White Industries ENO Eccentric Hub

When I first got into riding single speed, I went with the Surly Singleator to turn my old Giant mountain frame with vertical dropouts into a 1 gear machine. After that ‘sploded on me I started to weigh my options. New frame with horizontal dropouts and a new wheel or is there some way I could just get a new wheel…? That was the draw that led me to covet this hub. False economy. Knowing what I know now I would have seen how much better an investment it would have been to just go for the frame and a 1 speed hub with some burly track nuts. Either that or I would have explored my options more carefully by checking out the Rohloff, Soulcraft, or one of the other chain tensioners on the market.

While preparing my thoughts for this, I came across this article on someone else who was having problems with the ENO Eccentric. I wish I had seen this before I made the investment. I agree with 70% of what he wrote. (Update on the link above. Since I’ve published this, it appears roadbikereview made their forums only visible to logged in members. I have most of the same gripes the member did, so there’s not too much new information on the link anyway…)

cool stuff:

  1. lets you convert bikes with vertical dropouts to singlespeed.
  2. with fixed if you so choose since you don’t have to route the chain through a tensioner.

bad stuff:

  1. Axle twisting in dropouts when you go to adjust the chain tension and tighten the axle nuts at the same time. If you don’t pay very close attention, you’ll end up with the wheel out of L/R alignment.
  2. Slippage in dropouts – I’ve become very shy about tightening down bolts since I had my headset top cap bolt snap a while ago. Every now and then I’d be out after stomping up a hill and notice that my chain tension was way too loose. On inspection I noticed that the ENO hub would rotate if I didn’t tighten it enough. I started using the torque wrench to dial in the lowest torque which would keep the axle from twisting without wrenching it too much. I’m a big guy and for a rider of normal weight, putting normal torque on the drivetrain, this probably wouldn’t be as much of an issue.
  3. Problem is for me that the bolts supplied couldn’t handle the torque I needed to keep it from slipping.

    Observe the threads close to the bolt head and you can see how they are stretched, and how the threads are more widely spaced than the ends. In addition to risking a broken bolt, if the wide threads are ever tightened down to the point where they engage in the axle, cross threading takes place and then you’re hosed.

    here’s what it looks like when it breaks. I’m covering the removal process in another post.
  4. Brake adjustments and pad placement makes something as simple as changing a tire a 20 minute affair. I got it down to a science after a while where I would balance the bike and use a wrench to rotate the hub until the brake pads line up with the rim, then tighten the axle bolts. Still not the sort of thing that’s really fun to do, and you have to carry around a 3/4″ open end wrench with you in your patch kit which is a bit of a pain.
  5. 7.5mm off-center of hub axle changes geometry of frame. – I never noticed any difference between the high and low position of the hub but I could really feel the difference in the wheelbase if the hub ended up adjusting all the way to the front or back.
  6. Off-center wheel also compounds any issues you would have with fender clearance, since you’ll need an extra 7.5mm in each direction unless you want to adjust your fenders along with your rear brake pads every time you adjust your chain tension.

Bottom line, decide what type of bike you’re in the mood for before you go out and swing for parts. Unless you have some favorite multi-speed frame, you really want a FIXED gear single speed, and you absolutely cannot own 2 bikes at the same time, there is probably some other combination of frame, chain tensioner, and axle which will provide you with a better combination of durability, simplicity of adjustment, and ease of maintainence – at least for what I paid for this thing at retail. Don’t get me wrong, White Industries makes some great stuff. The machining and detail in the hub is superb, and aside from the broken bolts, it looks new. The 18t freewheel is no joke either, and I will miss it’s buzzy sound as I’m coasting down hills and its lightning fast engagement.

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2 thoughts on “White Industries ENO Eccentric Hub

  1. Pingback: Broken Bolt Removal « It is not at all what you are talking about.

  2. Pingback: Broken Bolt Removal | bikesncoffee

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