Every time I see these hubs on the tradeshow floors, I’m stopped in my tracks. They’re so… BIG. So I pick them up like most folks and am just to amazed at how light they are. But do they work? Is there any logic to their girth? Read on and find out.
The product I’m reviewing is the Chub singlespeed disc rear hub with Ti M10 screws for $225 and QR Disc front hub for $180. The rear hub is a thread-on hub weighing in at 292 grams and the front weighs in at 160 grams. Both feature a carbon fiber hub shell that reminds me of the old Nuke Proof Bombshell hub that I lusted for when I started biking back in the 90′s.
The rear hub features an impressive 15 mm through axle and is clamped on by the trickest 10 mm Titanium bolts that I have ever fondled. These bolts are huge and they are hollow and weigh nothing. The front wheel is a pretty standard hub with 32 holes and 100 mm spacing and can be used with any quick release skewer available.
The carbon hub body on each hub is wider on one side than the other. One thing that looks a bit odd is the hub and flange is wider on the right side for the rear hub while it is wider on the left side on the front hub. There must be an engineering reason for this that overpowered the symmetrical one.
These hubs were laced onto DT XR4.2 rims with black DT 14/15 spokes. This wheelset configuration will be sold by Chub as a complete wheelset if the buyer prefers.
It turns out there is a lot of science behind the distinctive looks of these hubs. Bigger hubs mean shorter spokes and stronger wheels! The problem is big hubs and flanges get heavy so the folks at Chub made huge efforts to keep the weight down. The rear M10 Ti bolts clamp down with authority. If you have sliding rear dropouts, I don’t think you’ll have to worry about your hub sliding forward on the frame during extreme efforts. For normal dropouts, a lot of clamping force on the hubs should help keep the rear end stable.
What do you do when you get a hub or a wheel? You spin it. And spin these I did for many weeks! These are some of the smoothest bearings I’ve felt on a wheel. There’s no burrs or notches or play, just smooth action. They’re a tad tight so I suspect they’ll loosen up after a couple hundred miles. The wheel build from Chub is dead on true and the spokes all play the same note when struck. Now this is a light wheelset but not light weight for my 145 lb build. But it feels like a wheelset that can survive the antics of a rider twice my size.
On the trail, these wheels were smooth and solid. They roll very smooth and freely and seem to break in nicely with a few rides on them now. But the real drama is in the lateral rigidity of these wheels. Lateral rigidity is the side to side movement of the wheel and affects how the bike steers and how the bike handles. One easy way to test is the grab tire near the seat stay and rock it side to side in the frame. Most wheels will have a few millimeters of play. These Chub wheels have virtually none! I’m not sure if it’s the big hubs, the wheel build or the axle bolts that can take credit for this. Perhaps it’s a combination of all these.
So carving singletrack is made even more enjoyable. These wheels steer a little better and they hold a lean angle with authority. Most wheels deflect a bit and dance around on the rear wheel when pushed. These wheels don’t. They just lean where you ask them and stay there. It’s kind of a new experience much like going from a noodley front fork to one that is laterally solid.
These wheels seem a little snappier too on acceleration and braking. I’ll be the first to admit that these qualities are hard to detect in wheels but the stiffness of these wheels seem to deliver a nice punch to the acceleration and more consistent braking.
I think the real potential for these wheels is for the heavy rider rolling on the 29er wheels. That’s where the stresses are great since the spokes are so long and lateral strength of the wheels has been a long time enemy. I hope to test those in the future but I hope not to gain the 50 lbs I need to test the ‘heavy rider’ readiness.
- they’re huge
- great craftsmanship and quality
- 15 mm thru axle and 10mm Ti bolts on the rear
- lateral rigidity of wheels
- stiff and strong wheel
- they’re huge (if you’re not into that)
- flange is wider on different sides on front and rear wheelset
- singlespeed only rear hub means no freehub body. You have to use a freewheel cog.
4.5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers
5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers
|A word about The Hive:
We had always had the intention of starting our own brand. To clarify, “we” consists of: Joel Peters – one of the original Truvativ guys who now lives in Taiwan and is a manufacturing guru. Greg Thrash – an engineer who has designed stuff in the past for some of the biggest names in the industry (which you would be familiar with but we cannot disclose – without first cutting your tongue off). George Dubois – One of the original Truvative Engineers (Scotch aficionado and non-frenchie). And finally Myself … who they just found living in a van down by the river fueling my Budwiser addiction and recycling the cans to buy bike parts (because I never could grow a big enough beard to be able to pan for gold like a pro)
The past 4 years of doing the US Formula Distribution gave us the contacts and built up some steam… So starting with the Chub hubs was a easy launching off point for the brand (read on…)and since we got the first shipment of Fixed gear hubs, the hipsters have been clamoring for them like their sisters jeans and packs of american spirits.
The fact of the matter is that we are just a bunch of guys that are into bikes…all kinds of bikes…road, mtn, dh, xc…ect. So we are not just sticking to one market segment….but rather diving in where we feel we can have a big impact over what is currently in the market.
So here we go:
“The Hive” is the brand under it we have 3 different product silos:
Chub Wheel Goods: Hubs and Wheels. This brand was started by Joe Graney (head engineer of Santa Cruz Bikes) quite a few years ago. He was making Fixie hubs in his garage with huge flanges and carbon center tubes for messengers. The hubs gained quite a cult following. But alas, Joe had a real job and it was kinda just a pet project for him…so it died. We brought them back starting with the original Fixie hubs and now have SS hubs, Ft Mtn Disc hubs, Ft thru-axle hubs which are 15mm and 20mm compatible by swapping endcaps. The TA hubs have sick Hi-Fi graphics. Dirt Jump specific rear SS hubs w/ steel axles are about 6 weeks out too!!! We are working on a new freehub design…so geared hubs are a little ways down the pipeline; as are proprietary wheels. We will be sponsoring Andrew Taylor and Phil Sundbaum this year when they are doing the Summer of Shred Tour so they will both be Chubbed out as well as riding Formula.
Fifteen.G Mountain Componentry: Starting with the cranks. The new cranks are completely unique and superior to anything else currently on the market. They are currently for XC/AM use but we will be exploring gravity possibilities. They use an alloy spindle and a totally new polygon interface which is based off a DIN standard and was used originally in tank transmissions. Thats right!!! TANKS!!! Both SS and Geared triples in 170, 175 and 180mm lengths will be available on April 1st. They use external BB’s with some really cool extra sealing going on to keep the muck out.
Revl Road Componentry. Coming soon with some cool stuff in the works…but not letting the cat out of the bag just yet. No…no self lubricating chamois just yet…sorry to disappoint!
THE CHUB ADVANTAGE:
Chub Hubs are fully-serviceable and feature an oversized carbon shell, giant aluminum flanges, and a massive aluminum axle. As compared to hubs with typical flange sizes it increases torsional stiffness of a rear wheel by 75% and more efficiently converts pedaling effort into forward motion. With a you can use your standard number of spokes and get you an incredibly strong, stiff, and durable wheel without weight penalty, or you can use fewer spokes for a super-light wheel that is still stronger than what you’re riding now.
HOW DOES THE CHUB DO ALL THAT?
Bear with our technical babble here and you’ll see that our claims about the Chub are supported by theory AND real-world proof:
Reason No. 1: Big Flanges = Decreased Spoke Force and Less Hub Windup
Reason No. 2: Big Flanges = Greater Torque
Reason No. 3: (Shell) Size Matters
On a wheel with a standard (i.e., small) shell diameter, the non-drive side flange and spokes are pretty much just along for the ride. Normal hub shell diameters result in 95% of the drive torque being transmitted to the drive side spokes. That’s why it’s ok to lace a rear wheel radially on the non-drive side when using a small diameter hub shell: the spokes aren’t pulling, so they might as well be short and look kind of cool.
But uneven distribution of force between the flanges and throughout the wheel leads to inefficient acceleration and premature wheel failure because the drive side must bear almost all of the drive torque and the drive side spokes must bear almost all of the spoke stress. As a result, most wheels are essentially overbuilt on the drive side, because the drive side essentially does all the work.
Some have attempted to solve this problem by using larger flanges on the non-drive side. But we discovered that with a typical shell diameter, increasing the size of the non-drive side flange does nothing to increase torque because each flange twists relative to the other when under load.
Others have attempted to solve the problem by using different lacing patterns, such as radial lacing on the drive side and two-cross on the non-drive side. This approach makes no sense to us, since (among other reasons) a wheel built this way will still have nearly all of the torque coming from the drive side, yet the drive spokes are laced in a way that makes them less capable of handling spoke stress.
We decided to focus on getting the non-drive flange working along with the drive side to convert pedal force into torque. We figured that if a hub could transmit torque more evenly from both flanges, the non-drive side spokes would end up bearing their fair share of spoke stress. Since the total amount of stress remains relatively constant regardless of how it is distributed between the flanges, as the non-drive side bears more, the drive side bears less. The theory is that because each spoke would end up bearing a relatively equal amount of stress, the non-drive side would bear less, and wheel strength would increase enough that you could use fewer spokes and still end up with a super stiff wheel.
We did some testing and discovered that a hub’s torsional stiffness is the key to distributing torque to the non-drive side. We also found that increasing shell size and using super stiff shell material is the best way to increase torsional stiffness without adding weight. So we designed the Chub’s oversized, carbon shell. The result is a hub that more efficiently transfer pedal force from the drive side to the non-drive side, increasing wheel strength by reducing spoke stress.
Reason No. 4: Big Axle = Increased Stiffness and Durability