Velo Orange Grand Cru High Flange hubs

I know sometimes it must seem like I’m getting kick-backs from Velo Orange, considering all the positive PR I seem to give them. But I promise that I’m not. The closest thing to a kick-back I’ve ever gotten from VO is the instant replacement of a Moderniste bottle cage when the weld failed. I contacted them by e-mail, and they shipped a new one out, asking only for a photo of the failed piece.

But on to the hubs…

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The Grand Cru hubs come in cool velvet bags and include quick releases.

If you’re a Campagnolo fan like me, you may have noticed that Campy hubsets are rapidly becoming collectors items after Campy stopped making stand-alone hubsets for their grouppos (instead, they are selling wheelsets). The only exception is the super pricey Record road and Record Pista track hubsets. As a result, shiny Campy road hubs are demanding a premium on eBay.

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Whilst searching for a wheelset for a friend’s bike, I came across VO’s highly polished, highly flanged and highly drilled-out Grand Cru hubs – then was shocked to see the cassette versions were available with a Campy-compatible freehub body!

Note the resemblance to these 70’s era Campagnolo Gran Sport high flange hubs:
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Needless to say, I ordered a set for a shiny wheel build! Up close, these hubs look just as nice as, not better than, they do in photos. There is some very slight evidence of CNC’ing on the hub flanges, though you really have to look close to see it. The outer edges of the flanges are angled inward so the spokes seat properly. The bearings feel super smooth, though it appears that there are no extra seals protecting the cartridge bearings aside from the cartridges seals themselves. Another surprise was the decent quality quick release skewers – the nuts are very nice-looking, highly polished CNC’d – and the levers have cut-outs. The rear freehub body looks extremely nicely made. The overall feeling when you pick up these hubs is that they would cost quite a bit more than they actually do.

The rear cassette hub is referred to as a “touring” hub, probably due to it’s stout, 4 bearing design and it’s moderate weight of 325g (130mm model – compared to about 270g for a lightweight rear hub). At 180g, the front hub isn’t at all unseemly heavy (for comparison, a typical lightweight front hub usually weighs around 110g). At $70 for the front quick-release model and $160 for the rear cassette model, these are pretty inexpensive hubs, particularly considering the nice finish and quality bearings.

Another bonus is that these hubs come in all sorts of variants: cassette (Shitmano or Campy), freewheel, fixie, 130 or 135mm widths, 32 or 36 holes, etc. I wanted to go real old-school with mine, so I was ready to order 36h versions for my future wheel build, but then I realized how comparatively difficult it is to find anything but 32h rims these days – particularly if you want a polished finish.

More on these hubs after I build up the wheels and put some miles on them…