The EZRA Karl Poynter Signature Freecoaster is now available by going to Vein BMX. As you can see from following that link to the Vein Online Store, the production version of the hub has gone through a few refinements since I posted about it at Interbike. Most noticeably, is that the shape of the shell has changed a little bit. I for one like the look of the smoother transition of the shell around the drive side engagement section/bearing.
Ever since Interbike, I’ve been super excited about this hub. At that time, I was allowed to see the internals, but was sworn to secrecy about how exactly they functioned. So now, I’m very glad that it’s out and I can talk about them.
The hub uses a Cassette like mechanism that holds the pawls down, instead of having them spring up. Then, as you pedal the hub forward the pawls catch on some ramps that are located on the clutch which push them up and allow the hub to engage. I was extremely surprised at how simple this hub was when I saw it. The nice thing about this hub being designed around a cassette type mechanism is, that if you want to, you can switch out the springs, flip the clutch around, and actually ride this hub AS A CASSETTE HUB!!!
This video actually shows you how:
I think this is going to be a pretty popular hub considering its only 16 ounces. That puts it as the lightest street freecoaster on the market right now. If Ezra decides to do an alloyed axle female version in the future you can expect that it would weigh a couple ounces lighter. Another nice feature of this hub, is that it comes with 3 clutch washers so that you can change the slack.
Here’s a picture of what the medium and large slack washers look like outside of my hub:
As you can see, the medium slack washer doesn’t have cut-out grooves in it like the picture above this one… But this really doesn’t affect the function of the hub.
I was able to speak with the guys from Ezra today and had a really good conversation with them about the freecoaster and how they are going to move forward with it. Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures of the internals, as the model they had might differ slightly from the production model they should hopefully have available in about a month. The main difference we spoke about was the addition of changes that will allow for modifying the slack. The first production run will be a relatively small run, so if you really want one, make sure you check back for updates and watch out for a release date. I did find out that this first run will only be available with a hollow male axle, with a female axle version to come at a later date.
Overall the hub was very nice! I liked that it had very appropriately simple internals which allowed the hub to remain very light weight. It felt like any normal hollow axle cassette hub when I was holding it in my hand. The internals do use a modified cassette type mechanism with some slight additions to make it work as a freecoaster. The guys assured me of this versions durability and said a number of the team guys have been riding them for some time now. I know Karl uses a lot of pedal pressure while doing spins out of fakies and this hub has been able to cope with everything he’s throwing at it.
This durability has definitely taken them some time to achieve, as it has been the culmination of 4 years of work and close to 50 different prototypes. They did mention that occasionally when rolling fakie if you engage the hub slowly you can hear the pawls skip past the ratchet ring, but this is only very seldom and they compared it much to the slight click that a cassette might make if you land and have the pawls right on the edge of the teeth of the ratchet ring. That being said, they told me about some of the steps they’ve taken to minimize this and that even when it does happen the pawls will immediately grab on the next section and engage.
Overall, I am very excited to see this hub come out and will try and grab one to put through some testing as soon as I can. If you want to see some higher quality pictures go check out the post that Kurt made on The Union.