One only needs to read the mission statement on Curtis Odom's website to get an insight into his intentions as a hub designer. Curtis states, " My mission is to create the most beautiful bicycle hubs ever made". Well, has he done it? I guess it all boils down to a matter of personal taste, but many have concluded that the work of Curtis Odom is utterly unique and without a doubt beautiful.
To understand where Curtis is coming from one must step back in time a little. If you are aware of the halcyon days of British and French hub design you will recognise names like Prior, Airlite, Maxi Car and Harden to name but a few. These now vintage hub designers reigned from the 1930's through to the 1960's. Hubs like Prior and Airlite often used very large flanges with many circular cut outs to trim the weight and to give them a unique look.
I believe that Curtis told me once that he took inspiration from Airlite and one can immediately see that when looking at his lovely retro oversized flanges. The "Pepper Pot" hub certainly draws much from the early French made Prior hubs.
Another hub from Curtis that harkens back to the past is his "Bacon Slicer". These wonderful hubs are a nod to vintage Harden hubs from Britain.
The "Holey" hub is definitely inspired from large flange Airlite models that graced many a track or road bike in Britain from the early 30's and still seen on bikes in the 50's and 60's. I have a Pinterest page dedicated to Airlite hubs if you'd like to see some photo's of these British classics. Click the Pinterest link at the bottom of this page to be directed there.
Curtis has not forgotten the importance of a good quality bearing. Again with a gaze into the past he has incorporated a bearing type found on French Maxi Car hubs. For many years Maxi Car hubs were considered one of the smoothest rolling hubs on the market. They were the first choice of boutique bike builders like Alex Singer and Rene Herse in Paris. I built many wheels with these amazing hubs over the years. One of my all time favourites for sure! Curtis has chosen to use the same type of bearing and he calls it the "Magneto".
Curtis has his hubs made in California not far from where he lives. His production is typical of a small one man boutique operation. Wait times can be lengthy depending on the work load of the company that does his machining work. So, if you have a desire to have a set of wheels built up with these incredible hubs I would plan in advance and be prepared to exercise some patience! Good things take time and are well worth waiting for. Presently I have a few sets of hubs in stock. Call me and we can discuss the many options that are available to you!