Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Paul Components WORD Disc Hub Review: Part 1

This arrived on Saturday.....
 Since mid-2021 I have been keen on getting the Twin Six Standard Rando v2 on a single speed specific rear wheel set up. That was after I swapped back to a drop bar set up and I realized that this bike makes a great purpose-built single speed. 

But as I have stated in another post, finding a 12mm through axle, single speed only hub is not an easy task. Ten, maybe fifteen years ago, when single speed was in its hey-day due to the popularity of single speed 29"ers, you could find a lot of single speed specific rear hubs. However; those were almost always just quick release, or a combination of that and bolted on options. Neither will work on a through-axle frame like the Standard Rando v2. 

I knew Paul Component Engineering made one, and it was a thread-on free wheel style hub, which actually is what I'd rather have than a truncated cassette style. That is because the thread-on style usually is made in such a way that the resulting wheel build has a zero dish set up. That is "stronger" and "stiffer". Both good things on a high-torque situation as with single speed bikes. Now, Paul Components are not cheap, in terms of dollars, so I was waiting to see if I could somehow score one via the old shop job. Well, that never happened. So, I ponied up my own funds via some income from RidingGravel.com, and I got a hold of that hub this past weekend. 

So, in this post I wanted to document my experience with ordering this hub, because it was pretty good for these times, and also Paul Components does a really great job with the process and experience in general. As most of you probably do these days, I order a lot of stuff online, so when I have a great experience and good service, I will tell you about it, as long as it is bicycle related. I should say that Paul Component Engineering doesn't have any idea at all that I am doing this and that I paid full retail for the hub. Okay, here we go in pictures.....

Scared of clowns? Don't look too closely at this box's graphic design! 

No plastic- everything sent to me besides a vinyl sticker was recyclable

It may seem silly to some of you, but a nice "thank you" and a treat of hard candies goes a long way.

And of course, the WORD Disc Hub itself was in there.

When I ordered this hub I saw warnings and received another when I placed the order that it may take a few weeks - or more- depending upon COVID and whatnot, to get this hub. Of course, I had been on a waiting list for months, since last Summer. (That's why I didn't get the shop discount) So, I was okay with that. But all along afterword Paul Components sent out regular updates to me and thanked me for my patience. That was greatly appreciated and I never felt at any point that my order had been neglected or that I had been forgotten about.

Tracking of the package once it was in the USPS system was flawless. This is generally NOT the case with USPS as I can attest to. I have parts coming for my amplifier repairs (guitar stuff) and that at the same time as the Paul order and USPS tracking is about as good as detecting ghosts in the attic. I'm not sure if Paul Components took cookies down to their local USPS office for the Holidays to 'grease the wheels', but that tracking experience was top notch. 

The manual with the hub has all the dimensions you need to build up a wheel

Another nice touch, besides the things shown above, was that the manual which came with the hub had all the hub dimensions necessary for me to calculate spoke lengths. All I required was the ERD measurement for the Velocity Blunt SS rim, which Velocity publishes on their site, and a short innergoogles trip to the United Bicycle Institute's spoke calculator page later and I was set. 

Then I visited my stash of Wheelsmith spokes and nipples and I found that I had all the things I needed to build up this wheel. So, I Spoke Prep'd the Wheelsmith spokes I pulled for this job on Sunday and laced this wheel up. But before I get into all of that....

Disc WORD Hub = 200 grams

Velocity USA Blunt SS 700c rim = 420 grams

Okay, so I decided to go with my "Guitar Ted Productions "Standard Build"" design which is all silver spokes on one side and all black spokes on the other side. This time I used all silver brass (natch) nipples. Being that there was no dish on the build to accommodate for a cassette or for the disc brake, the wheel was simple enough to build up and it looks as though it should tension up very well. 

So far- so good.

I'll likely have tensioned this up by the time that you are reading this on the post date. Next after that will be swapping over my White Industries freewheel. Then taping, valve stems, tires, sealant, a rotor, and I'm good to go. That will cover the rear wheel.

Then I'm going to take the Project Wide Gravel Wheels v2 and do a rim swap from the Spank 350's to my set of 28 hole Velocity Blunts. Then I will have a single speed rear which will stay with the Standard Rando, but the front could come off, be paired with the cassette rear, and set up on the BMC or the Noble bike, or whatever may come in the future. That will make the DT Swiss 350 hubs useful also instead of sitting around on rims too wide to use on my gravel bikes. 

Then, in the future, I will probably get some Boost spaced hubs, lace those Spank rims to those, and maybe build up a modern day MTB-ish bike. But we'll see. As for this hub/wheel here I will give a progress report on the final details on the set up. That will be coming soon. Then at some point I'll do a ride report on the hub. So, as for now, I can recommend the Paul Component Engineering ordering experience and the experience of receiving the box and contents was very nice. Stay tuned......


OkieBrian said...

Nice hub! My first dedicated SS hubs were a set of Paul hubs from back around 2004 and I still have them. They are non-disc, so it has been a long time since I have used them. Maybe one of these days I will find me one of the older steel Bianchi frames and this will give me a good reason to re-lace those hubs up to something a little wider than the Mavics they originally were built up with.
Other SS hub options available with a 12mm thru-axle are the I9 Hydra, Hope, and Onyx Racing Products. I built up a set of SS wheels last May for my Karate Monkey, using an Onyx hub and the silence will spoil you. Onyx is also one of the few that will do a SS hub in boost, which is what I went with.

Guitar Ted said...

@OkieBrian - Thanks for those great suggestions for SS hubs. Also- add Project 321 to that list. I just found their SS hub was a through axle one last week.

I built up a set of Onyx hubs for a fellow blog reader here. They are an amazing piece of kit!