Whitecrow Hubs – Adjust Tire Pressure Remotely

Words Cam McRae
Date Feb 9, 2017

There have been some very interesting crowd-funded products in the MTB sphere, from magnetic pedals to suspension set-up tools to some more dubious products. Silca even got in on the act with their T-ratchet tool.

And here’s another to add to the list. This is a product that has likely arrived at the right time, now that fat and plus tires are taking over the universe. It’s common to see riders bleed some air out before dropping into a trail to get a little more traction. Or putting a little air in for pedalling efficiency or flat prevention. Whitecrow’s hub allows you to adjust your air pressure within a range of 15 psi from your handlebar – as often as you like.

Whitecrow Hubs

Aesthetically there isn’t much to complain about. Rear hubs only for now and there will be an XD freehub option as well.

One clever aspect of this system is that it is entirely closed. Instead of a high-pressure reservoir that only bleeds air over the course of a ride until it’s empty, any air you release stays in the system. This allows you to increase and decrease pressure as many times as you like over the course of the ride.

Whitecrow Hubs

Air in and air out on the fly. As many times as you want with a range of 15 psi.

The air reservoir is well thought out as well. It incorporates a small high-pressure tube within your tire that functions identically to Schwalbe’s ProCore. When you want more air in your tire you engage the bar mounted lever and the air goes from the higher pressure tube to the lower pressure tire. Releasing air is another matter because in order to preserve the volume in the system air must move upstream from the tire to the tube which is at a greater pressure. To solve this problem the engineers at Whitecrow designed a pump that functions passively inside the hub. They haven’t released details about the mechanism thus far but they tell us it produces no drag when not in use. It is entirely mechanical so no batteries are needed and Whitecrow tells us the system requires little maintenance.

Whitecrow Hubs

Air in and air out with a ProCore like tube as part of the closed system. It’s entirely mechanical so no batteries necessary.

Application

Obviously, the most logical use for this product is high volume tires on fat and plus bikes but it could also be used with higher volume conventional tires. If you ride a plus or fat bike to the trails on the road you may want a little more pressure when you aren’t on the dirt. And if you are already riding off road and the weather turns foul you may want to drop a few psi.

Bad News

You will pay a significant weight penalty. The hub itself weighs 350g more than your typical OEM rear hub (200g of which are said to be rotating weight). The ProCore-like system adds another 200g but some of that can be clawed back because you could get away with using a tire with a wimpier casing. And of course Whitecrow tells us that adjusting your tire pressure strategically will save you more energy than this added weight will cost you.

And speaking of cost, the current price of a Whitecrow hub is $499 US if you are one of the next 7 riders to throw down. The next 20 can pick one up for $599. Or you can pick up a full wheel for $1039 or snag one attached to an Ibis Mojo 3 HD for $6800. For now there is no front hub but that is in the works.

It seems there is a Euro-side crowd funding campaign that has been fully funded and a North American one that isn’t quite there yet.

Visit the website here and the Indiegogo campaign here…


Interested?

Comments

0
Feb. 10, 2017, 1:35 p.m. -  Brad Sedola

I was on their mail list to get notified when things actually were getting produced. I was interested for fat bike usage since I figured I was going to have to pony up for a functional hub on my Rocky Mountain Blizzard. The 3rd warranty replacement (SunRingle) has lasted for a month or so now, so I don't really need it. Ideally a hubset could be had for $1000 cad. Considering you essentially get a ProCore setup with each hub, I can't see them being any less than $1000 usd. Just like fatbiking in general, these could be fun!

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0
Feb. 10, 2017, 1:01 p.m. -  Cr4w

What exactly is the use case for this? The rider who already adjusts his tire pressure multiple times per ride but really just wishes he could do it even more often, more easily?

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Feb. 10, 2017, 1:13 p.m. -  Cam McRae

I think the most suitable customer will be fatbikers. My guess would be that 90% of sales would go to the chubby crowd. I occasionally dump some pressure at the top of a climb but I rarely put more in for the rest of the ride.

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Feb. 10, 2017, 9:25 a.m. -  WNCmotard

What we really need is on the fly adjustable wheel / tire size. 29+ for technical climbing, 29er for gravel FS roads to connect trails, and switch to 27.5 to bomb back down since they're always touted as being so playful. Seriously though, how much more weight and crap do we really need to add to our bikes? Does nobody carry a compact pump these days?

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Feb. 10, 2017, 7:29 a.m. -  Wacek Keepshack

This is next:

Head angle adjustment on the fly…

https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/074ca7393e596118cd7820f6d2385a8e133e4edd62abdaaab202b49ed32c1ca4.jpg

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Feb. 10, 2017, 7:45 a.m. -  Perry Schebel

brilliant! i recall you drawing a similar, but fixed variation of this previously (ie, a headtube bolt on widget that would extend reach, lower bb, and slack the ha all in one fell swoop) that had me thinking nefarious thoughts about hacking something similar to update an old frame.

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Feb. 10, 2017, 8:26 a.m. -  Wacek Keepshack

Never stop evolving

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Feb. 10, 2017, 1:16 p.m. -  Cam McRae

Already here. http://evo.bionicon.com/en/

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Feb. 10, 2017, 3:08 p.m. -  Wacek Keepshack

Cam - put a boxxer into a 160 bike. Take an adjustable strap and compress the fork. Then tighten the strap around lower crown and the arch. Climb with what became a 100mm fork. On the top Release the strap and put it into you pocket. Allow the bike come to it's own on the descent.

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Feb. 10, 2017, 6:20 a.m. -  whatyouthink

but does it sound like angry bees following you?

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Feb. 10, 2017, 8:45 a.m. -  Andy Eunson

No it sounds like snakes. Hisssssssssss.

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Feb. 10, 2017, 8:47 a.m. -  whatyouthink

especially if a rock hits it and it starts leaking

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Feb. 9, 2017, 5:54 p.m. -  DJ

well i'll be….

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Feb. 12, 2017, 11:50 a.m. -  The Big Picture

Slow leaks will be replenished, indefinatly.

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