Never heard of Bartime, King Kong or Hubsmith? These are the gems we sometimes find roaming the halls of Eurobike. All three are Asian brands, and all three had something interesting to show.

Above, Bartime’s oversized driveside flanges came in two flavors, both using starfish like protrusions to improve the bracing angle and even out spoke tension in the wheel builds. The freewheel body has an aluminum option with steel strips on most cassette splines. Inside, it had more teeth than a giant shark, and connecting it to the hub were carbon fiber bladed spokes…


Is that enough points of engagement for you?



This one shows the other flange shape, which allows for straight pull spokes rather than J-bend. The spokes’ nub slots into the socket on the flange, which has a massive 80mm diameter on the drive side. Steel ends are bonded into a carbon fiber blade that yields a 300kg tension limit.




King Kong, not to be confused with Tune’s individual King and Kong front and rear hub combo, had this new K.K. Rival hub on display. The basics are somewhat standard -alloy shell, various flange styles, road and mountain bike (even BMX)- but the internal pawl mechanism was unique. Three distinct rows of pawls were offset into pairs inside a very wide ring of teeth. This put just two pawls at a time in contact with the teeth for a secure hold. The dual locations meant more effective engagement points, but reduced drag versus all three rows having pawls at each point.



Look closely at this one from Hubsmith…see anything unusual?


How ’bout now?


Called Fusion Spokes, it’s a combination of straight pull and J-bend spokes on the same hub. The idea is to offer the benefits of both, yielding a wheel with good lateral stiffness and a comfortable ride.


They’re laced to carbon rims that use a Double Forming construction process that marries high Tg resin with a Nano-Elastomer resin system. They say the combination allows the braking surface to reach 250ºC (482ºF) with no deformation or risk of delamination. That should give you the confidence to brake hard and long on extended descents.


They also had this heavily machined hub concept with straight pull flanges and a carbon shell.


  1. The Bartime and King Kong are interesting. It looks like a pretty complex mechanism on the King Kong and I know it can be tough wording these things, but It’d be great to see a little more detail on the King Kong ratchet mechanics, and how many sets of the pawl pairs engage at once.

    Those carbon spokes are a cool concept. They look thinner than the Sapim ones, so perhaps better aerodynamically, although they also look a little like Fiberflights….shudder….

    On the Hubsmith, since when is J-bend vs. straight pull about ride comfort?

  2. I find it difficult to get enthused about the never ending new hub designs constantly making these pages. The fact is I have never had a failure or performance issue of any type with my Chris King built wheels. Ever. In 30+ years. 15 different sets. You’d almost have to pay me actual USD to use something different.

    • I’ve never had a Chris King hub fail but they sure do suck. One set with 25k miles, the other with over 10k and a got fed up with the pseudo durability. They’re durable if you tighten them ALL THE TIME. For me, it was at best, 150 miles before they needed tightened.
      Not an issue with any other hubs I’ve owned, Hope, DT, White, I9, and really? I’d give any of these designs a chance before I ever use a King hub again.

    • Well Chase you’re missing out then! A lot of cool hub designs out there. CK virtual unchanged beside xd driver and various axel standards. Like others have said there are a lot better hubs out there today. Go try some Onyx hubs. I bet you sell your CK’s after that!

  3. The Bar Time hub violates American Classic’s steel faced cassette spline patent.
    I’m not sure if the Hubsmith one does too since it’s only a partial plate.

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