>I remember them messing around with large diameter axles and beefy
>hubs for front suspended MTBs before anyone else was.
>Ann Phillips, Decatur GA
This should probably be "before anyone else in the U.S. was." I don't know whether Phil Wood were aware of the French Maxi-Car hubs, introduced around 1947, oversize axles, triple labyrinth seals and adjustable, high-quality SKF bearings (no play ever on a Maxi-Car!). Quite a few of those hubs were around in Socal, on bikes brought in by Dr. Clifford Graves and his friends from René Herse et al.
However, it doesn't take a stroke of genius to figure out that the problem of axle breakage best is solved by using thicker axles... Phil, Bullseye et al. however deserve credit for getting down to it and doing it!