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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 10-20-06, 02:47 PM   #1
vinnydelnegro
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Yet another hub/wheel thread

BTW - I think the mod should make this discussion a sticky.

Alright...I've done numerous searches, but haven't quite found the answer to my questions. Lots of people have experience with Formula, IRO, Surly hubs. They seem pretty similar in quality from what I've read. Personally, I ride a formula rear hub and think it's solid. Other popular hubs are Phils and Pauls which are in another league, but aren't affordable for most of us. Dura Ace and Record are also in another class but most folks reserve these for the track and they aren't very affordable.

I'm interested in the hubs/wheels that fall in the in between category price wise. I've read some about Miche and Kogswell. Are these hubs really any better than Formula, IRO, Surly's? How smooth do they roll? Are they much lighter? Are they more durable? Any input is appreciated.

Here's my hierarchy of hubs as I understand it. Please feel free to correct. I guess this thread is more about hubs, but opinions about wheels are also welcome. I don't know all the brands, so obviously this doesn't include everything.

First tier (hubs that have a tendency to break):
Quando

Second tier (solid and affordable):
Formula
IRO
Surly

Third tier (more expensive but better?):
Kogswell
Miche

Fourth tier (high end and very expensive):
Phil Wood
Paul
Dura Ace (primarily for track use)
Record (primarily for track use)
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Old 10-20-06, 02:50 PM   #2
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Being new to fixed gears and thinking about building up a wheel/flip flop hub set this winter, I'd be interested in knowledgable opinions on rim quality, esp. IRO. If they're good the price is very attractive.

Yeah, I'll do a search too...
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Old 10-20-06, 03:23 PM   #3
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IRO is formula rebranded.
You forgot about Campy, Dimension (Nashbar) and Suzue hubs.
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Old 10-20-06, 03:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spud
IRO is formula rebranded.
You forgot about Campy, Dimension (Nashbar) and Suzue hubs.
Record=Campy
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Old 10-20-06, 03:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spud
IRO is formula rebranded.
NOOOOOO...please let's not debate this. Yes I know IRO is made by formula. Are they the same exact hub? Nobody knows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spud
You forgot about Campy, Dimension (Nashbar) and Suzue hubs.
Yes GirlAnachronism is correct...Campy=Record. Nashbar/Dimension I know nothing about. And isn't Suzue out of business or something? I know you can still get their stuff, but I guess I wouldn't consider buying them since there are so many other options that are still in business. Again...feel free to add and modify the list I made.
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Old 10-20-06, 03:38 PM   #6
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Dimension (Nashbar) would fall into the same bucket as Formula (IRO), in my opinion. They are very similar and some would argue, not that we should here, that they are essentially the same. I don't think we should debate this either, so since they do have some differences, I think they should go into the 2nd tier.

BTW, I like this thread. Knowing the differences from tier to tier could be very valuable. That said, I doubt we'll come to any consensus, but reading all the opinions could prove valuable.
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Old 10-20-06, 03:41 PM   #7
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i don't think miche are any better than formula, just a lot prettier. i actually had more problems with my miches than the formulas. phil hubs are great. actually, phil hubs are amazing. record hubs are great. pretty much formula/iro is all you'd need until you got up to hundreds of dollar hubsets. (and formula and iro use the exact same hub shell. different axle). pretty much the tiers should be AVOID!-quando/suzue jr. THE SAME-dimension through and up to,(miche, kogswell (which only used to come in 135 spacing), formula, nashbar, surly, etc.) but not including THE BEST-mack, phil, record, d/a, pro-max, paul.

hubs are less an issue than rims, and complete wheelsets are a different beast all togther
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Old 10-20-06, 03:53 PM   #8
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hardly a comprehensive list and you want it to be stickied, classy
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Old 10-20-06, 03:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spud
hardly a comprehensive list and you want it to be stickied, classy
OR, rather than say something like that you could post some thoughts on products and add to the discussion.
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Old 10-20-06, 04:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spud
hardly a comprehensive list and you want it to be stickied, classy
oh yeah...i should have asked the mod to lock the thread and then make it a sticky because i really did think my list was comprehensive. that's why i was specifically asking for input from others here on the forum. and that's why i used the following sentence:

"I don't know all the brands, so obviously this doesn't include everything."

what's up with the reading comprehension from some of you people?
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Old 10-20-06, 04:16 PM   #11
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Alright. I'll do this the best I can. The way I see it:

First Tier (budget bin)
Quando
Suzue Jr
Sovos

All are unsealed cup and cone. generally poor construction. Dust caps that shift/cones that loosen over time. BUT if you keep an everything and keep up on maintanence, they WILL last. no reason to just thrown them away right away. unless you are super non-mechanically inclined. Buy some cone wrenches and a tub of park grease and learn to love your hubs.

Second Tier (damn good, not the best)

Formula/Iro-----(Pretty much the standard street track hub. usually right around $200 a pair built up. Some Issues with the lockwasher breaking (get a new one for a buck and a shop. no big deal))

Miche-------(I've personally had an issue with the cones staying tight on mine. They liked to loosen (front and read). Also, the older ones came with alloy lockrings that are prone to stripping. You can get new Miche ones, or Campy lockrings from a shop. I liked them, but noticed no real difference between them and Formula hubs.)

Surly
Nashbar/Dimension
Kogswell
Dia-Compe--------(The company has been around for a while, but to the best of my knowledge these hubs are new to the market. at about $140 a pair, they're probably at the upper end of this tier, but I am totally unfamiliar with them, and they're sealed, so I'll put them here temporarily.)

These hubs are great for the plug and go riders. To the best of my knowledge these are all sealed cartridge (not sure about Kogswell) Riders that don't want to worry about their hubs too much, but are still looking to not spend an arm or leg will love these. I've used several of these hubs and have had no real or major problems with any of them. Great hubs for the money. Most of these are the go to hub for the introductory shopper. (mostly because these are the ones that come built up, but these are also great options for people building their own wheels, or as an introduction to wheelbuilding)

Third Tier (upper deck)

Phil
Paul----(use a non standard 44mm chainline. also, have heard some less than good things about these hubs. I know 3 messengers in philly that have trashed them, one of them is on his third set, so they seem to warranty them, though)
Level---(these are a little on the heavy side, but absolutely bulletproof. and have a genius cog mounting system. 45mm chainline. )
Suzue Pro-max (both sealed and not)
Campy Record
Dura-Ace
Suntour Superbe
Zipp
Mack
Royce---(apparently very good hubs, never heard of or seen them.)

The sealed hubs listed are amazing hubs (i've personally used Phil and sealed Pro-max) and love both of them. Spin forever and can be ridden year round with no worries. Best served for the messenger or the serious commuter (or someone that wants to impress people with how much they spent on their bikes) Someone that will not balk at sub freezing temperatures or heavy rain. That's where these hubs thrive. But the cost is great. They're certainly not cheap.

The non sealed options...Also great, but more for the track. Won't hold up well to street conditions, will need (or at least SHOULD BE) to be serviced fairly often to maintain performance. Serious low drag, but that comes with a serious lack of seals. Ride them hard. On the track. Or ride them when it's nice out. No reason to gritty up $400 wheels just to look cool.

***"standard" track chainline is 42mm. anything wider than that and you'll need a different bottom bracket, which length would be dependant on what kind of crank you run, and if it's road crank, whether the ring is on the inside or outside lip.
___
none of that was to attack anyone, just my personal input on the hubs in question. I've used a lot of those hubs, and i've never really hated a hub. Bontrager track hubs coming soon, if anyone wants it. I stuck with readily available hubs. Won't get into gipiemme, or suntour sprint, or goldex, or sunshine, or anything like that. Hope that helps some people.

-jason

EDIT: A point of contention on this forum. i know people that have had success for many years, and other with barely an hour. SUICIDE HUBS! If you are going to do it, don't ask if it's safe. Use a BUNCH of RED loctite. rotafix it on the hub very tightly. let sit. I would personally not go skidding around like crazy, or rely on it for panic stops. BUT, if you use a front brake for fast stops, My personal opinion on them is that they're fine. (people will disagree and that's fine). If you're going to run a suicide hub, just be aware of the risks, and don't complain if you get hurt or break it. That said. I'd use one, if i had a nice freewheel hub and needed a fixed wheel.

Last edited by xthugmurderx; 10-20-06 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 10-20-06, 04:28 PM   #12
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There is also Level and Royce ( http://www.genisysconsulting.co.uk/royce-uk/), and ZIPP hubs.
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Old 10-20-06, 04:34 PM   #13
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ALSO

for the most part, spokes are spokes. there is also a tier system for rims, but that's crazy involved. i'll hit it briefly. AVOID SINGLE WALL RIMS LIKE THE PLAGUE.

A BRIEF NOTE ABOUT FORMULA/WIENMANN WHEELS-these wheels are machine built. off the bat the tension will seem fine, but will loosen up quickly. take them to a shop and have them retensioned. then they should be fine.
-------

I put Wienmann/Alex rims on the same tier. Not great. they'll get you by. these are the quandos/sovos of the rim world.

Then we have Sun m13II's and mavic m3's/open sport. not best, but solid. i like these rims a lot. usually get them laced to formulas.

then the usual aftermarket rims. most mavic and velocity and sun ( i personally very much prefer sun and mavic, but i reckon that's just me). DT Swiss also in here. Expensive but worth it. Regarded as the "bees knees" or "cats pajamas" of rims, if you will.

Aero rims will build an ARGUEABLY stonger and stiffer wheel (i don't buy it. i think it's hype, but i'm old fashioned). A good box rim should be just as strong, though not as stiff, or heavy, but usually require more spokes. That should be about all i need to add on that subject. i hope.
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Old 10-20-06, 04:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prodigal son
There is also Level and Royce ( http://www.genisysconsulting.co.uk/royce-uk/), and ZIPP hubs.
added level where they belong. never heard of rolls royce or whatever, so it's a safe bet no one else has either, and zipp is in there
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Old 10-20-06, 04:38 PM   #15
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xthugmurderx.....well that's just helpful and informative. now that's classy!
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Old 10-20-06, 04:40 PM   #16
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thank you very much. anything for you guys. i like this forum and would love to help ressurect it. 165 is doing a good job and i'll do my part.
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Old 10-20-06, 04:42 PM   #17
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as well as American Classic and Dia Compe
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Old 10-20-06, 04:45 PM   #18
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We should add information concerning any differences from standard chainline, such as paul comp hubs have 44mm chainlinr, as well as mavic and I think cane creek.
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Old 10-20-06, 04:47 PM   #19
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has anyone ridden the dia-compe hubs yet? i just found out they existed today, and i'm kind of curious about them.
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Old 10-20-06, 04:48 PM   #20
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the cane creeks are standard (i have the volos) and as far as mavic goes, that''s why i didn't get into wheelsets. at that point i think people are starting to know what's up. this is more for the beginner). and i'll add that about the paul chainline. i doubt anyone here is gonna spring for american classic, but where should i put them?
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Old 10-20-06, 04:50 PM   #21
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level have a non-conforming chainline as well, designed to be adjustable from 45(44.2) to 52mm(51.3)
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Old 10-20-06, 04:54 PM   #22
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Quote:
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level have a non-conforming chainline as well, designed to be adjustable from 45(44.2) to 52mm(51.3)
if you can put that in terms that i understand and how it relates to a standard track frame application, i'd appreciate it. (what width bb would you need to use to attain the correct chainine, with the cog flipped to the 45mm side. (if you know)
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Old 10-20-06, 04:58 PM   #23
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Regarding Royce hubs:

Designing and producing special Stealth Nipples for Chris Boardman which, along with our Hubs, helped him to break the Athletes Hour Record at the Manchester Velodrome in October 2000.
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Old 10-20-06, 05:10 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xthugmurderx
if you can put that in terms that i understand and how it relates to a standard track frame application, i'd appreciate it. (what width bb would you need to use to attain the correct chainine, with the cog flipped to the 45mm side. (if you know)
you understand how Paul hubs use a 44mm chainline? well Level use a 45mm chainline. so if your cranks are at 42mm right now you would add 6mm (assuming symmetric design, 3mm per side) to your current BB spindle length. Some people seem to have a huge aversion since these don't follow a 42mm chainline.
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Old 10-20-06, 05:13 PM   #25
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edited. better? and thanks
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