SOC17: American Classic founder Bill Shook explains his theory on Boost hubs

American Classic is celebrating 35 years in business, and founder Bill Shook has always done things just a little bit different. His latest take on industry trends is a unique design for Boost hubs, and we got him to explain it in person. Stay tuned for another post showing off their new goods! (NOTE: If you’re viewing this on mobile and the video isn’t showing up, turn the phone to landscape, or click here to watch on YouTube)

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John
John
5 years ago

Same theory as cannondale Ai offset. Make a dishless rear wheel. Except cannondale Ai also creates more room at the pinch point between tyre and chainring for shorter chainstays/more tyre clearance. And it’s marginally lighter as it only needs a 142width hub

jjj
jjj
5 years ago
Reply to  John

And how does the cannondale address the issues with offset mentioned in the video? Chainstay length isn’t so much of an issue compared to some of the other problems mentioned.

uzurpator
uzurpator
5 years ago
Reply to  jjj

Cannondale does what Specialized did years ago, and what IMO, everyone should be doing. They make the rear dropouts assymetric. This results in a better chainline and dishless wheels.

Greg
Greg
5 years ago
Reply to  uzurpator

specialized did not offset the rear end. they just took 2mm away from dropout overlap and gave it to the freehub and right flange. Actual dropout faces are still centered.

Abstract Concrete
5 years ago
Reply to  Greg

I am talking about old BigHits, Demos and SX Trails which had rear dropouts offset by 6mm to the drive side.

Tim
Tim
5 years ago
Reply to  John

Correct. Everyone else prefers to hide behind zooshy marketing. Bill knows what he’s talking about. This solution is the next best thing to the cannondale Si rear wheel dish.

jjj
jjj
5 years ago

I have to say its a breath of fresh air seeing brains working rather than cad programs.

PabloE432
PabloE432
5 years ago
Reply to  jjj

Do you like, understand what CAD does?

D-Con
D-Con
5 years ago

Bill Shook pretty much rules.
(Except on hub engagement. Have to disagree there. But still.)

Kernel Flickitov
Kernel Flickitov
5 years ago
Reply to  D-Con

He’s one helluva table tennis player too.

Bob
Bob
5 years ago
Reply to  D-Con

I agree with D-Con on engagement. I swapped out the rear hub on my Wide Lightnings because engagement was sooooo slow.

Nathan Balsdon
Nathan Balsdon
5 years ago

I am skeptical about this… Wider hub flanges combined with offset rims allows you to have a wider bracing angle and still have equal build tensions. Differences in ” rim twist ” are likely immeasurable and lifespan would be no different.
Overall a proper boost set up combined with an asymmetrical rim is stronger, stiffer and more durable.

I suspect this pitch is all marketing spin to explain why American Classics is behind the times and cutting corners to save costs…

Greg
Greg
5 years ago
Reply to  Nathan Balsdon

I definitely don’t think his reasoning has anything to do with marketing. He just had to redo his hubs to make them boost compatible. It’s a completely different she’ll no matter what. He really believes what he is arguing.
That said, I don’t agree with him. You choose a maximum spoke tension differential (by testing or anecdotal evidence or history or a combination), you try to get the maximum bracing angle for the right side, and then you put the left flange wherever it needs to be for your given maximum allowable tension differential. This gives you the laterally stiffest wheel.
Regardless of tension difference left to right, unless you have paired spokes (and we don’t really want that), you’ll get a very slight sinusoidal tracking of the tire on the ground. The rim won’t care if this tracking is slightly to one side. So I call BS. But I’m sure he did the math so I’d love to see it.

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 years ago
Reply to  Greg

You missed his point though. He didn’t have to redo the rims.

Rider C
Rider C
5 years ago
Reply to  Nathan Balsdon

“Overall a proper boost set up combined with an asymmetrical rim is stronger, stiffer and more durable.” It would be stiffer and stronger, not likely more durable and it would also weigh significantly more which would slower, harder to pedal and a heck of a lot less fun to ride. Not all Boost wheels are made for hardcore enduro – weight is still very important.

The WTB 29″ i29 rim Asym which would be a reasonable comparison to the WIde Lightning rim is almost a half pound heavier (200 grams) – per rim. Thats a full pound of rotational weight… have fun riding that 🙂

contrarian
contrarian
5 years ago
Reply to  Rider C

A few things: 1) the public can’t buy Wide Lightening rims individually, so there’s that and 2) Wide Lightening Rims are known for being pretty easily dented. American Classic certainly makes some lightweight rims and hubs, there is no denying that, but accessibility plays a large part in popularity, and at $900 for a set of alloy wheels, many people will just go with cheaper carbon options.

dave
dave
5 years ago

at no point does he ever give the slightest indication that he has data to support any of this.

all this stuff about twisting motions, static vs dynamic systems, etc is all his hunch. he’s never tested any of this in a lab. sending cad drawings to taiwan is not engineering.

Aotearoa706
Aotearoa706
5 years ago
Reply to  dave

Dave, how do you present your test data in a 2 minute video standing in an expo booth?

did he tell you he’s never tested this in a lab?
Have you been to American Classic and seen their test lab?

His theory on bracing angles is sound. And they key is to try to equalize the spoke tension on both sides of the wheel. Dynamic forces are the only ones that matter on a bicycle wheel.
This is the right way to build a Boost hub.

Mr Pink
Mr Pink
5 years ago

American Classic hasn’t been a go to brand in ages, and much of Bill’s comentary is unsupported from a data standpoint. Just old school thinking that’s long been eclipsed.

I had an American Classic seatpost on my old Trek 8900. Came stock with it. Seatpost’s black coating flaked off in weeks and if ended up bending shortly after. I wasn’t much more than 150lbs and wasn’t a hardcore rider then by any means.

Since then I’ve seen more failures or issues with the brand than any other major name. Bill’s a good human being, met him once. But his knowledge is 20 years old at best.

Greg
Greg
5 years ago
Reply to  Mr Pink

Well, Bill was promoting wide rims much earlier than anyone else and for road bikes, too. AMC also made the first working road tubeless rims. Luckily, the laws of physics have’t changed and they won’t change anytime soon. Bill is great at thinking outside the (marketing) box.

Tim
Tim
5 years ago

Have you run the numbers and built your own wheel brand to qualify you as a peer reviewer?

pat
pat
4 years ago

yet we rode dished 26s for a whole era.