Eurobike 2017: Syntace Aim For 10 Year Hub Service Interval

September 8, 2017

Before we get onto wheels and hubs, look! A new stem/bar standard:

Eurobike 2017 - Syntace
It’s a 100mm clamp, which should be able to support a four metre handlebar.

Just kidding.

Syntace had three completely new sets of wheels on show at Eurobike, all with their new hubs. Like everything else Syntace make, the hubs have a ten year guarantee, and not just that: while they’re not quite there yet, they have a goal of achieving a hub design that will run for ten years before needing any servicing or replacement parts.

Let’s dig into those hubs before looking at the new wheels. Here’s an engineering cutaway of one:

Eurobike 2017 - Syntace

The freehub is redesigned, and has 45 points of engagement. As is, it’s also very noisy, which some riders really like, but because some don’t they’re producing a silencing kit for it too. Near each end of the hub shell, you can see a U-shaped section; this is an air gap between the dual hub seals. With their last hubs, they found the seals being close together could create a capillary action that drew small amounts of water slowly into the hub. Not something that would break a hub quickly by any means, but they’ve put the seal gap in to eliminate it.

Eurobike 2017 - Syntace

At each end are end caps with index markings on them, used for precisely preloading the bearings. The whole hub can also be dismantled and serviced without special tools.

If you happen to watch any metalworkers on YouTube, you might be familiar with some of the patter like “tight interference fit”, meaning “they’ll fit if you force it” – not so with Syntace’s hubs, they’re machining them to tolerances that mean you should be able to remove and install the bearings without much force at all.

You might also notice the freehub says American Classic:

Eurobike 2017 - Syntace

It’s not in fact an American Classic freehub, but they do have a patent on those steel inserts, designed to stop cassettes from chewing the aluminium freehub body up. Syntace and American Classic have made a reciprocal patent agreement allowing Syntace to use the inserts with A.C. branding on them.

Like all of Syntace’s gear, these hubs come with a ten year guarantee that’s transferrable between owners – so even if you buy on second hand, Syntace will have your back. What they’re working towards, and aren’t quite at yet, is a hub with a ten year service interval. You didn’t misread that; at present, they’re trying to design hubs you can put on a mountain bike and ride through filth for ten years without needing to dismantle or change bearings. They didn’t quote a service interval on these hubs, but they’re a a step towards it.

Michael from Liteville kindly talked us through the new hubs using the cutaway:

(Can’t see the video? Here’s a link).

Syntace showed a lot of confidence in their 10 year guarantee. They test things for years before showing or talking about them in public, and once they release something, they’re certain they got it right. They said that once product goes out of the door, they see very little of it come back, ever.

Eurobike 2017 - Syntace
The C33i is a new carbon fibre rim from Syntace.

They were showing new wheelsets built around these hubs, including, for the first time ever, carbon wheels. The C33i has an internal width of 33mm, and like all of Syntace;’s new rims, has enlarged holes above the spokes to make them even lighter. Inside are Alpina nyloc nipples.

Eurobike 2017 - Syntace
While the weave is visible on the inside of the rim, the exterior is a slick black.
Eurobike 2017 - Syntace
Inside the large spoke holes, you can see nyloc spoke nipples.

Michael and Ben from Syntace said they’ve been testing these carbon wheels around Lake Garda at 13PSI, and are yet to break one. That’s not just the two of them; they have them installed on a test fleet of twenty hire bikes that get taken up into the hills by all sorts of riders, who after a season are also, apparently, yet to break any of them.

As well as that, they launched two new aluminium wheelsets, the W33i and the W40i. Like the carbon wheels these too have enlarge spoke holes, nyloc spoke nipples, the new Syntace hubs, and you can probably guess the inner widths.

Eurobike 2017 - Syntace
The W33i is an alloy wheelset in line with current industry trends.
Eurobike 2017 - Syntace
It’s still plenty wide by the rims we’ve been used to until now. All of Syntace’s new wheels are designed for 2.5″ – 3.0″ tyres.

If you read about Syntace’s 301 MK14 earlier, you’ll know about the new Evo6 chainline Syntace are building into bikes and hubs. It still uses a standard hub width, but the way they’re designed means the wheels need almost no dish and equal spoke tension when paired with a Liteville frame. That’s not the case for any other frame, so they’ll be selling their wheelsets with two different dish options depending on what you’re buying them for.

Eurobike 2017 - Syntace
The W40i is designed to give much more tyre support and volume.
Eurobike 2017 - Syntace
Here you can see the enlarged spoke holes, which cut the weight a little further.

On the subject of wide wheels, Michael said that years ago, he used to get laughed at by his Yorkshire mountain bike club for running 40mm rims with non-fatbike tyres. He seems very happy to see the bike industry catching on.

Eurobike 2017 - Syntace
All of Syntace’s new wheelsets come with their new hubs.
Eurobike 2017 - Syntace
Here’s a cutaway of their Titan flat pedal. The small brass plug you can see near the top has an inner end cap bolt above it, which you can use to tune exactly how freely the pedal spin.

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