Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Phoenix Project - Royce Titan Venus Hubs

Before getting into today's topic, I've encountered some diplomatic but decidely negative feedback about ditching the rating system, so it is back, for now anyhow.

Prior to the commencement of The Phoenix Project, I posted an entry about hub selection criteria and shopping experience here, so I don't really need repeat some of this material.  But today, the Royce Titan Venus hubs arrived in all their Britannic glory, quaintly packaged in authentic corrugated cardboard boxes:

These are made in a hollow tree located in a mossy Shire somewhere in Ye Merrie Olde Sod by a crew of hale and heary lads who never miss their pint or two after work.  I purchased my set from Shedborn Urban and Bespoke Cycle Builds, I recommend these guys highly, they get the full monty - 5 Otakus:

Well, on with the games...

Street Cred

Quite unexpectedly, we come up with a fairly low Street Cred rating for the Royce Titan Venus hubs.  This is surprising for what are arguably some of the finest production hubs in existence.  But Royce seems to be a lot better at making a hub than making a hubbub; these hubs are little known outside the U.K.

Just purchasing these was a bit of a chore - I couldn't find one U.S. based online retailer that carried these, at least a major one.  While one may purchase directly from Royce, my criteria included accepting Paypal.  That, in conjunction with the necessity of also shipping to the U.S., pretty much narrowed it down to Shedborn Bikes.  No kidding...

Hence, not many people are familiar with these around these parts, although in extremely rarified cycle kit circles, you know, the type of folk who cycle across the South Pole, e.g, my sister, they are highly esteemed. That does give them the delicious tang of insider exclusiveness to me, though that is doubtlessly cold comfort to the Royce accountants & stakeholders.

Nonetheless, Royce believes in their product wholeheartedly as well.  Each hub comes with a serialized certficate of ownership granting a lifetime warranty upon their "aircraft grade" titanium axles.

Gizmo Lust

What Royce hubs lack in Street Cred, they more than compensate in Gizmo Lust.  First, there are the aforementioned titanium axles and fitments, as well as the high grade Japanese cartridge bearings:

The freehub body is also titanium:

Normally, I'm not a fan of laser etched logos, but we're going to make an exception for this one since it is so classy and nicely executed on the hub bodies that are CNC'ed from a solid aluminum billet:

Without a doubt, these are the shiniest, most blingalicious anodized alloy component I have ever fondled and caressed.  Also, please note the precise machining & milling.  One comment I've received is, "'tis a pity you don't have see-through dropouts":

Industrial art doesn't get any finer than this.


Well, we've got silver, 36 holes, and high flanges, so these seem pretty safe. But still they've got cartridge bearings. And worse yet, Shimano compatible cassette freehubs are a known precursor to  STI.

Tweed Factor

Another surprise is a low Tweed Factor of only 1 cycling rain poncho. Tweedizens traditionally love items from island nations lousy with darkly ancient storefront machine shops and densely populated with a hideously polite and quaintly eccentric folk who love tea, trains and venerate their hereditary, figurehead monarchs.

In passing, this explains why Tweedies now worship Nitto, Sugino, and other Japanese products since the collapse of the British cycling industry.

But this innate anglophilia is countered by traditional Tweed practice of blowing all their cash on extravagant frames and then considering anyone a dissolute wastrel for buying any component above Shimano 105 grade (or even lower).

For this reason, titanium wards off the Tweed-stricken much as garlic does to vampires.

Finally, there is no record that GP has ever mentioned Royce hubs, so they plainly don't exist, are in the realm of mythical chimera, bigfoots, and cheap, lightweight, reliable, wide-range internal gearhubs, especially ones with drop bar compatible shifters.

Phony Accent

Gotta award Royce one beret for the questionable font in their "R" logo.

Lily Gilding

Ha, are you kidding?  Don't even think about the price, just concentrate on that lustrous, pearly shiny glow....

Running Tally

$1664 USD

We carry forward $1114 from the Dura Ace SL-7700 Shifters episode.  If there was any doubt about the Lily Gilding rating of 5 faberges, it should be dispelled by noting the breathtaking $552 USD fee for these hubs is almost 50% of the previous running tally, which included the frame cost.

Interestingly enough, today's running tally is within a percentage point or two of today's price of one ounce of gold.

Organ Sales

$0 USD

No sales of parts from the donor 1985 Trek 620 have yet closed.  However, the Sakae Ringyo SP-150 Road Pedals, Sach Huret Eco Duopar Rear Derailleur, Sachs Huret Pilot Front Derailleur, Stronglight A9 Hinault Headset, and Avocet Touring Saddle with Coveted Script Logo have all wended their way to Ebay.  So we should be seeing some movement soon.

The Sausage Factory

We've got to review some rims, spokes, tires, and quick releases and get them thrown together before we can mount anything on the frame, but we can close with a few parting shots of these lovely hubs:


Alex said...

say, is the rear hub a 130mm? i assume so. what did you do about the fact that the 620 has a 126mm rear spread? just jam it in there?

robatsu said...

Yes, the hub is 130mm and the frame is still intact at 126mm.

I don't know if I'd go so far as to say I "jammed" it in there ;)

I just use my two thumbs on the dropouts to gently spread them and my index fingers wrapped around the quick releases to pull the wheel into place.

It actually doesn't take a whole lot of effort. The fact that the 1985 Trek 620 had quite long 47mm chainstays may make this even a bit easier.

Alex said...

good to know. i will probably do this too at some point and i was wondering how well it worked.

Alex Rains said...

No mention of Phil Wood Touring Hubs?

Gilbert said...


Following your lead, I just received today a set of Harry Rowlands handbuilt 26" wheels with Royce Venus Titan high flanges 36 holes hubs.

Your choice was right. What a universe of difference. Can't explain it. Got to ride them.

That rear wheel, it just puuuurrs!