On my travels in France I come across and tend to accumulate a collection o f single-speed delivery - porteur - bikes. Inevitably these come supplie d with a brazed-on cantilver front brake and a rear wheel built around a single-speed German Torpedo brand hub, that incorporates a back-pedal brak e.
These units must be ideal for many of the enthusiasts now circulating in th e streets of our cities on single-speed bikes, as not all of them ride fixe d gears.
Whether or not these hubs are easy to find in the States I wouldn't know, but the good news is that SRAM who bought out the rights to this technolog y in the 1990s when it acquired the SACHs company, has just announced, this week, that it is to reintroduce the hubs in revised form. They will be a vailable in both fixed and free-wheel form within one single hub unit. Appa rently it will only take seven turns of a screwdriver to transform the hub from one drive system to the other. The other good news is that the hubs wi ll be manufactured in the original Torpedo factory in Schweinfurt in German y.
Norris Lockley..Settle UK