Monday, November 22, 2010

They are playing my Tune

It was a very sad moment. My favorite hub had just broken. A slight buckle in the wheel had caused me to grab a handful of spokes to check the tension.... then plunk! A big piece of flange from the non-drive side had pulled away. I was mortified, I'd had that hub since 2003 at a guess, so it had done some hard yards. But it was a Tune Kong, probably the lightest hub available in the world at the time, a feathery 252 grams. It came courtesy of my duties as Kashi Leuch's webmaster.

Between Kashi's tenure on the Rockstar Volvo Cannondale team, and Julian Absalon's Bianchi team, he spent a year as an independant riding for Maxxis and Trek, with fruity-bits supplied by the guys at Tune. The hubs, along with, stem and cranks were all part of my payment for web-munstering duties for Kashi over the years. This was the only way a poor married with children racer like myself could aspire to such fruity kit.

The guys at Tune are serious freaks when it comes to componentry. The weight and visual appeal of some of this stuff is completely off the radar. Hubs with magnetic pawls and carbon fibre axles are not unheard of.

I have also had a Tune hub on my road bike since 2001 (this was my training and racing wheel) , and to this day it still hasn't even had to have its bearings replaced.

Being the geek I am, I thought the guys at Tune might be interested in seeing a picture of the broken hub flange, given that it was on the "non-drive" side so I emailed them one. Imagine my surprise when in a return email they offered their condolences and offered to replace the hub body for the cost of postage! Thats what I call service! Any warranty would have been long expired.

Eventually a new hub body turned up, and with the help of a mallet, a vise and a pair of pliers, I had installed my old axle and bearings. The new hub was a feathery 231 grams, and would be substantially less with an upgraded axle I would guess.

Some people in NZ might go on tours of the Cadburys chocolate factory in Dunedin, or the Tui beer factory in Mangatoinoka, but if I had my choice of tours, it would be the Tune factory in the Black Forest of Germany, as this lucky Weight Weener did.

I am looking forward to rebuilding that wheel and hitting the trails again with it.

Some more links:
Here is my own "how-to" on removing a Tune spider, with the "track-bike-tool".
Check out the images of  the famed alchemist Mr Tune (Uli Fahl's) rocket powered bike.

Be the envy of your friends and download the Tune "ring-tone", in case you can't guess, the sound of a coasting tune hub : )  or if the Mrs asks for suggestions, for a stocking filler for you this year, there is the 20th Anniversary Tune MTB groupset, for a paltry Euro 1500.00. I am not sure if the crank is included. More stingy wives may spring for the lovely Carbon Fibre cup and saucer set !