Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Hubba

Paul WORD hub- Now with Boost
Its no secret that I like hubs, spokes, and rims for bicycles. I enjoy building my own wheels and I like riding them when I do build them up. There is just something really amazing about taking a bunch of wires, brass nuts, a hub with nice bearings, and a nice rim and making all of that in to a wheel.

So Paul Component Engineering just released news about a new version of their WORD hub. This is a hub that claims to be the very first production single speed mountain bike hub. If it wasn't, then it is close to being that. I know it has been around a long time. I bought a set of the first version of the Disc WORD for mt Karate Monkey back in 2003. Those hubs are still around although I need to re-lace them to new rims.

While I don't have a Boost spaced, single speed device around, it may happen someday. Who knows? It's good to know that a hub option exists that will work for a dedicated single speed set up. And even in polished silver! That's even sweeter.

While I am on the subject of Boost spacing, I've heard a rumor that it is coming to road bikes. Gravel road bikes, actually. It seems that a "certain component manufacturer" that doesn't have a great front derailleur design and is pushing 1X wants to introduce this so they can get you to buy a 1 X12 system for your next gravel bike. This is not all that surprising, and it will be touted as a solution for the gravel people who race in the earlier Spring events with mud and what not. But here's the thing......

DK200 2015- The infamous 3 mile mud march. Image by A Andonopoulous
Front derailleurs are not the problem. It is the rear derailleurs that stop folks from finishing these muddy, wet gravel events. The Land Run 100, the 2015 version of the DK200, Trans Iowa, and various other events have seen their fare share of rear derailleur carnage due to mud and bad conditions. Maybe a clutch style rear derailleur will be more mud resilient, but then again, maybe not.

At least it will be easier to set up a damaged bike single speed with a narrow-wide chain ring......possibly....maybe.

But why Boost? Well, it seems that many manufacturers are looking to stuff 2.1" 29"er tires into these "adventure/gravel" bikes. But you might say that many mountain bikes are using the "old" dimensions and are doing fine. You would be correct. So, again- why? Well, we are going to hear all the "stiffer, stronger. lighter" arguments, of course, but that isn't really why either. Think about it- If you already have tooling for Boost 1X12 why develop it in any other format than Boost? So, you are going to see a split in gravel/adventure. More "Cutthroat-ish" bikes with Boost and the more narrow Q factor bikes we have now with compatibility with road components. Then again- I could be all wrong about that.

In the meantime, I'm thinking those Boost WORD hubs and a nice, simple steel gravel rig, set up single speed would be the ticket. Hubba-hubba!

6 comments:

Irishtsunami said...

I think my favorite thing ever would be compatibility between Shimano STI Road shifters and Shimano MTB rear derailleurs........

Guitar Ted said...

@Irishtsunami- If by that you mean compatibility without going outside of Shimano to do it, I agree. But there are ways to get that done now, you just have to use the available gizmo from Wolf Tooth.

Irishtsunami said...

Yeah, I would like to try it but the last thing I need is one more pully/screw/barrel adjuster.....

Charles Martin said...

Uh-oh. A new standard on the way. Dang, my old bike is obsolete. Bike shop says I need a new one.

Rob E said...

Picked up one of the Paul Components FHUB for the Farley when I made the jump from 135/QR to 150 thru axle and it's been a really solid hub so far but then again what would you expect from Paul.

Kenny Ness said...

I’m sticking with 2x8, 2x10, and my 2014 bike frames until they make me change. People on this 1x stuff aren’t any faster, and aren’t having any more fun than I am having on my old, cheap to replace stuff.

Also, there are lots of good deals out there on new 100/135 QR and 12mm/15mm TA stuff. Get it while you can.