Glad you brought this up, as I was thinking to myself "why would Howard use a Helicomatic?" Actually I was also wondering why use a UG hub as UG cogs are very difficult to find.
But, regarding the Helicomatic, both of the rear rear wheels I have with the Helicomatic hubs have cracked and broken flanges. At the spoke holes. And neither of these wheels have many miles, as the cog sets are like new. Disappointing.
Interesting to look at and fun to play with, but that's it.
Jay Sexton Sebastopol, CA
Date: Sat, 28 Mar 2009 20:53:29 -0400 From: Harvey Sachs <email@example.com> Subject: [CR] Actually using a Helicomatic? To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Classic Rendezvous <email@example.com> Message-ID: <49CEC689.firstname.lastname@example.org> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; format=flowed
At the end of a note on wheel-building, Howard Darr noted, <snip>:
Currently building a 650 b wheelset. 3x rustless 14 gauge spokes (cut phil wood spoke cutter that Peter Stull owns), Vintage Weinmann rims and now the tough choice NOS first generation shimano 600 cassette UG hubs or Maillard Helichomatic. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ I keep a Helicomatic wheel around (and a Helicomatic beer opener), but my sense was that there is a consensus that this "missing link" between the FW and the cassette had a real weakness: undersized right bearing set that was prone to fail (Oddly enough, this "feature" affected the later off-topic Sachs 8-speed Cassette hub, too). In contrast, I think that the alternative was a much better design. But, I could be wrong, and I do enjoy playing with the Helicomatic. Several years ago, I somehow acquired a stack of 40 or so loose Helicomatic cogs that I spread among listmembers, don't think I have spares any longer.
Perhaps, like the Cinelli M-71 "widowmaker" pedal, it should go in a collection of Great Ideas that Needed Just a Bit More Thought