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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 03-18-09, 01:00 PM   #1
oneangrytoast
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the truth about hubs

what is the deal with all these brands just re-branding the same chinese built hubs?

from what i understand origin 8, formula and others (IRO?) are all the same thing.

does anybody know what other hubs fit into this category. im looking into new wheels soon and if all these hubs are the same, i just want to make sure i get the cheapest one.

if im wrong, please provide an informative answer...
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Old 03-18-09, 01:02 PM   #2
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I believe this phenomenon happens in with a lot of parts in many different industries (not just bicycle hubs), due to profit margins.
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Old 03-18-09, 01:03 PM   #3
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Branding and rebranding is a fact of life when you're dealing with bike components. You just have to do your homework.

The two big players in low end fixed hubs are Formula/ IRO/ Harris/ etc and Dimension/ Nashbar/ Ben's/ etc. Both are completely fine products.
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Old 03-18-09, 01:04 PM   #4
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hubs to stay away from: Quando, Joytech
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Old 03-18-09, 01:08 PM   #5
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I believe this phenomenon happens in with a lot of parts in many different industries (not just bicycle hubs), due to profit margins.
of course, im not oblivious to this, im just wondering which hubs applied to this, and if there were any (even slight) differences. maybe the bearings? idk, something like that.
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Old 03-18-09, 01:12 PM   #6
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Formula brand lockring suckkkkk. Threads are so soft and brittle, don't even bother putting it on.

That's really my ONLY complaint.

I used to have some Joytech hubs that were keirin spaced, and even that lockring wasn't as bad as those black Formula ones.

I know Formula brand hubs come with "Phil Wood" color bearing covers. Might give the illusion that they use better cartridge bearings than the regular "black" cartridges, but there's no difference. All made in Taiwan.
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Old 03-18-09, 01:17 PM   #7
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A few Asian companies manufacture good basic cost-effective hubs (such as Novatec and Formula). These are then rebranded and sold under several names. The rebranding name is unimportant. Its not just a track/FG/SS hub phenomenon. These companies make all kinds of hubs, some for walmart bikes and others for very high end wheelsets. Additionally, there is a larger number of costly boutique brands (such as Phil Wood or White Industries) that actually manufacture unique hubs, usually with non-interchangable parts or designs.

However, thats no secret.

The real secret about hubs is that budget hubs such as Formulas perform as well as high-end hubs (like Phil Wood). The basic (non-proprietary) design of these Asian hubs is also an advantage because replacement hardware is readily available and costs pennies. This is particularly true for track hubs, because they have a very basic design (unlike many freehubs, which are inherently more complex and have a wider variety of designs). Hubs are probably one of the least broken bike parts, and they almost always outlast the other wheel components. The performance of the hub really boils down to the smoothness of the bearings. However, even cheap hubs tend to have smooth bearings and, if not, you can always replace the bearings for very little money. For what its worth, the stock bearings in my formula hubs are much much smoother than the stock bearings in some of the high end hubs I have owned that cost 6 times as much.

Some will claim that cheap hubs have poor threads, but in my experience that is not true. Stripped threads are usually attributable to user error and it is a problem that is not limited to Formula or Novatec hub users.

Last edited by mihlbach; 03-18-09 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 03-18-09, 01:35 PM   #8
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mihlbach speaks the truth.

i love formula hubs for their consistent function and smooth bearings even though they possess little bling value. the weight of the hub is really immaterial as it's got so little rotational inertia.

also agree that formula lockring are poor quality. i run dura ace steel rings with my hubs.
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Old 03-18-09, 01:41 PM   #9
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i love formula hubs for their consistent function and smooth bearings even though they possess little bling value. the weight of the hub is really immaterial as it's got so little rotational inertia.

True, hub weight is of little importance, but still relevant to total bike weight. For what its worth, none of the more expensive track hubs are light either. They weigh about the same as (or in some cases, more than) your basic Formula. In fact, I think the Novatec (Bens, Dimension, etc) hub is the lightest (270gms), undoubtedly because of its hollow axle.
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Old 03-18-09, 01:50 PM   #10
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I was surprised to find out how heavy phils are!

About 400 grams for the rear.
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Old 03-18-09, 01:54 PM   #11
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as has been intimated by others, the hardware on some affordable/entry-level hubs is the weak point. at work, i advise any customers to bin the no-name lockring and cog if it's supplied with their hub or on their complete bike— this applies even to nicer bikes like the track pro and tk2, which still come with a low quality cog. some track hubs don't have an integral washer on their axle nuts; formula and dimension both do, but ensure you use a proper 6-point 15mm wrench as the material grade isn't as high as some others.
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Old 03-18-09, 01:57 PM   #12
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as has been intimated by others, the hardware on some affordable/entry-level hubs is the weak point. at work, i advise any customers to bin the no-name lockring and cog if it's supplied with their hub or on their complete bike— this applies even to nicer bikes like the track pro and tk2, which still come with a low quality cog. some track hubs don't have an integral washer on their axle nuts; formula and dimension both do, but ensure you use a proper 6-point 15mm wrench as the material grade isn't as high as some others.
another good point. i've owned a couple sets of miche hubs which have 14mm nuts without spinning washers. the serration on the nuts chew up the frame and fork dropout badly. great hubs, poor hardware.
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Old 03-18-09, 01:59 PM   #13
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I was surprised to find out how heavy phils are!

About 400 grams for the rear.
Is that really a big deal? The difference between that and the novatec is the weight of a couple bags of chips.
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Old 03-18-09, 02:02 PM   #14
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Is that really a big deal? The difference between that and the novatec is the weight of a couple bags of chips.
please read post 8.
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Old 03-18-09, 02:03 PM   #15
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For what its worth, none of the more expensive track hubs are light either.
They weigh about the same as (or in some cases, more than) your basic Formula.
except Am Classic.

http://www.amclassic.com/products/hubs/trackrear.php
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Old 03-18-09, 02:16 PM   #16
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The reported weight of 190gms for the AM Classic hub undoubtedly does not include the nuts. If you add the nuts, the weight is not going to be much different than the Novatec hub, but still probably a little lighter.
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Old 03-18-09, 02:26 PM   #17
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Is that really a big deal? The difference between that and the novatec is the weight of a couple bags of chips.
Well, considering how much more you pay, you might expect it to be a little lighter. More expensive usually means lighter. There are advantages to less weight however minor, and if you are paying that much, I'd expect every possible advantage.
Its certainly possible to make a lighter track hub without compromising durability. Novatec and Dimension hubs can withstand a lot of abuse despite being lighter. Also, the claimed weight of the WI industries track hub is 293 gms...pretty light.

Phil isn't really about performance however, so the excessive hub weight isn't surprising. They are for show, not for racing.

Last edited by mihlbach; 03-18-09 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 03-18-09, 02:50 PM   #18
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Is there any reliability or performance difference between hollow and solid axle? Are their any disadvantages of using a hollow axle? Are they weaker?

I know the purpose of hollow axles. In the case of track axles, where quick-releases seem to not be used, hollow axles are pretty much only for weight saving.
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Old 03-18-09, 02:56 PM   #19
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can quick-releases & locking skewers even be used with the hollow axles of the dimension/ben's hubs?
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Old 03-18-09, 02:59 PM   #20
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Yeah. It's just when they're configured to be used with a skewer, the axle is cut down to be flush with the fork ends/dropouts. With track nuts, naturally, the axle has be a bit longer.

Or I could be wrong? But that's how I've seen it done.
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Old 03-18-09, 03:51 PM   #21
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Formula brand lockring suckkkkk. Threads are so soft and brittle, don't even bother putting it on.

That's really my ONLY complaint.

I used to have some Joytech hubs that were keirin spaced, and even that lockring wasn't as bad as those black Formula ones.

I know Formula brand hubs come with "Phil Wood" color bearing covers. Might give the illusion that they use better cartridge bearings than the regular "black" cartridges, but there's no difference. All made in Taiwan.
are you referring to the lockring or the threading of the hub. my friend just stripped the threads off the hub from his kilo tt. apart from the option of the fixed fixed, that is one of the main reasons im going to be upgrading to a new wheelset. this is going to be very relevant to my purchase decision...

i already have a surly lockring and cog. so a formula lockring will most likely be thrown the personal parts bin.
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Old 03-18-09, 04:11 PM   #22
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The Kilo hubs are significantly lowered quality than the Formula hubs. They don't even almost spin smoothly.

I'm talking about the actual lockring and its threads. Formula hubs come with a black lockring that's made of aluminum and weighs next to nothing.

I have no experience with Surly cog or lockring. Though the Surly lockring is made of stainless steel. You should be fine. You gotta watch out for those aluminum ones. Make sure you FULLy understand how you're supposed to put a cog and lockring on. Be gentle, don't cross or jump threads, and your Surly lockring should be great.
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Old 03-18-09, 04:41 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by mihlbach View Post
A few Asian companies manufacture good basic cost-effective hubs (such as Novatec and Formula). These are then rebranded and sold under several names. The rebranding name is unimportant. Its not just a track/FG/SS hub phenomenon. These companies make all kinds of hubs, some for walmart bikes and others for very high end wheelsets. Additionally, there is a larger number of costly boutique brands (such as Phil Wood or White Industries) that actually manufacture unique hubs, usually with non-interchangable parts or designs.

However, thats no secret.

The real secret about hubs is that budget hubs such as Formulas perform as well as high-end hubs (like Phil Wood). The basic (non-proprietary) design of these Asian hubs is also an advantage because replacement hardware is readily available and costs pennies. This is particularly true for track hubs, because they have a very basic design (unlike many freehubs, which are inherently more complex and have a wider variety of designs). Hubs are probably one of the least broken bike parts, and they almost always outlast the other wheel components. The performance of the hub really boils down to the smoothness of the bearings. However, even cheap hubs tend to have smooth bearings and, if not, you can always replace the bearings for very little money. For what its worth, the stock bearings in my formula hubs are much much smoother than the stock bearings in some of the high end hubs I have owned that cost 6 times as much.

Some will claim that cheap hubs have poor threads, but in my experience that is not true. Stripped threads are usually attributable to user error and it is a problem that is not limited to Formula or Novatec hub users.
i will not stand for this blasphemy. i paid $200 for these hubs, and youre going to respect me!
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Old 03-18-09, 04:43 PM   #24
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No trouble with the formula lockring, here. I've been using the same one for almost a year. By the way, I love this thread.
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Old 03-18-09, 04:46 PM   #25
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No trouble with the formula lockring, here. I've been using the same one for almost a year.
Oh. It's coming.

Hah, no. I don't know. Consider yourself lucky, I guess.
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