Throwback Thursdays: 1985 Grease Guard Tandem Hub
22 May, 2014
The Grease Guard Tandem hubs were available with a double threaded design, mirroring one drive side from another potential drive side. So, what does that actually mean? It means that back in the day of freewheels, before things moved to cassette style hubs today where the cassette, or gears, slide onto the freehub body, there were freewheels that threaded directly onto hubs. Freewheels reigned supreme for a long time but they could break. The Grease Guard Tandem hubs were designed to not sideline racers. The idea was, you could actually thread on two freewheels. The hub pictured above doesn't have another freewheel threaded on to the open, available threads but going into a race, a duo could enter with two freewheels on that rear hub. Tandem riders, giving the brute force of two, could break a freewheel and then rather than be sidelined, could simply flip the wheel around, put the chain over the new freewheel and keep shredding. The width was the same, side to side, so there weren't any spacing issues. Brilliant. With an eye on design, they were also built with incredibly tough axles. First, split pins were put into standard axles to beef them up. Then along came sleeved axles. Even later, axles more than twice as thick were made. They were tough and they took it. The hub above is from the very tandem that Joey Peterson and Roy Rivers set the record time of the T.N.T Race on - Tahoe to Truckee in a scant 59 minutes and change. The owner, who will respectfully remain nameless (though it starts with a TG, which stands the The Great...) still has this rig rolling today, strong as it's ever been. Shown below, you can see moving from right to left the progression of axles - standard axle on the right, sleeved design next, latest design and thickest on the left. Pretty rad. They were also available with specific end caps to drum brakes for those using drum brakes.
Axles, ethernet, and head tube badges - all pretty exciting around WTB's Mill Valley office. Right - standard axle. Middle - sleeved design. Left - latest, thickest design.
WTB has a long history caring about durability and practicality - who else would double thread a hub in an effort to address an issue in an honest fashion like that?