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Old 01-31-10, 12:13 PM   #1
Retro Grouch 
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Phil Wood

Mrs. Grouch and I are in the process of buying a new recumbent tandem. One of the internet dealers is offering a Rans Seavo with their own component package including Phil Wood hubs and bottom brackets. I know the reputation is good, but I don't have any personal experience.

Anybody have first hand experience with Phil Wood hubs or bottom brackets?
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Old 01-31-10, 01:00 PM   #2
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I've got a set of Phil tandem hubs from 1980 and they've been fine up to this point. Even though they're sealed, you can pull the seals and clean/re-lube them if you want.

I read somewhere that the folks up in the Pac Northwest aren't too impressed with the maintenance-free aspects of these hubs, so YMMV.
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Old 01-31-10, 01:12 PM   #3
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Thanks.

30 year service life sounds pretty good to me. I don't mind having to clean and lube them every now and then.
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Old 01-31-10, 05:37 PM   #4
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The Phil Wood freewheel hubs I bought in '94 are going strong in their second set of rims. I put a lot of miles on them on my Bridgestone and they are now being passed along to my son on the Fuji. Had the bearing cartridges and seals replaced in '03 when the original rims wore out. I would not hesitate to get some of the cassette hubs if I could afford them.
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Old 02-01-10, 10:46 AM   #5
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Perhaps a bit pricey, but absolutely among the very best!
Used Phil BBs, hubs and pedals (made a great touring pedal in the 1970s!) on our 1977 Assenmacher.
Rear BB on tandem developed bit of play after only 30,000 miles. Sent it back to Phil and explained our problem. He promptly sent back a new BB with note: 'No charge; after those kind of miles, you deserve it!'
The hubs were still on the tandem when we sold it after 64,000 miles.
Pedals were moved to the next tandem and they lasted over 80,000miles
Next tandem, we used Phil BBs and hubs; lasted 'til we sold it with 56,000 mles on it.
Moral of the story: Quality lasts . . . and lasts!
Pedal on TWOgether!
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Old 02-01-10, 12:39 PM   #6
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Thanks for the responses. One of the reasons I posed this question on 50+ was because I feel like I get a better quality of responses. Zonatandem, for example had an actual failure to report. He neither overstated not understated the problem, didn't try to hide it, he just said this is wnhat happened and this is how it was resolved. I can work with information like that.

I'm in the process of buying a fairly high end recumbent tandem. Right now there really isn't much that I can do for 2 weeks but I'm excited so I want to think about it all the time.

I hope the weather in Hays, Kansas is good over Valentine's/ President's Day weekend so we can do a test ride.
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Old 02-01-10, 01:23 PM   #7
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I ran Phil Wood hubs for years with no problems. They outlasted three sets of rims.
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Old 02-01-10, 01:51 PM   #8
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Changed to a Phil Wood BB after going thru 2 Schimano Dura Ace BB's. Got 6237 miles on first Dura Ace BB and 5677 miles on second Dura Ace....switched to Phil Wood BB and just replaced it after 13,864 miles......replaced it with another Phil Wood BB. Both wheel's hubs are Phil Wood...16,311 trouble free miles on them...

I am fairly large at 6'1" and 204 lbs, now, but when I bought the Phil Wood BB & Hubs a few years ago, I was about 235 lbs.....they work for me. I commute 23 mi. R/T about 210 days per year, and completed the Southern Tier this past Oct.
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Old 02-01-10, 03:37 PM   #9
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Over here we have Phil Woods- and Chris King- and Hope. All top quality and all good and all very expensive. But they work. None of these are made- They are engineered and for a use that exceeds what mere mortals- or Tandems- can put then through. Hope are British so can't comment on Phil Woods- but I have seen them and heard the good reports on them.

Only done about 12,000miles on my Hope "Bigun" hubs but had a pawl break in the Freehub on the last strip down. Considering this is on the Offroad Tandem I was not unhappy. Especially as it only cost pence for the replacement set of pawls. These engineered hubs are rebuildable.
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Old 02-01-10, 03:59 PM   #10
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Not sure my experience will be of any use, but I recently built up a no-compromise commuter bike. The rear hub is a Phil, it has just over 1000 miles on it, it is very shiny and pretty, and still turns like new.

One thing that I notice: I have three bikes that I ride regularly - the utility bike has a Shimano 105 rear hub, the commute bike has the Phil Wood Hub, and the fun bike has a Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheelset. The noise that the pawls make when coasting is much quieter on the Shimano than on either of the other two hubs. No idea why some hubs should be so much louder than others.....
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Old 02-01-10, 04:11 PM   #11
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Not sure my experience will be of any use, but I recently built up a no-compromise commuter bike. The rear hub is a Phil, it has just over 1000 miles on it, it is very shiny and pretty, and still turns like new.

One thing that I notice: I have three bikes that I ride regularly - the utility bike has a Shimano 105 rear hub, the commute bike has the Phil Wood Hub, and the fun bike has a Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheelset. The noise that the pawls make when coasting is much quieter on the Shimano than on either of the other two hubs. No idea why some hubs should be so much louder than others.....
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Old 02-01-10, 04:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Mrs. Grouch and I are in the process of buying a new recumbent tandem. One of the internet dealers is offering a Rans Seavo with their own component package including Phil Wood hubs and bottom brackets. I know the reputation is good, but I don't have any personal experience.

Anybody have first hand experience with Phil Wood hubs or bottom brackets?
Had a custom bike built back in the mid '80s. Phil hubs and BB. The BB died about 10 years ago... the spindle broke in two... was the oddest feeling one morning as I jumped on the bike and both pedals went down. The spindle was hollow. Snapped along a corrosion line. Phil sent me a solid replacement... never got around to putting it in as I had to buy something else while I was waiting... also sealed bearings. The hubs have been fine. Just this last Xmas I decided it was finally time to replace those bearings... the guy in the shop said the rear bearings were still good, but the front felt a bit dry. I never tried to pull the seals and relube. The bike has been ridden in all sorts of weather and through flooded vados in Baja and used as a daily commuter in San Diego. I think I got great value out of the Phil Hubs. The only problem I have is that the rear is for a freewheel, and technology has moved on to cassettes now.
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Old 02-04-10, 12:54 AM   #13
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I'm the guy from the Pac Northwest who absolutely detests Phil Wood stuff, thinks it's highly overrated, and only good for use by people who live in Florida or Arizona where the equipment is never used in the rain. Back in the mid-70's, I used the first-generation Phil rear hub and bottom bracket. I destroyed the bearings of both in one month of winter riding. My ride was going to school daily; school was at the top of a1200' climb, and it would often be raining or snowing. The bearings got really loose after a month, so I had to disassemble the rear wheel and pull the bb and send them back. I destroyed the replacements after another month. In those days, you couldn't service the bearings by yourself, you had to send the equipment back. I think I sent back the hub; I just gave up on the bb. I've still got the hub. I used it only in dry weather, except I did use it for cyclo-cross one season. The hub started to feel rough, so I just stored the wheel. I recently re-commissioned it for fixed-gear use. Sure enough, after about a month of winter riding, the hub bearings packed it in again. I'll probably send the hub back to Phil and see what he does. The previous returns, his reply seemed to place the blame for the failure on me. The response was written by a guy named Bern Smith, who asserted that Phil hubs were tested by being submerged in water and spun by machine for hours. I bet the hubs were submerged in clean water, not water with fine grit and bits of salt and stuff in it.
Anyway, I think Phil stuff is absolute crap, very highly over-rated by riders who have never ridden daily thru a wet and dirty Vancouver winter!
- Luis
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Old 02-04-10, 12:13 PM   #14
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Phil hubs on my tandem. The bike only has 3-4 thousand miles, but when it's used the load on those hubs is 400+lbs. No problems across 10 years. Super smooth.
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Old 02-04-10, 05:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
I'm the guy from the Pac Northwest who absolutely detests Phil Wood stuff, thinks it's highly overrated,
I appreciate your feedback. Now I'm wondering, have you found hubs that hold up to your usage?
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Old 02-04-10, 05:43 PM   #16
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Phil FSA freewheel hubs on my commuter, ridden daily for 10 years.
Absolutely as good as new and I've never touched them.
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Old 02-04-10, 06:04 PM   #17
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... have you found hubs that hold up to your usage?
Let me guess...Chris King
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