Dishless 7 speed wheelset tested by New Zealand Mountain Biker magazine

The latest issue of New Zealand Mountain Biker magazine has a write-up of an interesting pair of wheels I built using Hope Pro2 hubs with custom polished centers, light weight DT Swiss Revolution spokes, and Stan’s ZTR Arch rims.

The rear wheel is dishless, meaning that the rim is centered between the two hub flanges.  On a normal hub this isn’t the case because the cassette body pushes the driveside flange in towards the centerline of the wheel.  The result of the wide, symmetrical flanges of the Hope Pro2 Singlespeed hub is a huge improvement in wheel stiffness compared to a normal ‘geared’ hub.  Normally the Pro2 can accept 6 cogs on it’s short freehub body, a nod to it’s heritage as a trials-specific hub and the old requirement for 26″ bikes to have 6 functional gears.  By mounting the freehub body in the lathe and removing some steel from the back of the freehub I fitted 7 cogs from an XT cassette giving a 13/32 ratio.

Why?  Personally I’ve run only 7 or 8 gears on my rear wheels for years – by moving the cassette outwards the chainline in the middle chainring is greatly improved for climbing in the middle ring and I find that I don’t miss the two smallest cogs unless I’m riding long distances on the road.  By squeezing these 7 cogs onto the Pro2 SS hub the wheel has the advantage of better chainline as well as a huge increase in lateral stiffness.

Both hubs had their centers polished to match the silver spokes and some custom Wheelworks decals applied.  The front wheel can be set up for 9mm quick release, QR15 or 20mm thru-axle forks.

This wheelset is designed for aggressive cross country / all-mountain / light freeride and weighed a total of 1705 grams (the magazine typo’d and said 1800) which is incredibly light for a wheelset of this stiffness and durability.  A lighter version for cross-country could be built using the lighter 355 or Crest rim.

The guys at the magazine really understood the purpose of the wheels and were impressed by them -

I wasn’t thinking ‘my current factory-built 28 spoke wheelset is flexing a bit and makes for a slightly vague ride’ until I tried this wheelset.  The difference in feeling is striking and I can see big benifits for big or aggressive riders.

The magazine is in all good bookstores now.

  1. It appears that great minds think alike! :D

    With the advent of the Campy-11 stuff, and offset spoke-holed Velocity rims, I believe this could be achieved with roadie wheels as well. We have an infamously steep hill here, Beatty Dr, which has a sweeping left turn which is dropping away at 20-24% right as you enter it. You really need to lean prospectively to take it in a controlled way, because there is so little push-back against the road it is nearly impossible to start the lean until too far into the turn.

    The strength of a dishless rear wheel has obvious utility for mountain biking.

    Nice pics.

    Thanks!

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