Front (Drum Brake) Bicycle Hubs

The front hub is the main part of a bicycle's wheels that attaches to the front wheel's rim through the spokes and to the point where the axle is fitted, allowing the free spinning of the wheel. Front (drum brake) bicycle hubs consist of a tubular, mostly metal body with a set of bearings at each end. For this brake system, the hub will normally have a raised lip at either end that is drilled with holes for the spokes.

What are the various types of front bicycle hubs?

The various types of hubs include:

  • MTB hubs: These brake parts come in a broad variety of dimensions and designs to fit multiple bike/axle standards and to suit different off-road disciplines.
  • Road hubs: These usually consist of an alloy frame that the axle is connected to with a fast-release skewer.
  • BMX hubs: These hubs consist of a metal, compound housing comprising two or more sets via which the axle is threaded, and it is fastened to the frame and fork dropouts through bolts at either end. Many high-end BMX hubs use cartridge bearings where the steel balls or needles move around in a single cartridge unit. That unit can be removed for servicing or replacing due to wear and tear.
  • Hub spares: These include spare parts that may consist of replacement sprockets, ratchets, springs, axles, pawls, and more.
What factors should be considered when choosing a front hub?

The following guidelines are helpful when picking a bike drum hub, such as those produced by Sturmey-Archer:

  • Hub weight: For bikes with suspensions, the heaviness of the hub contributes to the unsprung mass of the cycle. Decreasing hub weight affects the ride quality and the steering attributes of road bikes. Reducing hub weight on a road bike should make the bike lighter, which can be helpful for bike racing or climbing.
  • Hub flange: The main load on a hub is caused by the tautness of the spokes, depending on the lace patterns. Several hub makers build hubs with extra-thick or forged projections with holes poked closer to the axle, leaving extra material to withstand stress as a result of radial lacing. Other hub makers produce these models for use with straight pull spokes, which apply dissimilar loads to the hub flange. Increasing the diameter normally contributes to higher lateral and torsional stiffness.
  • Compatibility: You can also consider the compatibility of the hub with the rim. You should check that the number of spokes on the selected hub matches with those on the rim.
  • Hub width: Most front hubs are 100mm wide, with some exceptions for mountain bikes. You should make sure the width is appropriate for your use.
  • Other considerations include color preference, spare part availability, and brand preference.