Royce Rear Cassette Hub £169.00 (Shimano spline pattern)
No sooner had I got my Royce Ultralight Front Hub running nicely again when its companion started complaining. Nasty cracking noises emanated from the freehub body. Taking down the hub is easy enough once the titanium locknut has been removed from the spindle, which normally requires clamping the latter in a vice with a strip of aluminium for protection and getting a pipe wrench or similar on the locknut. Having previously filed a hex to fit a 5mm Allen key on the inside of the hollow spindle and flats on the locknuts, I got them off in a trice using said Allen key and a 17mm open-ended spanner.
The freehub body then had to be rotated backwards while being pulled outwards, thus ensuring the ratchet pawls clear the seal. Inside was all manner of clag, grime and dirty grease plus three visibly worn pawls. The two cartridge bearings were also feeling a bit rough. Now, when a Shimano or similar freehub body wears out, the whole thing must be discarded and a new one fitted. A Dura-Ace freehub, comparable in quality to the Royce hub, ain’t cheap and requires a fair bit of work to remove and replace plus a beefy 10mm Allen key and plenty of welly. Instead, I simply sent the freehub body, precision-machined in 6Al-4V titanium, off to Royce where it received new pawls, springs and bearings.
Meanwhile, the hub got a thorough clean. Unlike those of the freehub, its bearings were in perfect condition after 2 hard winters’ use, as was the hub body itself. The titanium spindle is probably indestructible. The hub’s ratchet ring looked good, as did the green seal, so when the freehub arrived back on my desk, I whacked to lot back together with a decent coating of Teflon-loaded grease and, well, went for a ride.
Yes, the freehub bearings and pawls wore out. However, this was after use in extremely harsh conditions (the wheels were built specifically for wet winter weather) and getting the hub back into as-new working condition was quick and very easy. Add in the exceptional durability of the anodised Royce finish and the longevity of the hub barrels themselves and it is easy to see why these components have such a fine reputation.
Options include a choice of 130mm, 135mm or 140mm Over Locknut Dimension, spoke drillings from 16 to 32 holes, slotted spoke holes to take bladed spokes and a choice of Shimano or Campagnolo freehub spline pattern at £169.00 and £179.00 respectively.