Gokiso Japanese suspension bicycle hubs

We almost overlooked Gokiso’s booth, but as we passed by we overheard some interesting chatter. Something about suspension inside the hubs. Ding! Curiousity piqued…but that’s only half the story of these amazing hubs.

Two different hubs were on display, the externally suspended front hub shown above, and an internally suspended rear hub. Both operate on what’s essentially a lot of little leaf springs, and we’ve embedded a video below to show how it works, plus tons of pics.

The other thing that really blew our mind, which is also illustrated at the beginning of the first video, is the insanely low friction these hubs have. With most rear hubs, if you hold the freehub body and give the shell a spin, you’re lucky to get a few rotations. I did that with the internally suspended rear hub and it spun and spun. It’s hard to convey in words how good it felt. ENVE founder Jason Schiers happened to be standing next to me and said he has several friends in Japan that race them and won’t ride anything else, they’re that good.

Click on through for more…

There’s so much going on with these hubs it’s crazy. Note the beginning of the video where they spool up the front hub with nothing but a small air gun blowing on the virtually smooth flanges. Try doing that at home. Scroll to the bottom of the post for video on the rear hub.

Gokiso Japanese suspension bicycle hubs

On these, the inset sections of each “fin” are attached to the axle assembly, each acting like a small leaf spring. Click to enlarge for detail.

Gokiso Japanese suspension bicycle hubs

The other version uses an internal tube with the center of the hub shell resting on it and the ends of the tube resting on the bearings. Slits in the tube between the two connection points act as small leaf springs, giving a small amount of cushion to the bearings and prevent deformation of the rolling bits, but not enough to affect brake pad/track alignment. The result is probably the most drag-free hub I’ve ever felt.

Gokiso Japanese suspension bicycle hubs

The hubs use two DIN P5 deep groove bearings per side within the front and rear shell, and more on the outside of the freehub body. Actually, the rear hub has SEVEN bearings, with three of them between the FH body and the axle, making it every bit as smooth with pedaling as when coasting.

Gokiso Japanese suspension bicycle hubs

Gokiso Japanese suspension bicycle hubs

Their freehub bodies are Shimano 9/10/11-speed compatible or Campagnolo 10/11. They use four double-wide pawls, with alternating pawls offset by half so that clicks across the 46 teeth effectively provide 92 points of engagement for a mere 3.9º rotation. Even with that many teeth and much more contact area, the hub spun sooo easily in my hands.

Really, the only complaint with these hubs could be the weight, which doesn’t come as too much of a surprise considering how much mechanical tech is crammed in there. Standard front road hubs come in 230g (Hill Climb) or 240g (Standard 700c), and the disc brake version is 305g. Rear hubs are 445g, 455g and 500g respectively, with the disc being available in both 130mm and 135mm widths. All are available in 20/24/28/32/36 drillings, with rears eschewing the 20 hole option. Oh, and they offer complete wheelsets for road and track, plus a BMX hubset…and their website says a bottom bracket is coming soon!

Check ’em out at Gokiso.jp.

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84 Comments
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Jason K
9 years ago

Oh dear. There’s so much wrong here, it’s hard to know where to start. In fact, there’s no point in starting. It’s all wrong.

Canucklehead
Canucklehead
9 years ago

It looks like there’d be a noticeable change on a disc brake setup, the tire/wheel moving and possibly susceptible to along the lines of “brake dive”.

RyanC
RyanC
9 years ago

Aaaaa-mazing!

Chad
Chad
9 years ago

On the rear hub video (last video) @2:50, the orange bearings stay the same size but the freehub body’s wall thickness changes. HAHA! Friggen magic.

Ryan
Ryan
9 years ago

Simplicity is beautiful. Over-engineered?…maybe, but I think this type of progression with trial/error or taking a fresh approach is what moves us forward. Good for them.

Will
Will
9 years ago

This represents everything that is right with the world.

If they were really smart, they would licence the technology to other designers manufacturers. I would totally ride a lighter weight version of this. My only fear is this falls into obscurity and never picks up enough momentum.

ccolagio
ccolagio
9 years ago

they tested the rear hub at 300 km/h or 186 mp/h: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOVGLvLaHp4

whhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhy?!?!?! fine – its a life test…but it’s insanely unrealistic and pointless to go that speed

satisFACTORYrider
satisFACTORYrider
9 years ago

i’d rock these on a ’95 slingshot

Topmounter
Topmounter
9 years ago

It makes for a pleasing video in a fixed test rig and an indeterminate basis for comparison.

JonDanger FTW
JonDanger FTW
9 years ago

I didn’t read the article and I am going to choose to hate the product by the title alone. I don’t think I’ve made a bad decision; the words used to explain the idea would probably further frustrate me.

Alex
Alex
9 years ago

Does’t this mean that each leaf springs will deform when it is at the top/bottom of the hub – ie., twice with every rotation? That seems like it would bleed energy like crazy, no?

Alex
Alex
9 years ago

Seems like it would be easier just to lower your tire pressure 10psi.

Gregg C
Gregg C
9 years ago

I’d give them a shot…if they weren’t $2700 for a set!!!

Jake
Jake
9 years ago

In trouble if its not 11 speed compatible

Kyle
9 years ago

How much travel does it have?

MattK
MattK
9 years ago

These are amazing, you have to watch the video to understand what these do, the above description doesn’t do them justice. It is not a suspension hub to absorb impact for the rider, but for the mechanical advantage in the drivetrain. I am not sure that the front hub would accomplish a lot, but if they license the rear hub tech, I can easily see a lot of major players jumping on board.

Rob
Rob
9 years ago

@satisFACTORYrider I hope you’re rocking Z-Torque cranks too!

This concept was tried in the ’90s. It didn’t last very long.

Will
Will
9 years ago

@JasonK got it right on the first post; there’s just so much wrong with this…

It’s not even blatant snake oil type stuff, it’s just little inaccuracies all over the place. More power to them if they can sell any of these things. In the mean time, I’m just going to let 5psi out of my tires…

carl
carl
9 years ago

DURA ACE HUBS! Smooth as a babies bottom…. and they get better with miles.

Emily
Emily
9 years ago

Looks interesting at least. I’d be most worried about maintenance and longevity. Sure it can survive nearly 200mph for a few minutes, but what about 25 mph everyday in rain, sleet, snow, salt, worm guts and mud?

carl
carl
9 years ago

Freeze the image at about 2:47 and forget about the “shock absorbing structure”. The layout of the bearings for the pawls (which are a nice design) and freehub should supply a lot of support for the freehub body. And the concave, floating washer that takes into account misaligned dropouts is clever. The rest of it? Meh…

Sevo
Sevo
9 years ago

Rob-No one has done this before…..I believe you have this mixed up with that elastomer based hub that didnt last long and was poorly engineered.

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

These hubs are not intended to absorb road or trail shock. Everyone who’s criticized them on the ground that they cannot absorb a serious amount of shock have totally missed the point, which is that they are supposed to reduce bearing friction. The real questions are whether they do that successfully enough to offset their increased weight, and whether the mechanism can hold up to bad weather.

axle
axle
9 years ago

I just couldn’t stop dancing to the awesome music in that video!

m
m
9 years ago

gokisousa.com lists a front and rear hub, narrow (road) spacing… for $3,700 (but free shipping!!!)

yes. damn near four grand for your hubs. figure in your Zipp FireCrap rims, S-works Vengito frame and of course, your Campy Super-Dooper Record Anniversary Edition EPS grouppo… and i think you see where this going.

holy crap thats a lot of pixie dust the’re selling.

Ventruck
Ventruck
9 years ago

Very forward thinking, and I think the execution in minimizing the increase of sophistication and weight is great. Needs to get licensed, but I’m in no rush to have a set.

FM
FM
9 years ago

Can someone explain why the convex parts of the end of the hub would not shift as the fork flexes and add to brake rub? Maybe it’s all held tight with tension/friction?

The flanges also look pretty narrow.

@ 3:03 in the video of the rear hub, are the orange things supposed to be springs? If not, and to a lesser degree even if they are, wouldn’t the middle section that’s supposed to flex up and down still push against the inside part of the freehub?

All that being said it’s nice to see people trying new things.

I’d be slow to draw a conclusion from spinning a hub in your hand. I’ve found hubs can act very different once you put them under load on a bike.

John
John
9 years ago

Nightmare to keep clean. The answer to question no-one asked.

Mindless
Mindless
9 years ago

WTF is this drivel?

Independent
Independent
9 years ago

So many clueless prejudiced short sighted comments by people who didn’t bother to actually understand what’s being offered here – stubborn ignorance. Some impressive first principles based engineering here. But hey, it’s just physics, right? Gravity, friction and deformation are imaginary, right? Geez…

Ron G.
Ron G.
9 years ago

Most forks are shaped like an inverted V? Don’t they have a set of Park dropout alignment gauges in their collection of fancy machining tools? Because you can fix that problem.

pfs
pfs
9 years ago

I saw these hubs at the show and they are impossibly smooth. Much smoother than and dura ace or other hub I have ever felt. They were heavy and expensive but really impressive.

Topmounter
Topmounter
9 years ago

Put it on a bike and put a real rider on that bike. All I see are test rigs, fancy diagrams and a video with a woman saying balls and shaft a lot.

harro
harro
9 years ago

the climber hubs are 7k hahahhahaha

Cory
Cory
9 years ago

What magical bearing tech do they use to make an unweighted hub spin so freely? Their shock absorption tech doesn’t help. Using twice as many bearings as normal certainly wouldn’t help either. My guess is ungreased bearings for their show models.

Bog
Bog
9 years ago

Ungreased or oiled bearings and non-contact seals cause them to spin so well. This isn’t such a great idea outside of the showroom or laboratory!

Mindless
Mindless
9 years ago

@Independent: you are clueless. This gismo does not work. Basic physics.

Ripnshread
Ripnshread
9 years ago

I would venture to guess that this does work. On jet engines. Where rotational speed and torque are both incredibly high. I’m sure it may work great for keeping the engine together when it impacts a bird. Any vibration at those speeds can cause a catastrophic failure. I’m not so sure if this would have any real appreciable difference to the speed of a bicycle.

Those 6/4 Ti. hubs do get my geek on though.

As Bog said, they type of bearing they are using will spin if you hold them in your hand and blow on them. But they quickly don’t do that as soon as any contamination enters.

Ripnshread
Ripnshread
9 years ago

That rear hub actually looks pretty cool. Except for the suspension bit.

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago

“Extra super duralumin”

You’ve got to be kidding me… it’s just regular old 7075…

McClain M
McClain M
9 years ago

Also I was under the impression that hub shells were generally much thinner than what their cutouts appear to be…

McClain M
McClain M
9 years ago

I dunno, the idea seems sound to me> isolating radial and lateral forces from the fore-force and the resulting reduction of friction. All the people calling this design out on the grounds of “basic physics” should try explaining, because while I’m no physicist, it seems to pass my conception of basic physics. The price is inflated, but adoption would bring that down if they are meritable.

And these do not compare to the Pantour hubs, because their execution is entirely different.

McClain M
McClain M
9 years ago

Thirdly…where did you guys get the pricing info? It is not up on their website anymore…it just says to email them.

Max
Max
9 years ago

@Mc Clain M:

Well, if you got passed school, you should have got enough knowing about physics, that you will figure out whats wrong on instant. If not we will need to teach you all principles beginning with class 1.

And Again: In this video nearly ALL is wrong.

Max
Max
9 years ago

Second post: In the Video, the ONLY right fact is: Hubs with Cones are very common 😀

Mindless
Mindless
9 years ago

@Max: No, everything in this video is absolutely right. Perfect marketing video for clueless suckers.

rocketsintra
rocketsintra
9 years ago

Just exercise 10minutes more with your normal hubs

Mindless
Mindless
9 years ago

@Anonymous: Duralumin would be copper alloy, and 7075 zinc..

Duralumin also corrodes a lot. What a bunch of stupid sh*t all this.

INOX EPS
INOX EPS
9 years ago

I use Gokiso hubs since 2011,not bad but a bit heavy & expensive 🙂