Normandy hubs; maillard in many guises....

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Brucey
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Normandy hubs; maillard in many guises....

Postby Brucey » 10 Mar 2019, 10:59am

When I first started cycling (in the 1970s) quite a lot of bikes were fitted with 'Normandy' branded large-flange hubs. I had a set of these hubs in my first set of sprint wheels. 'Normandy' (at this time) was a Maillard brand name. The LF Normandy model aped the appearance of the rather lovely Campagnolo Nuovo Record large flange hub which was (and still is) one of the finest hubs available. Obviously the Normandy hub was built to a price but -a few foibles aside- they were quite workmanlike hubs, often with the bearings just getting smoother over time. If you could be bothered the hubshells could be polished up and would look quite smart. These LF hubs very rarely suffer a cracked flange, despite being made from fairly inexpensive castings.

The hub internals were shared with many other maillard-produced hubs, including many small flange models, which although they might work perfectly well, look completely anonymous by comparison. There is a small theoretical benefit to using large flanges, but for some reason I have a disproportionate fondness for large flange hubs and an equally disproportionate disregard for the small flange models (I mostly use them as a source of spare parts for large flange models....). There were posher maillard hubs such as the 700 which could also be had in LF format; these hubs have much better bearings and different shells, which have a slightly thicker spoke bed and/or slightly thinner 'spokes' to the hubshell design. This post is mainly about the basic models which have plainer flanges. Apologies for (?) in places; these are dimensions which are from memory and need to be double -checked; I will edit accordingly as I do so.

In general there were five generations or styles;

1) with round drillings in the flange (~1960s)(NB there is more than one style with round drillings)
2) with oval perforation (slots) in the flange- the most common type (late 60s to ~1980)
3) with oval perforations (slots) in the flanges but with sachs-maillard branding (1981 to ~1987)
4) a revised hubshell casting, and sachs-maillard branding (~1987 until the early 1990s)
5) oddball hubs eg schwinn versions with triangular flange cutouts. (date unknown)

Across the generations the axles were either solid (5/16" x 26tpi front, 3/8"x26tpi rear) or QR (M9x1 front, M10x1 rear) although some very late sachs-maillard hubs (circa 1990) departed from this format, in a bid to have stronger axles fit for MTB use. You can swap axles (complete with cones etc) across types in most cases. Hubs use 3/16" balls front and 1/4" ones rear, except for tandem and MTB front hubs, some of which used 1/4" balls too. Axles had rolled threads (good) but were also made from steel of indifferent quality (bad) and had a groove for a tab washer (again bad from a strength perspective). The tab washers lose their tabs easily, the tabs damage the screw threads and rear axles break quite often. Also the QR hubs suffer from quite a lot of axle compression under the QR load (especially if you use a rear hub in slotted dropouts which means the skewer needs to be extra-tight) and this means that the bearings suffer badly unless they are correctly adjusted (i.e. a little free play that just disappears as you tighten the QR).

Hubs vary in detail; variations include

-QR fitment (many possible types)
-Drillings; 32 or 36 front, 36, 40h rear are possible
-cones; early hubs have silver finished cones, but most have black-finished cones, cone spanners are typically 13mm (front) and 15mm (rear)
-locknuts; many possible types, most common type on QR hubs has a single ridge and is 16mm front, 17mm rear
- spacers in rear hub - several different types possible.
- Front OLN; various 92mm to 100mm, sometimes with inner ridges to the locknuts so that the front hub won't drop out of a Raleigh fork.
- Rear OLN; various including 120mm, 122mm, 124mm, 126mm, 130mm. [minimum OLN for a rear hub, i.e. with thin locknuts and no washers, is about 101mm.]
- rear freewheel threading; French or British
-cup inserts; front hubs have a 23.5mm diameter opening and rear 29.6mm diameter. Both dustcaps and cups measure slightly over these dimensions so they are a tight fit in the hubshells.
-rear hubshell type; freewheel thread one side only, fixed/free or double fixed types were available.
- spoke drillings ~2.5mm
- flange thickness ~2.9mm
- spoke drillings are often (maddeningly) slightly eccentric. If you set all the spoke nipples identically, the wheel is usually egg-shaped by about 1mm.

Branding;
The same (or very similar) hubs were sold under many different brands including

-Normandy
- Normandy Sport (boxed versions of the above, with 'sport' writ upon the box)
- Spidel-normandy (with spidel on the QR, Normandy on the hub)
- Maillard Normandy
- MM Atom Normandy
- Schwinn-approved maillard normandy
- Excelto, (Exceltoo) e.g. 'Super Competition' eg see 1970 simplex (evian simplex) catalogue in the VCC library; these hubs are likely to be fitted with a simplex-branded QR in the UK, and may not have any clear markings on the hubshell.
- Milremo
- LeTour
- Pelissier eg P1001 (differ in detail but all parts compatible)
- Sachs maillard
- Sachs
- Maillard-Normandy luxe (red dustcaps and centre band)

From about 1970 most Normandy and maillard hubs had date marks on the centre barrel.

Modifications, repairs and upgrades;

- Building with spoke washers; these flanges are fairly thin by modern standards so spoke washers are a very good idea.
- Drilling the centre barrel for a lube port
- Drilling the dustcaps for lube ports
- using a better quality (eg wheels manufacturing) CrMo rear axle
- replace 3/8" solid rear axle with M10x1 solid axle, using cones and locknuts from QR type hub (very good idea for fixed gear use).
- use better quality steel balls eg Gr 10
- polish cones to smoother finish (NB they often wear smooth anyway)
- using an outrigger bearing under the freewheel
- replace rear bearing cups; difficult in older hubs but easier in later versions (the back of the cup is accessible because of changes to the casting)
- reinforce rear cup support by bedding new cup on epoxy resin seat (cups sometimes crack where the balls run otherwise)
- fit shimano axles and cones (NB requires 11/64" (4.36mm dia) ball bearings in the front hub)
- fit cartridge bearings in the rear hub; cup recess is square (not curved) in early hubs but is of non-standard diameter. Best to grind the bearing OD to fit since the hubshell becomes too thin below the freewheel thread otherwise. A bearing that is starts at 30mm OD is best; it will usually withstand being ground to 29.6mm OD.
- revise dustcaps to provided better sealing (eg using parts from later sachs branded hubs)
- use cheap aftermarket (eg cyclo or weldtite) rear axle; caution: cones may not be compatible (with the cups) and axles are no stronger than the originals.
- use currently available M10x1 threaded cones from inexpensive hubs (eg Taiwanese ones) in rear hubs. These cones are usually a bit longer than the originals but this is easily overcome. I have a test underway and so far it is encouraging.
- remove tab washers (means that you must use cone spanners to adjust hub)
- polish the inside of the cutouts so that they are smooth; this removes the rough sheared finish and makes subsequent cleaning much easier.

BITD a friend tried a campag 'tipo' axle and cones in a Normandy front hub; it didn't work; the ball bearings disintegrated.

Image
oddball schwinn-approved maillard normandy hub

Image
earliest version of 'Normandy' style hub, Milremo branded

Image
round-drilled hubshell, with (I think) second version axle

Image
hubshells with drilled flanges. This version immediately preceded the change to slotted flanges

Image
Normandy Sport hubs

Image
Spidel Normandy sport MM Atom hub; four brands for the price of one

Image
Milremo ('luxe' specification) hubs

Image
exceltoo (excelto) hubs

Image
Pelissier 1001 Competition hubs (marked with P1001 on the QR). Its not clear in this (or any other) photo but the hubshells have slightly curved flanges in this model. There are no clear date marks, however the pair above are before the mid 1980s; much as per the Maillard-branded LF hubs, later Pelissier hubs had redesigned hubshells, identifiable by a much larger radius in the transition between the barrel and the flanges.

please let me know of errors or omissions and I'd amend accordingly

cheers
Last edited by Brucey on 16 Mar 2019, 2:38pm, edited 11 times in total.
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Brucey
Posts: 34181
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Re: Normandy hubs; maillard in many guises....

Postby Brucey » 10 Mar 2019, 5:14pm

in addition to the above the photo below shows some other variants

Image01375.jpg
Maillard/sachs hubs


From left to right

a) Normandy hub (1977) with 'lipped locknuts' from a Raleigh (a kind of precursor to lawyer's lips). Even in this scabby state this hub will polish up nicely. This style of hubshell persisted until at least 1984, but was rebranded with the sachs ring logo and 'Maillard' marking from 1981. I'm not sure when the change was made exactly but the latest date mark I have seen with 'Normandy' branding is 02/81.

b) NOS Sachs-Maillard hub (1987) with revised hubshell design. In theory this hubshell is stronger/lighter, and supports the bearing cups better (there are cast-in ribs beneath the cup, machined to a curved shape so they support the cup). In practice the newer hubshell isn't a big step up from the older one. In small flange hubs the front hub shape changed to a kind of 'hourglass' at about the same time. In both types the polished finish is in parts- changed for a cheaper 'diamond turned' finish. The earliest date I have seen for this type of LF hubshell is 1987, and the latest is 1992.

c) Sachs-Pelissier hub; this hub has a cast barrel, wrought flanges, and no dustcaps. I think it dates from the late 1980s. It is unusual because the rear hub uses 3/16" bearings, running on the same axle/cones as appear in other basic sachs/maillard hubs, but using a different contact angle.

d) 'Strongy' branded rear hub. Again this appears to use the same hubshell materials, bearings, cones, axle etc as other sachs/maillard hubs, but has no sachs markings. I know almost nothing about it. Scouring the interweb shows a few that have popped up on e-bay, mostly in eastern Europe.

cheers
Last edited by Brucey on 12 Mar 2019, 10:07am, edited 3 times in total.
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tatanab
Posts: 3697
Joined: 8 Feb 2007, 12:37pm

Re: Normandy hubs; maillard in many guises....

Postby tatanab » 10 Mar 2019, 6:59pm

I have had many of these hubs over the years, starting with my basic Claud Butler in 1968. I still have a double fixed that I bought in the mid 70s, and a front that I bought NOS only 2 years ago for a 1960s project build. The double fixed has a chrome moly axle that a machine shop friend made for me. Both hubs have imperial threaded axles.

In an attempt to make them smoother running I use to pack the bearings with Solvol Autosol and spin them up on an electric drill for 5 minutes, then replace the bearings with better quality balls. I believe it worked.

Brucey
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Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Normandy hubs; maillard in many guises....

Postby Brucey » 11 Mar 2019, 7:54am

did your 1968 hubs have drilled or slotted flanges? I'm not exactly sure when slotted flanges started.

cheers
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tatanab
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Re: Normandy hubs; maillard in many guises....

Postby tatanab » 11 Mar 2019, 8:07am

I am certain all of mine were slotted.

zenitb
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Re: Normandy hubs; maillard in many guises....

Postby zenitb » 11 Mar 2019, 2:46pm

Brucey

Are the 1/4" ball front Maillard/Sachs hubs still recommended for Tandem use?

My tandem has a "stopgap" Decathlon front wheel on it ATM but I am about to build a 36 spoke Deore LX / Exal ML21 front wheel (to match the rear wheel I built a while back)

I like the idea of a v.rugged front tandem hub though -and have seen "Sachs MTB" hubs on ebay that look new....

Are these hubs (or similar) a viable alternative?

Or is a new Shimano hub the "safe" option?

George (a.k.a zenitB)

Brucey
Posts: 34181
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Normandy hubs; maillard in many guises....

Postby Brucey » 11 Mar 2019, 2:55pm

for rim brakes a maillard front hub (MTB or tandem) with 1/4" balls is a pretty good choice for tandem use.

If you want one I am pretty sure that I have one somewhere. IIRC solid axles are 3/8" x 26tpi in this model and cones etc are the same as in rear hubs using 1/4" balls. The 3/8" axle may require that you file the fork dropouts slightly, if they are meant for a 9mm axle.

cheers
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zenitb
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Re: Normandy hubs; maillard in many guises....

Postby zenitb » 11 Mar 2019, 4:33pm

Brucey wrote:for rim brakes a maillard front hub (MTB or tandem) with 1/4" balls is a pretty good choice for tandem use.

If you want one I am pretty sure that I have one somewhere. IIRC solid axles are 3/8" x 26tpi in this model and cones etc are the same as in rear hubs using 1/4" balls. The 3/8" axle may require that you file the fork dropouts slightly, if they are meant for a 9mm axle.

cheers

I am very keen to try this Brucey.... PM sent..

Brucey
Posts: 34181
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Normandy hubs; maillard in many guises....

Postby Brucey » 11 Mar 2019, 6:29pm

hubs spares from the 1960s

Image

rear dustcaps

Image

Page from 1965 Sugino catalogue, showing imported Normandy/Maillard hubs

Image

cheers
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Brucey
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Re: Normandy hubs; maillard in many guises....

Postby Brucey » 12 Mar 2019, 10:04am

more Maillard/Normandy/Sachs hubs....

Image01376.jpg


Hubs from left to right;

a) 1977 'Normandy' hub, fitted with Nuovo Record oil port cover (from back when you could buy them at reasonable cost), drilled dustcaps, 11/64" balls (instead of 3/16" ones) and Shimano Dura-Ace Cones/Locknuts. This hub (which I've owned from new) is really smooth. QR says 'Maillard' one side, 'MM Atom' the other.

b) Section of 'revised' rear hubshell with cup removed, so you can see the cast-in ribs that support the bearing insert.

c) Sachs-Maillard Tandem/MTB front hub (1990) with 3/8" x 26tpi axle and 1/4" balls. Threatens to kick sand the face of other front hubs.

d) 'Revised' sachs-maillard SF front hub (1990), with 'hourglass' shaped shell, which has cast-in internal ribbing. 5/16" x 26tpi axle.

e) 'Revised' sachs-maillard SF QR rear hub (1986), with internally ribbed shell as per b) above. M10x1mm threaded axle.

The 'revised' (internally ribbed) hubshells allow excellent access to the back of the bearing cups. Since I have no love for these SF hubs I have robbed many of their bearing inserts, mostly so that LF hubs can live again.

cheers
Last edited by Brucey on 16 Mar 2019, 2:40pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Bonefishblues
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Re: Normandy hubs; maillard in many guises....

Postby Bonefishblues » 12 Mar 2019, 10:12am

IIRC I had the second to R and R hubs on a 1983(ish) Raleigh Royal. Does that tally?

Brucey
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Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Normandy hubs; maillard in many guises....

Postby Brucey » 12 Mar 2019, 10:18am

Bonefishblues wrote:IIRC I had the second to R and R hubs on a 1983(ish) Raleigh Royal. Does that tally?


Yes; they revised the SF hubshells well before before they changed the LF hubshells. I have yet to pin down an exact date for the change, but there are so many hubs out there I am sure that folk will chip in with dates on their hubs.

The dating scheme is fairly obvious, being "ww yy" on the hub barrel, where 'ww' is a week number (from 01 to 52) and yy is a year number, eg '90' means 1990.

[edit; if the factory had an annual shutdown for two weeks or so in august (a common practice in France at that time), it might well be unusual/impossible to find shells with a week number in the early thirties. I happen to have seen '31', but not 32, 33, 34, 35....]

cheers
Last edited by Brucey on 12 Mar 2019, 10:43am, edited 1 time in total.
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Bonefishblues
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Re: Normandy hubs; maillard in many guises....

Postby Bonefishblues » 12 Mar 2019, 10:20am

I do remember them being rather rough, despite my fettling tbh. I bought a very exotic pair of wheels (in relative terms!) not all that long after I bought the bike.

Brucey
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Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Normandy hubs; maillard in many guises....

Postby Brucey » 12 Mar 2019, 10:28am

Bonefishblues wrote:I do remember them being rather rough, despite my fettling tbh. I bought a very exotic pair of wheels (in relative terms!) not all that long after I bought the bike.


yes they were not great when they were new. However when they have polished cones and/or years of use, they are usually very smooth-running. LBSs near me regularly scrap wheels with these hubs in; the bearings are usually just fine (despite no seals, just shields....) on hubs which are 30-50 years old now, but the rims/wheels die first- steel rims rust horribly, aluminium rims wear out and the usual crummy spokes/build can compromise the wheel too. If they didn't break rear axles then they would be 'very reliable hubs'.

They still made quite a good choice for touring in Europe; their very ubiquity meant that almost any bike shop would have a spare axle/cones etc if needs be.

cheers
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KM2
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Re: Normandy hubs; maillard in many guises....

Postby KM2 » 12 Mar 2019, 7:22pm

Were Normandy hubs also called Milremo? I’ve got a 40spoked front wheel round hole which I’ve had since about 1968, I’ve always called it a milremo.