The confusion industry

axle standards Hubs tech Uncategorized

From the sound of it, I wasn't the only one who was nonplussed by the Velonews review of the Cannondale SuperX. My ennui focused mostly on the broad brush smearing of the Stan's Grail-based wheels, one of our favorite rims. We're shipping two sets built with Grails today, and I have zero doubt that the customers to whom they're headed will see none of the perceived deficiencies that were noted in the VN review. 

The other thing I noted (or should say nearly rolled my eyes out of my head at) but didn't comment on was the advocacy of the Boost standard. Boost is this week's latest rear axle "standard," with a 148mm wide axle. It might sneak into XC mountain bikes, but in general it starts at enduro and goes from there. So far as I know, no cross bike is made for Boost, and none are slated to be so made. As the author rectrospectively notes in his second article, the added width of Boost requires manipulation to get ankle clearance from the chain stays, and tortures the chain line even worse than 135 or 142mm axles do, given accepted chainstay lengths and bottom bracket widths. This is a topic we've discussed to exhaustion on this here blog. 

The other thing that would happen, should Boost come to pass, is that the market will justifiably want future-proof hubs. All of the additional stiffness from Boost is supposed to come from the wider hub flanges Boost allows. But guess what? When you future-proof hubs, you don't maximize flange width. The pic above shows two Nimbus Ti CLD hubs - one for 142x12 TA (left) and the other for 135mm QR. Notice that the flange spacing is exactly the same - and you can tell it's precise because I included a ruler in the shot! If you want your hubs to be able to switch formats, which people demand, you need to use the same hub shell across those formats. Ergo, exact same flange spacing. This is not to say that 142 doesn't have advantages over 135 for cross, I very much believe that it does - a stiffer axle, a more secure attachment, and more precise rotor alignment are the three main points we've espoused before

The point of all of this is not to bash on anything, but I guess primarily to note that if a VeloNews tech editor has trouble staying up with tech on all the different fronts, what hope does the average consumer have? My cross bike is starting to get a little long in the tooth, being a 2011 vintage and an early stab at a cross disc bike, so I'm thinking about a new one for next year (and sorry to disappoint, there's an infinitessimal chance that we'd do a November cross bike for 2016). The frame is likely to be aluminum from a smaller, direct to consumer production/custom builder (someone told us that model works real well!) like Zanconato, Squid, or Rock Lobster. It's going to be 100mm TA front, 142x12 rear, and disc. Aluminum's a concession to both budget and the builders I'd like to buy from, but the other specs are what I think works definitely the best for the committed enthusiast amateur cross racer. 

A final note on the blog. This blog took 28 minutes start to finish, including taking the picture and discussing current and imminent hub needs with Mike. We publish the rough equivalent of a 400+ page book every year on the blog. The writing is generally good, the grammar is generally good, we don't mix up plurals and possessives, and there are generally plenty of typos. Get the point across quickly and with as little friction as possible, and move on to the stack of wheels that needs to be built and shipped today. That's just how we have to do it.  


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  • Uncle V on

    Another well written blog ,you very very rarely fail to disappoint .

  • Rico on

    Too soon, Cannondale? How about 650 × 42c, with a Lefty fork? http://www.cannondale.com/nam_en/2016/bikes/road/new-road/slate/slate-ultegra-34245 (uses 142mm rear hub…can Boost 148 be far behind?)Ultimately, perhaps, bike companies just have to try—well—something. But the cycling republic is a tough room…we're either bitching that there's no 'real' innovation, or indignant that the next wave of 'upgrades' is only marketing. Yeah, we're a cynical lot. Line forms behind me….Stay around long enough, and it's clear that here's nothing really new in this house; WTB, used 140mm rear hub spacing back in the 1990's. Manitou, others maybe, as well. Again…Boost 165 FTW!!

  • Joe on

    He said "infinitessimal chance" so….THERE'S STILL A CHANCE!!!!! Yeeeeeaaaaahhhhhh!!

  • Rico on

    It does not….However, it does perhaps demonstrate that the cycling worlds "standards" are being blown straight to H—-. Boost 148? Small change. Phfff…just wait…we could be riding 36" unicycles before long.

  • Dave on

    Joe – "What was all that one in a million stuff?"Rico – If that bike floats your boat, vaya con dios. It doesn't float mine. Uncle V and Dave – Took me a second to figure out what was going on there – I nearly failed to understand the misdisappointment. Or something.Thanks



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