Last week we wrote about the changes to Chris King's line. This week we wanted to talk about some of the options to fill in the spots where Chris King no longer has parts available. This will be an ongoing series of posts, because there are items for which we don't yet have substitutes. We're starting out with an area that we really should talk about more often: singlespeed hubs.
If Chris King's announcement that they won't be offering a singlespeed hub going forward has you wondering what hub you'll be able to use, we have good news: while Chris King made amazing singlespeed hubs, they're not the only one in our catalog to do so. White Industries, Industry Nine, Paul Component, and Onyx Racing Products all have unique and very good single speed options. We feel that each of the singlespeed hubs we offer has something unique to recommend it, so we'll just run through the range to give you a better idea of why you might want to go with one over the others.
If you're a singlespeeder who rides in rocky or technical terrain, you've probably found yourself trying to get up and over a tricky rock move or a really steep climb with limited pedal clearance, you know how great it can be to have a hub with fast engagement. Industry Nine's new Hydra hubs set a completely new standard for fast engagement with a mind-boggling 690 points of engagement, which means that you can reset your cranks in that techy climb faster that you've ever been able to before. On top of that, the Hydra freehub's is designed to eliminate slipping from not-fully-engaged pawls by engaging one to start, and then more as you apply torque. Industry Nine says this helps the whole system last longer, while giving you what is essentially instantaneous engagement. If you're a technical rider who is tired of slipping, exploding, or just slow-engaging freehubs, these are worth a look. The icing on the cake is that they're available in 135mm QR, 142x12 TA, 148x12 TA (boost), 141mm QR (boost), 177x12, and 197x12 spacings so there's really no excuse for not converting whatever bike you've got to a singlespeed. As with all Industry Nine hubs, these are available in 11 colors, and Industry Nine's in house anodizing delivers a finish that's second-to-none.
If you want fast engagement and quiet, Onyx Racing Products' singlespeed hub should be on your short list. Onyx's innovative sprag clutch freehub mechanism is not only very robust, but also gives nearly instantaneous engagment, and it's silent. Available in all standard spacings, the Onyx Singlespeed hubs are also the only singlespeed hubs of the bunch to give you the choice of ISO 6-bolt or Centerlockrotor configurations. They're available in a huge range of colors including powdercoated and limited-editionâ€“options, so if you're looking to customize the look of your bike, these are a great choice.
Back in 1996 when Paul Component released their Wacky One speed Rear Device, it was available as a rim brake hub, and was the go-to for riders looking for a simple, durable singlespeed hub. Now, that legacy continues, but it has evolved, and there are many different models. Today, the range of WHUBs is wide with everything from rim brake models, to disc versions including a boost thru-axle version, and even a fixed-disc version for those who want to run a fixed cog with a disc brake (you know who you are!). Aside from the fixed-disc version, these hubs are designed to be used with thread-on freewheels like those from White Industries, so they're perfect for riders who just want simple, more old-school parts that use tried-and-true technology. We really like that these hubs use adjustable sealed cartridge bearings, are are really designed around being durable. They're not quite as techy as the options from Industry Nine and Onyx Racing Products, but they're bomber, run smoothly, and look great. With all of the spacing options available, there really isn't much reason not to use one of these hubs if the classic (and very beautiful) design appeals to you. With the addition of a White Industries freewheel, you'll have fast, solid engagement, and a hub that will just last.
Like the Paul WHUB, the ENO uses a simple thread-on freewheel such as the ones that they make. Like Paul Component, White Industries offers various different configurations for their ENO hubs, depending on whether you want a disc or rim brake version. The latter is available to fit 126, 130, and 135mm spacings, and former is available in 135mm. What really sets these hubs apart is the fact that they are available in two different axle types: standard and eccentric. White Industries' eccentric ENO hubs allow you to convert a standard frame that has no provision for chain tensioning built-in to singlespeed without using a chain tensioner, so if you've got an old frame that you've been wanting to convert to a singlespeed, they're just the ticket. In general, ENO hubs serve the singlespeed needs of older frames, and frames that weren't originally designed as singlespeeds, so like the Paul hubs, they play an important role in filling-out our singlespeed hub offerings.
BUT WHICH SHOULD I GET?
We feel that each of these options is unique enough to make deciding which to get fairly straightforward. Here's a chart of considerations that we hope will help you narrow the choices down:
This week's wheel build of the week is another super versatile gravel set up that's equally at home on road or CX.
Astral's Wanderlust Carbon rim is originally designed as a lightweight adventure / gravel rim capable of running up to 2.5" tires. But given their rim profile (23mm internal, 29mm external) they can perform double (or triple) duty as a pure road rim or cyclo-cross race wheelset.