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What’s the Hubbub? Clean your Hubs While You Ride with Hub Brush from Japan

Mercari Hub Brush heroPhoto c. Merceri
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I’m not sure if many of you are old enough to remember the little leather straps that would loop around your bicycle hubs. We used them to keep the hubs clean, and polished. They were pretty dumb, but I had ’em on my Schwinn beach cruiser when I was a young lad, and the end result was a hub that had a mirror finish.

Mercari Hub Brush straightened out

Well, it seems that there is something similar available called the Hub Brush on a Japanese e-commerce site. According to the press release, the concept of the brush is “unique to Japan, and once very popular in the country”.

Mercari Hub Brush in a circle

Bicycle hubs can collect a fair amount of dirt, this new brush is said to keep them clean by wrapping them around it and fastening them together. There is a little weight on the Hub Brush to stabilize it while riding.

Mercari Hub Brush Ron's Clem
Photo c. R. Frazelle My Clem Smith Jr. perfect bike for the Hub Brush

So while you are riding, this lil’ doodad will just be there keeping your hubs clean and free of dirt… just like the leather straps did, but it’s a brush. I dunno, it seems kinda cool and fun. I’ve got a White Industries M15 polished rear hub on my Rivendell Clem Smith Jr. and I’d probably run one on that steed.

History of the Japanese Hub Brush

Mercari Hub Brush on bike
If you look closely, you can see the Hub Brush on the front hub.

According to the press release:

In Japan, it used to be a cultural practice for bicycle shops to wrap these Hub Brushes as a celebration. However, because of the eventual extreme commoditization of bicycles, and widespread sales in chain stores and supermarkets, the culture around Hub Brushes gradually declined. Finally, in 2021, production of these brushes ceased.”

The release goes on to say that this company, has taken on the immense task and responsibility of reproducing the item in hopes that it rekindles the hub cleaning flame.

Apparently, they searched for a “suitable factory, improved materials, manufacturing quality, and color accuracy for this revival”. Additionally, they even said they upgraded the core materials to stainless steel for better durability.

So, the Hub Brush, I guess, kind of represents a long-forgotten era in Japanese bicycle culture while still having the practical purpose of keeping your shiny bits clean. That’s pretty cool.

How and Where to Get Your Own Hub Brush

Currently, the Hub Brush is available for purchase on a Japanese e-commerce site, here. And if you’d like to purchase a pair… I know I’m going to, they are available globally through Buyee, a proxy buying service.

Mercari.com

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Atakua
Atakua
8 months ago

NS bikes sales their DH- and other MTB-rigs with leather/rubber straps on their hubs up to this day.

Martin
Martin
8 months ago

In Poland, why were use the same thing almost 30years earlier

Exodux
8 months ago

Years ago…I mean way years ago when I was a kid, I think it was Schwinn, used to have a leather band with a reflector that would snap together around a hub to clean and add style.
I’ve also seen when the yellow “livestrong” wristbands were popular that they would be placed around the hubs before building the wheel.
This option appears that you can easily remove once your hub is clean which isn’t a bad idea.

Michal
Michal
8 months ago

Well, probably I am old enough to remember . We used short bike pump hose, where you could screw both ends together. Worked perfectly (as rubber hose was braided with fabric) to polish hub. Just sometimes, when metal ends/screw part of hose hit spokes, made bit of noise. Greetings from Slovakia.

Dean
Dean
8 months ago

Tie a bit of flat shoelace around your hubs and it does the same job for free

Michael K Donahue
Michael K Donahue
8 months ago

yeah…wounder how long it will be before a clothes pin and a playing card make a comeback?

Fig Ciocc
Fig Ciocc
8 months ago

Never understood why, aside from Shimano, Japan never became a leader in making bicycles/bicycle products. They make amazing motorcycles already and cycling is quite popular there. Kind of sucks. Aside from some of Shimano’s recent crank issues Japanese companies rarely half ass anything even when they produce products outside of Japan. Would buy a carbon Japanese frameset in a heartbeat but seems like they’re mostly into track bikes.

Frank
Frank
8 months ago
Reply to  Fig Ciocc

They did. Japanese makers such as SunTour and Panasonic ended the long reign of European and American brands in export markets, only to be replaced by Taiwanese and other Asian manufacturers once the Yen became too strong.

Doc Mortimer
Doc Mortimer
8 months ago

These were very common in Denmark in the 80es, you can still buy them. Definitely not “unique to Japan”

Beik Nord
Beik Nord
8 months ago
Reply to  Doc Mortimer

Also in Germany. You still see a few bikes with them today.

Raouligan
Raouligan
8 months ago

Used to use pipe cleaners in the UK

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