Is it for Velocette at all??

This has turned out to be a bit of a conundrum: The hub and brake-plate that I received with the bike originally, purporting to be a Velocette front hub has a few ‘minor’ differences to any Velocette front hub that I have ever seen!

Oh, there’s no doubt about it, it fits alright, but what is it really? You may remember that it had a ‘Webb’ brake-plate, which is unusual in itself as the Velocette’s used ‘Bloomfield’ items originally. You may also remember the array of holes (presumably for cooling) and the mystery hole that was blocked up… I also now presume that that was for a cable-stop-pin, which would have been on the front – as in forward of the axle – which would anyway have been ‘wrong’ for a Velo, anyway. The plate had also been otherwise modified with a ‘skirt’ to disguise it as a Velocette front brake-plate, without a speedometer-drive! The more I think about it, it very much looks as if it might be off another bike entirely!

A good friend in Tblisi, Georgia, was the first one to point it out! However, the mystery remains unsolved, there was briefly a suggestion at one stage that it could be a REAR hub… this had to be quickly put aside, as there is no provision for a sprocket to drive the hub with!!

It is becoming more and more apparent, that this could be a thirties hub off another bike, a Norton or Rudge, maybe, or even off an earlier KTT?? But which model?? And the brake-plate? The spindle is fine for the Webb forks, but the bearings have been ‘tweaked’ to fit – or rather, the hub was ‘lined’ with an aluminium shim to take up the difference between the diameters!


This is the collection of bits that came out of the hub to make it fit on the front of the early heavyweight Webbs that I have.

Perhaps someone else could make a few suggestions to throw a bit of light on the subject! Here are a few more close-ups of the hub in question.

The brake-plate has already been covered elsewhere here (‘Wheel life stories’, Sat. 10 March and ‘Been too long away’, Sunday 8th April)

Here, just to jog your memory, are a few pics of the plate in question:



And here, for comparison of the hubs, the top picture is an original pre-war Velocette, pressed-steel hub:


Notice the very different, flat end on the original item compared to the other one In the ‘title’ picture and below! (+ the differences where the drum meets the ‘axle’-tube)


Here the inside of the hub (brake-plate NOT bolted on, so is it one piece with the hub and so cannot be for the rear?)
This is a casting for a 7” brake and is NOT a pressed hub! However, I am still not sure if this hub was cast in one piece, as it looks (from the picture below) as if the brake-drum had been cast separately and then shrunk on or maybe brazed or welded to the rest?? I have no idea. The construction, if done so, would appear to be very thin at the join and so hardly strong enough to take heavy braking loads without disastrous results: imagine if the brake-hub side parted company with the bearing-housing under braking! The the brake side would stop turning and the rest would continue to revolve…OMG!

Notice also above, that there is no provision for a gear-ring to drive a speedometer… so what IS this??


If this were cast in one piece, why is there a ring around the inside, which would normally be a ‘fillet’ and not a depression? This, to me as a pattern-maker for these sorts of parts, points to the fact that it was cast as two separate pieces and joined later!!


Another pic, this time showing inside the bearing-housing of the non-brake side. Mysteriouser and mysteriouser! HELP, anybody??


© peter gouws 2012

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