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  1. #1
    Solo Rider, always DFL
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    Advice on hubs for new wheelset needed.

    I am considering having a set of wheels built up by Peter White cycles, for my touring bike. I have a set of heavy rims with T519 rims etc.

    What I'd like is to have some that are a little lighter, and a little narrower to allow mounting something slimmer than 28s. I'm a clyde, and the frame takes a 135mm rear hub.

    So, the question is: Of the hubs available, what are the upsides and downsides across the board?

    Shimano XT
    Shimano XTR
    Chris King

    I was planning on going with a 32 spoke wheel, unless they have other suggestions when I talk to them. Is the extra money for XTR, or especially for the King hub, worth it??

    In some of the reviews I have seen, there were issues with drag on the King hubs, anyone have any experience with this?

  2. #2
    don't pedal backwards... MacG's Avatar
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    Chris King makes fine hubs (and other parts), but the increased quality is not cost-proportionate. If you are looking solely at the economics of the situation, you are better off to buy some less expensive hubs and replace them altogether when they finally wear out. You should be able to buy several sets of Deore hubs for the price of one pair of King hubs. Replacement parts for the cheaper hubs are likewise cheaper, just like King parts are probably not going to be so cheap. I think you see where I'm going here.

    On the other hand, King is a great company that is very conscious about their environmental impact. If you are concerned about shady or unmonitored environmental practices in third world countries, you may want to pony up the extra money to own hubs that you can be confident were manufactured in acceptable ways. Someone else can probably find more info for you about the specifics here. I know for one that Chris King is very proud of the fact that their anodization process does not pollute. I doubt factories in China or Hong Kong are as stringent with their standards.

    The main difference between XT and XTR is that the XTR costs a little more and has been manufactured to be a bit more lightweight and sleek. If you're already packing plenty of extra weight on your person, there's no real reason to spend extra money to shave a few grams off of equipment. Even if you are a skinny guy, there isn't a whole lot of reason unless you're at the peak of your performance and need to squeeze a bit more out to win something like the tour de france. XT is cheaper, stronger, and more readily available. It's also less likely to be stolen (assuming thieves know what they are looking at).

    For clydesdale wheels, I would go with XT hubs laced three-cross with 36 spokes. The rim is another choice yet. Since you mention 28mm tires, I assume you're talking about 700c wheels. Velocity's Deep V is a very tough rim, but they aren't exactly lightweight. Again, for touring you are probably better off to opt for something a little heavier and more durable rather than the expensive lightweight stuff. You'll be better off when you eventually have a breakdown in some far-away place that doesn't stock Chris King bearings, but has plenty of loose balls and grease that can get any typical Shimano hub back on the road.
    from Minneapolis, with bike love

  3. #3
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    XT is the sweet spot; great durability, smooth bearings, reasonable price. XTR is lighter, mostly because of the Ti freehub body, but durability will be the same as XT for the most part. Chris King makes a nice hub but after you add the weight of a proper steel freehub body, they are not much lighter than XTR and cost double the price.
    Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(

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  4. #4
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    My recommendation is 36 spokes 3-cross on the rear wheel, double butted spokes like DT Competitions.

  5. #5
    Solo Rider, always DFL
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    Just to clarify, I have a set of wheels that came with my cannondale that are intended for loaded touring, and since the touring bike is also my "road bike" I was looking to get a set of wheels with rims that would take narrower tires than the Mavic t519s on the WTB "touring" wheels.

    Is a 32 spoke pattern adequate for regular road riding for someone who is (like me) about 215 pounds?

    Are the bearings on the XTs as good as the bearings on the XTR?

  6. #6
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    Peter White is an excellent wheel builder, have you consulted with him yet? If so what did he recommend? Assuming you have talked with Peter White, why do you feel his suggestion may not be correct for your needs?

    I know he likes Sun rims because they are very strong and not as expensive as Mavic's but their not as accurately made as Mavic's or Velocity. But he guarantees he can build them right and guarantees the truing (if I remember correctly) for the life of the rim IF you follow his advice and not someone elses.

    In general the Rhyno Lite if your going to be touring, and using 36 DT Competition spokes and brass nipples laced 3x will provide a very strong rim for cydesdale. Again refer to Peter White.

    Hub wise I wasn't aware that Chris King made touring hubs (shows you how much I know), but the Shimano Deore XT hub that Peter White offers is a very rugged hub, if you want something better then then that then go with a Phil Woods hub; but be warned these are very expensive.

  7. #7
    Solo Rider, always DFL
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    To clarify again:

    I am looking to have a more non-touring wheelset built for a bike which is a touring frame (as such, it has 135 mm rear droupout spacing, so I have to go the custom route).

    I have not yet talked to peter white, but wanted to know from folks here whether the hub differences warranted the markup in price that came from the King hubs. They are, FWIW, not specifically touring hubs, but simply mountain spacing on the hubs, which is the same as the spacing on the touring bike that I currently have.

    I already have a bombproof set of wheels that came with the 'dale that are touring oriented, but wanted to get a set of wheels that would allow skinny tires and possibly be a bit lighter, and let me have touring/cross tires on the other wheelset
    (which don't allow anything less than 28s, and are heavy) for lousy weather or terrain.

  8. #8
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    For road use try a set of Sun ME14A or Velocity Arrowhead O/C with the Campy Chorus hubs that White offers, and for lighter weight go with the 32 hole rim. You could also (depending on your weight) go with DT Revolution spokes; but still lace them 3x and use brass nipples for longer trouble free life which is what White prefers.

    I dont' think your going to gain anything or notice the difference going with Chris King hubs vs Campy Chorus, except you'll have more money left in your pocket if you go with the Campy.

  9. #9
    Gone, but not forgotten Sheldon Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superslomo
    I am considering having a set of wheels built up by Peter White cycles, for my touring bike. I have a set of heavy rims with T519 rims etc.

    What I'd like is to have some that are a little lighter, and a little narrower to allow mounting something slimmer than 28s. I'm a clyde, and the frame takes a 135mm rear hub.

    So, the question is: Of the hubs available, what are the upsides and downsides across the board?

    Shimano XT
    Shimano XTR
    Chris King
    Shimano hubs are an unequalled value, nothing else comes close. For touring I'd definitely go with the XT. XTR is for weight weenies, not all that much lighter but a LOT more expensive. Chris King is ludicrously overpriced, and not as good as Shimano.

    Quote Originally Posted by superslomo
    I was planning on going with a 32 spoke wheel...
    I would highly recommend going for 36 spokes, at least on the rear. The weight saving from 4 fewer spokes is trivial.

    By the way, Peter's a wonderful wheel builder.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheldon Brown
    Chris King is ludicrously overpriced, and not as good as Shimano.
    I agree with one of these statements.

  11. #11
    Senior Member caotropheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superslomo
    I am considering having a set of wheels built up by Peter White cycles, for my touring bike. I have a set of heavy rims with T519 rims etc.

    So, the question is: Of the hubs available, what are the upsides and downsides across the board?

    Shimano XT
    Shimano XTR
    Chris King
    Why not the best hubs in the world, Phil Wood?

  12. #12
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caotropheus
    Why not the best hubs in the world, Phil Wood?
    Because they are ludicrously overpriced as well.
    Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(

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  13. #13
    Senior Member masi61's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superslomo
    Just to clarify, I have a set of wheels that came with my cannondale that are intended for loaded touring, and since the touring bike is also my "road bike" I was looking to get a set of wheels with rims that would take narrower tires than the Mavic t519s on the WTB "touring" wheels.

    Is a 32 spoke pattern adequate for regular road riding for someone who is (like me) about 215 pounds?

    Are the bearings on the XTs as good as the bearings on the XTR?
    There are some good deals out there on Deore LX 135mm mountain bike hubs as well. I use some Deore LX parts on my road bike and really like them. You can't beat the prices either, they are even less than Deore XT. How many cogs are you running with on your cassette? Just curious.
    As for more narrow rims that are strong, the two top choices I would think would be Mavic Open Pro or DT Swiss RR 1.1. I personally just had a set of Dura Ace 7700 hubs 36 hole built up with DT Swiss butted spokes 3 cross rear and 2 cross front onto the DT Swiss RR 1.1 rims and am very pleased with the result. I weigh in the 230 - 240 range and did have to have the rear wheel tweaked by the wheelbuilder after about 100 miles due to loose spokes but all is stable now.
    You can run the faster 700 x 23 tires on these and get perceptibly quicker wheels for your touring Cannondale this way(compared to the standard issue touring wheels), sounds like a nice project.

  14. #14
    Solo Rider, always DFL
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    I have Shimano 9 speed as the drivetrain, and would like to both be able to have slightly quicker tires on the lighter wheels, and keep beefier ones for alternate tires on hand.

  15. #15
    Senior Member masi61's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superslomo
    I have Shimano 9 speed as the drivetrain, and would like to both be able to have slightly quicker tires on the lighter wheels, and keep beefier ones for alternate tires on hand.
    A lot of people do just that. Having 2 sets gives you an excuse to do a little extra preventative maintenence anyway.
    The selection of 700x23 tires is huge, you can put any number of tires on there with excellent results. You'll see a lot of Continental Grand Prix 4000 versus Michelin Pro 2 Race threads if you want to research it. To me they're all good. Just be aware that long wear for one of these is more in the neighborhood of 2500 miles max, compared to 5000 miles or more for your touring tires. Presently I'm trying out the Pro 2 Race in the 700x25c size. They feel like you're riding on fast marshmallows - almost TOO plush. When these wear out I'm going to get the Krylion Carbons in 700x23 and ride the heck out of them hopefully.

  16. #16
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    I agree that Chris King and Phil Wood hubs are very nice but not close to worth their enormous cost premium over Shimano XT or even XTR hubs. XT is the better choice as the quality is very good and the cost modest.

    Given even modest maintainance, Shimano hubs have a very long service life. I've got over 40,000 miles on a set of Dura Ace hubs with the original cones and races still in excellent condition. Friends/relatives have gotten similar service from both Ultegra and 105 hubs. The XT/XTR hubs share similar internals and should last just as long.

    One thing to consider is that wheels usually "die" from rim failure, not hub failure. The rims crack from fatigue at the spoke holes or crack through the brake tracks from abrasion wear. The way components and labor are priced, it is often cheaper to replace the entire wheel with one based on a moderate hub than to keep the original hub, replace the rim and spokes and pay to have it relaced.

    Given that, it makes less sense to get a super-priced hub that will cost you even more when rim replacement is required since you won't want to discard it.

  17. #17
    Solo Rider, always DFL
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    I was figuring Mavic Open Pro or Open Sport rims. Not sure whether those will be sufficiently durable, but I believe they both have double eyelets and I know the open sports have a rim wear indicator.

    Any sort of cautionary tales or the like with those rims?

  18. #18
    Senior Member masi61's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superslomo
    I was figuring Mavic Open Pro or Open Sport rims. Not sure whether those will be sufficiently durable, but I believe they both have double eyelets and I know the open sports have a rim wear indicator.

    Any sort of cautionary tales or the like with those rims?
    I haven't personally ridden either of those but I can't see where you'd go wrong either way. The Open Sport rims are a little more affordable, I'm not sure how they're different. The eyelets make for a stronger wheel as far as I know. I believe they can settle in a little after the wheel is built so sometimes its normal to need a slight tuneup at some point. Any good wheel builder will tension, true, stress relieve, tension, true, stress relieve several times to get the wheel road ready. My mechanic puts a drop of blue Loctite on each spoke nipple for extra insurance as well.

    The only cautionary tale I can think of (maybe an urban myth ) is that of cataclysmic rim failure where a rim will just out of the blue break with no warning. Uneven spoke tension and wheelbuilding by amateurs is usually cited as the cause.
    I heard of failures with the early DT Swiss RR 1.1's because of this. Apparently they had single eyelets (ferrules), they've now gone to double eyelets.

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