Friday, May 20, 2005

Getting My Bearings

My Phil Wood front hub came back today. I bought a set of Phil sealed bearing hubs in 1977 and used them on my Motobecane. I built the wheels myself and rode them for about five years. In recent years, five years of riding wouldn't add up to much, but I was young and rode more then.

I built new wheels for that bike, with clincher tires rather than sew-ups, took apart my Phil wheels and the hubs sat around in boxes for all these years. A buddy of mine sent my rear hub off for servicing several years ago but I couldn't find the front one at the time. I later found it, and in early May sent it and $45 to Phil Wood in San Jose for new bearings. About two weeks later, it's back!

Man, it's smooth. Phil Wood is one of those companies I just really admire. Whatever they make, Phil makes the best there is. I also like their motto: "Build it strong. Keep it simple. Make it work." When I ordered my Atlantis I got it with the Phil stainless steel bottom bracket. Now I'll be able to build up a Phil-hub front wheel with a hub I bought 28 years ago and it will yield nothing to current hubs, except maybe serviceability. The current hubs are field-serviceable; the old ones, like mine, weren't.

It's silly to think so much about a stupid hub, but one of the cool things about bikes is how intentional you can be about how they go together. You can make every component choice for as detailed a rationale as you like (and you can spent a ton of money if you so choose) and the bike reflects those choices, your reasoning and you. Or, you can buy used or off-the-shelf and never think about the stuff as long as it works. Either way is valid, either way is fun.

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