ÉCLAT BMX: Seismic Hub - Product Insight | Ride UK BMX

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ÉCLAT BMX: Seismic Hub – Product Insight

Éclat have long been coming up with interesting bike parts, nicely designed products that clearly have had a lot of thought go into them.  Recently they announced the Seismic hub, a cassette hub with radically different internals to the standard spring and pawl system we’re used to in BMX.  We sat down with Dave Paterson to find out how this hub was developed.

Éclat Seismic Hub Q&A

with Dave Paterson

– What makes this hub different to past Éclat hubs?

The major difference with the Seismic Cassette Hub compared to our other Éclat hubs and almost any other hub on the market is the mechanism. Where our other cassette hubs are based on individual sprung pawls engaging into a ratchet ring, the Seismic uses a totally different design of internal mechanism we developed and have named TCS (Tooth Coupling System). This system uses x2 sprung ratchet discs side-by-side, which are inside the hub and the driver. The two discs are pushed together from opposite sides with a very special design of spring, which allows the hub to transfer power in one direction, and “freewheel” in the other.

“It’s a much stronger internal mechanism with fewer moving parts than a normal pawl-style cassette hub.”

– What are the main advantages of this design over other hubs on the market?

In a nutshell, it’s a much stronger internal mechanism with fewer moving parts than a normal pawl-style cassette hub. You can really crank this thing as hard you want and it’s not going to fail. Even after years of heavy use, this hub was designed to keep going on and on. The hub itself is also much simpler to work on and lighter than a standard cassette hub. Using the new TCS internals and slimming down the hub shell, we are able to decrease the weight by 100g without sacrificing the strength of the hub in any way.

Actually, because of the new type of internals we could actually increase the diameter of the axle making it even stronger, whereas many brands have to reduce the axle diameter to reduce weight which can really effect the strength and durability. We specifically designed the Seismic hub to be easily serviceable, with many of the parts being similar to our existing hubs, and the propriety components being affordable and available from Éclat dealers worldwide.

– Where did the name come from?

Sometimes the name is the hardest part of creating a product. The first thing we really noticed as soon as we started testing this hub was the unique sound. It really is very distinct from any other kind of hub sound, so we wanted to base the name off that. We kept thinking of names related to sound waves and SEISMIC was on the list. After going back and forth with the design team and the riders we gave it the go ahead and the SEISMIC hub was born.

– How was the design process? What challenges did you face?

Every single product we design has different kinds of processes to go through. With this hub, and all hubs in general, the first step is always the internal mechanism. It’s the most complicated part of the hub and the most crucial to get right. With tolerances being so small, the margin for error is high if you don’t have a properly working internal system which is tested and possible to mass produce. If the internals work, then generally speaking you’re going to have a hub that rolls and does the job.

Similar hubs have been tested and proven in road cycling and mountain biking for years now, so we knew the concept was possible, however getting this system to work inside the compact space inside of a BMX hub was the first hurdle.

“We’ve had some of the PRO team freecoaster guys toying with the idea of switching back to a cassette hub just so they can get their hands on this thing…”

BMX style 9t drivers are much smaller than anything used outside of BMX, the axles we use also need to be larger in diameter to withstand the huge impacts, lateral forces from grinding and generally putting the hub through hell on a daily basis.

It took us a while to really get it to the point where we were happy with the size of the hub, weight and most importantly the strength and durability of the mechanism. Once those factors had been balanced, we had a drawing and a first sample, the next step was testing the first prototypes.

The Éclat TCS system and its special springs.

– What was the development like? Who tested it and did you have to make many revisions?

Despite it being a far different story for many of the other products we’ve worked on over the years, we almost got everything right first go on the SEISMIC hub. The first samples we received worked flawlessly and are still being ridden today, almost 2 years later.

During the original testing phase, we did decide to use a different tooth profile to increase the engagement, and we also decided to use independent RSD and LSD discs. Whilst the original sample was RSD/LSD switchable with teeth on both sides of the disc, we decided to use independent discs to improve the spring/ disc interface and allow it to function better since they would both have flatter surfaces to sit against.

Using independent internals also allowed us to slim down the design and reduce some weight from the hub. The second round of samples featured the final hub shell design and graphics, those hubs then went out for another round of testing to prove they were truly bombproof and ready for the market. They also passed with flying colours.

We take product testing very seriously and always carry out rigorous and thorough testing of all of our products before we are happy for them to go into mass production, and with hubs it’s even more so. As always, we had a mix of sponsored team riders, local riders, bike shops and of course our design team riding the samples every day to ensure that not only the hub worked flawlessly, but it was also easily serviceable and hassle free in the long run.

“The first thing we really noticed as soon as we started testing this hub was the unique sound”

From the very first sample to the production run which is available now, we only had one round of revisions, furthering the point that this hub really works flawlessly. Éclat AM Jordan O’kane is an absolute animal, after Sean Burns he’s probably jumped off more roofs than any other rider on the team. After mentioning to me that he’s always been incredibly brutal on rear hubs, I sent him a sample as soon as I could. Jordan is a human gorilla and has been putting his SEISMIC hub through utter hell by going Mach 10 and jumping off every roof gap or building he can find, and the hub has never skipped a beat. Need we say any more?

– Why has no other company made a hub system like this before?

That’s a good question. As I stated before, the basic concept of a hub working in this way is nothing new. It has been proven to be an incredibly durable, reliable and superior hub design on road and mountain bikes for years now. Taking this concept and spending time to adapt it to work inside a BMX hub with our own changes and spring system was something we talked about since Éclat started, but we were only able to make it a reliably in recent years due to patent issues and manufacturing processes.

We always have a long list of projects on the back burner and are constantly waiting for the right time to bring them to the front of the queue. Conventional BMX cassette hub design hasn’t changed a great deal in the past 10 years so we felt the need to step it hub and create a hub that BMX really needed.

– Which team riders will be running this when it’s out?

We already have a lot of the crew riding it now. Jordan O’kane in the UK and Aaron Paffenholz in Germany are on production versions of the hub, we have more hubs heading out to team riders this week. Interestingly we’ve had some of the PRO team guys toying with the idea of switching back to a cassette hub just so they can get their hands on this thing, although I’ll leave their names unmentioned to protect their identities until the time is right, haha…

– Tell us about the availability of the Seismic hub, options etc.

The Éclat SEISMIC Cassette Hub is available in BMX stores now! The hub is available in Black with a 9t driver and a 14mm heat treated chromoly male axle in both RSD and LSD options. We also developed a matching front hub, which is based off of our super popular CORTEX front hub but with a matching hub shell design.

Other colours are planned on later orders, and due to the affordable design of the hub, more axle and driver options will be available on future orders allowing you to customise the hub to your exact needs.


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