http://www.sturmey-archerheritage.co...os/pic-318.jpg here is a cross section of a 70's Sturmey archer hub. Notice it has an outboard bearing and a separate ratchet mechanism that attaches to the hub shell. It is almost certain that Shimano was aware of this design. Sturmey Archer has been bought by a Taiwan based company who is making the originals to better tolerances and creating new designs. I recently saw a through axle hub for a tricycle with sealed bearings.
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