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The story of how I saved money, quit my job, sold my possessions, and set off to endlessly travel by bike around the world. My Plan

My 3 Books
I write, self publish and sell books about touring

Picture Gallery
Travel Plan

My Books
About Me
Media/Press Room


Photo Use Info

Read Sample Letter
Continue My Travels

Places I have been
How can I afford this?)

India and Neighbors
May 2010 to present

Alaska / Canada / USA
May 2008 to April 2010

New Zealand
Sept 2007 to May 2008

Sept 2006 to Sept 2007

SE Asia / China
Nov 2004 to Sept 2006

South America
June 2003 to June 2004

AZ, Mexico, and Central America
March 2002 to April 2003

How I started
The 5 years before I left

*Help Support this Web Site and Continue My Travels.

Equipment Pages Index

How Much to Bring and Weight
Some Advice About Advice
A Note to Perspective Sponsors and Gear Suppliers
(See more about Sponsorship)

START HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
Custom Touring Bicycles and Bike Upgrade Buyers Guide
Bicycle Touring Frames 
The Steel Repair Myth.
Steel and Aluminum Derailleur Hanger Repair.
Bicycle Touring Wheels
Phil Wood: The Best Bicycle Hubs

Panniers / Bike Bags
Cargo Trailers Vs Panniers
Tires for Bike Tours..
Bicycle Touring Saddles.
Women's Specific Bike Touring Saddles
Brooks Leather Touring Bicycle Saddle Care and Conditioning
Bike Computer
Touring Handlebars, Bar Ends, Adjustable Stems, and Padded Grips.
Sealed Cartridge Headsets

How to prevent flat tires
Bike Route Trails and Maps

Buying Camping Equipment
Tent and Ground Cloth
Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Pad
Camp Stove
Pots and Pans
Water Filter
First Aide Kits
Solar Power for Camp

Bike Touring Shorts

Short-wave Radio
Bicycle touring lights

Packing list
Pictures of Equipment Failures

See My Videos Here

(see all 3 book)

Best Chris King Headsets for Touring Bicycles with Sealed Cartridge Ball Bearings for Maintenance Free Travel on Bikes

Shop for Chris King Headsets

Bicycle headsets (HS) are often overlooked components.  They are hidden inside the head tube of the bike's frame and are often of lower quality compared to the rest of the components on a new or used bike.  Do you know what kind of HS is in your rig?

The small diameter bearings within the headset support a lot of weight and are crucial  in the steering, stability, and safety of a touring bicycle.  A cheap headset will wear out quickly and cause the bike to become unsafe because of pits forming in the races and the ball bearing rolling over this uneven surface.  If you are about to set off on a bicycle touring adventure, I highly recommend that you upgrade to the best headset available.


Most head sets perform well when they are new but the cheap loose ball bearing models will wear out fast and will cause steering problems.  Most bicyclists believe that headsets wear out because of front end impacts such as riding rocky trails on a mountain bike or riding into unexpected potholes on a road bike.  While hard impacts can cause damage, the most likely cause of headset problems is pitting.  This equipment failure is caused by normal use while riding.  In time, the ball bearing wears little impressions called pits into the race.  You know your headset is pitted when you turn the handlebars and it feels like someone else is pulling on the bars.  This is also described as ratchet or indexed steering.  It starts out as annoying but as the pits grow deeper it becomes increasingly dangerous.

Cheap headsets will pit after only a few months of riding while high quality headsets can last for years without pitting.

There are two main options when it comes to headset choices: loose bearings and sealed cartridge bearing.


A loose bearing system means that the interior of the HS is basically screwed together but still exposed to the elements.  This makes the interior of the head set vulnerable to water and dirt.  Once dirt enters the bearing system it acts like sandpaper grinding down all the moving parts.  Because bicycle tourists are regularly exposed to bad weather, loose bearing headsets need to be regularly disassembled, cleaned, greased, and reassembled while paying close attention to spacing and adjustment.  The only advantage to loose bearings is that they are cheap to manufacture.

I have used many brands of loose packed bicycle headsets including Shimano XTR, XT, and LX.  I had problems with all of them wearing out prematurely because water and dirt invaded the bearing system and quickly caused pits and poor performance.


The alternative to a loose bearing HS is a sealed cartridge system where the interior workings of the headset are permanently sealed at the factory.  Moisture and road grime never contaminate the system.  This means that the bearings and grease last much longer than a loose bearing system because there is no contamination from the elements.  Chris King makes the best sealed cartridge headsets that I have used.  These headsets can handle the extra weight and punishing conditions of bicycle touring.  As with anything; better equipment costs a bit more, but will pay for itself with years of trouble free use.

I prefer Chris King sealed cartridge bearing head sets on my touring bike because of the maintenance free use and years of smooth steering.

I no longer need to carry headset tools because the headset is maintenance free.  The Aheadset style heads sets can be adjusted easily with one allen key.  The old fashioned alternatives require a 32 mm headset tool and a bulky large adjustable wrench.

Chris king headsets are the obvious choice for touring bicycles because they last longer, create effortless steering, do not require heavy tools, and are maintenance free.


Chris King NoThreadSet' Headset

(from vendor) Chris King designed the first sealed bearing headset in 1976. No other bicycle component can claim the precision, performance and absolute reliability of a Chris King headset.

At Chris King Precision Components, we manufacture each headset in our own facility to exacting standards, using quality-at-the-source methods to minimize waste. Even the sealed, cartridge style bearings are made in-house and are hand-checked.

We believe this component so well represents us that we offer a 10-year warranty on all models.

Chris King sealed bearing headsets now feature the Sotto Voce logo mark in all ten available colors. We believe this subtle logo style better complements a quality bicycle. For those who desire the classic King style, black headsets are available with either a Bright Silver King logo or Sotto Voce style King logo.

-Sotto Voce (sot-toh voh-che) is an Italian term used in music to denote a dramatic lowering of the tone. It literally means “under voice” but can be translated as “soft voice”.

Shop for Chris King Headsets




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Bicycle Touring
Tips & Advice

- Bike Stuff
- Camping

Touring Bicycles

Tools and Spares

Sleeping Bags
Camping Mattress
Camp Stove
Water Filter
Pots and Pans
First Aide Kits
Solar Power
Bike Maps
Preventing Flat Tires

Bike Computer
Cargo Trailers
Kick Stands
Commuting Bikes

Camp Shower/Toiletry Bag


Bike Shoes
Bike Touring Shorts

Stealth/Free Camp

What I Have Learned On The Road

Dreaming of Endless Travel

Injustice of Poverty

Much MORE Gear Here!

Sponsors (how?)

Cycle Touring Racks

Tents and ground cloths
Sleeping Bags
Camping Mattress Pads

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