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.
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”.
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.
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
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.