It has been a struggle recently with so darn much going on at once. New products, several new team sponsorships, a huge uptick in sales volume, new ROAD DISC wheels, blizzards and subsequent shipping delays, and other supply chain wrangling, and UCI wheel certification (stay tuned!). We also designed new wheel shipping boxes (logistics are the untold story behind every business) which took A WHILE to prototype and dial in, glad that is behind me. Now I have a mountain of boxes to store. More exciting is our new hub option, Project 321. They are the best J bend hub on the market, in my opinion. I like them better that Chris King for a variety of technical as well as business reasons. Key points for me - brilliant machining, 10 year guarantee (!!!), ALL the colors, strongly angled hub flanges, angular contact bearings with adjustable pre-load, and.... wait for it... MAGNETS.
Yes, they have a new driver mechanism with 206 points of engagement using a pull spring magnet that both pulls into the driver ring harder under load and creates much less drag while free wheeling (up to 60% less). They can be set up almost silent or which a buzz similar to Industry 9 hubs. Check it out here.
We don't think this is a gimmick, we think this is the future. Shimano are rumored to be working on a similar deal, as are a couple other brands. The primary failure point in a pawl drive hub is the spring pushing the pawl into the driver ring getting chewed up or gummed up or whatever. As the pawl moves farther into the ring (pedalling) the push force reduces as the spring is less compressed. While coasting the pawls are riding over the top of the driver teeth, and the spring force is the highest (drag). As the springs get old and weak or gunked up with old greased and dirt, they can fail to push the pawls in and then your freehub can fail to engage consistently. That is what DT and King are meant to prevent with their no pawl designs.
On top of those great technical features and best in class machining and anodizing (very deep colors), Project 321 offer a Lefty and Lefty Supermax hub, something we have lacked. The other options for Lefty are quite limited.
Why do we care about Lefty all of the sudden? Well, because THE SLATE! The Cannondale Slate is a very unique bike and was in the forefront of the emerging Road Plus market (yes, you read that right). Road Plus is 650b high volume road tires, just like 27.5+ is to 29r bikes. We like to be out in front on the new tech and provide a solution to early adopters, and on top of that, we just really like the Slate. Hey, we live in Vermont! Dirt and trails are regular parts of our road rides and commutes. Last year we decided to partner up with our buddies over at Short Handled Shovel, who promote THE MOST EPIC GRAVEL RIDE IN AMERICA. End. Bar none. They are raffling off a Slate to support Little Bellas, another organization we love (and also here in Vermont).
Little known fact, we offer the only commercially available wheelset upgrade for the Slate right now (I keep checking, feel free to link me to a competitor). Our carbon wheelset is based on our hookless MTB racing rim paired to Project 321 Lefty hubs, Shimano 11 or XD driver at your choice. The wheelset weight is about 1400 grams, a very very significant weight savings over the stock wheels and not something you can get anywhere else, even at your Cannondale dealer (to my knowledge, please let me know if this is not the case).
Speaking of Cannondale, we also build wheels for their asymmetric chainstay bikes, Cannondale Asymmetric Integration (Ai), which is Cannondale-speak for SCS. And we know a thing or two about SCS, so we may as well help out those of you with Cannondales as well, right? If you need Lefty or Ai wheels, just let us know.