Based in Poltava, Ukraine, Trailmech was established in 2012 by two passionate cyclists who set out to make quality bike products. While they don’t specifically boast about being innovators, their unique mountain bike hubs certainly suggest some creative thinking has taken place.
No matter how many front rings or what gear range you’re running, Trailmech says engagement is the most crucial element to providing instant acceleration at the rear wheel. Their unique system ensures quick and efficient engagement with a surprisingly simple and affordable design.
They’ve been testing their XC front and rear hubs under the Ukranian National MTB team at UCI World Cup and World Championship races, and the hub’s patented design won a “Winner in Performance” award in the new components category by IPSO Award 2015. Are you engaged yet? Check out Trailmech’s promo video, hands on photos and info after the break…
The Trailmech XC hub is actually built upon a very simple design, with the VRT (Vortex Ring Technology) ring being the only moving part inside. The hubs can be easily serviced without professional guidance or special tools.
With just 6º of rotational play, the VRT mechanism engages and transfers your leg torque via 60 teeth that lock simultaneously. The progressive lock-in channels guide the freehub body onto the VRT ring in such a way that the harder you pedal, the more securely the two halves lock together. Theoretically this should all but eliminate any load-induced gear skipping that can be dangerous to riders, or at least hurt your race results. Trailmech also promises greater torque transfer over a traditional ratcheting pawl system.
For water, dirt and dust protection, the VRT ring is situated well inside the hub’s shell, behind specially designed seals (2 in the front, 3 in the rear). And, the internal parts are manufactured to very low tolerances to prevent elemental ingress.
The XC hub’s engagement mechanism is made of hardened tool steel, and the shells are machined from 7075 aluminum. Trailmech uses a special paint coating process for a durable, anti-scratch finish. They’re entirely designed and manufactured in Ukraine, save for the sealed Japanese bearings.
Currently, Trailmech’s rear hubs work with any 9 or 10 speed mountain bike cassette from Shimano or Sram, but an XD compatible driver for Sram 11-speed cassettes is also on the way. Dedicated All-Mountain/Enduro and Freeride/DH versions are also coming later this year, along with another hub option for straight-pull spokes. Brake rotor mounts are 6-bolt only.
With a radical and unfamiliar design, curious consumers will be happy to know the Trailmech hubs come with a five year limited warranty. Until the end of 2015, Trailmech will offer introductory pricing of $338-$350 for the pair.
We had a chance to see them hands on at Sea Otter in a private meeting with Troy Watson, former employee of American Classic and Fair Wheel Bikes, who is now importing them into North America through his company WD Cycling Labs.
The inner half of the VRT is backed by a spring, which keeps it pushing against the freehub body. Without small pawls, the parts count is kept to a minimum.
End caps thread on, making it easy to switch between thru axle and QR. Claimed weights are 140g (front) and 280g (rear).
It’s using a 17mm axle with four cartridge bearings.
Trailmech has been in business almost four years but never ventured outside the Ukranian and Russian markets.