Kappius Integrates Cassette Into Hub Design With Trick Carbon Cutout Shell

Kappius hubs integrate the cassette mount into the hubshell for wider bearing placement and rapid engagement

By rethinking how the cassette mates to the hub, Kappius Component’s new design stretches the hubshell almost end to end, placing the wheel bearings at the outer edges to increase strength and stiffness. The extra room also gives him room for a tremendous number of pawls and a massive carrier bearing for smooth coasting.

The idea came about four years ago a he wondered why there was so much unused real estate under the cassette.

“In a normal hub, the driveside bearing is in a terrible place because of the stresses placed on it,” said founder Russ Kappius. “Our wheel bearing is placed way further out so it’s much stiffer. The bearings out the outer edge of most freehub bodies on other hubs are just carrier bearings and not structurally supporting the wheel or rider.”

Kappius hubs integrate the cassette mount into the hubshell for wider bearing placement and rapid engagement

It uses a slip on system built around the Cluster Core one-piece base for the cassette. He does it by milling out “unnecessary material” on the XX for mountain bike and X-Glide and Powerdome road cassettes. The Cluster Core has only a short splined section to hold the bottom one or two cogs, necessary because of SRAM’s cassette design. Once on, the lock ring no longer needs to be remove because the core simply slips on and off the hub body, held on by the axle end caps. That makes cassette changes super quick without needing a chain whip or cassette tool, just a cone wrench to remove the axle end caps.

Kappius hubs integrate the cassette mount into the hubshell for wider bearing placement and rapid engagement

Engagement comes from four paired pawls catching 60 teeth. They’re set so that each pair is offset 1/4 tooth length from the next pair, effectively giving you 240 points of engagement. That equals 1.5° of engagement, which is damn quick. The pawls are magnetically sprung using rare earth magnets to push the pawls against the teeth. Kappius says they did this because it’s fewer moving parts, they won’t wear out and it’s just simpler and provides consistent pressure.

Kappius hubs integrate the cassette mount into the hubshell for wider bearing placement and rapid engagement

The hubs are built on a 17mm axle and use end caps to fit standard quick release and 15mm thru axle front. Lefty is also available as a distinct hub. For the rear, there’s 135 QR and 12×142. For road, there’s just standard QR.

Shown above, you can see the wheel bearing on the inside edge of the red freehub body. Kappius says in most instances, this is the outermost driveside wheel bearing, which is not in the best position to carry the load put on a rear wheel. With his design, the driveside wheel bearing is integrated into the cassette core and is very near the edge of the axle.

Kappius hubs integrate the cassette mount into the hubshell for wider bearing placement and rapid engagement

The hub shell is oversized to improve stiffness by raising the hub flanges for a better spoke bracing angle. The cutouts are both cosmetic and functional. Kappius says heat can build up inside the hub, which can put pressure on the bearings. The issue is when it cools, the differential pressure can pull contaminants into the bearings. It’s a subtle thing, but it doesn’t hurt anything since the beating faces are still protected from direct contact with pressure washing or the elements.

Kappius hubs integrate the cassette mount into the hubshell for wider bearing placement and rapid engagement

Rear hub on a Specialized Crux Disc cyclocross bike.

Kappius hubs integrate the cassette mount into the hubshell for wider bearing placement and rapid engagement

Front hub on the bike.

Kappius hubs integrate the cassette mount into the hubshell for wider bearing placement and rapid engagement

Front mountain bike hubs in Lefty and 15mm thru axle configurations. No 20mm front or 150mm rear options at present.

Rear hub is $699 and reworked cassettes are $300 (XX), $250 (X-Glide) and $225 (Powerdome). If you look, these cassette prices are darn near suggested retail for these cassettes anyway, and if you purchase the hubs and send in your cassette, he’ll adapt it for free. Front hub is $299, road or mountain with any axle configuration.

Kappius hubs integrate the cassette mount into the hubshell for wider bearing placement and rapid engagement

The singlespeed core is $75 and can be used with any cog brand that’ll fit on a normal freehub body.

Kappius hubs integrate the cassette mount into the hubshell for wider bearing placement and rapid engagement

Front hub weights are 111g for both 15mm thru axle and Lefty. Swap end caps to make the 15mm TA version into a 9mm QR hub and it’s 113g.

Kappius hubs integrate the cassette mount into the hubshell for wider bearing placement and rapid engagement

A standard XX cassette is 209g and his adapted version is 225g. The QR rear mountain bike hub is 277g. A complete road rear hub with skewer and X-Glide cassette is 489g.

We’re hoping to test a pair out soon, but just feeling how quick these engage (and how gloriously loud the whine is when spinning the cassette) is really cool. Kappius’ son is the engineer and they’re made in the USA, making it a good ol’ homegrown family business.

Comments

Thomas - 04/22/12 - 11:14pm

These things are unbelievable. Ride them. You’ll buy them…

Samuel J. Greear - 04/22/12 - 11:23pm

I like it, we need a new cassette standard (or five, let the best win) that will allow innovation in the hub and cassette market. I would also like to see cassette’s with 9/10t small cogs — get that 3×10 range in a 2×10.

I don’t like that they filled it with holes. You will end up carrying around more weight as junk builds up inside there on some long rides than they could possibly have saved in weight. Not to mention it will be a pain in the A$$ to clean that thing out properly when laced into a rim. So that part seems pretty gimmicky to me.

Sevo - 04/23/12 - 1:55am

Just a clarification…..Russ is the engineer behind it. His son races on the hubs (fast too). Brady may be an engineer, but it’s Russ’s design.

i’ve seen it/played with it too. The instant engagement is lovely.

Nick - 04/23/12 - 4:20am

Let me just check I’ve got this then, the hub is 277g (so it’s pretty weighty), it’s bloody expensive too. Add an XX cassette @209g and it’s 486g. Or… you can buy their cassette (admittedly at no extra cost) and it weighs 3g more? Where do I sign up!

At least Hope’s design saves weight as well!

Warp - 04/23/12 - 8:40am

700 for a hub? Dang!! And I thought CK’s were expensive at 400 and some change…

CtoF - 04/23/12 - 9:26am

LOVE IT! It’s not always about the lightest weight product, and at 277 grams, it is still in the range of King hubs, and with the front hub at 111 grams, that puts it in the range of all the lightweight stuff. I mechanism is solid looking too. I too wish more companies would try out some freaky stuff with freehubs/freewheels and come up with something better. I do not like all the holes either. Get rid of that! These hubs will totally get junk stuck in them.

Adam - 04/23/12 - 9:57am

The best thing these guys have done is NOT reinvent the wheel.

They found a way to modify what already exists (the cassette) and improve upon it. This makes the entry into this technology way more logicial, and while still expensive, cost effective.
New technology is NEVER cheap, but with the improvements that can be made, and perhaps the offering of their own cassette, can help reduce cost.

Impressive stuff.

Dave - 04/23/12 - 11:22am

It’d be a shame to tape up those holes to prevent mud from getting in, but I’d totally do it.

BBB - 04/23/12 - 12:24pm

For those who actually ride their bikes, cassettes are just consumables.
Let’s don’t encourage manufacturers to incorporate cassettes into their proprietary hub/wheel “systems” and make replacement parts more expensive than they need to be.

Juan C - 04/23/12 - 4:36pm

F ‘n magnets, how do the work?!

greg - 04/23/12 - 9:42pm

magnets work with magic.
as for the holes in the shell, i’d cover it with a huge piece of heat shrink tubing.

fuzzbuzz - 04/23/12 - 11:41pm

“The Cluster Core has only a short splined section to hold the bottom one or two cogs, necessary because of SRAM’s cassette design.”

So with that, no Shimano compatibility. Me reckons. :( It would be nice to see a shot of the red dome outside of the cassette.

Thomas - 04/24/12 - 12:46am

Hey guys… been riding the hubs quite a while and no mud gets inside. One of the reasons for the holes is to keep pressures from building up that can lead to contaminated bearings. It’s not just cool factor. They don’t need covering up.
The instant engagement is addictive and will make downhillers, sprinters and cyclocrossers that much faster…but what’s better is that these things are extremely light but far more durable then other lightweight options. The drive is literally right under the largest cog so it doesn’t see anywhere near the type of load you get on current cassette designs. This change should have happened long ago. This stuff will become cheaper when more can be manufactured. It’s a simpler, more efficient, and MUCH stronger in all the right places. This is the last hold out of weight and inefficiency on a bicycle and Rus solved it. Thanks Mr. Kappius.

chadquest - 04/25/12 - 2:28am

Very Logical, hub makers are trying to cram drive mechs into freehubs, when there is so much wasted space they could use.

Very smart.

Tim - 04/25/12 - 8:53am

Wonder how much drag there will be on these hubs. On three different Kings I have run, I have had the choice of either chain sag when backpedaling in certain gears, but no wobble in the main bearing, or slight wobble in the main bearing and no chain sag when backpedaling in certain gears. I wonder if this hub will have the same problem…
Also would be interesting to know if there is any adjustability on the bearings.

Matt - 04/26/12 - 10:45am

The hub looks great, but seems like it would be a pain in the butt to keep clean. I could just see the inside of the hub getting all jammed up with mud, which quickly changes the weight of it. I guess that is the least of the worries though. Nice hub though.

placidmurmur - 05/28/13 - 8:47pm

I usually choice one of my sprockets before ride.
It would be 11-23, 12-25,12-27,11-28 depending upon ride scenario.
I hope they could have sufficient sales channels, and various sprocket/each brade.

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