Normandy hubs; maillard in many guises....

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

Postby Brucey » 16 Mar 2019, 1:04pm

the milremo stuff came out of the same factory so it would be unlikely that it was actually different from other Maillard stuff; I've never noticed any difference in the look of the parts at any given time, either, but maybe others have?

FWIW I always found my failing bearing inserts before they let go completely; maybe I was lucky or something but there would be a funny noise or the bearings would go out of adjustment prematurely, and I'd then check the cups for cracks. if you could see any cracks then the cup was toast. IIRC (I might even have some old cracked cups that show this in a cocoa tin somewhere) the cracks usually started on the 'outside' (convex face) of the cup, where you couldn't see them. However on more than one occasion the bearing felt bad/weird enough that I inferred that there must be cracks there (even if they hadn't yet penetrated to the convex face that you can see), and changed the cup out anyway. I don't think I ever did this needlessly.

FWIW the outrigger bearing arrangement that ought to prevent axles bending/breaking ought also to lower the loading on the RH bearing. This being the case it might be that (esp in combination with an epoxy seating for the cup) cracked cups can be eliminated in most usages.

IMHO the two big cup killers are

1) loading; lots of use with low gears (or a tight chain running fixed) imposes higher loads than normal, and if QR hubs are not adjusted with a little free play that just disappears when the QR is tightened, or the RH locknuts are not properly tight (*), you could have excessive loads all the time.

2) wrong cones; if you use cones meant for another hub, or ones from a generic 'replacement axle', you need to be 100% sure that they have the correct profile. The wrong cone profile will cause breakages in a relatively low mileage; the balls scuff and jam under load.

(*) this causes precession of the RH cone and this usually causes the cup insert to break up. If the cup breaks up thusly, you arguably got lucky; if it doesn't break up, the hubshell can fail in compression instead. IIRC I posted an image of such a failed hubshell on here a few years ago. In this case a broken cup acts as a 'safety valve' that prevents the whole wheel from being scrapped.

edit; image here https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=96579 In this case the hub was ridden well past the point of obvious failure; the cups failed and the hubshell was crushed.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Brucey
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Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

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

Postby Brucey » 16 Mar 2019, 5:54pm

does anyone know what the story is with BH 'Racelite' hubs?

Image

these were first available in 1957 and were described as 'the first British one-piece aluminium hub' at the time (which I don't think they were in fact) and retrospectively as ' a copy of the 'Normandy' hub'. Well, I wonder if 'copy' is quite the right word; I wonder if these hubs are in fact either rebadged Normandy hubs or Normandy shells with BH axles in them...? The reason I say this is that Normandy made hubs for practically anybody if they asked nicely and the racelite shells look exactly like the contemporaneous Normandy model, even down to the relatively small front dustcap size vs the larger rear dustcap size....

edit; further to the above, like the 'racelite' hubs the first version 'Normandy' hubs had a slim centre barrel in the front hub (see photo in OP) and may have been available in nutted style only, not QR. Later styles had the front barrel enlarged in diameter (so that it was the same size as the rear in fact) presumably to make room for the larger diameter QR front axle. However they appear to have retained the somewhat small front cup insert size in the later hubs; the front cones for 5/16" axles look perfectly proportioned but the larger 9mm threaded cones look slightly odd; the balls run very close to the nose of the cone, as if they are not quite right for the hub somehow. If you try and fit cones from other front hubs into Normandy or maillard ones you can do it, but not with 3/16" balls; for example if you fit shimano/dura-ace front cones, you must use 11/64" ball bearings.

So does anyone know for sure about Racelite hubs, or is perhaps able to provide measurements? Do the locknuts and cones look more like other BH ones (eg Airlite) or more like Normandy ones?

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JohnW
Posts: 6419
Joined: 6 Jan 2007, 9:12pm
Location: Yorkshire

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

Postby JohnW » 16 Mar 2019, 7:55pm

Brucey wrote:the milremo stuff came out of the same factory so it would be unlikely that it was actually different from other Maillard stuff; I've never noticed any difference in the look of the parts at any given time, either, but maybe others have? .............................

Er.......there was a bit of 'tongue in cheek' there Brucey. Even so, it remains a fact that whilst I never remember breaking a Milremo hub part, I do remember breaking one or two Normandys.

Brucey
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Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

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

Postby Brucey » 17 Mar 2019, 9:46am

re cracked cups; for some reason I kept one of the failed cups from years ago. Here are a couple of pictures;

Image01381.jpg
outside (convex) side of cup, with cup centre to upper part of image


Image01380.jpg
inside (concave) face, centre of cup to bottom of image


this is a DS cup, from a hub that came to me used (and doubtless abused) beforehand. I then rode it with a fixed gear, probably with the chain set a bit tight, for several thousand miles, including lots of training and some pretty brutal (hillclimb) racing. I am pretty sure I either bent or broke an axle in this time too. I think that this failure may be representative of cup failures in this kind of hub, in that the cup appears to crack first, before it fails completely. If it collapses entirely, it is usually difficult to tell exactly how the failure started, if you are looking at shrapnel.

Maybe I was lucky to catch it when I did, but IIRC the bearings went out of adjustment quite suddenly (relatively speaking) and when I adjusted them, the bearing didn't feel quite right to me, so I investigated further. I think the bearings had a tight spot in them and they felt a bit 'gritty'. I think this was caused by the cup deforming unevenly and the edges of the crack breaking up respectively. Anyway I think I spotted the damage with the naked eye, and it felt rough to my fingernail too. A quick squint through a magnifying glass confirmed that the cup was toast.

I didn't have a welding set to hand, plus I was interested in inspecting the cracked part in more detail, so I had to find a way of getting the cup out of the hubshell without damaging it. Unfortunately the back of the cup was actually obscured by the hub barrel, which had a smaller bore than the cup. After some head scratching, I used a drill to 'excavate' the aluminium behind the cup slightly, so that I could get a cranked drift in behind the cup. This took a little while but worked OK, and allowed me to replace the cup. It was (IIRC) about 'cost neutral' timewise; if I'd set to, I could probably have rebuilt the wheel with a different hub in about the same time.

When I got the cup out it seemed that the cracks were worse on the outside (convex) face than the inside, so maybe that is where they start.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

Postby Brucey » 17 Mar 2019, 8:28pm

JohnW wrote:
Brucey wrote:the milremo stuff came out of the same factory so it would be unlikely that it was actually different from other Maillard stuff; I've never noticed any difference in the look of the parts at any given time, either, but maybe others have? .............................

Er.......there was a bit of 'tongue in cheek' there Brucey. Even so, it remains a fact that whilst I never remember breaking a Milremo hub part, I do remember breaking one or two Normandys.


Ah... labelling aside, Milremo hubs do look identical in every way to Normandy ones but even so it isn't quite impossible that parts of the 'differently branded' hubs were slightly different though; for example I have lumped the more basic Pelissier hubs in with the Normandy/Maillard/Sachs hubs because they come from within the same empire and share a lot of common dimensions to hubshells, dustcaps, cups etc. However AFAICT the cones, axles and locknuts in Pelissier hubs were, at any given time, never quite identical to those in Normandy hubs, even if you could exchange the parts fairly freely between the two types. Certainly there was a slightly different mindset at work; for example Sachs/maillard/Normandy hub logos read 'from the right side of the bike' but in most Pelissier hubs the 'Pelissier' logo on the barrel reads correct from the left side of the bike instead.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lonestar1
Posts: 1
Joined: 4 Jun 2020, 12:58am

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

Postby Lonestar1 » 4 Jun 2020, 1:26am

I would just like to say thank you for such an comprehensively informative post on Maillard hubs. I was directed to it via a Facebook group for Dawes bikes after I enquired whether it was possible to obtain new cups. I know what you mean about not finding the SF hubs so appealing and as I have some of those, never likely to be used, I am now encouraged to investigate whether I can source a cup for the rear drive side from one. Finally, I would be interested to know if you have any tips for maintaining the finish of the hubs after you have polished them so diligently?

Brucey
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Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

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

Postby Brucey » 4 Jun 2020, 8:40am

some metal polishes (eg solvol autosol) seem to leave a protective film on the surface after polishing, such that the finish is maintained by repeat treatments without too much difficulty. Other polishes may polish as well but don't leave a protective film of any kind. In this case using a wax polish may help to maintain the shine.

A common fitment seen on bikes for many years was a 'cleaning loop' added to hub barrels. I say 'cleaning loop' but this may have had another name or names; it was kind of going out of fashion when I was starting cycling in the 1970s. The idea was that a loop of something would be fixed loosely around each hub barrel, and would 'roll around' as the bike was ridden thus keeping the hub barrel clean. Various different materials were used for this purpose; string, leather, bootlace, pipe-cleaner etc. In some cases it seemed to me that the material chosen was deliberately absorbent so that if oil came out of the hubshell it would be less likely to dribble down the spokes, but that might just be my imagination.

Image
Image
they still exist

I do remember that amongst the many 'gadgets' you could spend your pocket money on, for a while you could buy something that looked like a cross between an overgrown pipecleaner and a bottle-brush, specifically for this purpose, and that (this being the 1970s, 'the decade taste forgot') the 'brush' material was garishly multicoloured. I think I even fitted some of these for a while before the sight of them flapping around on the hubs troubled me for some reason and I took them off. I don't think they even worked that well to keep the hubs clean in fact.

Image
arrrgh… they still exist!

I have seen a few hubs which have been ridden so far with a 'cleaning loop' attached that the chrome plate has been worn off a steel hubshell, or the lettering has been worn off an aluminium hubshell. Fundamentally the loop will either be weighted slightly and slide over the surface (as in the first photo) or will be unweighted and 'roll around' instead. The sliding sort may be more likely to cause wear.

Image
weighted sort with reflector
[edit 'automatic bicycle hub cleaner' is one description]

cheers
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igauk
Posts: 81
Joined: 8 Nov 2016, 2:12am
Location: Glasgow

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

Postby igauk » 4 Jun 2020, 3:45pm

I can't believe 'hub cleaners' are still being made, especially that bottle brush abomination! Anyway, when I was a kid in the 70s and 80s we used a flat shoe lace and/or nicked dad's Autosol. We also used to collect the plastic bread bag clips to attach to our cable outers, god knows why. Image
Moulton TSR 30

Brucey
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Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

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

Postby Brucey » 22 Aug 2020, 11:56pm

Having to replace the rear cups is not unusual with these hubs. By contrast front hubs seem to be a lot longer lived. Well, most of them do. Like many shimano front hubs it is possible to get the hub reassembled with one or more balls not sitting in the cup but trapped between the side of the cone and the rest of the hub. This can cause said ball to crack in half, and the destruction that ensues has to be seen to be believed. This evening I went to overhaul a spare hub (exact provenance unknown) and I discovered that the reason the cone didn't stick out very far on one side was because that side had some horrendously worn and mangled bearing parts in it.

Image01795.jpg
been on a rough ride....


Image01798.jpg
down the road of broken dreams...


No way of knowing for sure what actually happened to start this process but a couple of the balls had crunched into pieces, and other balls had tried to run over the pieces, so not only is the bearing cup worn, it is also massively deformed and cracked. The other bearing cup is also badly worn (but nothing like as bad) presumably because it had to react the horrendous loads at the damaged end of the hub.

I shall try a cup transplant when I get the chance.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

Postby iandusud » 23 Aug 2020, 4:59pm

Had it been run with a loose r/h cone?

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

Postby Brucey » 23 Aug 2020, 5:05pm

iandusud wrote:Had it been run with a loose r/h cone?


perhaps. Not possible to say for sure; this hub came out of some random scrap wheel I think. One thing is certain which is that things were a lot more exciting in one side of the hub than the other for a while.

Anyway the transplant is now complete, unfortunately not without 'issues' (not one of my better days ahem), so there is some damage to the hubshell where the dustcap fits into it. Still, it is a working hub again, so it is progress, albeit not unadulterated progress.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

Postby Rod Goodfellow » 23 Aug 2020, 5:45pm

When I owned a bike shop in the late 70s I ordered a quantity (30?) of replacement cones for Normandy hubs and was amazed to find that they cost only 3p each, which led me to believe they must be low quality.

Brucey
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Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

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

Postby Brucey » 23 Aug 2020, 6:15pm

yes, not the best. Even so I am amazed that they were ever as little as 3p a go. To put that into perspective when I started getting interested in bikes in the late 1970s a single spoke cost 5p retail, so about the same cost.

At one point a set of Normandy QR large flange hubs cost nearly ten quid retail, but about half that was the QR skewers, and about half the remainder was the extra cost of having a large flange shell. The basic small flange hubs, with the same bearings etc retail, cost less than three quid a pair.

I have found that provided they are suitable shape, most types of alternative cone are a fair bit smoother running than a new Maillard cone. If you are lucky the maillard cones 'run in' and become smooth, but they are just as likely to start breaking up. That this is often because of poor hub adjustment (with no allowance for QR pressure) seems to be borne out by the fact that hubs with solid axles seem far less likely to have badly damaged cones.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

Postby JohnW » 23 Aug 2020, 6:33pm

Who remembers the excellent Ron Kitchen?
Cycleparts importer, wholesaler and distributer in Harrogate?
His brand name was "Milremo".
He distributed Milremo hubs - large and small flange - and to a mere cyclist like myself they were actually Normandys by a different name.

The bike shop that I used (in the 50s/50s/70s!) used Milremos as standard in their general (aka economy) wheels in the 70s, and they seemed to me to be so much better than the Normandy.

I've heard it said that Maillard had to down-grade the Normandy hubs to be competitive to sell in bulk quantities to the ready-built bike trade when the Japs were getting themselves organised.
I don't know whether that was true, but when it started to happen I was so relieved to find how good Campag record hubs were.

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

Postby Brucey » 23 Aug 2020, 6:35pm

JohnW wrote:Who remembers the excellent Ron Kitchen?....


is he the 'cooking version' of Ron Kitching...? :wink:

cheers
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