Touring - Chris King + XTR + Phil Wood ???
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02-28-10, 06:57 PM
Good morning, good afternoon.. and maybe.. good night guys :lol:
I'm new here and I'm Thai living in Bangkok. I have plan to ride from Bangkok to India next year but I have difficulties finding knowledge about touring bike as it is not popular amongs SE Asian people.
For the trip to India(Thailand - Laos - China - Tibet - Nepal - India)-Myself = 160 pounds
-stuff + my bike = 110 pounds
May anyone please kindly advise
1.I have been using XTR 09 hubs for a while but never carry such heavy load. Is XTR hub gonna survive the India trip?
2.I have learned from other threads that Phil Wood is the best for touring hub but there are none here. I might order it from the USA but after sales any many more (just in case) will be a pain. Can Chris King compete with Phil Wood in terms of fully loaded touring hub?
3.I'm currently using 32 spoke hubs and rims... why? That's what we can find here:lol: Do I need to upgrade to 36 or 40 spokes??
4.I'm using Kona Sutra 09 (the green one). The only annoying thing I have experienced until now is there is no kick stand to fit this frame. But for fully loaded...What to you guys think?
Thank you very much for every advice.
02-28-10, 08:49 PM
I think XTR hubs will survive the end of the world.
Although, my experience with such is a few years out of date.
Any of the hubs you're mentioning are brilliant and will work just great.
02-28-10, 08:56 PM
Your hubs should be fine... 110 pounds is a lot of weight for a bicycle and gear and am wondering why you are bringing the kitchen sink with you.
Yes, why are you bringing so much stuff? Any of those hubs will probably be fine, but you might not be after hauling all that stuff around.
Seriously, go through your packing list (if you have one) and look for things that you can do without, or things that can serve as many functions as possible. Are you camping or staying in hotels/hostels/guesthouses? How cold do you expect the weather to be, and how much clothing do you really need? Can you mail some supplies ahead?
02-28-10, 09:13 PM
I currently have King hubs on my LHT with 36 spoke wheels. King hubs are an excellent choice and will handle anything you can throw at them. They are used by many down hill riders who punish gear as much if not more than any other kind of riding. I'm sure XTR would be a good choice as long as you have a good strong wheel (32 / 36 spoke) and stout rims. As far as parts are concerned, CK or Phil Wood or even XTR parts might not be the easiest to find in a rural locations but if you make sure any of these are properly greased and maintained before your trip you may not even have to think about them again. Oddly enough, what people seem to complain about most with King hubs is the noise they make which is absolutely silly to me. Any of these hubs are outstanding pieces of engineering and will last forever if taken care of. They are expensive but for that money you get a really beautiful hub.
02-28-10, 09:47 PM
Guys! thank you very much. Here are the reasons
The weight of the stuff:
I'm currently training and my plan is to go alone. So I'm trying to put as much weight as possible.. let's say.. trying to push everything to its limit including myself. I wish the stuff will be lighter when the day comes.
Why XTR worries me:
I found belowed statement. It was from some experienced tourer.
"Many have used Shimano hubs while touring and never had a problem." This may be true for short trips, especially when their hubs are new. However, if Shimano hubs are not maintained frequently it will not take long for a beautiful trip to literally grind to a halt because dirt has entered the hub mechanism. Another common problem is that Shimano hubs were never designed for the extra weight of a loaded touring bike. This extra weight causes broken "axles" and cracks to form in the hub body. Once the hub body cracks the entire hub needs to be replaced. This is expensive because the hub has spokes and a rim built around it that has to be completely taken apart. Broken axles can be replaced but this requires a high degree of mechanical skill to completely disassemble the hub and rebuild it with a new axle. Few people we meet know how to do this or carry the special tools, grease, and replacement axle necessary for the job.
If the above information tends to be more than 70% possible, would Chris King be able to handle such heavy load?
what do you guys think? Thanks again for sharing....
By the way, It's late at night in the west, why don't go to sleep yet? ha ha ha !
Your quote sounds like it is talking about very old style hubs.
Newer sealed hubs should not be a problem. XTR hubs are designed to take a pounding during mountain biking. Rims and spokes usually fail long before current hubs do.
I would be more concerned about my bottom bracket failing, than a modern day hub. One of my bikes still has the original XTR hubs but it is about to get it's third bottom bracket.
02-28-10, 10:07 PM
Haha, I think if anything is not maintained properly it will fail.
Shimano seals and bearings are very good. Especially when you get to the really high-zoot ones. Also, we're talking about mountain bike hubs here. I know you're carrying a lot of weight, but these hubs have to survive incredible abuse off-road. I think your statement may have been in reference to road hubs.
Although, at the end of the day, the Phil Wood hubs are the absolute gold standard for touring. So if you want to put your mind at rest and have a bunch of money burning a hole in your pocket, you can always just buy those.
02-28-10, 10:17 PM
With that much weight on your bike, don't expect any hub to last as long as advertised. I have heard that XTR is smooth but not as robust as XT. Like others here I think the weight you plan to carry is excessive and if I were going to carry that much stuff, I'd consider a Bob trailer to spread the weight out over three axles instead of two.
02-28-10, 10:26 PM
I found belowed statement. It was from some experienced tourer.
Experienced, doubtless, but the Travis' advice at downtheroad.org should be taken with a bonghit's worth of salt given the sponsorship of their adventures by various gear companies. Man gets free hubs from Phil Wood, writes scary words to scare people away from Shimano and into buying hubs that will cost them actual money. A LOT of actual money. I find the paragraph you quoted to be as offensive as it is dishonest; Shimano hubs are nearly as good as one can buy, are as well sealed as hubs get (in the MTB models) and represent the best value by far.
Furthermore, if you're using 09 XTR, you've got the oversized 15mm aluminum axles, which are substantially stiffer than the 10mm chromoly ones in the lower groups to which those shameless words were directed. You won't likely have any trouble with them.
02-28-10, 10:31 PM
As for 32 spokes, if your bike has 26" wheels, you might be OK if your rims are robust enough. 110 lbs of load is a lot though, and 32 isn't going to cut it for 700c. Panniers on racks introduce serious lateral loads and wheels can only be made strong against lateral loads by lots and lots of spokes.
03-01-10, 01:46 AM
I think that instead of worrying about hubs and spokes, you're better off reducing the amount of weight you're carrying (as suggested by others). 110 pounds of bicycle and gear is completely outrageous! Dude, you're focusing on the wrong thing. Looking at this problem from the wrong perspective.
You'll probably spend about 40% of your time in China. I cannot fathom why you'd need that weight. Food is dirt cheap. Anything you need in the way of clothes can be purchased along the way in small towns for a couple of dollars, as required. Accommodation will only set you back $5-$8 per night. Spare parts which are compatible with your beast can be bought and installed for next to nothing.
Any bicycle with a heavy enough load will have stress issues and possibly break down. Conversely, even the lightest road bike can be used for touring if the additional weight is kept to the barest minimum.
I travelled from HK to Shanghai on a $60 supermarket bicycle (26", 36 spoke wheels). In hindsight (with 90% of the weight on the back wheel) I could have saved a lot of weight by being smarter about what I took, but it was my first tour and I didn't know any better. That bike survived the trip, two subsequent shorter trips and daily commuting. The frame, wheels and hubs are still in almost perfect condition after 8,000+km. They probably shouldn't be, but they are :)
If I were you, I'd be far more worried about a) reducing weight; and 2) making sure I didn't put anything too exotic on my bicycle that couldn't be easily replaced by the local street repair guy. You'll find plenty of those in small towns/villages in south-west China; not many top-end retailers though! I can't understand why you'd take a top-end bike through that part of the world, load it up with so much gear and then set off through rural China.
Stick to the basics. Buy good quality, new stuff for your bike and make sure everything works well before you leave. Take the spare parts usually recommendedon here, and if something major breaks, just replace it along the way.
Best of luck with your trip. It sounds fantastic. I wish I was going with you.
03-01-10, 03:14 AM
Just go back from a movie, Confucious. Good for Chinese history and Asian philosiphy lovers. Don't expect any thrill from it.
Thank you all very much. Now I have quite vision and education here... Thanks again for warning me about the weight. My first intention was just to train as heavy as TUBUS racks can go... ha ha ha but it seems more like I'm going to stupidly destroy my good hubs.
Anyway my wheels is 700C and have only 32 spokes, like I said, touring stuff is quite rare here.. Will change my focus on weight I carry from now on.
Hey Mattbicycle, your point of view about travelling in China and that part of the world is very useful and totally out of the box... at least for me.. Thanks a lot
This is my first time having bicycle friends outside Thailand. Very warm welcoming here.
03-01-10, 05:09 AM
Your trip will present many problems with language, finding accommodation maps etc. Parts are readily available for your bike. Definately take good quality stuff with you to start with, but no need to over-do it. You're likely to create more problems than you're solving if that exotic part does break and nobody knows how to remove or replace it :)
There are quite a few good trip reports available from folks who have toured in that part of the world. You're not alone in planning this trip. Although you probably will be alone for much of the actual journey!
If you need any specific advice, report back here, or send me a message and (If I can) I will help.
If I read the specs right, your bike already comes with XT hubs, which are pretty high quality. The only reason I could see to change hubs would be to use 36 spoke wheels. In that case, an upgrade to one of the three hubs mentioned would be nice.
What are the widest tires and rims you can fit on your bike and still have room for fenders/mudguards? Wider tires will cushion your wheels and you, making everything last longer.
03-01-10, 03:06 PM
I have experience with all 3 (on mountain bikes). Currently have 4.5 sets of Kings, 2 sets of Phils and zero sets of Shimanos (sold my last set several years ago). My thoughts:
Shimanos are good value hubs. I had a set of Deores and a set of XTs several years ago. I found them to be reliable as long as they received regular maintenance, but the seals were mediocre at best. I had a few times where, after a ride with stream crossings (where the hub was submerged), I popped the seals and dumped muddy water out of the bearings when I got home. I also found the bearing pre-load to be a pain in the ass to get perfect. Its been several years since I owned any Shimano hubs, so the design may have changed.
Phil Woods and Chris Kings are on another level from the Shimanos. They take two totally different approaches to building a bombproof hub. Phil Wood uses a large, heavy forged hub shell and sticks off-the-shelf marine bearings in it. Chris King uses proprietary, in-house bearings and an incredibly finely designed freehub mechanism. I've found the both require almost no maintenance (CK bearings are tight at first and will loosen over the first few hundred miles, necessitating that the bearing pre-load be tightened, which is fortunately extremely easy to do). Having had them both apart I think the CK is the better designed hub, but I've honestly had them both for half a decade and never had an issue with either one. I'd give Phil the edge on hub shell strength (due to the large diameter, forged shell) and CK the definite lead in bearing quality.
Break this down into three areas: The load; hubs with an extra margin of strength by type; Easy resupply on the road/touring grade gear.
1) As far as load is concerned your load isn't all that bad. You and your stuff, minus bike, weigh less that I and quite of few of us around here weigh. Take away point is that load does not break stuff except in combination with high cycles to failure or big dynos. Rolling down the road smoothly will not break shimano gear for the most part. How dyno riding sensibly in SE Asian is I have no idea. You are a big part of this equasion do you ride smooth or run up over everything?
2) Break the hub margin of safety into 4 parts, a) axles, b)cassettes vs freewheels, c) bearings, d) flanges/cases.
a) The reason we have Phil hubs goes back to freewheel hubs, where the rear axle was unsupported under the freewheel. This axle configuration does break, and Phil hubs with hardened axles are a quantum improvement in strength. But most people use cassette hubs these days. And there are also oversized axles available, though wider spacings abound also. Axle breakage could still be an issue, but realistically it has to go to a lower rank when talking cassette hubs.
b) Cassettes vs. Freewheels (C vs F).
Cs are the dominant system, but it makes for more complex hubs. A weakness in some C hubs is low strength in the shell the C mounts to. This can be a failure prone area in cheaper hubs. Of the better hubs, the White Industry hub uses a Ti shell, and the DT hubs have strong shells. Phil gets there with massive overengineering. I would like to give the edge to the DT though it is the hub I have the least experience with...
Phil F hubs work great. They can make sense because one has the large installed base to scavenge for Freewheel parts; they are easy to service; they are lighter and cheaper; they have a long track record; you pretty much have to like having only 7 speeds in the back...
c) Most of the fancy upgrade hubs use cartridge bearings. DT is possibly the exception. The bearings work great, but they are not designed for this use, and they are largely used because of the ease of machining for these bearings. Anyone can make a hub on a lathe with cartridge bearings. Making your own integrated races is a whole other issue. Seal wise, cartridges were better than bearings without much attempt at a seal. But the overall winner on the road with todays' offroad inspired labirynths, is probably with the loose bearings. Seals aside, the loose bearings have every other advantage. I think this is an area where the bigger manufacturers like Shimano and DT have an advantage.
d) Flanges and the body of the hub are another changed area. Phils had the gleam and precision of hand machining in the early days, while the bigger companies offer the advantages of grain alignment found in cold forged parts. Today though, machining is something any old CNC machine can do, so a lot of stuff is now fully machined, and the strength and precision arguments aren't really the province of the boutiques alone. So where spoke tearout is concerned, the argument now favours the bigger shops again, since they can access all technologies and the lowest price, and stuff like billet machining isn't for the expensive shop only any more.
3) Touring parts. Phil may well still be the only maker offering dedicated touring parts, and in both cassette and freewheel flavours, whatever your local scavenger market stock has the most depth of supply in. Phil bearings are theoretically road serviceable, though I would prefer to tear appart cones if I had the choice, and prefer to carry loose bearings. Phil offers the option of geometry that allows the same spoke length to be used throughout the bike. Phil offers all our favorite hub spacings, drillings, and brake options in the touring specific models. No contest Phil offers the best touring options.
The big downside is that the system is unique and scavenging up some parts or getting service could be more difficult. What do you do if you loose a bag with extra cartridge bearings and long handled hex wrenches and are stuck with the hubs. Almost undoubtedly easier to get replacements shimano stuff. I think this partly comes down to wheel size. When running the easy to resupply 26" parts I might prefer the ultimate hub since the main thing is to keep it going with full knowledge that it can be replaced if so required. If I was running 700c in Asia for some reason, I would want as much part compatibility since I have pretty much given up on the wheel size as far as replacements are concerned.
There are no right answers, just sort it out according to a plan, and be sure that if you don't have part quality you have repair knowledge, parts, replacement options, etc... work it out as a system.
The most important thing remains the wheel build.
The cost of all this stuff is pretty minimal, but money is always an issue. Back in the 80s when I bought my first pick-up truck it was 7K new. Most recent one was closer to 40K (and with the most notoriously padded margin in the biz). As against that, the Phil price seems hardly to have gone up since the 70s, because the cost of machining has plumeted, and there is more competition. Solid bargain (the cassete hub which is newish is a bigger bite).
03-01-10, 07:21 PM
You make a lot of great points Peterpan. But I thought billet machining gave inferior strength to cold forging, no shaping of the metal grain and all that. Although I am sure you are right that Phil hubs are a great value in a historical context, I still think they are pretty spendy for something to be used in a touring situation where one can be vulnerable to theft.
Shimano's 7900 Dura Ace hubs have some terrific features that bring Shimano hubs several steps closer to the same benefits enjoyed by Phil and King hubs. The 7900 hubs have:
--Oversized aluminum axles (much stiffer, chance of bending goes from minimal with normal diameter to zero)
--cup and cone hubs with all aforementioned advantages but which can be serviced with two 5mm allen keys (everything you get with a Phil hub plus the advantages you mentioned of cup and cone to boot)
--all they sacrifice relative to phil is a similarly easy way to service the freehub body, and many "excess" grams of weight.
I would looooove to see these features trickle down to another shimano product level, with the mountain seals, and possibly with an oversized chromoly axle if that would meaningfully improve fatigue life with a touring/tandem load or if it could be done cheaper than the aluminum axle.
Really, who wants to carry a heavy stack of cone wrenches touring? They are a pain in the ass to use (I cut my knuckles every single time I use them), and they alone are just a kludge; one really needs an axle vise to get the bearing preload painlessly perfect.
03-03-10, 07:07 AM
i used king hubs on a tour in yunnan province china. worked great. i am 200 pounds, the load was about 65-70. THE DIRT ROADS roads were ROUGH TOUGH.
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