Hub, bub

This baby’s got handmade wheels with Italian hubs, Swiss spokes and rims, and is rounded out by German tires and tubes.

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It ought to feel more hard-core than it does. The wheels look and feel utilitarian, though it’s sneaky that way. These are high-tech rolling machines. Thirty-two double-butted spokes. Golden aluminum nipples. Campagnolo Record hubs.

Those hubs. Again with the much-diminished form, compared to the 1994 version. My Cloud Bike has chrome hubs with high flanges and parabolic flare – grease ports in the middle and the classic Campy QR skewers. The modern version is black and straight and finely tuned. Internal sealed bearings obviate the need for a grease port. Any effort to improve on the beauty or the utility of the classic quick-release design would be ill-advised at best and impossible at worst. The newer model is black, hollow and without the knurled edges. It’s not as pretty. I presume it’s lighter and stronger, but I don’t know. It cannot be lighter and stronger enough to make up for the loss in style and panache.

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Modern hubs require little to no maintenance and offer straightforward adjustment. What tuning may be needed is facilitated by a range of fine adjustments possible with the new, plain and more advanced version.

“When the wheel has been in use it may be necessary to adjust the tolerance of the axle movement with respect to the bearings rolling in the cups and cones of the hub. To check whether the adjustment is necessary, hold the rim with one hand, and with the other move the axle to identify if the tolerance is too loose or tight.” So says the official technical manual on the topic of Campagnolo wheel hub adjustment. Look for yourself at the thing itself in all its inscrutable Italian-to-English product literature.

At right around a thousand miles on these wheels now, the hubs feel as if they are a 10-degree turn of an adjustable hub’s cone off perfection. Movement is very nearly imperceptible with the brake-engaged rocking to and fro, save for the slight click of metal on metal from too much play. These hubs are not fine-tuned the same way as the old. No longer is it a lock nut for the certain setting, but rather an adjustment ring nut.

“The indication that the adjustment ring nut will be loosened will be when the slot in the nut has a visible gap. Do not remove the screw from the adjustment ring nut,” goes the tough read.

But who wants to read when you can ride?

Frame:  1070 grams

Fork:  410

Seatpost:  193

Saddle:  540

Headset:  85

Stem:  155

Handlebars:  269

Levers:  350

Cables and housing:  354

Brakes:  623

Bottom Bracket Cups:  29

Cranks:  585

Chain:  256

Cassette:  292

Rear hub:  293

Front derailleur:  76

Front hub:  116

Rims:  450

Spokes/nipples:  413

Tires:  560

Tubes:  140

Running total:  7442 grams, 16.4068016 pounds