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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 05-07-05, 10:28 PM   #1
votedean
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Hub design

Crazy proposition:
I work at my uncle's aluminum CNC machine shop and have access to some of the most technologically advanced CNC machines and CAD operated mills on the east coast. Anyways, we often do custom designing of products that have high demand, yet a relatively low supply of high-end manufactures. I was thinking about getting a new track hub design in the works, something higher in quality with that hand inspected and polished reputation Phil carries. So, with this in mind, I want to know what you guys look for in a hub, if you were to be on like a focus team. High flange, low, single fixed, fixed/fw, etc. What problems have you encountered with cheap hubs that we could avoid (manufacturing flaws). I'm all ears, and with your help, you may see a new breed of high quality hubs based off your ideas and suggestions available soon.
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Old 05-07-05, 10:35 PM   #2
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are you planning to rewrite the track hub ala level or are you going with the traditional cog and reverse thread lockring?
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Old 05-07-05, 10:35 PM   #3
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high flange, fixed/fixed, cartridge bearings, axle long enough to respace for 126 and 130mm, and colors
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Old 05-07-05, 10:45 PM   #4
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what wilcru said, tho i don't care for colors myself.
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Old 05-07-05, 11:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by potus
are you planning to rewrite the track hub ala level or are you going with the traditional cog and reverse thread lockring?
Traditional cog/reverse thread.
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Originally Posted by dolface
what wilcru said, tho i don't care for colors myself.
Colors can be dealt with after fabrication, I know the market is there.
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Old 05-07-05, 11:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by votedean
Traditional cog/reverse thread.

Colors can be dealt with after fabrication, I know the market is there.
oh HELL yeah! i didn't mean to imply that you shouldn't do colors, that's a huge selling point.

the main thing for me would be the ability to configure the hub/axle setup easily; different spacings, different seals maybe, standard bearings, and i vote for track nuts over the phil-style allen bolts.
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Old 05-07-05, 11:17 PM   #7
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but allen bolts are so sexy....and can be filled with epoxy
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Old 05-07-05, 11:22 PM   #8
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So here's my question: what novelty are you bringing to the marketplace? Why would I buy your hub over a Phil? Custom manufacturing is expensive and other boutique hub manufacturers either have higher volume to offset their price (i.e. Phil--is it right to call PW boutique?) or at least have something unique to offer (Level).

What do you have? What about custom manufacturing? Tell us your hub dimensions, we'll make it. What about extra tall flanges so that you can run a big cog and still change spokes? What about extra deep threads so that you can run two cogs (ok, so your chainline would be messed up, but...)? Theft proof? Instantly respaceable? Anything?

You can't go head to head with an established company on their own terms. You need to either find a shortcut or change the rules of the game.
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Old 05-07-05, 11:32 PM   #9
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crazy high flange would be awesome
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Old 05-07-05, 11:36 PM   #10
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and spinners inside the hub!!!!

Ok that is a joke, but some interesting hole patterns (not for spokes, but designs)

or a hub stash pocket
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Old 05-07-05, 11:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bostontrevor
You can't go head to head with an established company on their own terms. You need to either find a shortcut or change the rules of the game.
Well, short of trashing any of our brainstorming ideas and coming down on my marketing knowledge, I am totally aware I have yet to offer any innovative (Level) ideas for this proposed hub. I've created this thread to find out what you guys want, not what I can get away with selling you. I'm not trying in any way to go head to head with Phil; they're a great company, and I highly respect them, and I doubt we would ever get anywhere near as reputable and popular as them. I'd just someday like to be able to say, that we could offer in a few shops a hand crafted, durable hub that was specified from the ideas and input from riders. We have too many regular contracts (colt firearms, TWA, american airlines) that require most of our machine time. I'd be turning these out in my spare time, probably custom ordered from the get go. So to sum up the "why" question: for the most part, I'd like to be riding on a hub that WE milled.
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Old 05-08-05, 12:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bostontrevor
........What about extra deep threads so that you can run two cogs (ok, so your chainline would be messed up, but...)?
For an engineering challenge, why not bring back a 2-speed fixed hub? You could have your 2 cogs (effectively) without screwing up the chainline. Make it so the gear change is done by a small lever or knob on the hub (I can't see many fixie riders adding a shifter and cable to their clean bikes). Naturally you wouldn't be able to shift while riding but it would still be easier than changing cogs.....and cleaner looking.

Jim
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Old 05-08-05, 12:34 AM   #13
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What dolface said, with something along the lines of Campagnolo Record Pista flange cutouts.
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Old 05-08-05, 12:38 AM   #14
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something that never needs maintainance
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Old 05-08-05, 06:06 AM   #15
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something that never needs maintainance
If you never ride, it will never need maintenance. A hub that is ridden and will never need maintenance will never exist.
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Old 05-08-05, 06:06 AM   #16
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VOTEDEAN, here is an idea, that may not be as exciting as making hubs...But why don't you think about making stuff like COGS for fixed hubs.

Honestly there are not a tonne of great cog makers. The LEVEL Hubs are amazing (but nobody BUT level makes them). EAI cogs are the nicest standard cogs I have used, but only EAI makes them.

Rather than investing a lot of time, and money on a new Hub, I think the market needs affordable, amazing cogs more than another "hub manufacturer).

Just a thought.

ALSO, maybe you want to make something simple (Like the JETHRO TOOL). This tool is great, with track bolt wrench and beer opener in one...THe only problem is that it is a double sided 14mm wrench. If you made one with a 14mm on one side and 15mm on the other, I know I would (and many others) would buy a bunch from you!

Maybe some nice custom looking chain tugs...
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Old 05-08-05, 06:18 AM   #17
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a hub where weight isn't an issue, rather "bombproof-ness" would interest me. something that just has the street, not the velodrome in mind.
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Old 05-08-05, 08:07 AM   #18
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i'm with bikeophile on this one. there doesn't seem to be a company manufacturing super trick cogs, tensioners, tools etc, exclusively; that in itself would lend credibility to your products, i think. if all of your energy and design concepts go into 2 or 3 specific products, especially more obscure, smaller things like the aforementioned...
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Old 05-08-05, 08:22 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by votedean
Well, short of trashing any of our brainstorming ideas and coming down on my marketing knowledge, I am totally aware I have yet to offer any innovative (Level) ideas for this proposed hub. I've created this thread to find out what you guys want, not what I can get away with selling you. I'm not trying in any way to go head to head with Phil; they're a great company, and I highly respect them, and I doubt we would ever get anywhere near as reputable and popular as them. I'd just someday like to be able to say, that we could offer in a few shops a hand crafted, durable hub that was specified from the ideas and input from riders. We have too many regular contracts (colt firearms, TWA, american airlines) that require most of our machine time. I'd be turning these out in my spare time, probably custom ordered from the get go. So to sum up the "why" question: for the most part, I'd like to be riding on a hub that WE milled.
Relax, I'm not trying to pick on you or discard any of the ideas that have come up to date. I'm doing exactly what you asked, helping you to think about what a product might look like. What I was trying to point out is that you basically said your intent is to build a traditionally threaded track hub. apart from the thought of a different cog retension mechanism, nothing that had been suggested was novel.

The questions you asked were all very straightforward (fx/fr or fx/fx, high or low flange, etc). I read, "what mix of features are you looking for," not, "What new and innovative thing will make this a better hub for your money?" You need to get away from the feature set because that's a solved problem even at the $40 hub range. If you can turn out a quality hub at that price and make a profit I promise I will buy the first one off the line.

Frankly, all the above crap aside, usually the breakthrough ideas don't come from an informal survey or a focus group. It comes from one or two people who are familiar with the problem space and recognize that there is either a problem that needs to be solved or they have an Aha moment. That's how the Level hub was created. So maybe you'll get some mileage out of polling a bunch of InterWeb tools like ourselves, but probably not.

I think the cog idea is a good one. Is it possible to make a single cog that is both standard hub and Level hub compatible? That makes it possible for a shop to stock a wider array of Level-compatible cogs without worrying that they'll never sell them (even though that's not a huge financial risk in the grand scheme of things). What's your business plan when Level starts making them too? Or maybe you patent that design. Maybe Level's already patented their design.

What about a double-disc hub? You make a hub that has disc holes on both sides and then make a cog that mounts on there. Perhaps you also make some sort of recessed slot on the hub body and put a tab on the cog (similar but reversed from Level) to bear the load. Now you've got a hub that's fix/fix, or fixed plus disc. Of course Level is developing a rotor that will fit their hub, so that ship may have already sailed. They've also got a freewheel coming out soon...

How about a freewheel with a lockout that turns it fixed? That's something that people are always saying would be nice.

I'm just saying think beyond hub feature-set because the problem you need to solve is more fundamental than that.
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Old 05-08-05, 08:47 AM   #20
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How about a wireless, electronically shifting three speed fixie hub made from titanium with ceramic bearings in any drilling for under $100.
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Old 05-08-05, 09:06 AM   #21
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my vote is for a lockring / lockring tool combo that works on all the standard hubs out there that isn't a pain in the ass to use.
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Old 05-08-05, 09:28 AM   #22
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We only machine aluminum and aluminum alloys, so cogs are out of the question. The only other one off products I've ever thought about producing is stems. I like the idea of a "bulletproof" hub like travsi mentioned, something that is in no way meant to be ridden in a velodrome, just hard core street abuse.
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Old 05-08-05, 09:51 AM   #23
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My thought would be to take the level idea to more standardized form. Make a track hub with the 6 bolt ISO patten and contract out for the cogs. There is always boone but those things are spendy.
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Old 05-08-05, 10:40 AM   #24
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The reason for using the 6 bolt disk pattern is there are a large number of cheap disk hubs. It can be hard to find 135mm fixed hubs for mtbs. Other than that the traditional fixed hub is superior, cogs are available and cheap and easier to change.

I would use something similar to the shimano centre lock or cassette. Splines and a single nut are a easier to change than 6 little bolts that tend to round out and seize.
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Old 05-08-05, 10:40 AM   #25
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I personally would love to see a high flange hub with a vintage look, ala Campy Record. IRO has done this to a degree but they don't look as good as they could. If you take a look at the market there really isn't a hub out there that has that nice vintage look to it. A lot of us ride older track frames and let's face it Suzue disco's or Surly's look kind of silly on some of these bikes.
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