Hoffman Gack Hubs were the hubs that Kris Gack designed for Hoffman Bikes. Kris Gack was making hubs before he became part of the HB team, i’m not sure they were these exact hubs though. Kris had made a few generations of hub designs under the Gack name before these ones. The Hoffman/Gack hubs themselves featured oversized 1/2″ axles. They were strong hubs, and axles, at the time i think they were one of the first to feature a much larger axle size to deal with 3/8″ axles always breaking.
AVAILABLE COLOURS: Polished Silver
FRONT HUB WEIGHT (with v1 axles, bearings and nuts): 0.433kg / 0.954lb
FRONT HUB WEIGHT (with v2 axles, bearings and nuts): 0.429kg / 0.945lb
REAR HUB WEIGHT (with v1 axles, bearings and nuts): 0.448kg / 0.987lb
REAR HUB WEIGHT (with v2 axles, bearings and nuts): 0.448kg / 0.987lb
BEARING SIZE: R8-2R2 1/2″ x 1 1/8″ x 5/16″ (they’re imperial sized bearings, ebay has a lot available)
RELEASE DATE: Mid 95? This is a bit tricky to tell, they were around before they were being sold, some of the team were testing them before general availability.
To make this article a bit easier to read, i’ll break it up into sections… axles, then stickers and then the hubs as a whole.
These hubs came with 2 different types of axles. I’m going to class these as version 1 (V1) and version 2 (V2) axles. I don’t have any confirmed information about why there was 2 different versions, but there definitely was. There’s been countless confirmations of hubs coming with both variations of axles. The hubs stayed the same regardless of axle type, but there were also different versions of stickers. So, to summarize, the hubs are all the same, there are 2 different versions of axles, and there are 4 or so different sticker types I’ve seen on hubs.
So, we start at the axle variations. V1 and V2 of the axles. I know V1 axles were released on these hubs when they first came out. They didn’t have and kind of step up in the middle and they used a sleeve on the inside of the hub that the axle threaded through, to stop the pressure from the cone nuts crushing the bearings inward. Just like a profile style 3 piece crank, they have a sleeve in between the 2 bearings.
Oversized 1/2″ Gack Axles V1 (no step in the center)
You can see the bearing sleeve for the v1 axles inside this hub. It’s just floating around. You line it up with the bearing hole and slot the axle through.
Oversized 1/2″ Gack Axles V2 (step in the center to retain the bearings)
I have no idea when they switched to the v2 stepped axles. V2 axles are a better design for retaining the bearings, and they are much more in line with the axles that came in the next generation of Gack hubs (the non RR ones). V2 axles have a different axle for front and rear, the spacings are different in the middle for bearings.
Now that the axles are out of the way, we’ll go onto the stickers. So i’ve been able to confirm 100% that these hubs came with at least 3 different sticker types. I know the first stickers these hubs came with, I can’t be 100% sure on the other ones and if they relate to dates, or they just put those stickers on all of them at the same time. I’m also aware of a 4th sticker that i think came on these hubs, but i haven’t been able to 100% confirm these were sold with that sticker. I’ll just call these v1, v2, v3, v4 stickers.
V3 Stickers – A single rectangle sticker, one end has GACK PRODUCTS similar to V2, but further around the sticker it has HOFF MAN BIKES across 3 lines. I’ve seen these in purple, green and blue. There may be more colours!
That’s stickers and axles out of the way, lets get into the hubs. I’ve got 2 sets of hubs to display. A very early set with v1 axles and v1 stickers, and then a later set with v2 axles and v2 stickers. Keep in mind, there is no difference at all in the hub shells between sets. Just the axles and stickers change.
This is a very early NOS set with v1 axles and v1 stickers.
Here’s a set of hubs with v2 axles and the later v2/v3 stickers. I’ve got 2 sets of hubs with v2 axles and both sets have mismatched stickers. Not sure it it was a thing they did from factory or if I just ended up somehow with mixed sets? The front hubs both have v2 stickers and the rear both have v3 stickers.
I’m not even going to try and date these hubs accurately… it’s just too difficult. Hopefully someday I will have a chat with Chris Gack about them and he might be able to fill in the blanks for me! That being said, I will post a few things that I found below.
I’m pretty sure there were some sets of Gack hubs that were made and given to some team riders to trial. I think they were ridden for a while before they got released to general availability. I think they became available around mid 95, possibly a bit earlier, or it might have been a bit later. They were definitely available by October 95 though.
Here’s a short video from the Interbike trade show that was on late September 1995 that shows Steve Swope giving a run down of these hubs. Note he says “the new gack hubs finally out too” which leads me to believe they hadn’t been generally available for too long before this. I could be wrong though!
Below is a picture from that same Interbike trade show, which shows the hubs. They have v1 stickers in this picture.
I know that the Hoffman Bikes ads from early 95 had been showing pictures of Gack hubs and advertising Gack on them, but I’m pretty sure they only had pics of Kris Gack’s earlier designs, and they didn’t actually show these particular hubs in the ads or say they were available. It’s a little difficult to make out in the pics as they are blurry but i’m pretty sure it was earlier designs.
Here’s some extras, in Feb 96 issue of BMX Plus (would have come out around dec 95), the ran a “Hub Buyers Guide”. The Gack hubs were in that article. There was a hub shell on the main page of the article with the v3 stickers, and no axle.
Here’s the product photo from a few pages later showing the hubs. They have a v2 sticker on them with v1 axles.
Here’s a picture from the 97 Hoffman Product catalog. This would have come out around 3rd/4th quarter of 96, and these hubs are pictured, but they are labelled “Girthy” hubs. This is the name given to the next generation of Hoffman Gack hubs. I think they are just using the old product photo, but it’s the hubs this article is about so i’ll post this pic up here.