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Older hubs 101

Old 01-14-18, 07:13 PM
  #1  
microcord
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Older hubs 101

I'm slowly amassing the parts I (or, ahem, my ever-patient LBS man) will need to build up an old (1961, British) road bike frame into an enjoyable bike for actual use. "Period correctness" and "authenticity" don't concern me, but on the other hand I'm not going to have the bike built up into something it was never intended to be. And so for example the transmission will be mostly late 70s SunTour. Prospects here (Tokyo) for acquiring good used wheels (100mm+120mm, for clinchers) seem poor, so I thought of having used (or of course NOS) 36-spoke hubs built up with new spokes, rims and freewheel. Trouble is, I know very little about hubs (other than that French thread for a freewheel isn't the same as Italian/British thread, and that I should look for the latter).

The wonderful website Disraeli Gears usefully points out which models of rear derailleur have design flaws that make them better avoided; is there anything like a similar resource for hubs? (Perhaps some older thread somewhere here in Bike Forums C&V?)

(Incidentally, I'm happily surprised to see that 126mm rear hubs are still being made; this makes me wonder: Does any company still make good 120mm rear hubs for freewheels?)
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Old 01-14-18, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by microcord View Post
this makes me wonder: Does any company still make good 120mm rear hubs for freewheels?
Yes, absolutely. You can even get a freewheel Sturmey Archer i3 hub in a 120.
Just saw a Paul freewheel hub in a 120 as well.
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Old 01-14-18, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by microcord View Post
(Incidentally, I'm happily surprised to see that 126mm rear hubs are still being made; this makes me wonder: Does any company still make good 120mm rear hubs for freewheels?)
There are lots of 126mm freewheel hubs that can be 120mm if you want them to be. You just need to disassemble the axle and cut off 6mm, then reassemble with 6mm less spacer on the right side.

As freewheels went from 4 to 5 to 6 to 7 speeds, the hub bodies themselves generally stayed the same, only more spacers were added on the right side to make room.
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Old 01-14-18, 08:33 PM
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Thank you both, but:

Originally Posted by n0+4c|u3 View Post
Yes, absolutely. You can even get a freewheel Sturmey Archer i3 hub in a 120.
Just saw a Paul freewheel hub in a 120 as well.
Maybe old stock? When I look at Paul's page about hubs, I don't even see a 126 mm hub, let alone 120 mm, for a freewheel.

Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
There are lots of 126mm freewheel hubs that can be 120mm if you want them to be. You just need to disassemble the axle and cut off 6mm, then reassemble with 6mm less spacer on the right side.

As freewheels went from 4 to 5 to 6 to 7 speeds, the hub bodies themselves generally stayed the same, only more spacers were added on the right side to make room.
I'm a klutz, and I'm nervous. (The two are of course interrelated.) Oh, and I don't have a vise, etc etc.
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Old 01-14-18, 08:35 PM
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Correct. For example, Campagnolo Record hubs are the same for 120 and 126, just different spacers and axle length. You don't need a vise, just the correct size pair of wheel wrenches and something to cut down the axle.
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Old 01-14-18, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by microcord View Post
I'm a klutz, and I'm nervous. (The two are of course interrelated.) Oh, and I don't have a vise, etc etc.
I cut down axles because I'm comfortable doing it, but for loose-ball hubs, if you can get your hands on an axle roughly 131mm long with the right threading (10x1mm, 9.5x1mm, etc), that would do, too.
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Old 01-14-18, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by rccardr View Post
Correct. For example, Campagnolo Record hubs are the same for 120 and 126, just different spacers and axle length. You don't need a vise, just the correct size pair of wheel wrenches and something to cut down the axle.
I am an effete office worker. Even fixing a puncture is a major challenge for me. (Yes, pathetic, I know.) But I can fix punctures. (Just give me time. And then more time.) So, hmm, okay: How on earth does one remove 6mm from an axle? (Can one just file it down?)
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Old 01-14-18, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by microcord View Post
Maybe old stock? When I look at Paul's page about hubs, I don't even see a 126 mm hub, let alone 120 mm, for a freewheel.
I was on ebay at the time https://www.ebay.com/p/Paul-Componen...d=272914797535
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Old 01-14-18, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by rccardr View Post
Campagnolo Record hubs are the same for 120 and 126, just different spacers and axle length. You don't need a vise, just the correct size pair of wheel wrenches and something to cut down the axle.
Or just swap in a shorter axle.

Speaking of which, I still have a number of Campagnolo axles for 120mm OLD I'm willing to sell or trade for
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Old 01-14-18, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Or just swap in a shorter axle.

Speaking of which, I still have a number of Campagnolo axles for 120mm OLD I'm willing to sell or trade for
Well, that sounds interesting. Though I know squat about these matters. If Campagnolo axles require Campagnolo hubs, then no thanks; because people here seem to go gaga for the brand name "Campagnolo", or for whatever reason, well used Campagnolo 126mm hubs (within this list) cost more than brand new Yoshigai = Dia-Compe ("Ene Ciclo") hubs.

Course, there's then the matter of pulling out axles and putting in axles, tasks that might well tax my confused head and fumbling hands....
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Old 01-14-18, 11:12 PM
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You need to find
Dawes man
A BF member who has not been heard from lately.
There was another too, I forget the screen name.
Early 60's British... 32/40 hole to me...
Can you get away with 700c? Or do you need 27"? Most clinchers of the period were 27" (4mm larger radius than 700c)
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Old 01-14-18, 11:15 PM
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Campagnolo hub axle threading is unique 10 mm x 26 tpi...

In Japan... How about first generation Dura-Ace?
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Old 01-15-18, 02:57 AM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
You need to find
Dawes man
A BF member who has not been heard from lately.
There was another too, I forget the screen name.
Early 60's British... 32/40 hole to me...
Can you get away with 700c? Or do you need 27"? Most clinchers of the period were 27" (4mm larger radius than 700c)
Thank you, but really, while I wish all the best to those people who want to get their bikes just right for 1961 (or whenever), I'm happy with mild anachronism -- especially when the rather later Japanese stuff is fairly easy to get hold of and (I think) at least pretty good.

I don't want 630 (27 inch) but instead 622 (700) even with a slightly greater brake drop: more choice in rims and tyres. Actually the seller kindly did the measurements: he wrote "brake drop of 62mm" for 700C. (In fact centre-pulls with a large brake drop appeal a lot less to me than calipers with a short brake drop thanks to a device like this, but I haven't yet thought this through.)

Originally Posted by repechage View Post
Campagnolo hub axle threading is unique 10 mm x 26 tpi...

In Japan... How about first generation Dura-Ace?
I don't know. It's a glamorous brand name (as is Superbe (Pro)). What's in it for me? If it's a matter of saving a few grams, this is of no interest to me (even though yes, I do ride up hills). I had wheels built up a couple of years ago (for a totally different bike) with Ultegra hubs; they're good, or anyway I can't see anything wrong with them. I had wheels built up this year (ditto) with Tiagra hubs; they too are good, or anyway I can't see anything wrong with them either (except that, being black, they're mildly ugly). Maybe the one pair will last a decade longer than the other; I don't know.

Your question about Dura-Ace is close to my original question, actually. If they're in good condition, are hubs from the 70s and 80s all pretty good, or should one be careful to avoid this or that company or brand? Or, conceivably, are any hubs particularly desirable? Not desirable from the point of view of "collectibility" (resale value, bragging rights), but in terms of trouble-free-ness, etc. Over at Disraeli Gears, the man tells us what we need to know about RDs (witty example); I guessed that there could have already been a thread here that surveyed hubs.
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Old 01-15-18, 05:18 AM
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For good durability, any cup/cone hub should be disassembled, re-greased, and reassembled every 6 months to maybe 5 years, because dirt can get into the grease. Some have no sealing, others have so-so, others may be great. Overall the sealed bearings of more modern hubs (like the Yoshigai ones) will be more durable.

Sometimes you need to replace a bearing part, like a cup or cone. Those spare parts can be hard to get, and will get harder as time goes on.

It isn't difficult to do this work, and many of us like it.
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Old 01-15-18, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by microcord View Post
I don't know. It's a glamorous brand name. What's in it for me?
The "glamorous" developed over time because of the sheer beauty and high quality of Campagnolo's products.
What would be in it for you would be one of the highest quality, smoothest and long-lasting set of hubs ever made.
But yeah, because of these factors, they do go for more than other vintage hubs.
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Old 01-15-18, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
The "glamorous" developed over time because of the sheer beauty and high quality of Campagnolo's products.
What would be in it for you would be one of the highest quality, smoothest and long-lasting set of hubs ever made.
But yeah, because of these factors, they do go for more than other vintage hubs.
What what? I thought I was writing about Dura-Ace.

Campagnolo . . . the old ones in good and sparkly condition seem to go here for about 40000 a pair. That's about $360. And that's a lot, or maybe I'm just stingy.

How about Zeus? This pair look pretty. (Unfortunately all I can determine is prettiness, or lack thereof.)
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Old 01-15-18, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by microcord View Post
How about Zeus? This pair look pretty. (Unfortunately all I can determine is prettiness, or lack thereof.)
I have several sets of Zeus hubs in use here, in fact I just polished up a pair like the ones in your link to build into new 650B wheels for my wife's bike. They're on the same level as Campagnolo Record or Dura-Ace, IMO, with nicely ground and polished races and smooth unanodized finish that takes a nice polish. One caveat: many Zeus hubs are metric freewheel thread, so look for "BSC" on the hub barrel to indicate English freewheel thread.



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Old 01-15-18, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
I have several sets of Zeus hubs in use here, in fact I just polished up a pair like the ones in your link to build into new 650B wheels for my wife's bike. They're on the same level as Campagnolo Record or Dura-Ace, IMO, with nicely ground and polished races and smooth unanodized finish that takes a nice polish. One caveat: many Zeus hubs are metric freewheel thread, so look for "BSC" on the hub barrel to indicate English freewheel thread.
Thank you for the reminder. Yes, this particular hub is described as BSC. I'll think about it. (Five days to go till the auction ends.)
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Old 01-15-18, 08:20 AM
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i really do not see a problem in locating a top tier set of hubs for a reasonable delivered price shipped to Japan.
i quickly reviewed eBay listings, Campagnolo, Dura-Ace, all have recent sales of reasonable price, if you ask many will ship overseas without the silly ebay global delivery system. At least I have run into this with shipping to the USA.
if you are not picky regarding high or low flange so much the easier.

I have shipped to Japan using OCS, (Overseas Courier Service) trackable, signature verified, for smaller items of which hubs would fit, it was like $48. not cheap, but tolerable I would think. Add recent ebay selling prices and shipping and appears to me quite cheaper than the local asking prices mentioned. maybe just easy from a major US city, but not impossible.

Ultegra stuff is fine, but wider no doubt than your frame. if you want to be of reasonable equipment of what the bike could have worn, a large compromise.
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Old 01-15-18, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by microcord View Post
What what? I thought I was writing about Dura-Ace.

Campagnolo . . . the old ones in good and sparkly condition seem to go here for about 40000 a pair. That's about $360. And that's a lot, or maybe I'm just stingy.
"Beauty is only skin deep." Some vintage hubs may look great on the outside, but once you open them up, bad on the inside.

In my experience, Campy hubs are the most durable, by a long shot. I've had 50 to 60 Campy hubs, as old as 1959, all had good cups and cones. Meanwhile, on Shimano, where I have had hundreds of them, at least 25% had bad cones, even relatively modern stuff.

Phil Wood, Suntour cartridge bearing model, and a few others are good too.

If you are going to buy used hubs, caveat emptor, unless the seller includes pictures of the hubs disassembled.
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Old 01-15-18, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
i quickly reviewed eBay listings, Campagnolo, Dura-Ace, all have recent sales of reasonable price, if you ask many will ship overseas without the silly ebay global delivery system. At least I have run into this with shipping to the USA.
if you are not picky regarding high or low flange so much the easier.
I'm not picky. Both look good to me. (And I get the impression that the difference between the two styles is mostly a matter of looks.)

Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
"Beauty is only skin deep." Some vintage hubs may look great on the outside, but once you open them up, bad on the inside. [. . .]

If you are going to buy used hubs, caveat emptor, unless the seller includes pictures of the hubs disassembled.
Yes, that's pretty much what I'd been supposing.

I understand that overhauling takes time, and time isn't cheap; I'd still be interested in the eBay IDs -- or, better, the websites -- of one or two (or more) trustworthy sellers of overhauled hubs.
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Old 01-15-18, 05:51 PM
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The potential problem with used gear is always the question of how used it is. Since many of the important parts of hubs are invisible to the purchaser, you just cannot tell what you're getting, although chewed out spoke holes may give some indication that it's best to avoid ... Brand names can become irrelevant. For what it's worth, I'd suggest that you aim for things with new bearings in critical places: bottom bracket, head stem and hubs.

Since you're in Japan you can probably pick up some fine Japanese components on Yahoo.jp. NOS Suntour Cyclone, Superbe and Superbe Pro are very nice, but will need new grease and can command high-ish prices.

I'm not sure whether Suntour actually manufactured its branded hubs: as of the first appearance of the great Cyclone 5 speed rear derailleur in the 70s it certainly did not make full gruppos. Cranks and chain wheels came from Sugino (Mighty and later Super Mighty are the ones to go for), brakes from Dia-Compe (Gran Compe and later Royal Gran Compe ditto); pedals probably from MKS; Suntour and other small specialist manufacturers joined together for their international marketing, and in time re-branded each other's products, but most were ultimately overwhelmed by Shimano's sheer size. Nevertheless, much of their 70s-late 80s output is as fine as can be found of the era, Campy included.

And while I can't vouch for any particular Japanese sellers, my experience of buying from there has been good: they tend to point out defects rather than let you discover them in disappointment. Maybe the Japanese shame culture has something to do with this.
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Old 01-16-18, 02:28 AM
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Originally Posted by nemo57 View Post
The potential problem with used gear is always the question of how used it is. Since many of the important parts of hubs are invisible to the purchaser, you just cannot tell what you're getting, although chewed out spoke holes may give some indication that it's best to avoid ... Brand names can become irrelevant. For what it's worth, I'd suggest that you aim for things with new bearings in critical places: bottom bracket, head stem and hubs.
Yes indeed. I have an old headset and I think I'll use it; but if I don't, or when it gives up, I'll get a new replacement. I'd never dream of getting a used BB.

NOS sounds good. One kind of response I thought I might get was along the lines of: "Any model of any brand you've ever heard of is likely to be basically sound, IFF it's still in good condition (and you probably won't know if it is or isn't). However, avoid [maker X, model Y], even if NOS. They've got [ghastly design flaw]."

Anyway, yes, I already have a newish, no-name crankset; and unglamorous but decent MKS (?) pedals and SunTour FD, RD, and shifters. I'll recycle a Sakae seatpost and pair of Dia-Compe brake levers I bought new 30 years ago.

Since you're in Japan you can probably pick up some fine Japanese components on Yahoo.jp. NOS Suntour Cyclone, Superbe and Superbe Pro are very nice, but will need new grease and can command high-ish prices.

I agree with you about Japanese sellers. Well, at Yahoo Auction (Japan's answer to eBay), I'd be very wary of bidding on most of the auctions I see (even those selling stuff that interests me and at low prices). However, for complete bikes at least, a small but significant minority of sellers like to provide a lot of photos (almost all accessible via a link from the auction page), including photos of the whole thing in bits during what seems to have been a very thorough overhaul. I've bought two bikes that way and have been very happy with both. I'm not rich, but I have more money than space; in view of this, perhaps it's lucky that the huge majority of old bikes here have frames too small to interest me. (I mustn't go to the Netherlands, where, the newspaper tells me, my height is the mean height for adult males: I might go nuts in its used-sporty-bikes shops.)

In April there's a bike flea market 15 km or so from where I live. It always has interesting stuff. (The bike I rode today has a saddle and seatpost bought there.) I'm gradually boning up on what to look for and what to avoid.
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Old 01-16-18, 06:14 AM
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Understand the reluctance to dip into Yahoo-jp, comrade. Gotta say, though, these do look kinda nice ...
sun Tour SUNTOURshupa-b Pro SUPERBE PRO Boss free hub 100-126 32H bronze : Real Yahoo auction salling
Best of luck in your quest.

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Old 01-16-18, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by microcord View Post
What what? I thought I was writing about Dura-Ace.
My mistake.
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