Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Bikerumor.
Whether you have a smoothly integrated carbon frame or a more classically built steel or titanium bike, you’ll likely now be able to hide all the cables on your next custom build inside a Chris King headset.
We first spotted the AeroSet’s second iteration a year and a half ago, integrated into the U.S.-made ENVE Custom Road carbon road bike. And then, AeroSet 3 found its way into the recent Moots Vamoots CRD titanium road bike.
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 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 U.S.-made, premium steel Chris King sealed bearings and stave off the inevitable for a bit longer?
So What’s Really New Here?
Admittedly, the Chris King AeroSet 3 headset is not an innovation that stands head and shoulders above the rest of the industry. 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.
The big news here is that a traditional press-in version is available for those who want and need it! If you’re into the sleek and updated look of internal routing, but want a classic headset appearance, the AeroSet 3 is a clear choice.
Chris King created the AeroSet 3 for coveted aero gains — that, and Bikerumor knows how many cyclists have been 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 and bottom 1.5-inch 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 to align routing with the stem and spacers (only available from ENVE), compatible with electronic and mechanical 1x and 2x drivetrains.
All you really need to fit it is the straight 44mm headtube that many modern steel, titanium, and custom carbon frames use. Then, you can press in the mostly classic-looking set of oversized 1.5-inch cups. Of course, if you want to route your front brake internally as well, you’ll 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, premium sealed steel bearings made in-house that are serviceable and long-lasting, and a GripLock upper bearing cap. Chris King designs, engineers, and manufactures it all in Portland, Ore.
Chris King AeroSet 3: Pricing, Options, and Availability
The Chris King AeroSet 3 headset is the most expensive in the brand’s lineup at $375 MSRP.
But at least you can get it in various shiny anodized colors to match your Chris King hubs and bottom bracket. After all, it specifically aims to satisfy 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, and matte turquoise. It comes through all regular Chris King dealer shops and bike builders, and includes King’s lifetime warranty.
The brand will add more color options as stock builds up over time.
So far, we’ve seen bikes from ENVE, Moots, Mosaic, Speedvagen, and more fitted with Chris King AeroSet headsets.
Bikerumor imagines there will be a lot more in 2023.