27 May, 2010

Needle Bearing Headset

A few of you have asked about the upcoming VO needle bearing headset. I thought you might like to see this neat drawing:


I'm also kicking around the idea of a roller bearing bottom bracket.

We just received the final prototype of the Grand Cru high-low hub. We were going to use an alloy cassette body, but I changed it to chromo. It's just more practical and durable.

Some, but not all, versions of the VO-Maxi  hubs are in production, or very close.

30 comments:

redvic said...

thanks for this - i'll have the drawing sent off to my manufacturer in china to make my own...

Anonymous said...

can't wait to try this on my shimmy-prone Bstone...

DS

Anonymous said...

Redvic, Good plan. Just include a $20,000 check for tooling. And don't forget to pencil in all the dimensions and specs. You might also want to drop by the factory to check up on quality.

Many of those Chinese "factories" listed in Alibaba exist only in some agent's imagination. But not to worry, once he has your deposit, he'll probably find someone to make something that looks a little like the drawing, or he might not.

Anonymous said...

Looks great, I hope you'll do threadless, too! And 9/8"?

Jim G said...

Yes please do make 8/8" and 9/8" threadless versions!!!

F said...

Glad you spec'd cromo freehub bodies! Makes much more sense.

William said...

I'd love to see pictures/details on the hub(s). Very exciting.

Garth said...

wow, congratulations- looks like a good Stronglight A9 replacement. I like that stripe with the Velo-Orange script. Very nice.

I also like the idea of the roller bearing bottom bracket. I really look forward to your hubs.

Amani576 said...

A roller bearing BB is VERY intriguing. I would definitely like to see that.

Fred Blasdel said...

The Miche Primato is available in 8/8" threaded and threadless with needle bearings for ~$30

There are now several 9/8" threadless needle bearing headsets in production: the Stronglight Headstrong and this asian OEM model, both ~$50.

Anonymous said...

This is completely off-topic, but has VO ever considered producing freewheels? The only real nice ones that are high quality and look good (the Shimanos w/the black large cog are hideous...) are IRD. But their range is limited as well as being a bit spendy.

VO seems to have a genius for both building upon proven designs as well as cutting costs. Me, I'd kill for a 12/26 or 12/28 high quality 7 speed freewheel...

Well, I guess maybe this is on topic, as isn't the Maxi-VO hub going to be available in a freewheel configuration?

Anonymous said...

looks like a significantly different design than the Stronglight, which used the steel "race" inserts, which in my experience often caused problems, since they were pretty flimsy (but replaceable).

This might be better, though I'd have to get a better picture how the bearings and load surface interface.

mw

Chris Kulczycki said...

The VO-Maxi hubs will be offered in traditional freewheel and cassette versions. There will also be a similar flip-flop hub. BTW, it probably won't actually be called the "VO-Maxi"; we're still thinking of a name.

The reason that we're not doing multi-speed freewheels is that none of the factories we work with have experience with high-end freewheels. I like to choose a factory that has made a similar product in the past. For example, our headsets are made in a factory that makes headsets for several companies, so there is a lot of institutional experience there.

7sp said...

Are you seriously putting that VO crest on the pressed-in part of the lower race? I think I would rather pay $1 less and leave it off.

Otherwise a commendable initiative.

Anonymous said...

Is there an increased possibility of a dangerous inadvertant needle stick when using needle bearings ?

I guess it might only be a problem when installing or maintaining the thing, but like many people I have a fear of needles. I have had it since I was a child.

And if it ever needs replacement bearings, do you know if the ones at my local needle exchange program will be the same size ?

Anonymous said...

And I'd pay more for it if it didn't have the branding on the upper cup. How about something discreet on the locknut, just like in the good old days..?

howtostretch said...

I like needle bearing headsets. I have had a few Stronglights, they disappeared on the bike and never thought about them at all. My 23 year old Fisher mountain bike has a needle bearing Odyssey. I put it on, never touched it except for one adjustment. I think that was in 93.
That said, I had a roller bearing Galli bb on my Marinoni for a bit. While neat in concept, it was very heavy and not the best use of needle bearings. Hard to adjust. Perhaps it was the bb, or maybe due to the bearings, don't know.

Anonymous said...

also,

good call on the steel cassette body. always do this.

I have a very expensive pair of dt swiss hubs with an alloy body which you should see. It is really depressing.

best,
mw

robatsu said...

I'd be delighted to see VO make a foray into multi-speed freewheels and would worship the ground they walk on were they to do this.

I had one of the early IRDs, supposedly problem-prone, but it did ok for me. Today, I installed a new, supposedly non-problem prone, Mark III and it made some sort of horrendous grinding sound when freewheeling. I'm extremely chagrined at the moment....

For a top quality freewheel that would last like old Suntours, I'd pay $100+, that is what people pay these days for cassettes and is what the price point is getting to be on ebay for NOS Dura Ace, etc.

Ben Notgeil said...

Maxi is not a good name to use unless it was used as a prefix or root of a better name like maxicar. With maxi dandling on the end of VO maxi it is likely to be associated with maxipads. I bet the 4 door mini isn't going to be named after the morris maxi for the same reason. Have you considered maxivo? Maybe not. That sounds like the name of a chinese copy of a japanese water fountain toilet.

Anonymous said...

SKF currently makes a high-quality roller-bearing BB. Not in French-thread, I guess, but in BSC and Italian, in many lengths.

Stejdor said...

I've a Miche needle roller headset on a single speed bike and it's OK. But the XTR needle roller BB in my Gary Fisher MTB failed completely after 18 months use. I replaced it with an XT unit which has run OK for 3 or 4 years now. Personally I wouldn't bother with a roller BB again...ever.

Anonymous said...

anon 4:58 said: 'discrete logo-ing like in the old days'.
I seem to remember Campag, Galli, Stronglight, etc all had logo-ed headset cups or pantographing in pretty basic font types.

Back in the day, the logo-ing of product was just as prevalent. Any other memory is just wishful thinking, revisionist history, or both.

Anonymous said...

I still want to know what makes the Maxi hubs Maxi? Are they close copies of MaxiCars? I hope!

I also hope you have a model with a nice, super-high flange.

Rick @ Bicycle Fixation said...

Well, my cheap little needle bearing Miche headset has gone close to 20,000 miles so far--knock wood--did adjust it once. Rattling over shattered LA streets for the most part. I oughta re-grease it one of these days....

Needle bearing headsets are wonderful, and I'm glad V-O is expanding our range of choices.

Looking forward to seeing the V-O flipflop hub too!

mander said...

I like the cut of your jib Anonymous 3:35.

Garth said...

I think the logo is very tastefully done and should stay. It's boring to have a bicycle with no labels- it's actually quite useful that there is identification on parts.

Uncle Ankle said...

I know this general idea has been suggested before, but since we're on the topic I'll rehash:

I'd like a shortened (35 mm) Shimano compatible freehub body to convert a 135 OLD hub into a dishless 130 OLD 5/6 speed hub.

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Looking forward to a quality replacement for the old A9 standard!! And I'm partial to the logo. Is the stack height the same as the stronglight? Keep up the most excellent work!

Joshua said...

On the other end of the headset spectrum, howzabout a non-ugly (i.e., not black plastic) looking version of the Shimano HP-NX10, the Nexus-series locking headset, like the Torker bikes have? Certainly would make loading a porteur rack easier!

Okay, I'm (only half) kidding.

Excited to see a new needle bearing headset offering.