Williams Racing Products Release New CentreHub Decoupling Spider

Sep 21, 2021
by Henry Quinney  
The CentreHub, installed on Shimano XT crankset.

The best thing about the bike industry is the people with a passion. For me, it’s about the riders creating solutions to the problems they come across while riding their own bike, experiencing it for themselves.

Mic Williams, of Williams Racing Products, is one of these industry figures. A BMX rider who came to mountain biking a little later than some, that clearly didn’t hold him back and he quickly progressed to racing World Cup DH for several seasons as a privateer. What it did mean, however, is that Mic saw some of the foibles of the modern mountain bike with a slightly detached objectivity. Soon after getting on a mountain bike, he was already designing parts for them. One of the first things he created was the CentreHub. In fact, when he finished his degree in 2017, he actually included the component as part of his engineering thesis.

Since starting WRP, Mic has started making anything from dropouts and linkages to skid plates, should you want to incorporate BMX style tricks into your downhill riding. WRP also, rather interestingly, makes custom stems. If you tell them your desired dimensions they’ll make it for you.

The device is meant for any type of bike, but will probably be best suited to the needs of downhill and enduro riders.

So, What Does it Do?

The device is essentially a slipper clutch but for your mountain bike. It swaps out with the spider on your cranks and helps decouple the drivetrain forces from your pedals. This will matter on some suspension designs more than others.

As the bike goes through its travel the rear center elongates and adds tension to the chain. Then, as we brake, where the suspension may squat a little, it can also pull on the chainring, and therefore our feet. A device on the cranks such as this is designed to remove the interference of the suspension forces on the drivetrain. Yes, your rear center will still grow but thanks to the one-way bearing in the crank, it will just rotate the chainring and without rotating the crank arms themselves.

This, of course, isn’t the only way to achieve this. You might have seen racers file down or remove one of their cassette sprockets. This “neutral gear” delivers a very similar result, however, it also runs the risk of you accidentally engaging that gear as you begin to pedal which could end rather badly.

But maybe the idea of a neutral gear is somewhat applicable here too as this device will let you change gear at any time without the need to be pedaling. This means that even when hard on the brakes or going into a turn and realising you're in the wrong gear you can easily change gear without having to move your feet. For people that ride janky, technical or undulating trails, a device like this could prove very useful.

A complete setup ready to bolt on and go. A SRAM direct mount spacer installed with a 104 BCD spider. DT Swiss lockout rings are also available for an ultra-clean look.

How Does it Work?

The WRP CenterHub is a completely modular design that is adaptable to most direct mount cranksets. If they have a removable spider then the chances are that the device will fit.

The device is made up of a spider, a one-way bearing and a crank adaptor. The interchangeable and adjustable spider is held in location via a patented pinch-bolt securing mechanism and is made from 6061-T6 aluminum. The replaceable direct mount adaptors vary to fit almost any crankset on the market. They are held in place by a patented blind-wedge system that uses a 3D printed titanium piece. The device weighs 309 grams. It also enables you to adjust your chainline as needed, so it will carry between bikes well.

The crank adaptor is 3D printed titanium and is the only piece you would need to replace if you swapped to a different crank setup.

Thanks to the one-way bearing, the CentreHub offers instant engagement and near zero rolling resistance. It also runs totally silent. In terms of durability, Mic explained that he's had a device on one of his bikes for nearly two years without any issue.


The simple device is easily serviceable and swapping out any needed parts should be very easy.

Pricing and Availability

Mic, by his own admission, doesn’t have his sights set on world domination. Instead, he is looking to do small runs, selling to similarly passionate riders, and keep all production in Australia. The consequence of this is that the device isn’t particularly cheap, admittedly, but that is so often the way with locally made specialty equipment.

Pre-orders are now open and the device will cost $1,199 AUD. WRP are aiming for an end of 2021 shipment of the first orders.

To keep tabs on WRP follow their instagram or sign up for any updates via their website.


188 Comments

  • 94 11
 How is this different to the O-Chain which is like half the price? (I totally didn't read the article yet, just came here to complain immediately)
  • 37 1
 It's not ochain, it's HXR easy shift. This press release is not very informative, but their site states that's just a crank freewheel and must be used with a locked rear hub, just like the intend rocksteady (which is an HXR ripoff for 2x the price).
  • 9 26
flag onlyDH (Sep 21, 2021 at 13:19) (Below Threshold)
 Def buy the ochain instead
  • 3 4
 Anyway, most probably ochain is little better because all those crank freewheels use a derailleur cage co compensate for both upper and lower chain growth (chain is spinning all the time, so it is pulled from beneath and pushed onto the upper section, if the upper section needs to get longer, the lower section will compensate causing the derailleur cage to move). Now if you happen to have a derailleur with a clutch this movement is far from being free. So ochain has a slight advantage here, also you can use oval rings with ochain, but not on cranks with freewheel. On the other side ochain has a hole in engagement and those cranks do not.
  • 9 0
 No its quite different of an idea yet it adresses the same problem. The o-chain flexes as much as the chain grows via elastomers. Whilst this device seems to more or less put the freehub on your crank.
  • 10 1
 @onlyDH: What you don't know is, ochain requires/suggest monthly maintenance and it's a booger taking it apart and putting it back together. it's a great product, but does need your time and attention. the centre hub is totally different and also will need no maintenance.
  • 2 1
 @lkubica: Can it change gear while pedaling backwards?
Yes you can use a oval chain ring on an E-bike, but takes a bit of get used to!
  • 2 0
 @diggerandrider: I have an ochain. I wouldn’t exactly call it difficult to take apart
  • 6 0
 This is nothing like an O-chain. O-chain is equivalent to a cush-drive hub on a motorcycle, using lash and compliance to reduce torsional vibration being transmitted, in this case to the pedals. WRP's design is two things, a sprag clutch freewheel (like an Onyx hub), and a relocated freewheel (moved to bottom bracket, like Shimano FFS/HXR easyshift).
  • 2 5
 The Ochain is like having a really low engagement hub (more complicated than that, since the low engagement comes from the font, not the rear). I haven't ridden one, but I'm guessing they aren't the most fun to pedal if you have a quarter turn of the cranks before you can put the power down.

This thing will feel normal to pedal, but should provide the same benefits as Ochain if you're moving forward at a decent clip.
  • 4 0
 @lkubica: Not a ripoff - front freewheels have been around in trials bikes for quite a while and Shimano had their FFS (front freewheel system) already back in the 70s. Rumor has it that the FFS was invented because a number of new cyclists of the bike boom era couldn't understand that you need to pedal during shifts for the derailleur to work, and they were complaining their bikes were "broken", so the solution was to slap a freewheel on the cranks to allow for shifting while coasting.

Andrew Major of NSMB wrote about another freewheel spider that Rocky Mountain developed for an ebike. It's an interesting read as his articles always are. nsmb.com/articles/reinventing-and-moving-freewheel
  • 2 0
 @letsgethurt: yeah, I know, Intend pricing just never cease to astonish me and I got a bit mean.
Anyway, I would love to try one but cannot afford spending so much cash on something which very likely will turn out as having no sense. Somehow the idea of chain spinning all the time bothers me Wink
  • 6 0
 @letsgethurt: forgot about that article. at a glance it appears rocky's spider clutch is more or less the same product - at ~1/10 the price? www.ridewill.it/p/en/rocky-mountain-rmgrfc-spider-clutch-race-face-for-powerplay-models/777500
  • 71 3
 A spider, a one-way bearing and a crank adaptor.

For AUD$1199.

Um. Ok then.
  • 27 1
 Sounded great until that part. Blew me away when I saw that price.
  • 13 0
 3D Printed titanium tho!! It's expensive because science!!
  • 97 0
 Aren't spiders free in Australia?
  • 3 0
 @pyromaniac: Yes, free and very deadly!
  • 1 1
 You can also buy a little piece of metal with some bearings in it to make an Enduro into a mullet for about $400. May as well just put both in the basket. It's only money.
  • 39 2
 How can this press release overlook the fact that it requires a locked out rear hub?
  • 8 0
 There's an article from a few weeks ago with Intend's Rocksteady crank. They zip-tie the cassette to a pair of spokes with a traditional cassette. So you should be able to run a standard wheelset with these cranks in the same fashion. Article:

m.pinkbike.com/news/day-3-randoms-eurobike-2021.html
  • 23 3
 @lncorgnito: I just ride my bike. Don't worry about shit like this.
  • 2 5
 Early morning coffee didn't help me. Locked out rear hub will be always pushing the chain onto chainring, when you're not pedalling it'll make clutchbearing to disengage. But when you will want to start pedalling you'll have to pretty quickly spin the crankspindle in order to engage the clutch. This seems to me very weird.
Why didn't they put standard rear hub (with freewheeling on)?
  • 4 0
 @fluider: if the rear hub freewheels, it won't drive the chain forward, which in turn won't activate the device described in this article.
  • 36 0
 That's USD$867 for you lazy folks.
  • 2 0
 How much in NOK Wink
  • 4 0
 @Almostredbike: 7,528.40 NOK
  • 8 0
 oh good, 1200$ was completely unreasonable!
  • 3 0
 @darkmuncan: Still over $1000CAD!!! And here I thought a chainring by Shimano at $50 is expensive Big Grin
  • 22 2
 I must be missing something... if the one-way bearing is oriented such that you can pedal (chainring cannot rotate CCW relative to the crank arm), how is it suddenly decoupling the chainring from the crank spindle when the rear center elongates?
  • 7 1
 I don't get that claim either, it seems to not change that at all.
  • 1 3
 I imagine:

Your feet are locking the chain to move out of the way she the suspension cycles trough it's travel whilst with this design (or HXR, Intend) allows to spin the chain or slow it down trogh that movement. Even if the wheel slows down it won't affect your leveld crank position...might be very wrong but makes sense to me
  • 9 1
 The reason might have to do with the fact that, while coasting, the chain is running forward without crank motion, and the crank will only be pulled back if the rear hub moves backward faster than the upper strand of chain is moving forward. You can think of it like this: if the speed of the rear hub away from the BB during suspension compression is equal to the speed of the chain while coasting, the upper strand of chain will suddenly be immobile during that moment and it will look like the chain is unspooling from the cassette like a yo yo. In that event, there will be no pedal kickback. However, with this said, I don't know how fast rear hubs move away from BBs during suspension compression during typical bump absorption and how this speed compares to the speed of the chain during coasting. Hopefully that makes sense - I'm tired so the explanation might be off.
  • 1 0
 @DorianKane: Perhaps this is true due to gear ratio, this system would be able to lower the speed at which a given suspension movement speed would result in the chain effecting the suspension.
  • 20 0
 @cedric-eveleigh: Your thinking is spot-on. There was considerable debate about this when O-Chain launched, so I got data from the Big Two suspension tuning companies in the bike industry on the fastest realistic shock shaft speeds. I combined their data with my ~1000 chassis simulations (I do kinematics engineering for bike companies), typical front and rear sprocket ranges, typical hub driver designs, and realistic bike speeds. The summary:

• While pedaling: Kickback is essentially unavoidable. Any device that can eliminate it would cause more "weirdness" than it would prevent. The crank does not actually counter-rotate, the rate of rotation just briefly decreases then increases, before returning to normal, which feels like it went backwards.
• While coasting, wheel rotating (not skidding): It is almost impossible for any kickback to occur, let alone problematic kickback. The required ratio of impact to riding speed would apply to a trials rider, not a trails rider.
• While coasting, wheel locked (skidding): Kickback may occur. The amount of kickback will not be the full value often shown on kinematics charts, as that would require the suspension to move through 100% of the stroke and for the hub to engage precisely at the beginning of the event. Realistically, it might be a few degrees per event, depending on the hub.
  • 2 0
 @R-M-R: just being curious, how fast can these shock shaft speeds be? I would guess something between 2 and 4 m/s. I remember an article here on Pinkbike about fork shaft speeds going as high as 6 m/s, for the most aggressive riders.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: I've seen multi body simulations for the minimum speed for not having pedal kickback, and it lies around 20km/h for the lowest gear and does not play a role in the typical descending ratios (like 80km/h or so). So stuff like the ochain is only beneficial for case 3 (skidding)?
  • 2 0
 @R-M-R: ok, so probably negligible, but in theory, would a smaller 27.5” wheel with a higher rpm at the same speed as a 29” be less affected by kickback while pedalling?
  • 2 1
 you'll get the differential speeds of the chain and the tug of the suspension. Instead of the pedals going backwards, the chain will lose some speed going forwards, but will not tug the pedals.
  • 4 1
 DaneL is correct here, and all of the kickback explanations in the thread only serve to obscure the relevant comparison. The claim in the article is that this system "offers instant engagement".

If that is true, then the pedal kickback you will get with this system is likely more than the pedal kickback you will get without this system. It cannot be less. With a conventional freehub, you don't get kickback unless the elongation rate of the upper run of the chain is fast enough to cause the freehub to engage (which is a function of rear wheel rotation speed, of course). So if this system engages faster (taking into account relevant ratios) than the freehub, kickback happens more. The only way it can reduce kickback is if it takes longer to engage.
  • 2 1
 @SJP: I think you're mistaken.
  • 5 0
 @R-M-R: There's no arguing that pedal kickback is reduced as rear wheel speed increases (for the same suspension velocity, at least). What I'm trying to point out is that this product doesn't appear to provide any means of reducing pedal kickback, as they claim. Unless there's added compliance somewhere, this should behave similarly to having a sprag clutch in the freehub (like an Onyx hub). For most people, this means they'll have faster engagement than before, theoretically making pedal kickback worse.

OChain is completely different in that it adds significant compliance (maybe slop is a better word) to the system. It reduces engagement, but at the same time ensures that when you hit a bump, you always have some amount of rotation before that first engagement point. This product, on the other hand, ensures you have instant engagement, which makes pedal kickback as consistent as possible, but also as bad as possible.
  • 3 0
 @mrpfp: Notice how the wheel is being driven forward on the bike on the left? If you did this on the ground (preventing the rear wheel from turning), the cranks would rotate instead.

Edit: It actually looks like they have something holding the crank in place on the left bike. That would explain why the wheel is driven while the crank doesn't move at all.
  • 3 0
 @mrpfp: You can actually see the crank trying to move when the suspension is initially compressed. There's definitely something holding it in place.
  • 6 0
 @pads: Yes, you're exactly correct. It will always be a probabilistic distribution, with a few Josh Bender / Chris Akrigg / Danny Macaskill outliers at the extreme end, so it's a matter of where we draw the cut-off for "normal" riders. If we were to take, for example, the 95% shaft speed case for 95% of riders, we exclude the most extreme shaft speeds.

@SickEdit: It depends on the bike, as there's quite a range of chainstay growth rates. For a realistic maximum shock shaft speed (i.e. most violent impact that's likely to occur during normal riding), many bikes can completely eliminate kickback in any sprocket - even with zero hub lag - at walking speed or running speed. Some bikes and some sprocket combinations require speeds over 20 km/h, but these are for sprocket combinations typically used at about double that speed, so kickback is unlikely to occur - and I want to reiterate that even if it did occur, we're talking about the threshold of kickback with zero hub lag, not the maximum possible kickback. As you noted, OChain would be most useful for the skidding scenario; it could smooth out some pedaling kickback, but only if the spring force is high enough that your pedaling is within the sprung region (i.e. not bottomed out), which could cause more weirdness than it would prevent.

@lubb1: The smaller wheel won't necessarily help, as the rider would be using a slightly different sprocket combination to compensate for the slightly smaller wheel, and these factors offset each other. Bikes with smaller rear wheels can have slightly different suspension geometry to achieve similar kinematics due to the different amounts of BB drop, so a bike with a smaller rear wheel can be less susceptible to kickback for this reason. It's a small difference, though, and doesn't change the overall message about the kickback situation.

@DaneL: Yes, we're discussing different aspects of the same issue. You were looking at the function of the kickback reduction devices and I was addressing whether kickback even exists and, if so, whether it's a problem and, if so, whether it's solvable. As you noted, depending on the stiffness of the OChain, it can either just add more delay to the driver engagement or create an elastic feel to the drivetrain - neither of which sounds appealing, to me, which is why I say such devices add more weirdness than the prevent. Even if the Williams product manages to distinguish between pedaling inputs and suspension inputs, the best it could do would be to allow minimal engagement lag while eliminating coasting kickback (not pedaling kickback) with the rear wheel locked, since that's the only realistic situation that would produce non-trivial kickback. This situation can already be minimized by reducing skidding, choosing a bike without extremely high anti-squat, choosing a bike with a decoupled (idler) drivetrain, and/or accepting a hub with more engagement lag, making the Williams product an expensive solution to a problem that barely exists - and that assumes the product can distinguish between pedaling inputs and suspension inputs; if not, it would just shift the engagement lag from the hub to the crank or increase the lag, like the OChain. The ability to shift while coasting could be the more significant benefit for some riders, though several such devices have come to market and haven't been adopted, even in World Cup downhill racing, suggesting limited benefit to shifting while coasting.
  • 1 2
 @DaneL: the system in the video (vimeo.com/181780524) inverts what part of the drivetrain gets move upon lengthening.
in traditionals systems the wheel doesnt turn, but the cranks are forced to cause of the rear hub (on compression)
in freewheel-cranks you just invert all of that. now the cranks dont turn, but the wheel is forced to by the hub in the front. also its turning not on compression like in a traditional system, but on rebound.
  • 2 0
 @VinzenzFSR: in the video you linked they are holding the crank in place on the HXR equiped bike. If they were holding the wheel still instead the cranks would rotate backwards.
  • 16 0
 "Then, as we brake, where the suspension may squat a little, it can also pull on the chainring, and therefore our feet."

This would only happen if the suspension squatted, on the brakes, while not moving, right?

My understanding of this problem, that is being solved by devices like this, and people that say that high engagement hubs can adversely affect suspension performance, are not considering that you are actually moving when all this stuff happens, therefore it really only happens when you are basically doing drops at super low speed. I feel like I have seen an analysis of this where the person figured out that a large part of the affect on the suspension was due to all the inertia of the lower part of the chain wildly slapping around during a suspension event. That same analysis actually was able to look at when the suspension would be affected by the chain forces and if I recall it, the speeds required to have chain tension ever come into effect were around 5 mph, for the set up they were using.
  • 4 1
 If you look at slow-mo video the wheels frequently stop rotating or rotate very slowly when impacting square edge hits and drops.
  • 2 0
 @dthomp325: that would be interesting to see, I have never noticed that watching videos. If this does actually happen, then a way to decouple the top of the chain could have an effect on suspension performance. Of course this device does not seem to do that, unless it has a soft engagement, that this press release doesn't talk about, and instead refers to the instant engagement that this product features.

However, this doesn't make sense to me, because a wheel on a suspension bike, having to follow uneven ground must travel further to keep up with the main triangle of that bike. I understand that the wheel will be going slower and then faster than the rest of the bike as it goes through its travel, but not by much of a difference.
  • 1 1
 Put your bike on a stand and spin the back wheel fast. Then pull the chain down at the top, with an expensive hub it will engage. This is all you need to know to infer that the wheel can provide resistance to chain growth even at speed.

Gee Atherton doesn’t do things slowly and he bothered with this:

m.pinkbike.com/photo/17449411

Buy cheap hubs!
  • 3 1
 @Altron5000: that test seems to see how chain slap could engage a hub, not chain growth due to suspension movement.

I have not done all the research and testing, but Gee Atherton's neutral gear solution seems like it would help eliminate the chainslap, at the top and bottom sections of chain, from affecting the suspension as much/in the same way.

A low engagement hub also doesn't mean that it has to have 6,10 or more degrees of rotation to engage, it just means that it will need to rotate that much maximum to engage. Low engagement hubs feel awful in the only situation that I have ever felt pedal kickback, pedaling through really rough terrain where the freehub is disengaging sometimes when the rear suspension is rebounding. In that situation I have always felt that something like an Onyx hub would feel best, with a slightly soft engagement.
  • 2 1
 @Altron5000: the Atherton team now uses ochain. So perhaps that was an even better solution to the problem that the neutral gear was solving for.
  • 1 0
 @insertfunusername: Watch the Pinkbike huck to flat videos. Wheels frequently come to almost a complete stop on impact. You'll see the same thing when hitting rocks and roots if you find slow-mo wheel shots of trail riding too. Happens at the same time the shock is compressing.
  • 1 0
 @dthomp325: I just watched this one. m.youtube.com/watch?v=V1XYCVJt3VE
Didn't see the rear wheels slowing down during impact. Also kind of funnily, only on one, maybe 2 of the bikes did I ever see the chain above the chainstay go taught for even a moment while the suspension was compressing. This isn't the worst case scenario for pedal kickback, but kinda bad and I only saw indication that it would have happened, even a little bit, on the GG and maybe the Intense. The chain was taught only for a small fraction of the suspension compression event and then went totally slack and smashing around like it did on all the other bikes the whole time.
  • 12 0
 I dont get how this is supposed to decouple suspension feedback while braking. If it instantly engages when pedaling it wont make any difference as soon as the rear wheel is slowed down substantially or locked.
  • 9 1
 You beat me to it. He's basically just moving the freehub to the crank spindle. Unless there's some compliance added somewhere, this might actually make pedal kickback worse.
  • 2 5
 I imagine:

Your feet are locking the chain to move out of the way while the suspension cycles trough it's travel whilst with this design (or HXR, Intend) allows to spin the chain or slow it down trogh that movement. Even if the wheel slows down it won't affect your leveld crank position...might be very wrong but makes sense to me
  • 1 1
 Marketing
  • 14 0
 Should change the name to WKRP and move to Cincinnati
  • 11 1
 I feel like instead of testing how fast bikes that are designed to go downhill go uphill, pinkbike could actually do some testing to figure out whether pedal kickback actually exists.
  • 9 0
 @dan-roberts @brianpark a deep dive on driveline dynamics would make a great tech article topic/science experiment
  • 3 0
 where's Seb, calling Mr Stott.
  • 5 1
 Do a downhill run, then do it again with your chain removed. You’ll notice a difference in suspension action regardless of your bike’s platform. It exists and very noticeable on non-BB concentric suspension
  • 2 0
 @adamdigby: The thing is, removing the chain also means that your suspension movement is no longer hindered by the clutch on the rear mech or the weight of the chain bouncing, and all of these devices, and the neutral gear set-ups and so on can't get around either of those things, you'll still get chain growth, and that will still work to add an unpredictable extra amount of damping to the rear suspension.
  • 3 0
 @adamdigby: I like the idea of your test, I also propose another test though.

Do another run with a chain that is 2x as heavy and see if you feel a difference that way as well.
  • 11 0
 Guess I'm not that passionate about biking after all. Sweet product though, Mic!
  • 14 2
 Since when has pedal kickback become such an issue?
  • 5 5
 apparently the O-Chain (does same thing, already available and is cheaper) has been showing up on quite a few World Cup DH'r's bikes - Loris Vergier has been running one. So that definitely says something.
  • 21 0
 Since the MTB community got it in their heads that more POE freehubs were beneficial!
  • 4 4
 @tcmtnbikr: more POE is fine, sprag clutches are fine. People are thinking suspension is being affected by chains and not considering that you are always moving forward away from engaging the hub, no matter what you POE is. The main factor of how chains affect suspension performance, is very likely, having a foot and half of steel chain, whipping around on the bottom side of the chainstays.
  • 4 1
 @rjmogul:

IIRC, Troy Brosnan is also running one.

And yeah, I think ever since Gwinns famous chainless run, people have been thinking a LOT more about how the chain impacts the suspension than they did before.
  • 2 0
 Pretty sure Moir is running an O-chain in EWS as well
  • 1 0
 @ocnlogan: Atherton Team runs an o-chain too.
  • 2 4
 @rjmogul: Let's not forget WC riders have some of their paychecks from sponsors. Ochain is just another sponsor, and one who doesn't lock the riders in, such as Shimano or SRAM do (to name the top transmission suppliers). So it makes sense for the riders to use not just what they consider beneficial in terms of performance, but also those components which are beneficial for their wallet.
  • 4 0
 @southoftheborder: i doubt that super small company would sponser the half field.
  • 2 0
 @insertfunusername: I am not so sure about that too, im mtb we have usually a lot of lowspeed tech bits and thats when suspension matters quite a lot. Locking out the rearwheel - at least for a short period of time- also happens all the time, so these are scenarious where the freewheel will not cancel out kickback. Riding a fairly high pivot non idler bike i would really like to try an o- chain.
  • 1 0
 @optimumnotmaximum: give stuff for free to riders = sponsorship. It's not that much of an expense, and can be deducted from taxes.
  • 3 0
 @rjmogul: I think it really just says that if a WC DH rider believes something helps and it doesn't make them measurably slower, it's worth them doing it, because belief is hugely important to their performance. It doesn't prove that it actually does do something.
  • 1 0
 @RobinLaidlaw: I ve been a racer for a long time, i was never relly good but thats completly contrary to my thoughts back then (and the thoughts of my fellowracers). You always think about getting faster and not about throwing things on that dont make you slower, even if I could get those for free.
  • 3 0
 @emery033 I think it has always been an issue but previously not a big one. However, since all of the other bigger issues relating to bikes have now been fixed (geo, wheel size etc), pedal kickback has moved closer to the top of list of problems. Also high pivot bikes tend to produce greater chain growth so there is more benefit there.
  • 1 0
 Exactly its not an issue fast kids are going to be fast on anything fast pros are going to try every advantage even the snakeoil, The pinkbike comment section professionals should probably go and ride their bikes
  • 7 0
 Perhaps a disadvantage of these kind of constantly spinning drivetrains is that friction in the chain will slow the rider down while coasting. On super steep terrain, this doesn't matter, but on terrain where one isn't on the brakes much and is trying to get the most speed possible while coasting, this system would be detrimental in that it would slow the rider down.
  • 7 1
 Damn they absolutely had my attention until I got to the price. There was an article recently with basically the same idea from some French company, with a way more decent price. But some people were saying there are some disadvantages here too. Love the general idea though.
  • 1 0
 Seriously. Pedal kickback is annoying, but it is not an $876 USD problem. For that money you could really trick out your suspension with aftermarket dampers and such.
  • 7 0
 One of the Racers at Snowshoe mentioned a certain component manufacturer was not happy with racers using the o-chain. But that’s because can’t figure out how to fit a battery into a chainring yet.
  • 7 0
 Feel sorry for HXR who’ve been making the Easy Shift for ages.

Similar idea. Much cheaper.
  • 7 1
 so basically a front freewheel - which have been in use for observed trials bikes for well over a decade at a fraction of the cost.
  • 8 0
 mtb has to be the most excuse driven sport in the world
  • 2 0
 Nope that’s still motor racing
  • 1 0
 And most inflated prices
  • 7 0
 HXR easy shift, since 2015, 449 euro
  • 1 0
 Can only use they’re cranks though. This is universal between any cranks
  • 3 0
 To me, the best thing ever to counter pedal kickback has been American Classic hub. The cam actuation design allows for 5 degrees of play before freewheel engagement at all times, even when the freewheel has just clicked. They felt somewhat slow but completely eliminated the sensation of pedal kickback on most frame designs. Too bad they are not made anymore.
  • 5 0
 $867 for a fancy chainring or a complete xt drivetrain and cash leftover, the choice is yours.
  • 4 0
 I’m guessing this is geared toward a very specific group of riders. I just don’t know which one… cool idea, I just don’t want it to catch on and add unnecessary weight to my bike.
  • 4 0
 @gnarlysipes: The dentist who moonlights as a top 10 racer on the EWS.
  • 6 1
 What is a one-way bearing and why is it not used in the rear hub if it has instant engagement?
  • 10 0
 Sprag clutch, and it already is used in the onyx vesper hub.
  • 7 0
 This is basically what the Onyx, and new Box components hubs use (They use different types, but both can fall under the term/classification of "one way bearings").

And that is why they are both silent, and instant engagement.
  • 3 2
 @ocnlogan: "new" Box hub... it was one year ago.
  • 6 1
 @DatCurryGuy: That's pretty new.
  • 1 0
 Shimano had a crack at hubs with a sprag clutch like this. They did a test on some low level commuter or mtb bikes in 98-2002 ish. I test rode one it had instant engagement but the engagement felt soft when the crank engaged. Like it was a stuff rubber Cush drive. Likely is it didn’t work otherwise we’d all have it.
  • 3 0
 @NZRalphy: I remember these were a favorite of trials riders. And yeah they felt weirdly squishy and blew up pretty frequently.
  • 2 0
 @ocnlogan: the new Box hub is actually the old Stealth Components one. Box bought the design from them. They have been in the business for a very long time, but mainly in BMX. A few years ago they jumped in the MTB market and then Box got them in.
  • 4 2
 I can honestly say in all my years of riding I can’t ever recall experiencing pedal kickback…..but then again with my weight it’s not a surprise.

So there’s the answer to pedal feed back. Don’t spend money on tech. Just get fat or big, or big and fat.
  • 3 0
 The only time I have ever felt kickback is while pedalling on very rough terrain. Can definitely feel it in that condition, since the freewheel is already engaged. In extreme situations, the kickback will be enough to slow down the cranks so much, that when the rear wheel goes into the backside of the bump that caused it, the freewheel will disengage and then smash into engagement a moment later. This product would not change this phenomenon at all however, it seems.
  • 1 0
 take your chain off for a descent sometime and see if you can feel a difference.
  • 3 1
 O-Chain system is designed to isolate chain feedback between 2 connected axles with an elastomer force absorber. The CentreHub is attempting to minimize feedback by constantly driving the topside of the chain forward (by having the fixed gearhub pull the chain from the bottom) to minimize its input on the pedals when the crank axle is static. They may be after the same ultimate goal but they do not operate in any similar fashion whatsoever.
  • 1 0
 What happens if you let the crank and hub spin free?
  • 3 0
 Wouldn't a hub with like a very coarse POE of 25 degrees of engagement work the same?
Wouldn't feel the best when you started pedalling as there would be alot or crank movement but... ?!
  • 2 0
 Stuff like this always needs more chainstay protection as the slack on the chain decrease the chain tension on the upper side of the chainstays resulting in a noisy bike , need to install something to solve that issue my self . somewhat similair setup but older
  • 3 0
 Still waiting for a mtb free coaster... Half a click back. No forces whatsoever. Instant engagement... Not so much but someone will make an electric actuated one in the future.
  • 4 0
 Shifting without pedaling is the most compelling feature yet it's buried deep in the article.
  • 5 0
 Make it Martini livery and I’ll think about it
  • 3 1
 This thing is almost 900 dollars USD. how the hell does that even make the slightest bit of sense? I know bike stuff is expensive but how is that price even SLIGHTLY justified...???
  • 3 2
 It's called "Economy of Scale" by being a very limited run you only get to amortize the cost of R&D, tooling, etc over a small number of units. 3D printed Titanium isn't cheap either.
  • 2 0
 @Eviljarv: Exactly. Ask your machine shop to whack up some tooling to do a one off piece for you - $x,xxx/per part. Ask the machine shop to make you 10 parts, $xxx/part etc
  • 1 0
 @zstover: yup, most people only see a price tag and complain but have no idea how manufacturing works. Is it worth $900? That's for each person to decide, I just appreciate the innovation and that companies are willing to invest in the sport.
  • 1 0
 Love the technical insight Henry (tried to tag you but that didn't work so tagging your intern instead @mikelevy) - but this is one where a video would really help for all us simpletons..... the podcast is great but Levy trying to explain this probably won't help a lot. :-) Keep up the good stuff.
  • 1 0
 In my eyes they have to make lockout pawls/rings für various hub manufacturers to justify that price,think about running a near 900 USD Spider and then you have to Ziptie your cassette to some spokes of your rear wheel-doesnt really fit together for my sense of a working system.The part thats really interesting about this is that it could be an ochian and an HXR crank combined due to the little Freeplay that comes woth every Clutch Bering.
  • 1 0
 The main problem I see with this system is still the mech. It's still too big, too low, slaps around too much and is too exposed to hits. Even if you manage to not snag it on anything they still wear (as does the cassette) and when we come to replace it we can't because no where has stock.
  • 1 0
 So basically my drivetrain will eat itself if I just ride along (TM) and catch a branch in the cassette. There is no way of stopping the chain and cassette spining while riding. While with normal drivetrain I can immediately stop pedalling and save my bike.
  • 1 0
 Somebody needs to do a back to back with the older RM Altitude that had super high antisquat numbers. People complained that bike felt harsh, and suggested it was due to pedal kickback affecting the suspension movement through rough terrain - I'm skeptical that this is the actual cause of the issue. I would like to see a normal drive train, this drive train, and then running chainless through the same course multiple times with multiple riders.

As for DH Riders running O-Chain - weren't there a bunch of DH riders like five years ago running some magic vibration absorption stickers? I'm not entirely certain the riders themselves are immune to placebo.
  • 1 0
 I wonder what (Weight of bearingless fixed wheel Rear hub + WRP Centrehub) - (Conventional rear hub + conventional spider). if the result is negative meaning running fixed rear hub and Centrehub weighs less, then surely less mass on the wheel is better?
  • 5 1
 Why not just have a hub with slightly less engagement...
  • 1 0
 This is the answer cheers fella
  • 4 0
 Nice to see positron making a comeback!
  • 1 0
 Just came to the comments to say the same thing. What's old is new again.
  • 1 1
 I can't help thinking that this could be solved with a couple extra links in the chain?
I recently went SSDH an I left the chain a bit longer than usual for the initial fitting thinking I would fine tune it later..
I can't say if it's the SS or the longer chain but on the first ride the difference was night an day, a LOT better on the rear. It felt like I'd 'freed up' the rear travel, the rear end felt a lot more active when both freewheeling and pedaling.
  • 1 0
 Not built for it but It'd be handy on the hardtail in really rough steep stuff when you have the back wheel locked up or just have to feather it and the back wheel puts lots of feedback through your pedals.
[Reply]
  • 1 0
 Would this fix the problem with a gear box system not be able to shift under pressure???? Maybe it has a different application?

Just my thoughts....
  • 1 0
 I don't think so. Pinion already has a freewheel at the cranks. The perceived issue with shifting under load on a Pinion is greatly exaggerated and easily overcome a few rides in.
  • 1 0
 oooookkkkaaaay...as an engineer, I absolutely love this stuff...I aplaud the effort, but a $1,200 AUS part for your bike...not sure who this is intended for
  • 4 4
 ...Or bikes manufacturers could build frames with BB-concentric pivot and solve all these problems, but that would invalidate all that R&D money and all these years building marketing hype, now wouldn't it?
  • 3 0
 thats gonna be a no from me. I get too nerdy with suspension and you loose a lot from your bike by placing the pivot there.
  • 1 0
 Hxr is cheaper but theyre using a ratchet, this uses a one way bearing for faster pickup so it equals out to your hubs engagement.
  • 2 0
 Luckily I don't ride remotely well enough for this to be a problem I need to spend over AUD1000 to solve.
  • 1 0
 So can I mount this on my 94 Trek 9500 and make it work real good (or by that single pivot logic a C-Dale Super V or any Orange?!)
  • 1 0
 Looks like an expensive cure for a disease that not everyone suffers from. I wish the designer luck, but I'm glad I don't feel like I need this.
  • 2 4
 Isn't this essentially just removing antisquat and pedal kickback? But the thing is most bikes are designed to use the chain tension to enable antisquat and more efficient pedalling. If no antisquat was desireable then we wouldn't have a need for such complex suspension systems, we'd just be rocking the suspension designs from 20 years ago. This is what is weird about mtb, designers try and develop something new to solve a problem, then a few years later another designer comes along to reverse it as they see the thing that solved the original problem to now be a problem itself. Soon everyone is gonna be rocking 26" wheels and steep head angles for superior agility because current bikes will apparently be 'pigs'.
  • 3 10
flag dirtyburger (Sep 21, 2021 at 14:56) (Below Threshold)
 No it isn't. Try learning, then shit talking. So many words about a false hypothesis that you could have disproved yourself with 1 min of reading.
  • 4 0
 @dirtyburger: go on oh wise one, explain
  • 3 0
 @dirtyburger: Since you are a firm believer antisquat only arises from acceleration and not from chain tension in certain gears, maybe you shoud read this and learn too...

www.wideopenmountainbike.com/2018/05/how-does-mountain-bike-suspension-work-part-3-pedalling-forces
  • 2 2
 Sounds like an awesome design and mitigates some of the negative effects of other designs like the OChain. I'd like to see a video of it in action but wow $867 is insane.
  • 1 0
 what are the negative effects of the ochain?
  • 1 0
 @wburnes: It sounds like since this design uses a one way bearing that it has no negative effect on pedaling, that its near instant engagement. The OChain uses polymer inserts that semi decouple the chainring from the cranks which means there is movement when you pedal.
  • 1 0
 I'd try it, esp. since I started running Onyx hubs, but the price is kinda high. Good work and well conceived.
  • 1 0
 Be sure not to confuse this Mic Williams with the Puerto Rican professional boxer McWilliams Arroyo
  • 2 0
 So what shimano did in the 90s? And hxr did 5 years ago? For more money?
  • 1 0
 has anybody else noticed how all the press releases have become editorials?
  • 1 0
 All these products would be completely unnecessary if bike manufacturers would just design bikes properly...!
  • 1 0
 Seems to be the same as O-Chain. I guess its a different patent?
  • 6 1
 No its quite different of an idea yet it adresses the same problem. The o-chain flexes as much as the chain grows via elastomers. Whilst this device seems to more or less put the freehub on your crank.
  • 3 0
 @ESKato: How would this do something similar to ochain if it has instant engagement?
  • 1 1
 @insertfunusername: because the point of both products is to stop the chain affecting the suspension, and the PoE is just a by-product.
  • 7 0
 @xxinsert-name-herexx:
If this has instant engagement, then it is not going to do anything different than and instant engagement hubs at stopping pedal kickback, which to be clear is nothing at all. I personally don't think that pedal kickback is anything to worry about at all unless you are talking about when you are already pedalling.

Ochain has a soft engagement, at the chainring, plus whatever delay caused by the freehubs POE, which theoretically helps reduce pedal kickback while coasting, but only at really low speeds. This device claims to have instant engagement which would cause you to feel all the kickback, at really low speeds.
  • 2 5
 @insertfunusername: somehow you have been upvoted when you are completely wrong. It is instant engagement as it uses one way bearings that work like the sprag clutch in the Onyx, but the difference is the placement of the mechanism. Putting the freewheel on the chainring and not in the hub allows the chain to rotate backwards without rotating the cranks and inducing kickback. The Onyx hub can't do this because the freewheel is on the hub, so for the chain to move backwards under suspension compression requires the chain ring and therefore cranks to rotate backwards too causing pedal kickback. When the chain rotates backwards with this, the chain ring rotates but the one way bearing means the cranks do not, therefore zero kickback. You get instant engagent forwards as the one way bearing engages instantly soon as you apply force through the cranks to pedal forwards. So this is falsely applied logic to say that because the instant engagement Onyx hub doesn't reduce kickback that this instant engagement chainring spider therefore can't.
  • 2 0
 @Danzzz88: if the chainring can move backwards relative to the cranks then it is not instant engagement, as stated in the article.

After thinking about it a bit more I think that since sprag clutches are a sort of soft engagement that this would be a bit softer, when in gears that a person would be typically descending in. This is due to gear ratio, not due to the location of the engagement mechanism.
  • 3 0
 @Danzzz88: I think that I am correct in my thinking, as I don't see a way for a sprag clutch know where the force is coming from. If the cranks are spinning forward the clutch should engage immediately, pulling the chainring and chain forward. If the chain is trying to move backwards, it will bring the chainring with it and engage the clutch, and therefore the cranks will move.
  • 1 0
 @insertfunusername: my concern exactly. Bold claims of doing both
  • 2 1
 @Alexthemtbr: I feel like if it can allow the chainring to spin backwards relative to the cranks when the load is coming from the chain instead of from the cranks then you would be able to coast backward without the cranks spinning, like a free coaster hub on a flatland bike. Maybe it does do that and I just don't understand sprag clutches at all.

In the end I just don't think that pedal kickback is what ends up effecting suspension while coasting at any speed above a slow jog. Instead I think it is more about chains smashing around, slamming into the top of the chainstay, and whipping around below the chainstay that has a bigger effect on the rear suspension.
  • 1 0
 @insertfunusername: no a one way bearing/spragg clutch engages only in one direction. If you want to be picky then indeed it’s not instant engagement but a ever so slightly soft engagement. The Ochain feels a way more spongy due to the elastomers which work both ways. I got a onyx hub on my bmx for that very instant engagement and I find it even more direct then a I9 hydra (plus it’s quite which I love Wink
  • 1 0
 @Danzzz88: I think you will find that you're the one completely wrong. This is just a crank mounted free hub with instant engagement. For the crank to instantly engage when pedaling there's no way for it to rotate backwards. It literally says in the article "one way bearing" meaning it only rotates forwards when the bikes rolling without pedalling, not backwards like you have somehow deduced.
  • 2 0
 @spicysparkes: you are right, I didn't take into account the rear hub was locked. In this case it is instant engagement in the sane sense Onyx hubs are instant, in other words you need to be pedalling as fast as the chainring until it effectively engages...but this is the case with an rotating system if you are to add input gorce and match it's speed, the clutch in a car for example. This speed is usually bear enough instant and the speed the chainring rotates is easily overcome by the speed you push down on the pedals at normal speeds so it's therefore no different to any other bike with an Onyx hub, so for all intents and purpises it is still technically instant engagement as there is no slop from a pawled system but simply it's a matter of how fast the rider matches his pedal input to tge speed of the rotating system, which is the case for any bicycle pawled hub or not. For example if you are coasting at 20mph but are only pedalling with a cadence that would be equivalent to pedalling at 10mph then you won't be engaging the hub on any bucycle whether it be a pawled hub or instant engagement hub.
  • 1 1
 Very different. This is moving the free hub to the cranks so you’re chain will never stop spinning therefore removing pedal kickback. Ochain uses rubber to give up to 12° of movement until you’re pedal will kick in ochain is like running a low engagement hub while this is infinite engagement due to the sprag
  • 3 0
 @Worley1: Yes the chain is constantly spinning just like a regular freehub on a bike is constantly spinning. Pedal kickback occurs when the suspension moves fast under an impact causing chain growth which pulls the chain backwards. This is obviously the opposite direction to the way the drivetrain is spinning with this device and will just engage the sprag clutch bearing, thus transferring the force into the cranks and giving you pedal kickback.
Ochain works by allowing the chainring to rotate backwards by 6-12 degrees, negating pedal kickback with the downside of slightly worse engagement.
Long story short, this doesn't negate pedal kickback as pedal kickback affects it for the same reason it affects a freehub as that's essentially what this is. A relocated freehub.
  • 1 0
 £600 is a lot of money. Looks like a cool product though.
  • 1 0
 Need a video of it in slo-motion please or it doesn't work.
  • 1 0
 Check they’re Instagram storys on it. The highlight called Center hub
  • 1 0
 Orange riders rejoice lol
  • 1 0
 So... High pivot without the idler anyone?
  • 1 0
 Look at the teeth in the picture. It does not have instant engagement.
  • 1 0
 Hi ho hi ho it’s back to 104 BCD we go….
  • 1 0
 Love the Meta tho.
  • 1 0
 $1200 hahh=ahahahahahaa
  • 1 3
 Will my hardtail work without this!?!?
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