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Old 05-09-06, 06:30 PM   #1
Supertick
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Hubs

I am interested to hear what you think about this issue. I would like to know if sealed hubs, those that come with the bearings in one unit, are better or worse than hubs with the loose bearings. From my experience, the sealed hubs seem to have more drag than the loose bearing hubs, but my experience is limited. As an example, I have a rear wheel with an older Sachs Quarz sealed bearing hub and another with a LX hub and the LX hub seems to roll much longer than the Sachs. I had new bearings put in the Sachs and it is still slower. I have been using the Sachs wheel for touring on two different bikes and it is very solid for that purpose. Just curious if there have been any studies on this. Thank you, Rich
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Old 05-09-06, 07:56 PM   #2
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I don't know about any studies, but I find that my non-sealed bearing hubs spin for a much longer time than my sealed Phils.

However, I expect to get tens of thousands of miles out of the Phils before the bearings need replacing. The non-sealed units I service every year or two.
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Old 05-10-06, 07:04 AM   #3
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Seals are going to cause more drag than a non-sealed bearing but the difference is minor and the effect on your riding, particularly touring, will be insignificant.

Sealed bearing hubs are common on boutique wheels and the major holdouts for cup-and-cone bearings are Shimano and Campy. Cup-and-cone bearings have more tolerance for side-loads and, as noted, slightly less drag and are less expensive if repairs are needed but require more routine maintainance.

Either type can be completely satisfactory.
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Old 05-10-06, 08:55 AM   #4
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Cost/benefit indicates cup/cone as a better hub in my opinion. If you're a hung up on weight, the sealed is the way to go, but for smoothness and durability, the cup/cone hubs have the edge. At the Ultegra or LX level, the price is really nice too. You can build an entire wheelset for less than the price of a single hub, and the performance difference will be miniscule.
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Old 05-10-06, 11:34 AM   #5
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However, I expect to get tens of thousands of miles out of the Phils before the bearings need replacing. The non-sealed units I service every year or two.
More like every couple months, unless you really hate your hubs or don't ride much. Sealed ones are good for people who puts tons of miles into their bikes and don't want to have the hassle of overhaualing and adjusting their hubs periodically (which is quite frequently when you put 10k miles in a year or more).
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Old 05-10-06, 02:11 PM   #6
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I suspect that, all else being equal (quality of material, internal finish & fit), the sealed bearing will last longer 'cause the seals (sides) of the cartridge bearing force the grease back into the spaces between the balls (rollers, etc.) as the bearing is turning. In a cup & cone bearing, the first rotation forces much of the grease sideways, out of the spaces between the balls, where there is nothing to push it back (hence the need to repack occasionally even if the bearing isn't contaminated w/dirt, etc). That's probably also one reason for the slightly increased rolling resistance of the cartridge bearing ('tho the Phils & old SunTour 9000 are awfully smoooooth!)... the balls are constantly rolling through the grease. The cup & cone bearing always rolls easier after the first revolution pushes out most of the grease.
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Old 05-10-06, 02:30 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=operator]More like every couple months, unless you really hate your hubs or don't ride much.QUOTE]

Or if you have a house full of bikes you divide your time on.
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Old 05-10-06, 06:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by operator
More like every couple months, unless you really hate your hubs or don't ride much.
I put 6000 - 7000 miles a year on my primary bike in all kinds of weather and repack the hubs (Dura Ace) once a year. They have 40,000 miles on them at this point and the cones and races are still in perfect condition.

I've had similar longevity from both 105 and Ultegra hubs in the past so it's not just Dura Ace that tolerates this maintenance schedule.

Use good grease and lots of it. The excess grease doesn't contribute to the lubrication but does act as a seal to keep the hubs clean inside. Plan on wiping the excess off the hubs after the first couple of rides.
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Old 05-11-06, 12:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by HillRider
I put 6000 - 7000 miles a year on my primary bike in all kinds of weather and repack the hubs (Dura Ace) once a year. They have 40,000 miles on them at this point and the cones and races are still in perfect condition.

I've had similar longevity from both 105 and Ultegra hubs in the past so it's not just Dura Ace that tolerates this maintenance schedule.

Use good grease and lots of it. The excess grease doesn't contribute to the lubrication but does act as a seal to keep the hubs clean inside. Plan on wiping the excess off the hubs after the first couple of rides.
I'll echo that for shimano hubs; I put 50,000 miles/year on my commuter and repack the hubs twice a year. Also have a set of Rolf Vector wheels- the ones with bearings/cones, not sealed- that have at least 100,000 all weather miles on them and are still in great shape.
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