27 February 2016

Hershey's, Naked

If I offered you something "naked" with a name you would normally associate with chocolate, would you:

  • grin
  • take out your camera, or
  • report me?
Well, someone once offered me just what I've described.  I was younger and in better shape than I'm in now.  Perhaps that was the reason I was offered said item for free.

Now, one of the first things I teach young people is that if something is free, you should take it and figure out what to do with it later.  And, back when I was made an offer I couldn't refuse (well, I could've, but it would've taken more self-discipline than I had), I took it.  So if you are one of the young people to whom I've offered said advice, at least you know now that I'm not a hypocrite!

Anyway...nakedness and chocolate.  Believe it or not, those two qualities are associated with a bicycle component--which is what I was offered, and took! 

(Was this your idea of "bike porn"?)

That bike part was made by Hershey. If you are like me, when you hear that name, you probably think of the maker of Kisses and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (and, in the US, of Kit-Kats).  Or, perhaps, an actress who, for a time, was known as Barbara Seagull might come to mind.  Unless you were cycling during the '90's (when else?), however, you might not associate the name with componentry.

The decade was actually wonderful in all sorts of ways.  In the world of bike--especially mountain bike--parts, though, it was absolutely whacky.  As I've mentioned in other posts, it seemed that as if every 20-year-old in California whose father had a lathe was making bike parts and anodizing them in never-before-seen colors with names that made the ones given to shades of Opi nail polish seem like RGB codes.  I mean, Kooka and Topline cranks broke at inopportune moments (Does anything ever break at an opportune moment?) but you had to love the fact that you could ask for either with a 3D Ultra-Violet finish.

Now, I don't know whether Hershey Naked hubs were as fragile as those cranks.  Although I accepted the one I got for free, I never built or used it:  I traded it, I think--whether for something bike-related or not, I forget.  For one thing, I didn't need another wheel (especially a front) at the time.  For another, I was riding a set of wheels with similarly-constructed hubs from another maker and had a problem with them.

All of Hershey's hubs, including the Naked, were constructed with flanges bonded or pressed to a shaft.  In contrast, hubs from Campagnolo, Mavic, Shimano and other more traditional manufacturers are made with forged one-piece shells.  The Hershey Naked hub's shaft was made from some sort of clear plastic material that wasn't called plastic.  I guess it was supposed to save weight.  It did, of course, allow you to see the inner workings of the hub, just as the clear face of a "skeleton" watch reveals the gears and wheels behind the "hands" and numerals.

At the time I was gifted with the Hershey Naked hub, I was riding wheels with Nuke Proof hubs that, like the Hershey, consisted of aluminum flanges attached to  shafts.   The shafts on my Nuke Proofs were carbon fiber; they--like the Hersheys--were also available with titanium or alloy shafts. (To my knowledge, NP never offered a clear shaft.)

As I related in another post, the flanges of my Nuke Proofs actually detached from their shafts and collapsed toward the center of the hub.  Other cyclists I knew had similar experiences with those hubs, and others that were similarly constructed.  Now, for all I know, a Hershey hub--even a Nude version--might have fared better.  But I didn't want to take a chance.

I haven't thought about that Hershey hub in a long time.  Now I wonder whether the person who got it from me ever built it.  Since it was the '90's, I can imagine him--or someone--building it with "rainbow" spokes, and Velocity rims and alloy spoke nipples in colors (anti-freeze green, anyone?) that clashed with the 3D Ultra Violet finish of the hub flanges! 


  1. Hilarious posting!

    But I see what you're up to. It is just about impossible to make an "off topic" comment. Hard to come up with something that is not connected somehow with your range of stuff today.


    1. Leo--If someone can come up wih a comment that's "off topic" for this post, he or she definitely deserves some sort of prize. Of course, I wasn't striving to write a post that defied off-topic comments: I was just having fun!

  2. Those Campagnolo hubs just keep spinning decade after decade...

    Are you sure you have not made this one up to test us?

  3. Coline--I swear on my hexagonal chainrings that the Hershey Naked hub was/is real. I actually held one in my hands--in that purple color you see in the photo.

    You really can't make up stuff like that!

  4. Its a real thing. I have one, 28H in black or maybe dark brown built on rainbow 26" mavic rims. It's been sitting in 'cool stuff I don't use' pile for over a decade,.. now thinking about building a wheel for my new road bike.

  5. I have a black Hershey Naked hub as well. Didn't realize they were from the 90's. It doesn't sound like they're common, but also not super duper rare. Anyone know what they're worth? In the eye of the beholder (me) they're kinda priceless. Probably wouldn't be able to get another one if I tried.

  6. Dylan--I don't think they were made for very long, which is why they aren't common. I have no idea of what they might be worth. I'm not even sure of what they cost at the time because, as I said, mine was given to me. But, given what other after-market stuff cost at the time, I'd guess they sold for $75-100. Whether that makes them really valuable or completely worthless (or somewhere in between) today, I don't know.

    Anon--Sorry I didn't respond sooner. Thank you for mentioning your hub. At least now anyone reading this post knows I didn't make it up.

  7. My cousin and I read mountain bikes with the guy who made them. He worked at a bike shop .. his name was Greg.. think be got sued for using the Hershey name.. my cousin says he makes watches now.. he use to ride a Klein mountain bike from what I remember and was at pro level.