Troy, and Eric, have to get them from QBP at a higher cost than direct from CK and then pass that on to the consumer.
Why should a consumer have to go to a retail shop, purchase and then hassle with shipping your hubs to a Highend wheelbuilder?
Pissed I am.
Maybe I should just scrap the CK hubs altogether? Maybe I'll just have Troy build me a nice road Wheelset with Anodized White Ind hubs, save a few hundred dollars and just use my factory wheelset for cross. :mad:
 

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You should scrap the CK hubs. They are high quality, but very expensive and too noisy. I just rode a century on saturday with a friend who had CK hubs, it sounded like a flock of bees whenever he freewheeled. At least it was easy to hear him coming!
 

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First let me say that I am not against any of the independent wheelbuilders, however Chris King has a great reputation to protect. It seems that in leiu of a wheelbuilding qualification process, they are using a "you need to have a storefront" approach. Which can't be a very good way to qualify someone.

For instance, I didn't have a chain whip and needed a cassette removed from a Zipp 340 Carbon wheel that I sold. I took it in to a LBS near my office. This is hardly a impressive showplace. It is a mess and poorly stocked. I asked him if he could remove the cassette for me and he looked at it and I would guess from his reaction and reply that he had never seen a high end wheel. I told him that I didn't have a chain whip, so I would rather someone else do it. After telling me it would be done in about 45 minutes he said that set of vice grips to keep the cassette from moving works just as good. :eek: :mad: I then told him that I couldn't wait and that I might see him later..... This guy would probably qualify to be a CK dealer, but I wouldn't let him tune a derailleur.

I don't know any particulars, but with a warranty replacement policy, I am sure that they want their hubs built up correctly. If I was a wheelbuilder, I would petition for a sales arrangement based on your wheelbuilding expertise and somehow exhibiting that to the CK folks.
 

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handsomerob said:
First let me say that I am not against any of the independent wheelbuilders, however Chris King has a great reputation to protect. It seems that in leiu of a wheelbuilding qualification process, they are using a "you need to have a storefront" approach. Which can't be a very good way to qualify someone.
I don't believe that qualifications have anything to do with it. How many bike shop employees are expert wheel builders... or even "good"? How is a builder going to ruin a hub anyway? King would never be responsible for a bad build. If anybody should worry it is the spoke and rim manuacturers.

The only thing I can think of is that they want somebody local to the buyer to handle warranty and maintenance issues... hence a shop.

Ergott and Legero... how do you handle warranty issues on hubs? Do your buyers send the wheels to you, or do they deal with the manufacturer directly?
 

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edlouie said:
You should scrap the CK hubs. They are high quality, but very expensive and too noisy. I just rode a century on saturday with a friend who had CK hubs, it sounded like a flock of bees whenever he freewheeled. At least it was easy to hear him coming!
I've got 2 King hubs (one on my SS MTB and one of my geared FS-XC MTB) and many King headsets.

Yes, both rear hubs sound like a swarm of bees on the attack. And, I guess I can see how it might be annoying when on the roads, but I'm on the trails so I've got a lot of outside trail noises to distract from the hub. Also, it just means I need to keep pedaling ;)

But, both are incredible hubs with near instant engagement (which, may not be an issue for roadies, but with a SS MTB, it's critical). And, the build quality is amazing.

I've pulled apart each hub and the internals are really something to see. Very easy to work on and maintain.

Plus, I've ridden these hubs very, very hard through some very harsh conditions (-25C in the winter or stream/creek crossings in the summer...for example, TransRockies) and both are still spinning smooth after 5-yrs (on my SS) and 3-yrs (on my FS-XC).

Yes, Kings are pricey, but I do believe you get what you pay for...just like their headsets. As for the noise, to each his own, I guess.

M.
 

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why are they so tight with they're dealer qualifications?

I mean a reputation for hubs is for hubs. How could a poorly built wheel equal a bad hub? Maybe they're equating a storefront to a reputable dealer. Hmm.. I don't understand!

And it takes 8 weeks for them to process a dealer application! That's ridiculous!
 

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rruff said:
I don't believe that qualifications have anything to do with it. How many bike shop employees are expert wheel builders... or even "good"? How is a builder going to ruin a hub anyway? King would never be responsible for a bad build. If anybody should worry it is the spoke and rim manuacturers.

The only thing I can think of is that they want somebody local to the buyer to handle warranty and maintenance issues... hence a shop.

Ergott and Legero... how do you handle warranty issues on hubs? Do your buyers send the wheels to you, or do they deal with the manufacturer directly?
If there is ever a problem I have them send the wheel to me and I do the dirty work of getting the manufactor to replace it.
 

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My build wheels with CK hubs

I make a decision 4 month ago, not to sales my CK Hubs &
instead to send them to Pro Wheelbuilder.

The result was a "diamond" wheels set with DT Swiss Rims & Spokes.

I can tell you guy's with recommendation - Its my best ever Wheels set
 

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I guess my original response was directed more at the OP. I recognize that CK hubs are the best performance hubs in the market, and for those who really use their equipment 100% there's no debate. For those who don't, there are many viable alternatives. I think White Ind, DA, or Record hubs would provide at least 90% of CK's performance at a significant cost savings. Besides the performance differential, those hubs don't have the show factor or name recognition of CK's but they're plenty nice (by my standards at least).

From reading the OP's postings, it appears cost is a consideration, so if I were in his shoes I would consider an alternate hub. I'm having road wheels built right now with Ultegra 10 hubs, which are admittedly heavy and plain, but for my 5,000 training miles per year it should serve just fine for years to come, and the price is right.

I'm not sure I could live with the noise of CK hubs, but I personally like my hubs on the louder side since they provide advance warning for most people. Nothing ruins a bike ride like constantly having to warn people you're coming up behind them (if you've biked across the Golden Gate Bridge, where it's normal to almost run over 100+ tourists, you get the idea)
 

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Ligero said:
If there is ever a problem I have them send the wheel to me and I do the dirty work of getting the manufactor to replace it.
Can't imagine why they'd have a problem with you then. Maybe they are just going on bad experiences in the past with other independants...
 

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edlouie said:
I think White Ind, DA, or Record hubs would provide at least 90% of CK's performance at a significant cost savings.
Another good point is that Dura Ace and Centaur, Chorus, and Record *rear* hubs weigh the same as King rears. If you you are a weight weenie you can always pair them with a lighter front...
 
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