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Thread: Best Strong Hub

  1. #1
    "Big old guy"
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    Best Strong Hub

    I'm in the process of building my dream touring bike. I'm a really big guy 290 pounds and ride a lot. I'm choosing wheels,
    My question What hub do I use?
    The only answer that I have been given by everyone is that Phil Wood hubs are the best, but I'm not sure I can afford them. Any other good strong hubs, or do I just stick with Shimano.
    Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    Find out what is used on tandems, all sorts of tandems, Santana, Burley, Miyata, Counterpoint, Rotator Recumbent, . . . The "theoretical" biker the magazines like to use is 150 pounds so two of them is 300 lbs. A set of tandem hubs sounds like they would be just right for you. But remember: "You can get anything strong, light, cheap; any two of them but not all three." A set of, say, Phil Wood hubs could be strong and light but not cheap. A set of hubs from a Walmart bike would be cheap, heavy, and weak. Saving a few ounces is silly at your weight so I recommend strong and inexpensive.
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    Phil Wood.

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    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    I checked Phil's site. Just as a for instance a basic set of touring hubs (I like tourers) runs about $283.00.

    Now I will look up Campy and Shimano

    One set of Campagnolo hubs seemed to be $75 but my conversion from Euros is suspect.

    Shimano varies from $140 to $350 on the Performance site. I must be way way off on Campy.
    Last edited by ken cummings; 10-26-06 at 09:36 PM.
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    For your weight, I suggest you consider building an un-dished rear wheel on a tandem-width hub. Co-Motion does this with their Americano touring bike using a 145mm rear dropout. Phil Wood makes hubs that will accommodate this as does DT Swiss. You can also get a 145 from Chris King, and it might be worth looking into for a dream build.

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    ummm... I'm not the most intelligent person in the world when it comes to bike stuff, but...
    I had a rear wheel build almost 2 years ago by Velocity, a 36 spoke Cliffhanger wheel on a Velocity hub, not the most expensive hub in the world either, about 30 bucks or so.
    I rode the hell out of that bike on the local trails and put over 8,000 commuting miles on it.
    That hub has held up GREAT!! The wheels are only now showing signs of needing a good truing job.
    By the way, when I got the wheel built I weighed in at around 350lbs, now I'm slightly under what you currently weigh.
    The moral of this story: No need to go ape **** and get the most expensive bestest hub out there when a cheaper alternative will likely do the trick.

    But what do I know, I'm just a fat guy on a bike who can't make up his mind most of the time.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrosseyedCrickt
    ummm... I'm not the most intelligent person in the world when it comes to bike stuff, but...
    I had a rear wheel build almost 2 years ago by Velocity, a 36 spoke Cliffhanger wheel on a Velocity hub, not the most expensive hub in the world either, about 30 bucks or so.
    I rode the hell out of that bike on the local trails and put over 8,000 commuting miles on it.
    That hub has held up GREAT!! The wheels are only now showing signs of needing a good truing job.
    By the way, when I got the wheel built I weighed in at around 350lbs, now I'm slightly under what you currently weigh.
    The moral of this story: No need to go ape **** and get the most expensive bestest hub out there when a cheaper alternative will likely do the trick.

    But what do I know, I'm just a fat guy on a bike who can't make up his mind most of the time.
    I agree. Unless we are talking weight-weenie components, most good/decent parts will hold up. They're not made with dried ramen noodles, ya know.

    Also the way it is build is very important.

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    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ken cummings
    I checked Phil's site. Just as a for instance a basic set of touring hubs (I like tourers) runs about $283.00.

    Now I will look up Campy and Shimano

    One set of Campagnolo hubs seemed to be $75 but my conversion from Euros is suspect.

    Shimano varies from $140 to $350 on the Performance site. I must be way way off on Campy.
    That PW hubset is fine if you want to settle for a freewheel rear hub. I don't know how you got $140 as the entry level price for Shimano at Performance, but when I checked they have an XT hubset for under $100 which is pretty normal. PW with a cassette rear hub is over $530.

    Since this is for a touring bike, there isn't much sense in discussing Campy hubs.

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    How about some plain old Ultegra hubs? 36 hole laced to your favorite strong rim? Cheaper than Phil Wood stuff by a large margin and probably nearly as durable. Won't require weird frame dimensions or unusual components to work. Can be serviced or replaced on the spot at 99.9% of bike shops in the US.
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    Senior Member thePest's Avatar
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    I second Phil Wood!

    Try looking in the USED department for these? They are sealed and if the bearings are gone you are like talking $9.00us for each one x 4. They have been around longer then my 35yrs in the industry. Are also used in BMX. So if a Kid can't break them. You sure won't!!!

  11. #11
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    I think PW are fairly average compared to many modern hubs. The explosion of mtbs has massively increased the size of the market and brought a lot of competition. There are a lot of people prepared to pay for good quality durable components and lots of people trying to supply them. You don't have to pay big bucks to get a durable hub anymore.

  12. #12
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    Many of the current touring bike frames use 135 dropout spacing so you are probably looking at mountain bike hubs. Shimano LX or XT hubs are a pretty sturdy and a pretty good value. Get a good solid rim like the Velocity Dyad, go with 36 spokes, and have a good builder put the wheels together for you. I think a good builder is possibly the most important factor in the long life of a wheel.

    I'm about your size and have so far put over 2000 commuter miles on an LX/DT/Dyad wheel with zero maintenance and it's still perfectly true. No heavy touring but lots of rough roads and curb hopping and always my pannier full of lock, lunch, work clothes, etc.

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    I vote for 36 hole shimano hubs laced to a decent rim. Should be indestructible. I have hubs with 6000 miles on them, repacking every 6 months or so. The rims wear out first, and I build a new wheel with the old hub.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    I just went through the same exercise. I'm planning a southern tier crossing this winter and I built up a Surly LHT, and I'm very happy with it. The wheel spacing is 135/100 as is the case with most touring frames, so I went with MTB hubs, but 700c rims.

    I had Universal build up a set of wheels using XT hubs, 32/36 hole, Alex Adventurer rims, with straight gauge DT spokes. I weigh only about 145 and will drag a trailer, so I feel 36/32 will easily be strong enough. You could use XTR hubs, but I don't think they're any stronger, only lighter. As suggested, you could also use tandem hubs. We have DT Hugi hubs on our C'dale road tandem and they have been flawless in about 3,500 miles (so far).

    If you do purchase Shimano XT(R) hubs, I'd suggest repacing them soon after you get them. For some reason Shimano uses a rather light weight grease, and sparingly. I just repacked mine the other night and they run great. Good luck and send some pictures along after you complete your build.

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