After selling his BikeLugs.com business recently, Kirk Pacenti has been busy working on new ideas. His latest? An improvement to the age old cassette freehub body. Arguably, this piece has seen little or no innovation other than materials in quite a while despite the common frustration of an expensive cassette wearing grooves into and getting stuck on a very expensive lightweight alloy freehub body.
Pacenti has a solution, and he’s putting it out there as an open source standard for anyone to use. We think it looks pretty solid. Here’s what he thinks:
I want to make clear that it doesn’t have to be my design. The real point is to get the industry talking and working together on a standard.
I look at it this way; 10/11 speed systems are “line in the sand” of sorts. Now that we’ve crossed it, we may as well optimize the system for that many cogs rather than stuffing them into an obsolete 7/8/9 speed standard.
Splines also have to go, as they were designed when cassette bodies were all made from steel. With a polygon shape you could conceivably make much lighter cassette bodies, possibly even made from composite materials.
Another pic and more info after the break…
The polygon shaft design is used heavily in industrial and automotive arenas and is proven to handle much, much higher torques than you or I are ever going to put out. Pacenti says he’s been tinkering with this concept for about four years and thinks it could realistically move into production by 2014/15. Given that most high end hubs have easily replaceable freehub bodies, retrofitting this design should be no problem. Getting the cassette manufacturers on board is another story…but if someone (KCNC, Samson or even Pacenti himself) moves forward with a lightweight cassette and body combo that’ll work with a few popular hubs, we think the large manufacturers would follow suit if a market materializes.
What do you think? Would you be an early adopter if a retrofit/upgrade kit were available for your wheels/hubs?