Chosen is a Taiwanese hub manufacturer that is happy to work with you to bring your own projects to life. But that doesn’t stop them from bringing a few of their own clever ideas into existence either, and the Smart Hub is one of the more clever we’ve seen.
Inside is their Close Drive System, which allows the pawls to remain closed during freewheeling. When pedaling forces are applied, they open to engage the teeth on the inside of the hub shell, then immediately retract when not needed. The benefits are threefold: No pawl friction, no coasting noise, and the ability to freewheel forward or backward without moving the chain.
That latter feature means no chain drops from backpedaling. It also means you can pull your bike out of a crowded rack without having the pedals catch as they spin. And for folding bike owners, it means you can push or pull your folded bike in any direction without the cranks getting jammed up. Spin on down to see how it works…
A circular spring holds the pawls down when coasting. The Close Drive System is activated when pedaling and combines the movement of three small steel roller balls to twist the bronze piece to wedge the pawls upward.
Visually, it’s a little difficult to explain, but you can see it working. This video shows the internals:
It all comes together in a very normal looking package:
They introduced the concept in 2013, but this is the first we saw it. Their rep said they’re working on thru-axle versions to bring it up to speed with modern bikes.
What’s really interesting is that without any pressure on the hub’s axle, the freehub will spin completely freely in both directions and simply can’t be activated. But, put sideways pressure on the ends (as would happen when it’s clamped into a frame) and it works like magic. It’s pretty insane.
They also make a wide variety of standard hubs, too, including some for fat bikes. The Smart Hub is available in 130mm and 135mm spacing for road and mountain bikes, letting you sneak up on folks from behind on both pavement and trail.