I have long been a fan of Chris King hubs, mainly for their engineering prowess and quality but also because of the efforts they take in sustainability and factories avoiding pollution.
One of the benefits (like many hub manufacturers) is the ability to upgrade and swap parts as bicycle industry standards change or if you change drivetrain systems, for example from Shimano to SRAM or vice versa. It’s not a cheap thing to do but it’s better in many ways than buying brand new everything and gets many more years out of your prestige products.
The following pictographs, show how easy it is to go from SRAM 12spd (XDr) to SHIMANO 12spd, or 11. It’s simple to go either way around. This guide converts R45 hubs general found on road or gravel bikes.
Going either way requires a new Axle and a new Freehub body (Chris King calls this Driveshell). If you have the PRO service tool, some bearing maybe reusable from the inner of the freehub but you would have to contact Chris King Customer service to buy parts al la cart. Also if you are at this level, you don’t really need this guide 🙂
Overall: Swapping the components is pretty easy and should only take a few minutes.
Tools and Parts
Tools you will need:
- Cassette removal tools
- Small flathead screwdriver
- T10 or Hex 2.5mm
- Ring Drive Lube (from Chrisking.com)
Chris King Parts you will need:
PHB847 -Shimano Driveshell (aka frehub body) Complete Shimano $245 *complete means all bearings
PHB790 – is the kit of the SRAM axle and SRAM driveshell – $389
A la Carte parts:
PHB735 Gen 2 New Design Preload adjuster (optional) T10 lock screw $59
PHB796 – 12mm Axle Shimano (comes with axle caps) $120
For this example I am removing a 12spd SRAM XDr Road and converting to a 12spd Shimano
See pictures below to help with steps.
1) Remove the old cassette
2) Remove the small axle cap (silver colour) on the drive and none drive side. Use a small screw driver to lever and it should pop off easy.
3) Loosen and remove the preload adjuster found on the non drive side (disc rotor side).
The lock screw will likely be a 2.5mm allen key. Keep the adjuster, you are going to re-use it.
If the preload adjuster is hard to remove, heres a little trick. Place the wheel back in the bicycle, tighten the 12mm axle, find the helper hole on the preload adjuster place allen key in it, and use it as a lever (ensure lock screw is loose first), rotate counter clockwise.
NOTE: (Details in Appendix) If you have Late 2022 or older hub, there is a new preload adjuster design that has been designed so a centerlock disc rotor lockring can fit over the adjuster. No more removing your preload adjuster to swap a rotor! This is part PHB735- (see images in appendix , new design is slightly smaller and shown on the right) NOTE: the gen 2 new design uses a Torx 10 for the lock screw.
4) Grab the freehub (driveshell as CK call it) with all of your hand and slightly but forcefully rock it and twist, it should pop off. The axle should pull out with it.
5) Now is a good time to look at the hub, see if it needs a clean or some more ringdrive lube. the King website can help you here also.
6) Apply a 5-10 drops of RingDrive lube to the helical splines of the new freehub (driveshell) body. The helical splines are the angled splines on the right of the image.
7) Twist and Push in the new freehub (driveshell) without the axle, use a twisting motion and the unit should “pop” in.
8) On the new axle there are two O-Rings, if you are pedantic like me, apply a little bit of light lube, ringdrive lube will do.
9) Slide the new axle into the hub (from the freehubside). Note the chamfered / angled end will be at the end (outermost) of the freehub body
10) Install the preload adjuster – Make sure you have the disc rotor installed before Installing the adjuster and Tighten down the preload adjuster, non drive side. (tips here)
11) Attach the axle caps, small end pieces on both drive and non drive side
12) Install your new cassette.
Note, when installing the Shimano cassette – 12spd is finicky as far as cassette alignment so take your time and look for stamped cues on the cogs. Little triangles to indicate alignment. More Pictures below in appendix.
13) Pop in your bike frame and check for lateral play. If there is some, remove by tightening your non drive side preload adjuster
Appendix: Shimano 12speed Cassette Details
Appendix : Preload Adjusters
NOTE: If you have Late 2022 or older hub, there is a new preload adjuster design that has been designed so a centerlock disc rotor lockring can fit over the adjuster. No more removing your preload adjuster to swap a rotor! This is part PHB735- (see images in appendix , new design is slightly smaller and shown on the right) NOTE: the gen 2 new design uses a Torx 10 for the lock screw.
Comments, questions? Below and I will get back to you ASAP.