Interbike 2010: New hubs from Alchemy Wheel Works

You know that expensive-sounding crunching and popping that occasionally comes out of high end hubs when loaded unexpectedly?  Especially common on full-suspension mountain bikes, it turns out that that noise is usually that of the hubs’ pawls not engaging correctly as the result of flex between the cassette body and hub shell.  At least that’s the diagnosis from several hub companies we spoke with at Interbike this year.  And those who have diagnosed excessive flex in lightweight modern hubs are taking steps to correct it.

Alchemy Wheel Works is one of those companies.  We apologize for the stock photos- our discussion with designer and owner Jeremy Parfitt was so in-depth that we forgot to snap any at the show.  Needless to say, Alchemy take hubs, and their role in the wheel as a whole, very seriously- click ‘more‘ for the details.

Built in the USA by Wheels Manufacturing (who also offer the hubs under their own brand), Alchemy’s E.L.F. front and ORC rear hubs are designed from the start with the finished wheel in mind.  On the rear, wide 60mm flange spacing provides good spoke bracing.  Campagnolo and Shimano versions feature different center spacing to take advantage of narrower Shimano cassettes by reducing wheel dish.  The 36 tooth / 3 pawl engagement system is supported by a large-diameter central bearing, reducing the amount of unsupported rear axle and increasing hub life.

Up front, Alchemy claim that their extra-wide bearing and flange spacing allow for 4-6 fewer spokes than competing designs with no loss in rigidity.

At 65g/220g for road versions and 120g/245g for the forthcoming mountain disc versions, Alchemy’s hubs are impressively light too.  The polished hubs in particular are very classy looking.  It’s sure starting to look like shiny parts are coming back into fashion…

Keep an eye on www.alchemywheelworks.com (which isn’t working quite yet) for more information.

Comments

Steve - 10/19/11 - 8:41pm

A picture perfect example of the law of diminishing returns if there ever was one. lol

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