|A post-'78 pair of small flange Record hubs.|
The Campagnolo Record hubs are iconic kit -- without a doubt, the best hubs one could buy in their day, and one could argue, among the best of any time. Period.
First introduced in 1958, the Record hubs were made with only minor changes up until about 1985 or '86. The Record hubs replaced the Gran Sport hubs, which were actually manufactured for Campy by a sub-contractor, Fratelli Brivio (or FB). The Gran Sports were comprised of a steel barrel with aluminum flanges pressed on. The Record hub bodies were a one-piece design, made from a forged aluminum shell, with replaceable steel bearing races pressed into it. There were also oil holes in the center of the shaft, as well as in the dust caps that covered the bearings.
|A late 60s large-flange Record hub. Note the straight-lever|
There were several versions of the hubs. Primarily, there was the small-flange version (flange piccole) and the large-flange version (flange grandi). There were road (strada) and track (pista) versions -- differentiated by hollow axles and quick release levers for the road, and solid, nutted axles for the track. The track hubs also lacked the central oil holes, and the rear track hub had special threading for a single cog plus a lock ring. In the early 80s, there was also a BMX version, available in anodized colors.
|The very-cool Hi-Lo Record hub. |
Superfluous, but impressive nonetheless.
As mentioned, the hubs were produced over 25 years with only minor changes. The first versions (up to about the mid-60s) did not have the "Record" name engraved on them -- only the Campagnolo script. There were different axle lengths available for the rear hub to accommodate 5, then 6-speed freewheels. The most recognizable change came in 1978, when the US CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) mandated changes in the quick-release lever design. Pre-CPSC levers had a straight lever at one end, and a simple conical-shaped nut at the other end. Post-CPSC levers were curved, while the nut end was rounded nearly to a ball-shape. I have no doubt that many lives were saved because of the change.
To the best of my knowledge, the internal parts -- bearings, cones, axles, etc. -- were interchangeable throughout the production of the Record hubs. If one wants to find out the year that their Record hubs were made, there is a date code engraved on the axle locknuts. However, if the those were replaced at some point, that could be misleading.
In the late 60s, a lower-priced hub set was introduced: the Nuovo Tipo. The small-flange versions were pretty similar to the Record version, but without the little oil hole that the Record hubs were known for. The large-flange version was differentiated by having round lightening holes, as opposed to the kidney-shaped ones on the Records. Nevertheless, the internal parts were still of excellent quality, and have the potential to be just as long-lived as their more expensive counterparts.
|C-Record "sheriff star" hub. Beautiful. Possibly fragile.|
Nevertheless, I have found that it is possible to use vintage Record hubs even on modern frames with 130 mm spacing, provided that one can find the proper length axle (not that difficult, really). However, the quick release skewer might pose some difficulty -- the older vintage ones might not have enough length to work, at least not without getting a bit risky with the number of threads engaged on the nut-end. I have substituted later-vintage quick release skewers in those cases. Another thing to consider if making the conversion to 130 mm spacing with these vintage hubs is that the drive side of the axle has a lot of unsupported length, and bending the axle can be more of a possibility. My recommendation is to NOT space the hub on the axle for 8-speed freewheels, which are just too wide. Instead, arrange the spacers on the hub to accommodate no more than a 7-speed freewheel, thereby keeping the hub slightly more "centered" on the axle, which also results in a wheel with slightly less "dish" -- which is stronger anyhow.
Campagnolo Record hubs are one of those great components that have proven themselves through the test of time. After their release in 1958, they quickly became the top choice of riders throughout their production for more than 25 years. Their quality is indisputable, and they are a favorite of the Retrogrouch.
Credit: more Campy info is available on the Campagnolo Timeline at Velo-Retro.