Author Topic: Hub recommendations?  (Read 11551 times)

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Offline lonerider

Hub recommendations?
« on: February 18, 2011, 06:41:29 am »
After 20 years, 1 mountain bike, 2 road bikes, and untold thousands of miles (50k+) the old Mavic 501 hubs went south this past fall. Axle broke, couldn't get it out of the hub so I dumped them. Have decided to move on to cassettes so I am looking for the same quality and durability. Have considered Phil Wood, but will need to save up through the mid way point of the riding season (Michigan) so need something more affordable right away. Yes, lace my own wheels. I do know that if they had been Phil Wood hubs, the company would have replaced the axle for me at a minimal charge which makes them very tempting. I keep stuff for a very long time so I buy top shelf product and do not cut corners. Ideas anyone?

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Hub recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2011, 06:55:51 am »
I did the ST this past winter of 2009-10. I used new Weinmann 700s. They were around $37.50 each with tax. Top end they definitely are not, but I'll tell you what. They got me from southeast coastal FL to San Diego, and from S. FL to Key West and back, another 500 miles right there, fully loaded with winter gear, and I did a lot of cycling after that, with not a single problem at any time and not a single broken spoke. For me that's good enough.

For a transcon I usually get all new components. When you get the less expensive gear you have to replace it for long tours just to be on the preventive maintenance side. I don't know about hubs, but for someone in a pinch for a reliable wheel in the short run, I can vouch for the Weinmann wheels. However, if I were to leave on another transcon, I would definitelyy get a new back wheel at least. I don't want any problems once I get going.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2011, 07:01:28 am by Westinghouse »

Offline staehpj1

Re: Hub recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2011, 10:11:15 am »
After 20 years, 1 mountain bike, 2 road bikes, and untold thousands of miles (50k+) the old Mavic 501 hubs went south this past fall. Axle broke, couldn't get it out of the hub so I dumped them. Have decided to move on to cassettes so I am looking for the same quality and durability. Have considered Phil Wood, but will need to save up through the mid way point of the riding season (Michigan) so need something more affordable right away. Yes, lace my own wheels. I do know that if they had been Phil Wood hubs, the company would have replaced the axle for me at a minimal charge which makes them very tempting. I keep stuff for a very long time so I buy top shelf product and do not cut corners. Ideas anyone?
Personally I'd stick with cup and cone bearings.  Deore XT or even Deore are good enough to last a very long time if given even minimal maintenance.

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Hub recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2011, 11:24:15 am »
I am partial to cartridge bearings because I hate adjusting cones.  And I haven't killed a hub cartridge bearing yet, but have killed plenty of cup and cone hubs.

Phil, Phil, and Phil!  I recently had the pleasure of building up a couple wheelsets for myself with Phil hubs.  It's like that scene in "Pulp Fiction" when Lance is upselling the heroin: "...this one’s a little more expensive. It’s fifty-five. But when you shoot it, you’ll know where that extra money went."  That's what it's like to use Phil hubs.  If money is an issue, the freewheel touring hubs are very affordable (~$170 for the rear).  This is what I have and use.

I also have a set of White Industries MI5 hubs.  WI is like a Poor Man's Phil.  I am very happy with my WI hubs and they are the hubs on my daily rider.  But during the buildup, there are subtle differences that point to the Phil being the better hub (Phil rolls more smoothly, the flanges feel better finished, the spoke holes on Phil are slightly countersunk, et al).  In use, I cannot distinguish the WI from the Phil hubs.  When the bearings die in the WI hubs, I will replace them with Phil bearings and be done with it.
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Offline gregg

Re: Hub recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2011, 01:50:50 pm »
Well, it is pretty hard to go wrong with Shimano Deore LX hubs. Certainly not all flashy, but tough as nails, and they do seem to last a very long time.  Around $50 for the rear, and $30 for the front.  For something a little nicer you could go with XT.  Yea I know, no bling value, no point in even trying to polish them, and certainly not as good as Phil's but....they do the job, and they do it well.

Offline whittierider

Re: Hub recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2011, 05:31:56 pm »

Quote
Personally I'd stick with cup and cone bearings.

+1.  If they're adjusted right, they last many times as long as cartridge bearings.  That's why Shimano uses cup-and-cone, even for Dura-Ace.  For the longest-lasting hubs, legendary wheel builder Peter White recommends Dura-Ace cup-and-cone hubs.  The manufacturing method of cartridge bearings does not allow them to have nearly as many ball bearings in the same amount of space, so they have to bear a much greater load which cuts their life short relative to properly adjusted cup-and-cone bearings.

Improper adjustment however is too common.  There should be a little play when it's out of the bike, because the pressure from the skewer compresses the axle a bit, putting the cones closer together.  Put just enough play in it that the play just barely disappears when you squeeze the skewer down.  If you start without the play, the skewer pressure will make the bearings way too tight.  I've had cartridge bearings go out with as little as 3,000 miles; but when I've opened up three different cup-and-cone hubs to replace a freehub body with 10,000-20,000 miles, you can hardly see where the ball bearings were riding.  It's basically like new.  The grease is even still the clear yellow-green color of the Shimano grease.

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Hub recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2011, 06:36:46 pm »
If you adjust this just so, and jump on one foot like that, and pat your head while rubbing your belly, and you get it all just right, they work great.  And when it's service time, pull bearings, play with grease, check this and that, then go through the fun adjustments again.

Or you can install good cartridge bearing hubs and go ride.  And when the bearings die (still waiting on mine to do so), pop out the bearings, replace, go ride.  No adjusting necessary.  But that's just me; I'd rather ride than wrench.  I also like the idea of removing the vagaries of adjusting "just-so."
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Offline staehpj1

Re: Hub recommendations?
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2011, 07:26:57 pm »
If you adjust this just so, and jump on one foot like that, and pat your head while rubbing your belly, and you get it all just right, they work great.  And when it's service time, pull bearings, play with grease, check this and that, then go through the fun adjustments again.

Or you can install good cartridge bearing hubs and go ride.  And when the bearings die (still waiting on mine to do so), pop out the bearings, replace, go ride.  No adjusting necessary.  But that's just me; I'd rather ride than wrench.  I also like the idea of removing the vagaries of adjusting "just-so."
I think you make it sound like a way bigger deal than it is.  Spending a few minutes to repack and adjust bearings every ten or twenty thousand miles really isn't much trouble at all and if it is for you a bike shop tune up is an option.

Offline DaveB

Re: Hub recommendations?
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2011, 07:44:15 pm »
If you adjust this just so, and jump on one foot like that, and pat your head while rubbing your belly, and you get it all just right, they work great.  And when it's service time, pull bearings, play with grease, check this and that, then go through the fun adjustments again......
I think you make it sound like a way bigger deal than it is.  Spending a few minutes to repack and adjust bearings every ten or twenty thousand miles really isn't much trouble at all and if it is for you a bike shop tune up is an option.
+1.  there is no magic or black art to adjusting cup and cone bearings.  It's simple, straight forward and requires only a few inexpensive tools.   And, it's not as if you have to do it every two weeks.  I overhaul my cup-and-cone (Shimano and Campy) hubs about every 6000-8000 miles and that about every two years on each bike. 

BTW, Campy hubs are the easiest to adjust I've ever worked on since you can set the final bearing clearance with the wheel installed in the frame or fork and the qr skewer tightened.  It's too bad Campy seems to be getting away from selling individual hubs. 

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Hub recommendations?
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2011, 06:34:56 pm »
I think you make it sound like a way bigger deal than it is.  Spending a few minutes to repack and adjust bearings every ten or twenty thousand miles really isn't much trouble at all and if it is for you a bike shop tune up is an option.
+1.  there is no magic or black art to adjusting cup and cone bearings.  It's simple, straight forward and requires only a few inexpensive tools.   And, it's not as if you have to do it every two weeks.  I overhaul my cup-and-cone (Shimano and Campy) hubs about every 6000-8000 miles and that about every two years on each bike.
I was killing Deore LX cones and then hubs in 1500 to 2000 miles, even with repacking every few weeks.  Granted, this was in VT winters and floodtastic summers.   It drove me nuts.  And adjusting the cones chafed me to no end.  I switched to cartridge bearing hubs and never looked back.  And haven't serviced a hub since.  I log 14000 to 15000 miles per year, now across four bikes.

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Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Hub recommendations?
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2011, 09:00:52 pm »
I was killing Deore LX cones and then hubs in 1500 to 2000 miles, even with repacking every few weeks.  Granted, this was in VT winters and floodtastic summers.   It drove me nuts.  And adjusting the cones chafed me to no end.  I switched to cartridge bearing hubs and never looked back.  And haven't serviced a hub since.  I log 14000 to 15000 miles per year, now across four bikes.

8,000 miles on one wheel, replaced with another that now has 7,000 miles (both 105 hubs), re-packed once each.  Ridden in all kinds of weather (except 33 degree rain -- I don't feel safe commuting that close to icing with the pickup drivers here!).  Other bike, two wheels have split the last 12,000 miles, XT hubs, same story -- no problems.

I did successfully kill an older hub by not touching the bearings over 6,000 miles.  After building its replacement, I decided to repack annually.  (Or is it biannually?)

Offline whittierider

Re: Hub recommendations?
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2011, 10:11:46 pm »

Quote
I did successfully kill an older hub by not touching the bearings over 6,000 miles.

I've gone nearly 20,000 miles without touching the bearings, and the bearing surfaces looked practically new and the grease was still nice.  It will only happen if there's a little play when the skewer is not tightened down though.  The last bit of play should disappear just as the skewer reaches its final position in the tightening.  I have nearly 20,000 miles on another cup-and-cone hub now, a 105, and I don't plan to open it for a long time still.  The rear has been opened up to replace the freehub body (the "clicker"), and the grease was still transparent yellow-green, so I just put it back together with the same grease, ie, without cleaning it out and putting new grease in.

Offline DaveB

Re: Hub recommendations?
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2011, 08:56:44 am »
I was killing Deore LX cones and then hubs in 1500 to 2000 miles, even with repacking every few weeks.  Granted, this was in VT winters and floodtastic summers.   It drove me nuts.  And adjusting the cones chafed me to no end.  I switched to cartridge bearing hubs and never looked back.  And haven't serviced a hub since.  I log 14000 to 15000 miles per year, now across four bikes.
In that case you should certainly stick to cartridge bearings but that doesn't mean cup-and-cone bearings aren't durable if adjusted properly.  There is nothing unique about VT weather that is particularly hard on hubs compared to other locations.

I have a set of 7700-series  Dura Ace hubs ridden over 50,000 miles in all kinds of weather and they are still in like-new condition using the original races and cones.  They have been overhauled at about 6000-mile intervals.  I also have 105 and Ultegra bubs with over 25,000 miles each that are also all-original and given the same maintenance schedule and riding conditions.   

Offline lonerider

Re: Hub recommendations?
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2011, 09:00:04 am »
All this talk brings up my other concern: Freewheel or cassette? Have had cassettes on mountain bikes only, and they sure prove to be best for the application, but road bikes I have stuck with freewheels due to the universal nature of the product. They can be found nearly anywhere in the world, whereas cassettes are not so universal and can be brand specific. As for cartridge bearings they are my preference born out of necessity. As a year round commuter here in MI, I was destroying cone hubs every other season due to the salt from the roads getting into them. Switched to Sunshine hubs with cartridge bearings in the early 80's and never have had a problem since.
I have considered Phil threaded hubs (top of my affordability index), but need to be convinced the freewheel will still be viable 20 years from now since that is how long I will keep them. I still run Suntour Barcon shifters so I don't care about index compatibility or the cog count. As a former mechanic it is hard to change my opinions about certain things, but it seems that at some point it will be necessary to update to the cassette platform.

Offline whittierider

Re: Hub recommendations?
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2011, 11:12:26 am »

Quote
As a year-round commuter here in MI, I was destroying cone hubs every other season due to the salt from the roads getting into them.  Switched to Sunshine hubs with cartridge bearings in the early 80's and never have had a problem since.

The seals on modern cup-and-cone hubs have improved a lot since my early cycling years, now having a rubber ring to keep stuff out.  I have not tried them in salt, but that sounds like a killer for chain, spokes, nipples, derailleurs, and a lot of other things anyway.

Quote
I have considered Phil threaded hubs (top of my affordability index), but need to be convinced the freewheel will still be viable 20 years from now since that is how long I will keep them.  I still run Suntour Barcon shifters so I don't care about index compatibility or the cog count.  As a former mechanic it is hard to change my opinions about certain things, but it seems that at some point it will be necessary to update to the cassette platform.

Fortunately even 5-speed freewheels are still being made today, apparently in large quantities for non-US markets.  If you like something and don't know if it will be around for a long time, you can just buy a lifetime supply though.  I did that with 9-speed chains and cassettes since 10-speed (which costs far more and doesn't last as long) is the big thing now.  I got a stack of brand-new SRAM PC-59 chains through eBay for $10 each, and a bunch of cassettes for around $25 each.