Saturday, January 2, 2010

FH-M650

My resolution to sell stuff I don't need is still very much in place. But nowhere did I resolve not to buy anything. Today I purchased two NOS sets of Shimano Deore DX f/r hubs, for $25/set.

I love Shimano stuff from the late 80s and early 90s. For one thing, it often looks nice. Some groups are painted grey, true. But some (Santé) are painted white! And the rest have that most desirable of finishes: clear anodizing, which combines the shine of polished non-anodized aluminum with the durability of their usually dull anodized counterparts. These hubs have that finish. (The rest of this mountain bike group isn't anything too special, though those cranks aren't bad, and the derailleur is pretty nice).

And technologically, 80s/90s Shimano stuff it's exactly where you want to be. Reliable indexed shifting is available, freehubs are in, Hyperglide is not yet universal (immediate Uniglide shifting is available!), nice aero brake levers have arrived, and nice-quality 7-speed is still available. These hubs mix numerous incredibly desirable features. They are spaced at 135mm in the rear, yet are designed for 6/7 speed—so low dish. And they will accept Hyperglide or Uniglide cassettes. It's hard to imagine a better set of hubs. And they're $25! And the skewers are nice!

One set (or rather, the rear hub—with my "obsolete" SON28 in front) will be used on my forthcoming city bike. The other, perhaps, will find its way on to a customer's bike some day!

Update: I have so convinced myself by writing this post that I'm seriously considering using the second rear hub on Clive. The spacing is right, 6spd Uniglide cassettes (good for friction shifting) are available, and I could certainly sell my Phil Wood "Riv" hub for more than $25. Perhaps I should prepare to un-build my second wheel...

Also, the cool photo above is from Mombat.org.

7 comments:

Seanmac said...

I have a Trek 520 from approximately 1991 that has these components.

I'm in the process of taking the bike apart and cleaning everything up - so I've gotten up close and personal with the bits and pieces. Your comments mirror my thinking - nice quality components, nothing too fancy, but fancy enough - and reliable. That seems like a good combination to me!

AH said...

... and I bet all that 1991 stuff still works well, and is easy to clean. I worked at the campus bike co-op last year, and was really impressed by well-used bikes with Exage and RX100 groups that came in filthy but still indexing perfectly. With new housing, the braking systems also worked really well. The cheap stuff seems as good as the expensive stuff, and sometimes even includes useful features the expensive stuff doesn't have—like the quick-release tabs on Exage aero brake levers.

Michael S said...

But that Phil hub just rolls and looks so nice...

ford said...

Hi Adam,
I'm taking the Fattic course in early February, and am curious if you have any transit advice for getting there. I'm coming in from Peterborough. Do you take a bus to Windsor?
Cheers,
Clifford

AH said...

Michael: Your arguments will likely be the deciding ones! I'm too curious about the Phil hub not to use it. Will its super narrow flange spacing have any downside? If not, it's truly genius. And yes, very nice looking... and it will look nice on the bike.

Ford: I took the train to Windsor and the train from Detroit to Niles. But you need to somehow get from Windsor to Detroit, which isn't easy! Imagine how lucky I was: off all the places on earth, one of my classmates was from Windsor. He picked me up and drove me across the border.

Michael S said...

My rear hub is a 36H laced to a CR18, so it's pretty heavy duty. I weigh about 195 right now, and I've ridden it almost 2k miles, and it's perfectly true.

My rear hub is special order 130mm spaced, so there is some dish.

AH said...

Sounds promising! I'm absolutely DYING to try this hub (and everything else) out. Now that I have shop access I'm going to make the little alterations to the frame that I want to make myself -- and then have it painted ASAP. Maybe another month before I start the (also lengthy) job of building it up...