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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:28 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:27 am
Posts: 454
Location: Brasov, Romania
I'm not very sure how many people relate to the following or my cheesy way of putting things into words, but it feels as natural to share the content of this letter to you just like it felt a must to write it in the first place. I will also apologize in advance to those who worry they'll get diabetes after the first three paragraphs. :)

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Dear guys at King!

I don't know what took me so long, but I finally write to you.

This is Max from Romania, bike rider, bike fanatic, bike race organizer, MTB journalist, retro lover, parts hunter, classifieds scavenger and owner of 27 bikes that can't be justified by common sense.

In all these years since I ride, fix, eat, shit, sleep and dream bicycles, many things have come and gone, but only a few stood strong in my appreciation. I remember being amazed at what they said about the NoThreadSet in the magazines when I was a kid and lusted for one, but the truth was that I could barely afford an Alivio bike.

The first King headset I saw in the flesh was at some little shop in Germany; it went through various forks and a few frames and it still had original white grease, still untouched. At some point I got my hands on a black classic one that I soon traded for a turquoise, to better match the rest of my bike. The fact that I had it from some people who were legendary in our local biking community was a bonus. The year was 2003 and the headset was from 1996. As you guess, it still had original grease. This headset was a fixture on the bike I used most, but at some point I moved it to a more retro build for fashion reasons. I still miss it, but the fact that I still own it somehow comforts me, though. In the last couple years I hunted for other King parts and almost snagged a hubset that I wish since a while now, but in the end it didn't happen. It'll come someday...

Every time I go to Eurobike, I know I will find some beautifully suspended King parts in the Cosmic Sports booth that look like aligned planets and my habit is to get that 50 mm lens, to slam it to the lowest F-stop in order to get that nice bokeh around my "planet", press the shutter for a few times and walk away with a smile. It brings in a moment of peace in my hectic day and I think I never published a Eurobike article without a photo of a King headset or a hub. It's just a must...

Today I bought a classic Patriot headset from a friend in another city. It was funny, because he kept trying to explain to me why it was color-mixed and that he had TWO headsets that he blended in order to get that and how he sold the other one. In my mind I was like "please cut the crap, you would've needed THREE headsets to achieve that, it's a special", but I smiled, kept acting stupid and shut my mouth. Did I mention the damn NoThreadSet has original white grease in it? All this made my day and it made me finally write these mandatory words to you.

Thinking about recent years, I guess I never waste a chance to tell people about King and their way of doing things, how you make your own bearings and why, what's happening with that leftover aluminium, or campaigns like Wheels 4 Life or the pink anodized parts. It feels natural. Every time I get to the "Endtroducing" part in Dirt Mag and read the question "What's your favorite bike product of all time" I immediately think "King headset", then I think it's to cliche and after struggling to find anything better in my mind, I give up and settle with myself for "King headset". Damn!

I guess I need to apologize, because I'm not a very likely customer for brandnew King parts, but trust me, I'll still look them up and I'll get them in VGC! You know why? Because hunting for parts can be a ton of fun and keeps you motivated.

As a bike journalist, I guess it's not very professional to write fanboy letters just like this, but frankly I don't care. Few things nowadays can hype up your enthusiasm like that and there are even fewer faultless parts out there. I wish there were more companies like this with products like that, but the truth is most of them have "planned obsolescence" as their most relevant feature.

Thank you for being here for us and doing what you do, the way you do it, Chris King! You're dreams come true for a lot of people. But you knew that already.

I bow to you!
Mx


I bow to you Retrobikers as well! Thanks for your patience!
Mx


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:05 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2007 11:19 pm
Posts: 7006
Location: Odense, Denmark
Max Max Max.

Hope topcap. Fail!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:29 pm 
BoTM Winner / Gold Trader
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Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:36 am
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Location: Burlington, ON Canada
dbmtb wrote:
Hope topcap. Fail!


Don't hate me, Max.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:30 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:01 pm
Posts: 1218
Location: Bloody Lift Doors
FMJ wrote:
dbmtb wrote:
Hope topcap. Fail!


Don't hate me, Max.

Image

:lol: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:27 am
Posts: 454
Location: Brasov, Romania
Haha, I guess I was to thrilled about the fact itself, that I forgot about the topcap. No worries, though, I think it's easier to score a matching red one than to find another Patriot headset at this price.

I paid 40 EUR for the headset as you see it above, plus 30 EUR more for a decent 1997 Judy XC with 1" threaded steerer, a Deore II crankset with chainrings in good condition, a right side Deore LX M569 crank which is pretty okay and a left side Hollowtech Deore crank that I hope will match a right side arm that I have here.

FMJ, I dig your keys. Back in the day, in those times that people generally refer to as "the Golden Era of MTB" we used to have a fully sponsored team here in Romania and people got used to the good stuff pretty fast. Imagine getting people who never had a decent MTB in their life directly from the street and putting them on fresh bikes with XTR, Ringle, Manitou SX Ti and other goodies. At some point some of them began reading the magazines and they weren't fond of their Slamma Jamma headsets anymore, so they asked for King and they got their King. Some kept their Ringle topcaps because they liked the matching colors and started collecting Kind topcaps, so I can relate to that. Arrogance went so far that at some point they rode some of the bikes and parts just to see if they would if they'd break. I guess the peak was in 1998 at the European Champs in Spindleruv Mlyn in the Czech Republic(it's all covered in the awesome Sprung 2 movie). They rode Cycle Craft bikes that were branded as Maniac Cycles. At that point their top rider got a one-off A2 with Manitou X-Vert Ti, fresh Deemax and the Cycle Craft works team from then looked at it in awe and didn't even know what it was. Of course, the dream faded fast after all this crap, but some of us still remember the bikes, the people and the stories. That's where I got my turquoise King from, by the way. :)

Thanks for your comments, guys!
Mx


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:18 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2007 11:19 pm
Posts: 7006
Location: Odense, Denmark
Anyway - as anyone knows. Top caps should match stems.

I like the fact you can get Thomson topcaps.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 3:07 pm
Posts: 2044
I toured the factory and can tell you first hand that they recycle all the ally. The machining oil is drained from the scarf for days before being recycled.
Beautiful place. Would love to work there.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 5:12 am 
BoTY Winner
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Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:50 pm
Posts: 315
Location: United States
I wonder if they have finished reading it yet.

I love Chris king!


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 1:18 pm 
BoTM Winner / Gold Trader
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Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:36 am
Posts: 4715
Location: Burlington, ON Canada
Lid wrote:
I toured the factory and can tell you first hand that they recycle all the ally. The machining oil is drained from the scarf for days before being recycled.
Beautiful place. Would love to work there.


11 prominent/innovative people in the manufacturering industry were invited to the White House to discuss the state of manufacturing in the US. CK is the one in the middle w. the 3DV tie.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:23 am 
BoTM Winner / retrobike rider
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Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2005 2:34 pm
Posts: 1836
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Awesome letter mate, it's what it's all about :)


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