Car free since 1995
Join Date: Sep 2006
Bikes: Birdy Yellow, Birdy Monocoque
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The Capreo is a decent but not great cone and bearing hub. Mine had to be adjusted before first use, but make sure to do the adjustments after the wheel is built. Once tuned, it seems to be smooth and strong, albeit a touch heavy.
The weight of the hub (400gm) is offset by the use of a smaller cassette, front chainring, and less chain. Thus, it's roughly weight neutral compared with a more expensive hub.
by "go faster" I assume you mean spin more slowly on downhills? On my partner's 18" wheel bike, there is no difference between using the 9 tooth Capreo in the back with 48 in the front or a normal 11 tooth cog in the back and 56 in the front.
In all, the reason to go Capreo is that it is a more cost-effective solution. The hub and cassette cost about 1/4 what a larger hub and cassette + big chainring on the front would cost. If you already have a big chainring and a normal sized hub, there is no reason to go that route.
Bike Friday uses Capreo because it allows one to use a derailleur on the front of the bike. A huge advantage if you need a large gear range with few inches between each gear. So, there is another reason to go that route. But most folders cannot fit a front derailleur without a good deal of machining. Bike Friday, Birdy, and some customized Bromptons and Swifts (I think) have employed them with varying degrees of success.
Harris is the place to get a Capreo set up. Just do a web search.