After reading the response, from Harvey Sachs, to your questions about Hi-E hubs, I thought I would add a few things.
Number one, they are not obsolete, yet !
However, as reported on this list within the last 12 months, the company is for sale. I had Harlan Meyer, in Nashville, TN, re-build a 32-hole (small barrel) front hub for me just a few months ago, and he also replaced the center barrel with a nice violet anodized one. I also spoke with Harlan on the phone as he needed to clarify what I wanted done to my hub, and he confirmed his desire to sell Hi-E.
Since then, I have been contemplating sending all of my other Hi-E hubs to Harlan for overhaul because I'm not sure if Hi-E will be around much longer.
Number two, I believe the black center barrel on your hub would be a later offering. By later I'm not sure how much later I mean, but I don't recall any color besides natural polished aluminum being offered during the early '70's. My guess is that it is probably from the '80's. Also, the 24/16 hole rear spoke hole variation is a standard offering, which I believe is still offered, along with a few other odd patterns, to this day.
I still use the first Hi-E hub that I ever purchased, on my Jack Taylor curve-tube, laced to a Super Champion Medalle de Or tubular rim with 28 thin gauge double-butted spokes. Mind you, I don't ride this bike much any more due to increased rider weight. And, contrary to many other people's opinions, I have never had a problem with a Hi-E hub. Early on in their history, there were reports of flanges pulling apart on the 36 hole, TT front hub, laced radially. I later learned that the design of the flange had been beefed-up to eliminate this problem. Gary Klein used them on Klein bicycles in the late '70's quite extensively.
I once had a pair of Hi-E rims though, and can't say the same for their durability. I really don't think Hi-e rims were intended for daily use though. I used a 40 hole hub and rim on the rear of my JT curve tube for a while, but the rear wheel never stopped creaking, probably from the added weight over the rear wheel due to the curved seat tube. The aluminum used to make these rims was extremely thin compared to anything else. I think the rivets used to hold the rims together all the way around, including the ones with the nipple hole in the center, made up for most of the rim's weight.
I currently use a 32 hole pair of Hi-E hubs on my personal road bike, laced into Campagnolo Lambda Strada silver aero rims. The front is the one I had re-built because of a single rider involved crash (due to brain fade) which required the rim to be replaced, and bent the end of the axle a bit. I figured sending it to Harlan was the best choice
One of my favorite Hi-E components though were the spoke nipples. A pain in the back-side if you needed to true a wheel, because they didn't protrude through to the spoke side of the rim, They were aluminum, and had a hex head which was accessed from the tire-side of the rim with a special hex-socket spoke wrench. Somewhere I still have a bag of those nipples, and I still have the spoke wrench in my tool box.
Finally, I believe one can still purchase a new set of hubs directly from Hi-E, if so inclined. I didn't have any trouble making contact with Harlan using long distance information this year.
"Bicycle Mark" Perkins Fresno Cycling Club - Historian Fresno, California, U.S.A.
On Sat, 20 Apr 2002 07:51:54 -0400 "Eric Elman" <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> My bike experience and knowledge is based on a foundation of French, just
> beginning to get competent with with Campagnolo, and now I need help with
> At Copake last week I picked up a set of Hi-E hubs. Here's the spec's and
> my questions:
> Front: low flange, all silver flanges and center, "Hi-E" etched in center, 16h per side.
> Rear: High flange (almost 3"), all silver flanges and center with "Hi-E"
> etched in center, threaded for a freewheel, 126mm, 24h on drove side and 16h
> on other.
> So, are these early hubs or recent hubs, about what year? I've seen a set
> with black centers so assume thses are older?
> Is the hi-flange rear uncommon as I've never seen another?
> Why a hi-flange rear and low front?
> Why 16/24h on the rear and how would that be laced up to a 40h rim?
> These are very light - are they durable and good to use for an everyday bike
> or are do they lack durability and should only be used for races?
> How do/did they compare on cost & quality to say Phil hubs and campagnolo
> Thanks in advance,
> Hi-E(ric) Hi-E(lman)
> Somers, CT that had an earthquake this morning at 6:53am