Don’t be a naive knave—know your naves!

Posted on December 08 2016

Don’t be a naive knave—know your naves!

The first wheels were wood and had fixed axles. The second wheels were wood with independent axles, which stayed still while the wheel turned on it.

It was a wood-on-wood rubbing arrangement, and this was before ball bearings, so the friction wore a bigger hold in the wheel, and soon after, the wheel worked worse.


So to lessen the wear and delay the bigger hole and the hell that followed, the wheel makers started making wheels with more wood around the axle-enclosing part, so the problems took longer to happen. The bulged area was a nave. More contact area on the axle meant less wear on it, and same thing for the hub. It had to increase friction, but that’s better than a wheel that wobbles like mad.

The naved wooden wheel came about about 5,000 years ago. Look at a stagecoach wheels, and you still see naves.


Five thousand years later, most hubs still have naves, but not Phil “no-nave” hubs.

Today naves are unnecessary, but the bulge they are can be made to serve some purpose. Usually they’re where the bearings go, which is like the original purpose.


Some hubs have super wimpy naves, but since naves are not necessary to begin with, that’s not a problem. The hub designers might say you’re lucky to get any nave at all,so just be happy.

That's a Shimano Deore on the left, a Silver on the right. Are the bulgey between the flange bumps just internal naves, and if so, should we judge the mfr by total nave size, not just the outer? They do what they have to do,

Even a buttoned-up company like Shimano, with all of its meticulous engineers, doesn’t match nave sizes in hubsets. You see lots of small-front naves with much bigger rear naves.




If you google nave, you’ll come up with wheel. But my sources, which I refuse to disclose, tell me with some authority that nave originally referred to the bulgey center part of the wheel that is now the hub, In the wooden wheel years, a wheel found buried in the dirt and absent its wheels was known to be a wheel that rotated independently on its axle…if and only if it had a nave. And a round hole. Axles to this day are round, for the same archaeological reason.

'nuff nave stuff, now onto other:----------------

In a few months we'll have Jack Browns in with thicker sidewalls, and brownish ones. There is some "anti-UV" agent applied to the skinwalls, but it's meager. Fine for general riding in mixed weather but not good for the days of global warming, with the Sun's uv baking us all and tires, too.

It happens to a lesser extent with less exposure, but it happens. With bike tires now costing as much or more as car tires did in the '70s and '80s, it is worth considering a tire with a sunproof sidewall.


I was looking over some ancient bike magazines and came upon a couple of neat ads from the mid 1880s, which reminds me: It's not 1880's with the late apostrophe. It's just 1880s. If there were no lower case s, the late apostrophe would be helpful, to keep it from looking funny. You DO use the apostrophe up front when you abbreviate it as '80s. It's not good, ever, to do '80's. Here are those ads:

Sorry it's hard to read, but here's the ultra-gem of the group, No. 7:

We believe that records made on a frail and delicately-constructed wheel show no superiority in a roadster.

Isn't that great? This was from 1887, when "wheel" meant bicycle and "roadster" I guess was another name to call it. Note that these days you aren't supposed to hyphenate adverbs, but this was from Canada, anyway, and maybe they still do it up there. They do some things right, so let's cut them slack on the hyphenated adverb of 1887.


 These copper water bottles are taking the country by storm. John at RIVELO in Portland has them, and as I understand it, he guarantees they'll cure the worst cases of arthritis one second after the first gulp.


Will's 'viut, again. The toe strap is a parking brake for when he rides BART. It squeezes the brake lever. The clothes pin holds it in place in the meantime. Clothes pins aren't like they used to be. I used to collect them--think no ill, it was a harmless and cheap hobby--and the best ones were made in Maine. They had forward springs, and the real test was ... when you opened them and then let go, the jaws would close aligned. Try that these days, and you're in for a huge rude awakening/disappointment that'll leave you crestfallen. And the springs are too close to the handle. Still, you can get bamboo ones at Cost Plus.

I have mixed feelings about wooden clothes pins, but bamboo regrows so fast.


This is our most underrated, under-the-radar  product. A Dutch strap, actually made in Holland and imported directly by us.

Sometimes you don't have a bag-or-basket, and sometimes you have a load that won't fit. Always have one of these straps on your rack, just in case. It weighs zero and doesn't hurt anything, & you can do wondrous things with it, as shown.

Bolt one end semi-permanently to an eyelet. Even if you have just one eyelet and it's being used for a fender or rack already, no problem. You may need a longer bolt, but it's easy. You need to make sure the point of the bolt doesn't protrude into the chain-zone, and that may require some washers. Hardware stores have everything.

This is the "resting" mode. Not the oppo-side keeper, to be shown below. This isn't necessary, but when you aren't using the strap, why over-tension it? You'll never go broke wearing out straps, and the Hollish maker says the straps have about a 10 year elastic life, but it would be less in Tucson.

Put a long M5 bolt in the hourglass boss there, and leave some hanging to make it easy to unhook.

I don't know how to do links here, but IF you want one, go to our site and search for DUTCH TRIPLE STRAP, and it should come up. They're cheap, about $12.


We've been out of these Dutch Paddle Grips for a few months, but we'll have them again by the end of December. I have them on my Sam (pictured) and they're good. I think grips are overthunk. I like variety, I don't lock in. Probably my favorite--if I had to lock in--would be cork, but when it comes to holding the handlebars, I think it's good to be flexible and not "swear by" any one type. The paddles are good, though, and they're dirt cheap here. I forget--$12, like the straps?


It's a super low-carb punkinpie. You can eat the whole thing, even if you're diabetic, and it's delicious. That's my pie and my knife.


THere's a new Tom Wolfe book with a yellow cover and the word "speech" in the title. I read a review of it, and it seems he takes issue with Noam Chomsky, and I do, too, so I bought it--because before Tom Wolfe, I figured everybody agreed with NC about how we acquire language and grammar. I'm 1/3 of the way thru it and so far no mention of Naomi, but there's some interesting stuff on Darwin and Wallace. I give the first 1/3 of the book five stars.

If you read this, indicated that somehow. Send note to If nobody's reading it, that's OK, but either I should stop writing it or make it more obvious.

Also---are any of you a nice astronomer, astrophysicist, evolutionary biologist, or...let me think here....I don't know if this is a real thing, but "evolutionary botanist" ? If you are, send me a note with your name and title in the subject field.  If you're best buds with Stephen Hawking or Bill Nye or Richard Dawkins or Neil D-Tyson, I'm all ears on that, too.






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