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Which hubs least like to become obsolete?

Old 10-17-16, 10:52 PM
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Which hubs least like to become obsolete?

My earlier question here ("Shimano hub 'left and right' cones or ambibikestrous?") brought up another question: Which cost effective hubs are the best choices for long term maintenance?

I hadn't realized until I Googled around for replacement cones for early 1990s Shimano Exage HB-RM50 front, and FH-HG50 rear hubs, that Shimano varied cones so much. I'd just assumed they used pretty much the same parts for many models and years. But, no. That complicates long term maintenance. The hub body is fine, but what good is that if the cones are scarce or not cost effective?

If I'm considering a new (or good used) hub or wheelset, what's likely to still be maintainable and cost effective in 10-20 years?
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Old 10-17-16, 11:10 PM
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Anything using standard size cartridge bearings. Shimano is the most standard of the cup and cone style. If that's not good enough, common sized cartridge bearings should be easily available forever.
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Old 10-17-16, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
My earlier question here ("Shimano hub 'left and right' cones or ambibikestrous?") brought up another question: Which cost effective hubs are the best choices for long term maintenance?

I hadn't realized until I Googled around for replacement cones for early 1990s Shimano Exage HB-RM50 front, and FH-HG50 rear hubs, that Shimano varied cones so much. I'd just assumed they used pretty much the same parts for many models and years. But, no. That complicates long term maintenance. The hub body is fine, but what good is that if the cones are scarce or not cost effective?

If I'm considering a new (or good used) hub or wheelset, what's likely to still be maintainable and cost effective in 10-20 years?
I think there's no rules, guarantees and cones (at least in my country) are quite hard to source. If you do regular service, cones won't get damaged. However, if you want to be on the safe side, before buying hubs, check if there are spare cones available and get a few pairs, shouldn't be too expensive.
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Old 10-17-16, 11:27 PM
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I think the 105 level Shimano hubs still use the standard 9/10mm axles, and should be pretty well supported.

11 speed probably will have some longevity, and you can use spacers to mount 8/9/10 speed cassettes.

At some point, we'll probably see greater use of disc brakes... so that might be a consideration for future-proofing your wheels. However, wheels don't last forever either... so perhaps it doesn't really make a huge difference.
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Old 10-17-16, 11:57 PM
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If Bikeforums and eBay and Craigslist and Amazon are any indication, sourcing inexpensive bike parts will not be a problem. Even if there is a zombie apocalypse. Exage was nearly 30ya and yet modern hubs like Claris look pretty much the same and cost like $40 for the set of front and rear.

It does seem like 120-spaced 5-speed hubs have become vanishingly rare, but you can still get 126 6-speed hubs.
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Old 10-18-16, 12:10 AM
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Yeah, it's not really any inherent flaw to the cup and cone design. But according to threads I've studied dating back several years there's just enough variation between Shimano cones made for different hubs to make it a PITA to find exactly the right one for some older hubs. Some folks have reported it's difficult to strike a balance between minimizing the slack and getting a hitch-free spin with some aftermarket cones that are almost but not quite OEM spec.

On the plus side, this was the first hub I'd disassembled in 30 years and it's exactly the same process as the Suntour hubs on my 1976 Motobecane. Not really difficult at all. Like brushing teeth, just a matter of doing it once in awhile. Apparently the previous owner hadn't serviced the hubs so while the steel races in the aluminum hub body are fine, the cones are pitted. Reminds me of why I liked Phil grease -- that thick green waxy goo kept out water better.
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Old 10-18-16, 06:37 AM
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Buy Phil Woods hubs and they last forever. If you do have one with a bad bearing send it back and it will be repaired. They do mean lifetime when they sell them. Roger

Last edited by rhenning; 10-18-16 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 10-18-16, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
I think there's no rules, guarantees and cones (at least in my country) are quite hard to source. If you do regular service, cones won't get damaged. However, if you want to be on the safe side, before buying hubs, check if there are spare cones available and get a few pairs, shouldn't be too expensive.
Avoid disappointment and future regret.

Buy a couple while on sale and put them in your closet. Makes a great winter project a few years down the road.


-Tim-
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Old 10-18-16, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
If you do regular service, cones won't get damaged.
That's just not true in my experience. You can service the cones 3 times a year but that's no guarantee against cone pitting. Most people think that cone pitting is due to contamination but it can also occur due to the cone being too tight or too loose. A slight change in quick release skewer tightness...which is far more common in this age of lawyer nubs...can result in the cones being either too tight or too loose.

Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
If I'm considering a new (or good used) hub or wheelset, what's likely to still be maintainable and cost effective in 10-20 years?
It depends on what you consider "cost effective". Cup and cone hubs are cheap to purchase but require lots of maintenance over their lifetime to keep them operating effectively over the long haul. A cartridge bearing hub costs a lot to purchase but requires little to no maintenance over it's life and, for many, if a bearing does wear out, it's is trivial and inexpensive to change the bearing. Some, like the Phil Wood and Velo Orange Grande Cru, require few tools (or no tools) to take them apart.

Shimano has a long history of making old parts obsolete which is something you might want to consider as well. Freehub bodies aren't that hard to replace but for many of the Shimano products, they tend to change the shape of the interface and this makes changing freehubs difficult if you want to update the cassette to the newest "standard". Small boutique hub makers don't make that many changes to their product because retooling is expensive. If you want to change to a new freehub, the change may be easier with a small hub maker.
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Old 10-18-16, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by rhenning View Post
By Phil Woods hubs and they last forever. If you do have one with a bad bearing send it back and it will be repaired. They do mean lifetime when they sell them. Roger




+1! After many decades working in the LBS and running Campy NR on my personal bikes I finally have moved on to Phils. I should have done this from the beginning. (Well I did, but that was on a few tandems). Andy.
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Old 10-18-16, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
That's just not true in my experience. You can service the cones 3 times a year but that's no guarantee against cone pitting. Most people think that cone pitting is due to contamination but it can also occur due to the cone being too tight or too loose. A slight change in quick release skewer tightness...which is far more common in this age of lawyer nubs...can result in the cones being either too tight or too loose.
Let me rephrase that: regular PROPER service.

This is how I do it and I've had no problems even with cheaper hubs:

Bicycle hub overhaul - Cycle Gremlin
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Old 10-18-16, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
Let me rephrase that: regular PROPER service.

This is how I do it and I've had no problems even with cheaper hubs:

Bicycle hub overhaul - Cycle Gremlin


+1 to this. The problem is that "proper" is an after the fact result. If one services the hub bearings frequently and well enough the wear rate will be "a perfect world" one. It's only not doing this frequently enough (or with poor procedures/adjustments) that one finds out they didn't do "proper" service.


Explaining this subtly to the average rider and their eyes glaze over. ("What am I supposed to do? Overhaul my hubs every week?" Well yes, if that is what it takes to not have your cones grind down and pit). People want numbers not ideas. Andy.
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Old 10-18-16, 09:50 AM
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Shimano, because they made a trillion of them..



C&V hubs will remain coveted by Collectors ..




'/,

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Old 10-18-16, 10:23 AM
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I replaced the cones on an old exage hub with whatever Shimano ones I could make fit. I had to remove the rubber seals to get it to fir.
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Old 10-18-16, 11:41 AM
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Best long-term bullet-proof hubs for the winter rides in the rain? 70s vintage Campagnolo freewheel hubs with grease injection ports. They have no 'seals'. After each wet ride, you inject a little fresh grease in the center port. The old contaminated grease oozes out, and they are now good as new.

Best new hubs? Something like Shimano LX or Shimano 105. Very well built and sealed. Very easy to find replacement parts for, either by ordering online or scavenging the pile of wrecked wheels (rim damage) at the back of your local shop or your bike Co-Op. At my local Co-op, we have a 10 pound bin of replacement hub cones of every diameter and length you could ever need.

Worst new hubs for longevity: boutique cartridge bearing hubs. Why?
  • They are not very well sealed. A single rubber air-dam in a cartridge bearing is totally inadequate against water intrusion.
  • They are particularly poorly sealed in the gap between the hub shell and the freehub. Shimano's design is far superior here.
  • The cartridge bearings in the freehub are impossible to remove. They were never designed for this. Good luck tracking down a replacement freehub for some obscure brand. And then paying $150 if you do find it.
  • Regardless, the theoretically replaceable cartridge bearings are corroded tight in the hub shells. Good luck extracting these.
  • Good luck finding a bike shop motivated enough to find replacement cartridge bearings for you. They just want to sell you a bling new wheel. Actually a wheelset, as now they only come in pairs.
  • Good luck finding a shop who has enough motivation, knowledge, and tools to replace cartridge bearings. Be prepared to pay $$$ when you do.
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Old 10-18-16, 12:20 PM
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There Were 'Grease Guard' Hubs from WTB, and licensed to Sun Tour, which is why they are rare as Maeda-Sun Tour that made them is No More.


Phil Freewheel Hubs are now Field serviceable , I used their older Hub( those sold in the 70's ) for 10+ years ... Touring bike.

I Bought a set of Bullseye Hubs the company has since folded but the cartridge bearings are standard 6001, and so replacing those was easy.




'/,

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Old 10-18-16, 12:28 PM
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I think Deore are better, stronger built than LX. LX are just lighter. I'm sure many will disagree, but my experience with Shimano has been that Deore is where it's at for hub longetivity.
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Old 10-18-16, 12:33 PM
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Obsolete? Front hub width of 100 or 110? Rear hub width of 130, 135, 142, 148, 150? ( common mt bike and tandem) Qr or through axles of 10, 12 or 15 mm for the front, 10 or 12 for the rear? No crystal ball for me.
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Old 10-18-16, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
Let me rephrase that: regular PROPER service.

This is how I do it and I've had no problems even with cheaper hubs:

Bicycle hub overhaul - Cycle Gremlin
Let's start with the fact that you have an example of a pitted cone in your link. You didn't get that by "PROPER" service. Your method isn't any different from what I've done a thousand times nor what I teach people at my local co-op every week.

But you are missing my major point. Yes, as you say, play is needed in the cones to accommodate the pressure induced by the quick release. Pre-lawyer lips, this was pretty easy to do since the skewer was set at a specific tension and there was no need to reset it. However, lawyer lips require the nut on the front skewer to be constantly changed when removing and replacing the wheel. There are ways of making sure that this is done consistently...the 1UP nut is the best one in my opinion...but most people don't use anything other than the original skewer nut. If the skewer isn't consistently tightened, the bearings aren't going to be adjusted properly and they can be either too loose or too tight which results in cone pitting.

The rear wheel is less of a problem but the improper use of the front skewer...many people use it like a screw and don't even throw the cam...has encourage improper use of the skewer on the rear wheel as well. I can't tell you how many people I see unscrewing the rear quick release rather then just throwing the cam and letting the wheel fall out of the dropouts.
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Old 10-18-16, 01:58 PM
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I knew this was coming. You've said it before and you were just as wrong then as you are now.

Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
Worst new hubs for longevity: boutique cartridge bearing hubs. Why?
Because you seem to think so despite having been shown to be wrong before. I've got 10,000 miles on one set of cartridge bearing hubs and nearly 20,000 miles on another without maintenance nor bearing failure. I can't say the same for any loose bearing hub I've ever owned.

Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
They are not very well sealed. A single rubber air-dam in a cartridge bearing is totally inadequate against water intrusion.
The bearings used in many boutique hubs are similar or the same as those used in household immersion pumps and in the automobiles. The ones used in automobiles last for 10s of thousands of miles with far heavier use without issues. The ones used in immersion pumps last for long periods of time under intermittent use but while under water for 10s of thousands of hours without issue. A bit of water sprayed up from the road isn't going to cause the ones used in bicycle hubs to melt.

Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
They are particularly poorly sealed in the gap between the hub shell and the freehub. Shimano's design is far superior here.
Got anything to back up this claim? All boutique hubs or only some of them? And what would it matter anyway since the cartridge bearings are sealed on both sides.

Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
The cartridge bearings in the freehub are impossible to remove. They were never designed for this. Good luck tracking down a replacement freehub for some obscure brand. And then paying $150 if you do find it.
Just about every instruction I've seen for cartridge bearing hubs include how to remove them. Phil Wood hubs and White Industry hubs...the ones that I have the most experience with...use the axle to knock out the bearings on the hub or the bearings come out easily. They are easy to put back in.


Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
Regardless, the theoretically replaceable cartridge bearings are corroded tight in the hub shells. Good luck extracting these.

Wait, I thought you just said the bearings weren't meant to come out. If you are going to make this wild claim, how about dealing with locknuts and cones that are corroded together. Those aren't any easier to remove than (theoretically) corroded cartridge bearings would be to remove.



Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
Good luck finding a bike shop motivated enough to find replacement cartridge bearings for you. They just want to sell you a bling new wheel. Actually a wheelset, as now they only come in pairs.

They don't have to. First, the need to replace a cartridge bearing is rare. I've owned several cartridge bearing hubs over years and have only had to replace two of them. One was an old Suntour and the other was a Cannondale Omega brand. Both took 6902 bearing which is a very common bearing size that is readily available from a number of different sources...including Quality Bicycle Products. Removal and installation of the bearing was simple and straight forward requiring nothing more than a $5 bearing tool.



Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
Good luck finding a shop who has enough motivation, knowledge, and tools to replace cartridge bearings. Be prepared to pay $$$ when you do.
I call bull on your claims. I know that the commercial side of my local co-op can, and has, replaced hub cartridge bearings. I also know that my local bike shop has replaced bearings in wheels for people I know and it didn't cost them "$$$" to have it done. As I stated before, it's not hard to even do for a home mechanic.

It's about as difficult as rebuilding a cup and cone hub.
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Old 10-18-16, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
Best long-term bullet-proof hubs for the winter rides in the rain? 70s vintage Campagnolo freewheel hubs with grease injection ports. They have no 'seals'. After each wet ride, you inject a little fresh grease in the center port. The old contaminated grease oozes out, and they are now good as new.
Record level hubs still have grease ports, and they've showed up on less expensive parts like C Record era Chorus cassette hubs which were identical to Record apart from the skewer until a titanium axle accompanied the move to 9 cogs.

Best new hubs?
Campagnolo still sells Record hubs with grease ports plus the cones and cups that go with them. The replacement parts have been the same since 1999 for the rear hub and 2000 for the front. Some Fulcrum wheels share those internals.

You can even install an optional Shimano splined freehub.
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Old 10-18-16, 07:17 PM
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I know how to overhaul my hubs and I know I should do so regularly, but that doesn't mean I like doing it. For me it's quite labor intensive and I like the idea of cartridge bearing where it seems to be just fit and forget.

Then there's the task of finding cones should I need them. I could spend 3 or 4 hours going to several shops and still not find anything and/or spend 30 minutes digging through cones at Bike Kitchen.

I have a shop that sells only bearings and they have all kind of bearings including those cartridge bearings for bicycle wheel, but they do not have cones.

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Old 10-18-16, 07:33 PM
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I'm only familiar with Phil hubs. What are some decent quality but less pricey cartridge bearing hubs? I'm leaning toward some ready made wheels so it'll help to know what names to watch for.
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Old 10-18-16, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Let's start with the fact that you have an example of a pitted cone in your link. You didn't get that by "PROPER" service. Your method isn't any different from what I've done a thousand times nor what I teach people at my local co-op every week.

But you are missing my major point. Yes, as you say, play is needed in the cones to accommodate the pressure induced by the quick release. Pre-lawyer lips, this was pretty easy to do since the skewer was set at a specific tension and there was no need to reset it. However, lawyer lips require the nut on the front skewer to be constantly changed when removing and replacing the wheel. There are ways of making sure that this is done consistently...the 1UP nut is the best one in my opinion...but most people don't use anything other than the original skewer nut. If the skewer isn't consistently tightened, the bearings aren't going to be adjusted properly and they can be either too loose or too tight which results in cone pitting.

The rear wheel is less of a problem but the improper use of the front skewer...many people use it like a screw and don't even throw the cam...has encourage improper use of the skewer on the rear wheel as well. I can't tell you how many people I see unscrewing the rear quick release rather then just throwing the cam and letting the wheel fall out of the dropouts.
Too loose is more dangerous than too tight.

I don't think it's that hard to set the quick release similarly enough every time and make sure the wheel is seated well. Whoever wants to learn how to do it can do it.
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Old 10-19-16, 06:26 AM
  #25  
Lakerat
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
Record level hubs still have grease ports, and they've showed up on less expensive parts like C Record era Chorus cassette hubs which were identical to Record apart from the skewer until a titanium axle accompanied the move to 9 cogs.

Campagnolo still sells Record hubs with grease ports plus the cones and cups that go with them. The replacement parts have been the same since 1999 for the rear hub and 2000 for the front. Some Fulcrum wheels share those internals.

You can even install an optional Shimano splined freehub.

I recently got a bike with an early version of these hubs. I think they are Campagnolo Daytona hubs from 2000. It took me a while to figure out how to service these hubs since the design is quite a departure from normal cup and cone. I didn't know initially if they were cartridge or cup and cone. I also didn't know that there were reasons to develop a modern and advanced cup and cone system, and assumed that cartridge bearing designs had replaced them.


Servicing these hubs reveals features that could make them last for a long time. I assume they have been offered by Fulcrum and Campagnolo for at least 16 years now. The cones, races, and seals for my hubs are the same front and rear. The races are replaceable, although this requires special tools or mechanical skill. The replacement parts aren't cheap, but are available. The large hollow alloy axles appear sturdy.


The hubs are smooth and roll well, but the feature I like best is the ability to adjust the cones with the wheel installed. I never imagined a bearing adjustment as simple as with these. Install the wheel and turn the adjusting nut until the play disappears and then a smidge more. It seemed to hit a sweet spot by hand without tools immediately. Tighten the lock screw and ride.

Last edited by Lakerat; 10-19-16 at 06:30 AM.
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