Last night i laced up a wheel with one of the prototype hubs. 280mm DT Swiss Competition spokes 3x to a Velocity Deep V. Nothing super fancy, but tough and quality. Also, I was running the same rim with my previous hubs so I thought it would be good for a comparison.
In designing the hub I really pushed the boundaries as far as flange thickness go. That became apparent when lacing it up. (The next revision may need slightly larger spoke holes, or just a larger chamferred area.) With a bit of effort it all went together as expected, and by the end of a movie I had it tensioned and trued.
Spinning the drivetrain on the bike was quite satisfying, as I could hear the straight tooth cog meshing nicely with the chain. Chainline is pretty much bang on with my cranks at 41.5mm. I hung the bike up and called it a night at that point.
This morning was a little strange. I was somewhat reluctant to ride it. I kept imagining every potential catastrophic failure. So over the morning coffee, I pulled the back wheel, and started stressing it laterally with all of my weight. A few pings and creaks after going around the circumference of the rim, and I was satisfied I had bedded the spokes properly. I then retensioned it, just a bit here and there and it was straight again. I also doubted my cog securing method, so I pulled each of the bolts, and added a touch more grease to each M5 torx before 'torxing' them down some more in a pattern reminiscent of installing a cyclinder head. I know the average user isn't going to be this careful with the product, but this is its absolute premier trial.
..and what a day for it! It was 16°C and sunny today. Taking it out on the street I tried accelerating and decelerating on it. Yep, its a hub. it works just like my other one. No issue. I then got the courage to try a few sprints up and down my block. No problem yet again. I met up with a couple friends, and made for the George Washington Bridge to New Jersey. To be honest, I didn't really think about it after that. It wasn't until I got to a nicely paved flat section of Pallisades Ave in Cliffside NJ that I really notice it. The hub was MUCH smoother than my old one. Maintaining a high cadence felt absolutely effortless even with a big backpack full of tall bike parts. I'm not sure whether to attribute that to the difference in bearing size or the cog's tooth profile, but either way, it works.
After a long afternoon of bike geekery at Cycling WMDs, I was able to hop back on it again, and head home. Nothing but smooth spinnning along the flats and the wheel felt pretty stiff laterally when I did some quick succession ambidextrous skips descending one of the hills in Jersey. Once again, I'm absolutely elated with the performance so far.
I'm going to be monitoring it pretty closely over the next few months. Subjecting it to more than the usual amount of wear and tear. Things like cog and axle bolting cycles, long miles, big drops, and more rocksalt than you can imagine. I plan to have one of my Projekt-B team riders test another one and provide feedback as well. I won't be selling this product until I am absolutely certain that it lives up to my standards for what a street hub should be.
For those wanting a price, I cannot say just yet. For those wanting better pictures, they're on their way. For those wanting to comment on this blog, well.. you'll just have to wait there too. Keep checking back though, because I'll be updating this with more content relating to product development as well as general bike related tech articles.
Now where to ride tomorrow?
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