Whether you have a smoothly-integrated carbon frame or a more classically-built steel or titanium bike, you likely will now be able to hide all the cable on your next custom build inside a Chris King headset…
c. ENVE – Custom Road with Chris King AeroSet 2
We first spotted AeroSet version #2 (hmm…) a year and a half ago integrated into the US-made ENVE Custom Road carbon road bike. And then AeroSet 3 found its way into the recent Moots Vamoots CRD ti road bike.
c. Moots – Vamoots CRD with Chris King AeroSet 3
The unifying theme of course, is the oft-desired Chris King headset dropped into a premium American-made custom bicycle AND no cables in sight. We can debate the necessity of completely internally routed cables – no really, we did debate that with some of our favorite bike mechanics around the world – but there’s no arguing that it results in a slick setup.
Of course, many of the downsides of routing your cables through your headset into the frame come back to the fact that needing to replace a headset bearing becomes a very expensive and complicated project. Now, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that anyone buying a custom ENVE or Moots road bike can afford to pay a pro mechanic. But in any case, why not start with the trusted durability of some US-made, premium steel Chris King sealed bearings and stave off the inevitable for a bit longer.
Full disclosure: I have more than one Chris King headset that’s still spinning more than two decades later with very little servicing, having outlived their original bikes.
So what’s really new here?
Admittedly, the Chris King AeroSet 3 headset isn’t some new innovation. We’ve seen tons of other integrated routing headsets from the likes of Acros, Deda, FSA, Token, and many more component makers over the past few years. Even compared to the more classic headset lineup, the only thing really new in the AeroSet is a new machined top cap to direct your cables in between a 1.5″ bearing they already had (same as the InSet 7) and your 1.125″ steerer tube.
The big news here is that it is that a traditional press-in version is available for those who want and need it!
Chris King created the AeroSet 3 because “Aero is everything“…. well, and more cyclists were begging their custom frame builders for the combination of internal routing and the prestige of a King headset.
Developed together with Enve – first in the more integrated AeroSet 2 setup for the Custom Road bike – the new AeroSet 3 features top & bottom 1.5″ bearings and a keyed bearing top cap with two cable routing ports that line up with the Enve “In-Route System” stem or one-piece cockpit setup and split spacers. Officially, the AeroSet is only compatible with an ENVE In-Route cockpit, as that is to align routing with the stem & spacers (only available from Enve), compatible with electronic and mechanical 1x & 2x drivetrains.
All you really need to fit it is the straight 44mm headtube that many modern steel, titanium & custom carbon frames use, then you can press in the mostly classic-looking set of oversized 1.5″ cups. Of course, if you want to route your front brake internally as well, you will need a fork with an internal routing channel into the steerer tube and down the fork leg.
The new Chris King AeroSet 3 headset is intended for new custom bikes. Assuming your new (or even existing) bike meets all those compatibility points, a qualified mechanic should be able to drop an AeroSet 3 into your bike and upgrade you to fully internal cabling. Note: A drop-in internal headset version will likely also be coming in the future too, for carbon builders that use internal headsets.
The AeroSet 3 includes all of the trusted Chris King headset tech – lightweight machined aluminum cups, long-lasting & serviceable premium heat-treated steel sealed bearings made in-house, GripLock upper bearing cap, all designed, engineered & manufactured in Portland, OR in the USA.
Chris King AeroSet 3 – Pricing, options & availability
The Chris King AeroSet 3 headset sells for $375 making it the most expensive headset in their lineup. (Does anyone remember their titanium NoThreadSet?) But at least you can get it in a bunch of shiny anodized colors to match your Chris King hubs & bottom bracket. After all, it was developed specifically for custom frame builders looking to add fully internal cable routing. The AeroSet 3 is available in matte black, shiny black, two-tone black with gold logos, silver, red, gold, dark midnight gray & matte turquoise – through all regular Chris King dealer shops & bike builders, and includes King’s lifetime warranty. More colors will come be added as Chris King build up more stock over time.
So far, we’ve seen bikes from Enve, Moots, Mosaic, Speedvagen, and more fitted with Chris King AeroSet headsets. We imagine there will be a lot more in 2023.