Smoothness is in the eye of the beholder, virtually any alloy QR hub properly lubricated and adjusted is infinitely better than a badly maintained example of the best hub ever made. I think the "smoothness' of Campy bearings is another of those beliefs that is 10% fact and 90% mystique. If you asked an engineer with experience in automobile and aircraft rotating parts but no knowledge of bicycles to rate hub smoothness, I'll bet he wouldn't find much difference between a properly adjusted Campy NR and a properly adjust Normandy Sport or basic alloy QR Shimano. I suppose one could measure smoothness, i.e. relative lack of energy loss to friction, by rigging an electric motor to a hub axle, running the wheel on a treadmill, and metering the electrical input it took to maintain a given speed. I'll bet the difference between one relatively good quality hub and another would be minimal. The most important factor in hub performance is lubrication and adjustment. I like Normandy Competitions (especially with Simplex QRs) because they are cool and French, others like Campy NR because they are cool and Italian, others like Dura Ace because they are cool and Japanese. No reason in that for not getting along.
Chuck Schmidt wrote:
> "Can't we all get along?"
> --Rodney King
> C. Andrews wrote:
> > Jerry Moos wrote, in part:
> > Why the Italian chauvinism? What about Stronglight 105 bis cranks, Mafac brake
> > lever half hoods, Lyotard Berthet pedals, Normandy Competition hubs with Simplex
> > ****I've rebuilt enough Normany hubs, Luxe and otherwise, to know that they were only ordinary at best, and often very rough, even with new grease, bearings, and careful adjustment. Not a hub for the ages, I can tell ya.