Paul WORD Fixed Disc Hub
Reviewed by: Bill Blandford ... Elkridge, Maryland, USA
Paul WORD Fixed Disc Hub
650b Velocity Blunt
Colors: Black, Silver, Celeste, White, Red, Anti-Freeze Green, Popsicle Purple, Yellow, Teak,Orange, Electric Blue, and many more (Silver tested)
THE REST OF THE MATERIALS:
Eighth Inch Cog - 19T 3/32"
I've been riding fixed gear off road since the FGG listings were still in the triple digits
Since then I've been resorting to various creative ways of getting a fixed gear hub to fit 135mm frame dropout spacing. To accomplish this, I've JB Welded cassette freehub bodies and/or used 6 bolt disc hubs with Boone/Kogswell/Tomi/ and VeloSolo cogs to get my fixes rolling off road.
Recently, Paul Components posted this WORD Fixed ad in DirtRag. Until then, I'd never seen a hub that allowed you to run a traditional fixed cog and disc rotor at the same time.
Way back in the day, I used to ride a first generation Paul WORD hub on my 1999 Bianchi B@SS. To this day, it's still spinning strong on my wife's single speed. The only service it ever needed was a drive side sealed cartridge bearing replacement after 10 years of use!
As I'm typing this, I see the the header slogan on Paul's website that says, "nice parts since 1989," and it's true; there's not one part that Paul makes that I wouldn't like to have.
For those reasons alone, I decided to give the Fixed WORD a try.
Here's the skinny on the WORD from Paul's Hubs page:
The Wacky One-speed Rear Device (just call it WORD) was the first single speed mountain bike hub to hit the market. It builds up strong and dishless with widely spaced flanges, and the knurled brass washers hold tight in the dropouts. WORD up.
WORD The Fixed/Disk WORD hub is just like the Disk WORD, except we've cut fixed gear cog and lockring threads into the drive side of the hub shell instead of the traditional freewheel threading.
When it came to choosing a rim, of course Velocity came to mind first. Who doesn't love Deep V's and the countless other Velocity offerings made on the island continent?
I want a 650b rim because my Surly 1X1 26" frame can accommodate a 650b X 2.3 tire with plenty of clearance,
Now, I'll be the first kid on the block with a fixie B9er. Why run bigger wheels than the Surly 1X1 is spec'ed for?
There aren't that many 650b offerings on the market that look suitable for off-road use. The Velocity Blunt is a disc-only, wide stance, shallow V rim. Wider = stronger, maybe.
Regardless, I like the idea of a wider footprint that could let my 2.35" Nevegal tire hold more volume and round out more than the former Alex XD Lite 650b rim I'd been riding on my freewheel setup. Some folks appreciate the Blunt rim decals too, but I am neither confirming nor denying that I know what 420 means.
The Blunt rim profile is also available in 700c and 26" rim sizes.
So there's the rationale. Let's twist one up and hit on a
Fixed Gear Gallery arranged for both the Blunt and the WORD to be shipped directly to me. Packaging was smart for both and everything arrived shiny and without scratches or blemishes and there was a heroes' welcome when the unboxing occurred.
So first the Blunt rim...Decals were applied neatly and straight. ;Hole drilling looks clean and Velocity's Aussie rim plant meets expectations again.
On my cheesy $12 Amazon.com digital scale the Blunt came in at 490g--about 40g more than Velocity's claimed weight;-( On the other hand, the seam looks like a good clean weld.
And the word on the WORD hub.... Nice box.
sheet was included.
Beautiful bolt-on axle with beefy brass washers and deep stainless steel 6mm Allen wrench bolts. Deep lockring threads and a super-beefy stainless heavy duty lockring (included) stood right out. The craftsmanship at the axle/bearing adjustment ring is also real purty.
Weights taken on the cheesy scale were on par with claimed weights....
Also got some DT Swiss butted spokes and alloy nipples from Ebay for the build, sista.;It's been over a decade since I've used anything but 14G straight spokes and brass nipples, but I wanted this wheel done blingy and light. Hopefully the nipples won't start failing after 1,000 miles.
LET'S GET BUILDING.....
A little spokeprep is always in order....
Trailing spokes-drive side...
Almost done lacing..
All trued up. When you give this wheel a spin in the stand it will spin forever. All Paul hubs use press in high-fill Enduro style cartridge bearings.Minutes go by when you wait from IT to stop spinning and IT always stops with the weld at 6'oclock. When you hold the axle ends in your fingertips and give IT a spin you can't feel any bearing friction transfered from the axle to your fingers at all. This high precision unit rolls like melted butter!
See the Paul logo thru the valve hole? Oh, yeah!
Gorilla tAPE works excellent for rim tape;-)
EighthInch 19T 3/32" cog seals the deal.
The finished product comes in at exactly 1000g. That's a full 400g lighter than the 650b wheel I'm pulling off the Surly .... the Atomlab Pimp 9sp is Hub--HEAVY!!!!
Lastly, I mount the 160mm disc rotor and a tire. A used Kenda Nevegal DTC 27.5" X 2.35" is the test tire of choice. The Nevegal has already proven itself to be my all time favorite tire.
I also drill the valve hole to Schrader-size and am running a 26"X1.75-2.1" Schrader tube. Schrader is more reliable when stretching a 26" tube to 27.5" because it doesn't fail as easily at the valve as Presta tubes do.
Next, I mount the wheel on the Surly 1X1. I have to leave my Surly Tuggut on the workbench because it's not compatible with the WORD's brass washers;-(
A caveat to going with a Paul bolt-on hub, is that you need to forget about running a tug-nut for easier chain tensioning and slippage prevention. This is because the outer half of the washers have to sit flush with the outer frame dropouts so that the inner half of the washers can act as the axle-to-frame point of contact. If you tried to run a tug-nut with the supplied brass washers, the washer would pull to far away to rest in the frame dropout as designed.
I'm reasonably sure that a viable workaround to using a tug-nut with the Paul WORD hub exists. Installing an available long bolt ($15/pr) with deeper stainless steel washers (intended for frames with 10mm dropouts) looks to me like it would preserve the inner washer's axle-to-frame point of contact. Reaming the hole in your tug-nut with a drill and/or grinding some material from the long washer may be necessary to fit a particular setup.
Even though I prefer to have a tug-nut on my single speeders, leaving it off wasn't a huge issue for me. I never had a problem with slippage on my 1999 WORD hub and don't expect it from the new hub either. After snugging up the stock bolts with brass washers in the Surly's dropout's I'm confident it'll hold fast and tight. A test spin around the backyard confirms that all is tight and true. WORD!
So let's fire up the Blunton the trail and try >some big hits
The Ride: As soon as I threw a leg over the frame I noticed the difference that shaving 400g from a wheel can make. Acceleration was jumpier and skipping-skidding was way easier to initiate.
In the strength department the new wheel has held up admirably for 8 rides at around 100 total miles. I rode at about 32psi during the entire test period, and; tried to beat the wheel up on hardcore local log trails and rock gardens. The rim is still true as an arrow. I wish that I'd cased the rear end hard enough to pinch flat so I could testify to how soft or hard the rim material is, but that's not happened yet. Perhaps the wider stance rim let's me get away with this wanton abuse.
In the traction department I think I can tell a wider-footprint difference due to the wide rim stance. The hub still spins like butter and there's no play whatsoever in the axle. The bolts and washers did not slip a bit during the entire test period.
The rest of the bike's particulars for those interested are....Surly 1X1 19" Frame and Fork, 29in front wheel w/ Maxxis Ignitor 2.1, Mary Bar, Avid BB7's on 160mm rotors, SRAM Rucktion 175mm SS Crank, 32T steel chainring, Alloy Bashring, Howitzer BB, KMC 3/32" Z-Chain, Shimano XT SPD's
OK, what's it like having a disky fixie, you ask? Well, lemme tell you a little story...
I've never ridden brakeless on a fixie (Please, I have 4 kids and a mortgage). But every fixed gear bicycle I've ever owned, whether mountain or road, has had "frontsies only" in the brakes department. I never saw a need for rear braking. After all, 90% of your stopping power is in the front brake, right Sheldon? And, locking up your rear in a fixie skid (this is especially easy off-road) gives you a second option for stopping and/or scrubbing speed.
Then one day, I read this
nonsense and was curious
to see if a rear brake could make off road fixing different, and
somehow better, than I'd been used to.
I began to think that that I'd like to try to run a thread-on freewheel on this hub, since fixie cog threads are the same as BMX freewheel threads. I procured a 19T ACS Crossfire freewheel and tried to install it. But guess what?
The lockring threads on the Fixie WORD hub are extra deep for the beefy included heavy duty lockring and the ACS Crossfire threads are too shallow to give purchase all the way to the hub flange. Curses!I can't run the new 19T freewheel I just bought on this hub without fear of stripping it out in the first 1/2 mile;-( An older ACS Claws or Shimano MX freewheel will thread on all the way to the hub flange, but neither are currently available in 19T. Moreover,I'm not confident that there's enough cog threads on the WORD to prevent stripping from unintended BMX freewheel usage.
So I don't care for rear fixie disky and I can't swap the cog for a BMX freewheel...where does that leave me? Still in a pretty nice spot, I think. I've got a strong, nimble, and blingy dedicated fixie 650b wheel that will hold up for years to come. In the options department I can give disc rotor another try someday or I can make her into a fixed-fixed flip flop wheel by mounting a VeloSolo cog on the disc side.
Paul Components Disk WORD Fixed Hub:
Don't buy this hub if:
Velocity Blunt Rim:
Don't buy this Rim if:
Your pal Bill.