First Look: Michigan Made 616 Fabrication Prototype Fatbike Hubs, Stainless Bikes
Founded in 2011, 616 Bicycle Fabrication has been building custom bikes and producing their own hubs, all in their Western Michigan head quarters. 616 has been making both standard mountain and fatbike hubs out of their machine shop since they started, but by the looks of things their fatbike hubs are up for a major redesign. Completely new from the ground up, the hubs will present yet another option to the growing fatbike market, and like the rest of their wares, will still be made in the US.
In addition to the hubs, 616 is now offering stainless steel frames, as well as a tandem fatbike that will be available this summer!
616’s original fat hubs were much like their mountain bike hubs – 6061 Aluminum hub shells, a 7075 front axle, and a rear 4130 chromoly axle with Center Lock rotor mounts and a Shimano Freehub. The new hubs feature a much larger tapered shell and wider flanges for improved strength and a stiffer wheel build. The Shimano freehub is gone in favor of an Easton model – which means they no longer have to modify the Shimano freehub with their own bearing retainer to run a sealed bearing instead of the cup and cone. The hubs will move to a 4 bearing design from the previous 2, and will feature a 12mm thru axle design that will still accept a standard QR. Brake mounts will move to 6 bolt instead of Center Lock, and there will even be an option for an 11 speed compatible freehub later this summer for 1×11 builds.
An interesting note with the front hub, is that it will accommodate both a 10 and 15mm rotor offset, meaning they can be run with any fatbike fork on the market – which I believe might be one of the first hubs to do so.
Aaron was quick to point out that the hubs are still very raw – these are lacking the holes in the flanges to reduce weight, pre-anodization, and pre-laser etching, but give a good idea of what’s to come. Weight is not yet known, but Aaron assures us it will be less than their current hubs (he called them SUPER LIGHT). Like the previous hubs they will be available in a range of colorful options.
Their new hubs will go great with 616’s new tandem fatbike, as well. Fat tandems will be rolling out of 616 this summer, with the price TBD. 616 mentioned they only sell through dealers and are currently looking for dealers in all major markets they don’t have one currently.
Don’t worry, if fat bikes aren’t your thing, 616 builds mountain and cyclocross bikes as well in steel, and now stainless steel. With multiple stock sizes to choose from or custom sizes and paint, 616 has a ton of options to build up your next bike. Stainless frames are available in all of their options, with 616 making their own stainless BB shells and head tubes in house, and the rest of the tubing sourced through KVA stainless.