NAHBS 2013: Gokiso’s Amazing Suspension Bicycle Hubs

Gokiso Japanese suspension bicycle hubs

We almost overlooked Gokiso’s booth, but as we passed by we overheard some interesting chatter. Something about suspension inside the hubs. Ding! Curiousity piqued…but that’s only half the story of these amazing hubs.

Two different hubs were on display, the externally suspended front hub shown above, and an internally suspended rear hub. Both operate on what’s essentially a lot of little leaf springs, and we’ve embedded a video below to show how it works, plus tons of pics.

The other thing that really blew our mind, which is also illustrated at the beginning of the first video, is the insanely low friction these hubs have. With most rear hubs, if you hold the freehub body and give the shell a spin, you’re lucky to get a few rotations. I did that with the internally suspended rear hub and it spun and spun. It’s hard to convey in words how good it felt. ENVE founder Jason Schiers happened to be standing next to me and said he has several friends in Japan that race them and won’t ride anything else, they’re that good.

Click on through for more…

There’s so much going on with these hubs it’s crazy. Note the beginning of the video where they spool up the front hub with nothing but a small air gun blowing on the virtually smooth flanges. Try doing that at home. Scroll to the bottom of the post for video on the rear hub.

Gokiso Japanese suspension bicycle hubs

On these, the inset sections of each “fin” are attached to the axle assembly, each acting like a small leaf spring. Click to enlarge for detail.

Gokiso Japanese suspension bicycle hubs

The other version uses an internal tube with the center of the hub shell resting on it and the ends of the tube resting on the bearings. Slits in the tube between the two connection points act as small leaf springs, giving a small amount of cushion to the bearings and prevent deformation of the rolling bits, but not enough to affect brake pad/track alignment. The result is probably the most drag-free hub I’ve ever felt.

Gokiso Japanese suspension bicycle hubs

The hubs use two DIN P5 deep groove bearings per side within the front and rear shell, and more on the outside of the freehub body. Actually, the rear hub has SEVEN bearings, with three of them between the FH body and the axle, making it every bit as smooth with pedaling as when coasting.

Gokiso Japanese suspension bicycle hubs

Gokiso Japanese suspension bicycle hubs

Their freehub bodies are Shimano 9/10/11-speed compatible or Campagnolo 10/11. They use four double-wide pawls, with alternating pawls offset by half so that clicks across the 46 teeth effectively provide 92 points of engagement for a mere 3.9º rotation. Even with that many teeth and much more contact area, the hub spun sooo easily in my hands.

Really, the only complaint with these hubs could be the weight, which doesn’t come as too much of a surprise considering how much mechanical tech is crammed in there. Standard front road hubs come in 230g (Hill Climb) or 240g (Standard 700c), and the disc brake version is 305g. Rear hubs are 445g, 455g and 500g respectively, with the disc being available in both 130mm and 135mm widths. All are available in 20/24/28/32/36 drillings, with rears eschewing the 20 hole option. Oh, and they offer complete wheelsets for road and track, plus a BMX hubset…and their website says a bottom bracket is coming soon!

Check ‘em out at Gokiso.jp.

Comments

Jason K - 03/05/13 - 4:45pm

Oh dear. There’s so much wrong here, it’s hard to know where to start. In fact, there’s no point in starting. It’s all wrong.

Canucklehead - 03/05/13 - 4:50pm

It looks like there’d be a noticeable change on a disc brake setup, the tire/wheel moving and possibly susceptible to along the lines of “brake dive”.

RyanC - 03/05/13 - 4:52pm

Aaaaa-mazing!

Chad - 03/05/13 - 5:01pm

On the rear hub video (last video) @2:50, the orange bearings stay the same size but the freehub body’s wall thickness changes. HAHA! Friggen magic.

Ryan - 03/05/13 - 5:09pm

Simplicity is beautiful. Over-engineered?…maybe, but I think this type of progression with trial/error or taking a fresh approach is what moves us forward. Good for them.

Will - 03/05/13 - 5:10pm

This represents everything that is right with the world.

If they were really smart, they would licence the technology to other designers manufacturers. I would totally ride a lighter weight version of this. My only fear is this falls into obscurity and never picks up enough momentum.

ccolagio - 03/05/13 - 5:24pm

they tested the rear hub at 300 km/h or 186 mp/h: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOVGLvLaHp4

whhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhy?!?!?! fine – its a life test…but it’s insanely unrealistic and pointless to go that speed

satisFACTORYrider - 03/05/13 - 5:30pm

i’d rock these on a ’95 slingshot

Topmounter - 03/05/13 - 5:44pm

It makes for a pleasing video in a fixed test rig and an indeterminate basis for comparison.

JonDanger FTW - 03/05/13 - 5:59pm

I didn’t read the article and I am going to choose to hate the product by the title alone. I don’t think I’ve made a bad decision; the words used to explain the idea would probably further frustrate me.

Alex - 03/05/13 - 6:06pm

Does’t this mean that each leaf springs will deform when it is at the top/bottom of the hub – ie., twice with every rotation? That seems like it would bleed energy like crazy, no?

Alex - 03/05/13 - 6:06pm

Seems like it would be easier just to lower your tire pressure 10psi.

Gregg C - 03/05/13 - 6:18pm

I’d give them a shot…if they weren’t $2700 for a set!!!

Jake - 03/05/13 - 6:27pm

In trouble if its not 11 speed compatible

Kyle - 03/05/13 - 6:27pm

How much travel does it have?

MattK - 03/05/13 - 6:43pm

These are amazing, you have to watch the video to understand what these do, the above description doesn’t do them justice. It is not a suspension hub to absorb impact for the rider, but for the mechanical advantage in the drivetrain. I am not sure that the front hub would accomplish a lot, but if they license the rear hub tech, I can easily see a lot of major players jumping on board.

Rob - 03/05/13 - 6:54pm

@satisFACTORYrider I hope you’re rocking Z-Torque cranks too!

This concept was tried in the ’90s. It didn’t last very long.

Will - 03/05/13 - 7:16pm

@JasonK got it right on the first post; there’s just so much wrong with this…

It’s not even blatant snake oil type stuff, it’s just little inaccuracies all over the place. More power to them if they can sell any of these things. In the mean time, I’m just going to let 5psi out of my tires…

carl - 03/05/13 - 7:31pm

DURA ACE HUBS! Smooth as a babies bottom…. and they get better with miles.

Emily - 03/05/13 - 7:44pm

Looks interesting at least. I’d be most worried about maintenance and longevity. Sure it can survive nearly 200mph for a few minutes, but what about 25 mph everyday in rain, sleet, snow, salt, worm guts and mud?

carl - 03/05/13 - 7:44pm

Freeze the image at about 2:47 and forget about the “shock absorbing structure”. The layout of the bearings for the pawls (which are a nice design) and freehub should supply a lot of support for the freehub body. And the concave, floating washer that takes into account misaligned dropouts is clever. The rest of it? Meh…

Sevo - 03/05/13 - 8:25pm

Rob-No one has done this before…..I believe you have this mixed up with that elastomer based hub that didnt last long and was poorly engineered.

Tim - 03/05/13 - 8:28pm

These hubs are not intended to absorb road or trail shock. Everyone who’s criticized them on the ground that they cannot absorb a serious amount of shock have totally missed the point, which is that they are supposed to reduce bearing friction. The real questions are whether they do that successfully enough to offset their increased weight, and whether the mechanism can hold up to bad weather.

axle - 03/05/13 - 8:54pm

I just couldn’t stop dancing to the awesome music in that video!

m - 03/05/13 - 9:17pm

gokisousa.com lists a front and rear hub, narrow (road) spacing… for $3,700 (but free shipping!!!)

yes. damn near four grand for your hubs. figure in your Zipp FireCrap rims, S-works Vengito frame and of course, your Campy Super-Dooper Record Anniversary Edition EPS grouppo… and i think you see where this going.

holy crap thats a lot of pixie dust the’re selling.

Ventruck - 03/05/13 - 9:34pm

Very forward thinking, and I think the execution in minimizing the increase of sophistication and weight is great. Needs to get licensed, but I’m in no rush to have a set.

FM - 03/05/13 - 10:03pm

Can someone explain why the convex parts of the end of the hub would not shift as the fork flexes and add to brake rub? Maybe it’s all held tight with tension/friction?

The flanges also look pretty narrow.

@ 3:03 in the video of the rear hub, are the orange things supposed to be springs? If not, and to a lesser degree even if they are, wouldn’t the middle section that’s supposed to flex up and down still push against the inside part of the freehub?

All that being said it’s nice to see people trying new things.

I’d be slow to draw a conclusion from spinning a hub in your hand. I’ve found hubs can act very different once you put them under load on a bike.

John - 03/05/13 - 10:15pm

Nightmare to keep clean. The answer to question no-one asked.

Mindless - 03/05/13 - 10:19pm

WTF is this drivel?

Independent - 03/05/13 - 10:38pm

So many clueless prejudiced short sighted comments by people who didn’t bother to actually understand what’s being offered here – stubborn ignorance. Some impressive first principles based engineering here. But hey, it’s just physics, right? Gravity, friction and deformation are imaginary, right? Geez…

Ron G. - 03/05/13 - 10:41pm

Most forks are shaped like an inverted V? Don’t they have a set of Park dropout alignment gauges in their collection of fancy machining tools? Because you can fix that problem.

pfs - 03/05/13 - 10:42pm

I saw these hubs at the show and they are impossibly smooth. Much smoother than and dura ace or other hub I have ever felt. They were heavy and expensive but really impressive.

Topmounter - 03/05/13 - 11:37pm

Put it on a bike and put a real rider on that bike. All I see are test rigs, fancy diagrams and a video with a woman saying balls and shaft a lot.

harro - 03/05/13 - 11:43pm

the climber hubs are 7k hahahhahaha

Cory - 03/05/13 - 11:47pm

What magical bearing tech do they use to make an unweighted hub spin so freely? Their shock absorption tech doesn’t help. Using twice as many bearings as normal certainly wouldn’t help either. My guess is ungreased bearings for their show models.

Bog - 03/06/13 - 12:07am

Ungreased or oiled bearings and non-contact seals cause them to spin so well. This isn’t such a great idea outside of the showroom or laboratory!

Mindless - 03/06/13 - 12:31am

@Independent: you are clueless. This gismo does not work. Basic physics.

Ripnshread - 03/06/13 - 12:40am

I would venture to guess that this does work. On jet engines. Where rotational speed and torque are both incredibly high. I’m sure it may work great for keeping the engine together when it impacts a bird. Any vibration at those speeds can cause a catastrophic failure. I’m not so sure if this would have any real appreciable difference to the speed of a bicycle.

Those 6/4 Ti. hubs do get my geek on though.

As Bog said, they type of bearing they are using will spin if you hold them in your hand and blow on them. But they quickly don’t do that as soon as any contamination enters.

Ripnshread - 03/06/13 - 12:48am

That rear hub actually looks pretty cool. Except for the suspension bit.

Anonymous - 03/06/13 - 1:05am

“Extra super duralumin”

You’ve got to be kidding me… it’s just regular old 7075…

McClain M - 03/06/13 - 2:06am

Also I was under the impression that hub shells were generally much thinner than what their cutouts appear to be…

McClain M - 03/06/13 - 2:09am

I dunno, the idea seems sound to me> isolating radial and lateral forces from the fore-force and the resulting reduction of friction. All the people calling this design out on the grounds of “basic physics” should try explaining, because while I’m no physicist, it seems to pass my conception of basic physics. The price is inflated, but adoption would bring that down if they are meritable.

And these do not compare to the Pantour hubs, because their execution is entirely different.

McClain M - 03/06/13 - 2:11am

Thirdly…where did you guys get the pricing info? It is not up on their website anymore…it just says to email them.

Max - 03/06/13 - 2:32am

@Mc Clain M:

Well, if you got passed school, you should have got enough knowing about physics, that you will figure out whats wrong on instant. If not we will need to teach you all principles beginning with class 1.

And Again: In this video nearly ALL is wrong.

Max - 03/06/13 - 2:33am

Second post: In the Video, the ONLY right fact is: Hubs with Cones are very common :D

Mindless - 03/06/13 - 3:37am

@Max: No, everything in this video is absolutely right. Perfect marketing video for clueless suckers.

rocketsintra - 03/06/13 - 3:41am

Just exercise 10minutes more with your normal hubs

Mindless - 03/06/13 - 3:44am

@Anonymous: Duralumin would be copper alloy, and 7075 zinc..

Duralumin also corrodes a lot. What a bunch of stupid sh*t all this.

INOX EPS - 03/06/13 - 5:25am

I use Gokiso hubs since 2011,not bad but a bit heavy & expensive :)

Bikehoarder6 - 03/06/13 - 5:50am

Where’s the Flux Capacitor going to be housed?

Japanese man - 03/06/13 - 6:34am

I’ve ridden them, and these are AMAZING!!
smooth like no others, its like 10times better than Dura-ace or Chris Kings,
this hubs make me think other hubs were toy… sorry but seriously,
then you will know Dura or CK or DT is not best, are not smooth or stiff..
they are good, but Gokiso is in another league,
also suspension works really well,they won’t slow down when ride on grass,its like riding on asphalt,
weight? you will notice that weight doesnt really matter over this hubs,
anyway,you won’t know untill you try :)

Bob Loblaw - 03/06/13 - 7:10am

@Mindless: Because Science!

Serisously, man- if you’re going to (try to) take down an idea, don’t insult those who question your half-assed explanation as to why it doesn’t/wouldn’t/couldn’t. I’m not defending a $4k hubset- but those who have experience *riding* them seen pretty positive. Just calling people clueless because they can’t follow your intellectual leaps doesn’t help them get a clue. Worse, right or wrong, it suggests that there’s nothing supporting them.

So step up, dude: explain to those of us who aren’t geniuses why these hubs can’t work. Or back under the bridge with you.

Nash - 03/06/13 - 7:44am

There can be no actual difference between riding on these and riding on normal hubs. Any perceived difference would be a placebo effect or the weight loss from the 4K reduction in wallet weight.

I have springs on the ends of my axles that allow a suspension interface between axle and quick release mechanism!

InsightTree - 03/06/13 - 7:52am

All this time I thought hubs were suspended from the rim during riding…

which, according to the video, is exactly opposite wherein they say that the spokes are applying an upward force on the hub flange…

A suspended force transfer is much different than a direct force.

Rob - 03/06/13 - 8:14am

InsightTree –> exactly what I was thinking.

It’s an interesting idea but its the answer to a question that nobody asked. There are much bigger problems in cycling than bearing wear.

PaulM - 03/06/13 - 8:22am

“the only complaint with these hubs could be the weight,”

Cost, perhaps?

I don’t doubt they’re smooth. Until there’s a winter’s grime in amongst all those fiddly little parts.

I can’t make my mind up on the suspension issue, but the first video implies the biggest problem is axle flex causing increased bearing wear. Cheaper solutions are surely oversized hollow thru-axles, bigger bearings (the ones on the Gokiso appear to be tiny! Have they not heard of ISIS BBs?) and faced dropouts. And maybe fatter tyres fo a smoother ride.

McClain M - 03/06/13 - 8:52am

@Max – So you use strong words once again with absolutely no substance to back them up. It seems like you’re more interested in belittling my intelligence than offering a sound explanation of why you think their physics are wrong. Good job, I concede that I am hopelessly inept. Or maybe you’re just a dick? These hubs are clearly overbuilt in ways I have never seen, and I see no reason to doubt their assertions short of direct experience to the contrary, which you don’t seem to have any more than the rest of us.

Segg - 03/06/13 - 9:11am

Easy to brag about strength and stiffness when you make something 50% heavier than the competition.

ChrisC - 03/06/13 - 9:14am

Ron G. – 03/05/13 – 10:41pm

Most forks are shaped like an inverted V? Don’t they have a set of Park dropout alignment gauges in their collection of fancy machining tools? Because you can fix that problem.

I wouldn’t try that with carbon dropouts…

Loki - 03/06/13 - 9:49am

A F1 race car is the stupidest car in the world. An F1 race car is the best car in the world. No-one posting here doesn’t own something that benefited from F1 technology yet it would be easy to shoot down the extravagant, pointless, over-hyped horse and pony show that is F1. Same applies to these hubs.

oscar dube - 03/06/13 - 9:52am

So here are SOME of the basics that explain what is wrong here (details like about how seals, bearings etc. work and whatever left aside…):

Always remind: things under pressure/tension do always deform, less or more (and store energy):

The rims, tires, spokes on the downside deform substantially while riding, while the axle/bearing assembly is super stiff in comparison; to keep forces away from the bearings via hub construction (more than rim+spokes+tires do…) would need a hub that is flimsier than the whole wheel – bad in terms of energy absorbtion, but also then the wheel is stiffer than the hub/bearing construction and would destroy the hub in no time.

So you pay 4 grand and would have pristine bearings after you destroyed your wheel, if the effect would be practically existend & measurable. But thankfully, it’s not.

Enjoy your ride.

oscar dube - 03/06/13 - 9:53am

Sorry:

meant: “… stiffer than the hub construction …”

RobO - 03/06/13 - 10:09am

The point to these is wattage retetion throught lower bearing friction. The weight is in the right place for a “legal” race bike (low and not out at the rim). Most pro level bikes these days come in way under weight even with a fairly reasonable, not pro level, build. These are F1 type parts for the top end of the sport, maintenence issues are for the mechanic not the rider. These aren’t intended for those who can’t afford to play at this level. The real question is wether or not they really work. Sounds like we need to get a pair to the guy in Boulder that does the friction/wattage testing and see what the numbers really are. All in all it’s cool to see a different way to solve a problem that the average rider didn’t even know they had.

Patrick - 03/06/13 - 10:32am

Oddly… we seem to use angular contact bearings (basically what a cup and cone does) in the aerospace industry all the time. They work quite well for supporting side loads…

Patrick - 03/06/13 - 10:38am

Oscar dube… that was exactly what i was getting ready to write, keeping bearing alignment/deformation in check at the expense of a lot of stiffness doesn’t interest me.

Matt - 03/06/13 - 11:23am

@RobO
“Sounds like we need to get a pair to the guy in Boulder that does the friction/wattage testing and see what the numbers really are.”

Finally we have a sensible comment!

The video was obviously marketing, but it’s hard to truly say anything until you actually get your hands on a set and objectively test them…and maybe put a little dirt & grime on them to see if they can handle real-world conditions.

Ross Porter - 03/06/13 - 11:23am

Of course I’ve never ridden these things, and probably never will, but I’d like to hear everyone’s opinion after they actually rode them.

Ron G. - 03/06/13 - 12:20pm

@Chris C:

“I wouldn’t try that with carbon dropouts…”

Nope; I’d send it back to its maker for a replacement if I got a fancy, carbon fork with misaligned dropouts.

My point was more that their claim that most forks are shaped like a V is BS–the goal is for the dropouts to be aligned, and I think most competent manufacturers achieve that goal.

In other words, you shouldn’t be clamping your high-end hub into a crappy fork to begin with.

Not Impressed - 03/06/13 - 1:56pm

Either the wheel will lack lateral stiffness or the “suspension” doesn’t work. Sexy voice though ;-)

RobO - 03/06/13 - 2:23pm

Ron G, you might be surprised to see the actual inconsistencies with most carbon forks. There ideas are about making the interaction between the bearing and the axle as smooth and as free from side load as possible. Other companies, zipp to name one, uses and designs a little bit of “play” into there hubs to free up the bearing to let them “run” as fast and easy as possible.

Mindless - 03/06/13 - 3:53pm

@Bob Loblaw: No, it is the other way around. When you are making outlandish claims, you need to prove. With real numbers. LIke reduction in drag measured in Watts. No marketing drivel.

There is NO information in the clip to debunk. It is just drivel for suckers that describe a perfectly normal hub.

If you bought it – you are in fact clueless.

Walt - 03/06/13 - 4:10pm

Just FYI, everyone, total friction losses from the drivetrain and all bearings on a bicycle are around 2% (google it up). Most of that is the chain. I can’t imagine hub bearings are more than half a percent, at most. Normal good-quality stainless bearings are INCREDIBLY efficient, so working to improve in that area is mostly a waste of time.

Max - 03/06/13 - 5:36pm

@McClain M:

Well I will give it a try. And well I’m no native speaker, so my language will reach some limits when I’m going to tell technical stuff (reading is fine, writing is not :( )

1. The bearings. They use 2 bearings instead of one. Ok 2 bearings are better than one bearing of the same sice BUT one bigger bearing will always be better than two smaller bearings (compared to the sizings of DIN ans ISO bearings, I’m not firm with imperial standards…). If you want to calculate two bearings will be as strong as 4/3 up to 6/4 compared to a single bearing, so using two bearings won’t double the capacity of the construction! Using the next size of ISO/DIN bearings would double capacity and would have a lower weight.
This Numbers are out of some books from university, in German, so please forgive me, i won’t give a link/source.

2. Bearings which can spin so freely are the cheapest bearings you can get. Without load, a (brand new) bearing will be spinning more freely as more bearing play it has. PLUS the drag of new bearings will increase with quality of the sealing. So if you got a brand new Part, its spinning freely like no other you kann notice, that the bearings and sealings are rubbish. Good Bearings with less play and effective sealing will need 50 up to 100km to running smoothly, but they will do this for some tousends kilometers. In comparison the cheap stuff you will find in freely spinning parts will be done after 5km in rain or dust. And Well, good grease will cause some friction on the start, but compared to oil the bearing live will be much longer, pure oil greased bearings will wear quick and will higher friction than grease greased bearings after short time.
Even ceramic balls won’t change the game. Without sealings, the hard balls + dust will destroy the high polishes ball races very fast and the friction will increase with every new pitting on the races…

Comments on the video (with time stemps)

1:04: NO proper designed Axle ever will bend this much. Typical bearings can’t handle bigger angles than 1 up to 8 Minutes (one Minute is 1/60 of one degree, so its pritty nothing). So the most Axles from hubs on the market are so stiff, that you won’t be able to damage the bearings (with typical 15 or 17 mm Axle it’s quite impossible to construct a axle wich is weak enough to deflect mit than 2-3 Minutes)

The Balls of ALL Bearings are hardened and harder than the ball races, so the ball won’t be compressed so much. The balls will be pressed into the races. The races will fail if the load is to high. But I mentioned it, no typical Axle will be weak enough for this.

1:58: Like I mentioned, to use two bearings instead of one bigger is not the proper way to handle high loads. Using single double row bearings or one bigger whould be MUCH MUCH MUCH better. Normally two bearings are only used of you don’t have to enough space to mount a bigger bearing. In a Hub you have a lot space. Bearings with 32mm outer diameter are no problem at all (used on DH Hubs with 20 mm Thru Axles, for road use way to heavy but it’s possible)

2:50 The sprind device… oh my gosh… Don’t know where to start :(

The bars are bending. Well this is right. But they wont deflect in this way. Like the Axle they will be bended like an arch. This Bending will cause a bending moment (a ultra high bending moment compared to normal Hub constructions! ) to the bearings. But mind, normal bearings can handle only a very little of this kind of loads. It’s the same problem like the bending Axle. More bending moment will cause higher deflections on the bearing seat, which is a massive Problem. Unlike shown in the video the bearing seat won’t this static, it will bend like the Axle on 1:04 (not so strong, but it will plus the normal deflection of the axle. So you will get 3 minutes of deflection from Axle and 2 up to 6 from the suspension part. Thats 5 up to 9 Minutes deflection so it’s from high load for the bearings to full overload to the bearings -> Design Fail)

4:18: Well this Hub/Cone Design… Wait! Right, wy not using Hub/Cone Bearings instead of this? Hub Cone Roller Bearings are able to handle very high deflections of the Axle (some kinds op to 5°). Plus, if your Fork has this poor quality you should a new Fork/Frame instead of new expensive Hubs. And Well normally, the Short Hub Axle with 15 or 17mm outer diameter is way stiffer than the Fork on the End of the dropouts (keep in mind, longer lever -> lesser stiffness on End of the Lever! So the Fork will be deflected much more then the Hub Axle ;) )

4:30:
Bigger Outer Axle Diameter -> More stiffness, Over all the outer diameter on the Ends is low and the middle section isn’t this big either

Jumps on outer diameter are causing stress concentration on the material. Like glass, if you apply a deep scratch to class, the class will break if you are hammering on the glass. Ok Metal is no glass, but the jump on outer diameter will have a similar effect. See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stress_concentration

greg - 03/06/13 - 9:41pm

Max,
best comment yet. no bull, just explanation. and yes, if one truly believes that axles are going to bend and bow significantly on a bike, one only has to get a hub with cup and cone bearings to solve the “problem”.
interesting way of doing things, though.

lee rodgers - 03/07/13 - 12:55am

i’ve ridden them, most amazing upgrade ever. cannot praise them highly enough. smashed a local TT and also used in them in a long hill climb. the weight does not matter, because they gain in smoothness and in keeping the wheel on the road more.

Motorrad - 03/07/13 - 1:49pm

Triumph (the motorcycle company, not the bicycle company taken over by Raleigh) used to have a similar in-hub suspension called the “Triumph sprung hub”. This was back in the 1940′s.

It was terrible, and swapped out for proper suspension.

clyde - 03/08/13 - 9:38am

Had to laugh when I saw the “Slim Your Wallet” ad next to the first video…….

oscar dube - 03/08/13 - 9:49am

@lee rodgers: “keeping the wheel on the road more”

could you explain that to us?

it would be nice to hear what these wonderhubs else can do… just for entertainment.

btw: shafts and balls are entertainment too!

Ian - 03/10/13 - 3:08am

The cone washer is not a new idea (they are commonly available) the problem here is that the nut is on the other side of the fork, so is constrained to the same angle as the fork. Therefore the cone washer does absolutely nothing. For the washers to work, whatever the nut is screwed to has to be independent of what you are compressing with nut.
If you look at video 1, 4.25, you can see the nut magically changing angle without deflecting the axle.

Sam - 03/10/13 - 2:38pm

So, I dunno how much vertical movement there is with these, but one of the many problems with Pantour hubs was that the suspension actually caused major problems with brake pads staying on the rim at both ends of the suspension stroke, and with the disc version, we had a rotor actually hit the top of the caliper, stopping the wheel entirely. These look to have a ton less travel, so that probably isn’t an issue, but it’s definitely something I would check on pretty thoroughly before I bought a pair at any price.

Phil - 03/11/13 - 6:40am

Even if this works… I have to admit that I am lacking complete understanding of the matter: Is there really a problem that needs to be solved? It seems like a minor improvement to one single factor of the whole bike which is minor in itself. For a lot of $$$!!! What is the outcome? Anybody faster? Does it really last longer? Many parts= many potential flaws…

Loki - 03/11/13 - 4:31pm

@Max
Thanks, great info and insight.

My Name is not Important - 05/10/13 - 1:49am

I have experience with these hubs. As said before, these hubs are not intended for the weekend warrior; they’re intended for people who are really serious about their racing and those for whom a significant advantage is measured as a change of far less than, say, 2%. Over a three hour race, that’s 3:36 from first to second. The F1 analogy works well, but it’s not that exclusive by a long shot.

Performance:
Speaking of percentages, on a 10% grade climb, the extra force required to turn these hubs (overcome rotational inertia) versus a high-end set (Dura-Ace, Bora, etc.) is roughly 0.7% higher, but that is much more than overcome by reducing the bearing stress and friction. At cruising speed (30 to 45 km/h (18.6 to 28 m/h)), and under a 70 kg (154 lb) load, however, the difference against the same hub competition is anywhere from 8.8 to nearly 12%. I’d give exact numbers, but I don’t have the data in front of me.

Weight:
The weight is notable when picking up the bike. These are not light-weight hubs. However, as someone said before, it’s in a good spot: center to the wheel where rotational inertia is less important (if one had to put weight in the wheels, the hub is the place to do it), and low on the bike. There is a very valid interest in reducing weight. However, I believe that interest has turned into an obsession, and it’s often touted as the single important factor used, regardless of component, to measure merit.

Riding:
My baseline wheels are Ultegra hubs with Mavic Open Pro rims, 3 cross all around, 32 hole front and rear, Wheelsmith spokes, built by me. Only changing wheels (same tires (Grand Prix 4000S, 700×23), same pressure (100 PSI), 20 spoke radial front, 24 spoke radial (non-drive side) and 2 cross (drive side) rear, Equinox 38 mm carbon clincher rims, Gokiso hub, built by me (hubs and wheels), same everything else), the ride does feel smoother over larger bumps. Small bumps have no perceptible difference. In terms of resistance, I can ride about two gears higher with the same effort, and the bike does not lose speed as quickly when coasting. If racing, two gears is an incredible difference. If commuting, it’s a nice addition. I suppose it depends on your perspective.

Impressions:
The technology does work. The actual travel by the bearings inside the hub is only 0.5 mm (0.02 in) and as others have said, is not present to suspend the rider, but to reduce the impact load on the bearings. Small bumps do not present a great threat to the bearings, so the cage is very stiff to handle larger impacts. The weight capacity for the hubs is also substantially higher (two times higher, actually) than is considered sufficient for standard road hubs.

They use the highest grade bearings they can buy, manufactured in Japan. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to give the company name, so I won’t, but I can say that of bearings that they receive, over half are rejected straight out of the box. They’re really picky about what’s good enough for the customer, and there’s not a second thought about discarding something if it isn’t 100% to spec. All hubs and wheels are built by hand.

Origin:
The idea of mitigating (not eliminating or “suspending”) bearing shock loads, while originally used for bird strike handling in large jet engines, has been adapted to the loads normally encountered in cycling. Gokiso (owned by Kondo Machine Corporation, a high-precision producer of jet engine bearing parts for customers like GE) is run by engineers, not designers.

The Company:
A visit to their facilities will show dozens of bikes from the employees who ride to work (with Gokiso hubs). They use the products they design and build, and they test everything against the current standard best (Dura-Ace, Super Record). They also race with their products. They test tires, tubes, inflation pressures, and so on, to get the optimum setup. I’d give some of that information, but I don’t have it in front of me.

Side Note:
The display models used are in no way modified from the hubs sold. The grease is not removed and replaced with oil, or any other trickery. It’s an honest product… that requires insane attention to detail to build, and a creative mind or two to design.

Also, I probably won’t monitor this site to see who replies, and I’m not interested in a pointless flamethrower fight. Sorry.

About me:
I’ve been trained on the maintenance of these hubs in the Gokiso factory in Japan by both the president (an engineer) and their master wheelbuilder, I own a wheelset with these hubs that I built myself, I have an education and background as a mechanical engineer, and I know several people on the Gokiso staff including their head designer and president. However, I do not work for Gokiso.

I tour, commute, race, and pretty much live on my bikes. I own a racing, a commuting, and a recumbent bike. I’ve built a handful of wheels and cycled across the US. I would not use these hubs for touring; the maintenance on these hubs is involved, though infrequent relative to their complexity. I hope this message helps.

Cheers.

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