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Hubs and Quality

Old 08-10-12, 07:33 AM
  #1  
Tandem Tom
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Hubs and Quality

It seems when I have questions they come in pairs! As I just posted another question.
This question is about quality of hubs. Yesterday while at my LBS I was watching him build a wheel. As he was doing it I was wondering how much difference there is in quality between a Shimano hub and a Campy? The reaso is my wife and I were at a tandem rally this summer and one person was talking about the Campy hubs on her single and how "fantastically" smooth they are and that they seemed to spin forever.
So again please help this newbie to understand another component!
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Old 08-10-12, 08:35 AM
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At any given price point, Campy and Shimano hubs are very similar in quality.
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Old 08-10-12, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
At any given price point, Campy and Shimano hubs are very similar in quality.
+100. Both can be a ultra smooth and durable if lubed and adjusted properly. BTW, Campy is nearly out of the hub business and sells only one model (labeled Record) of road hubs as a separate component. They are trying to convert their customers to buying their complete wheels.
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Old 08-10-12, 10:36 AM
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My '80s Record hubs are the smoothest I've ever experienced.

We recently had some olde DA hubs in and they were pretty dang good too, though.

Early 90s 105 hubs weren't quite there but worked just fine.

I swear when I ride those Record hubs I have to drag brakes to keep from passing anyone if we coast down a slight incline together.
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Old 08-10-12, 10:52 AM
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I have three pair of 70's HF Record hub sets, a set of Tipo that look like Records and a pair of Mavic 501's. They are all impressive. I can tell where the weight is on the wheel with in a spoke spacing.
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Old 08-10-12, 11:22 AM
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Grab set of Dura Ace hubs from the mid-80s to late 80s.

Stick a set of Campy NR/SR cones in 'em - the ones with the mirror polished races. You might need a 1mm washer or two to adjust the spacing...

Absolutely the smoothest result I've ever felt in a loose ball bearing hubset. It was simply astonishing...

=8-)
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Old 08-10-12, 11:39 AM
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I'm a bigger fan of perfect lube and perfect adjustment than I am of Shimano vs Campy, or 105 vs Dura Ace, etc

Also I've grown to dislike loose-ball headsets but still mildly prefer loose-ball hubs over sealed cartridges. Weird maybe.
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Old 08-10-12, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by dbg View Post
Also I've grown to dislike loose-ball headsets but still mildly prefer loose-ball hubs over sealed cartridges. Weird maybe.
I have a roller bearing headset that I do like quite a bit, but never had a cartridge one. The place I REALLY don't miss cup-n-cone bearings is the bottom bracket, though.
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Old 08-10-12, 03:48 PM
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Smooth and spinning forever doesn't mean squat. I prefer shimano hubs because the drive side bearings are outboard making for a much stronger hub.
https://draco.nac.uci.edu/rbfaq/FAQ/8f.4.html
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Old 08-10-12, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by davidad View Post
Smooth and spinning forever doesn't mean squat. I prefer shimano hubs because the drive side bearings are outboard making for a much stronger hub.
https://draco.nac.uci.edu/rbfaq/FAQ/8f.4.html
Having never broken a Campagnolo axle inspite of growing to 215 pounds I never cared that Shimano hubs were stronger on paper and care even less now that they use over-sized axles which are stiffer and less likely to suffer a fatigue failure.

I do care that the Record hub service interval is twice as long with Shimano (every other time you just use the grease ports instead of taking the hub apart).

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 08-13-12 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 08-29-12, 05:27 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by mrrabbit View Post
Grab set of Dura Ace hubs from the mid-80s to late 80s.

Stick a set of Campy NR/SR cones in 'em - the ones with the mirror polished races. You might need a 1mm washer or two to adjust the spacing...

Absolutely the smoothest result I've ever felt in a loose ball bearing hubset. It was simply astonishing...

=8-)
Umm.. Campagnolo and Shimano freewheel hubs had axles that had different threadings. The cones and axles are not cross-compatible. I suppose you could replace the entire axle assembly on a Dura-Ace hub with a Campagnolo one, but the savings in rotational resistance would be trivial.

Air resistance is by far the biggest source of power drain on the bike. Bearing drag is almost negligable. This is why a discussion of the smoothness of respective types of bearings, or loose-ball vs. cartridge (loose ball is better), or the benefits of ceramic bearings (a scam) is a waste of time.
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Old 08-29-12, 05:45 PM
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Im a campy person and sincerelly it depends on the campy hub you are talking about. Some old designs had the tendency to bend or crack, some early shimano did too. Thats the reason campagnolo came up with oversize axles and stuff.

Whith shimano as with campagnolo you cant compare the high end with the low end. durability wise I would say that shimano hubs last longer even thought Im a campy guy.

Now in a tandem, well I remember back in the day campagnolo had tandem specific hubs and components, the other issue you will have with campagnolo is that campagnolo is not manufacturing hub but the record one and wouldnt surprise me that they might stop (if they did nt already) manufacturing them because they are concentrated in selling wheels. Shimano pretty much is the same situation, no idea if they sell high end hubs anymore.

IMO if you need hubs you should concentrate looking for something reliable and to the right price. A silver set of campy record hubs can go for 500 bucks and at that price for the riding you might do is more than enough with a regular sealed bearing hubset that can be maintained really easy. A lot of hub manufacturers in the market.

Shimano and campagnolo high end hubs are really good and give you a lot of bling bling but why spend 400 bucks when for 150 you can get the same reliability and take your wife to dinner with the 250 bucks of difference? I believe some manufacturers like white industries and CK have tandem specific hubs too.

Just another way to see the situation.
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Old 08-29-12, 06:01 PM
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As long as the hub is well adjusted hub quality/smoothness is not worth worrying much about, and not at all if you are comparing higher quality hubs.
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Old 08-29-12, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
At any given price point, Campy and Shimano hubs are very similar in quality.
+100, Anyone would be hard pressed to support a claim of a quality difference. However because there are issues of cassette compatibility (different spline pattern) you're generally best off going with the system that matched your index system brand.

If cassette compatibility weren't an issue, I'd give a slight not to Campy in hubs. Not because of quality, but their modular system is easier to feild service, and cone adjustments are easier and can be done with the wheel installed, using a small allen key.
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Old 08-29-12, 07:49 PM
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Miche hubs have a similar system too.
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Old 08-29-12, 11:46 PM
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Hubs are like crank arms, in that they have a simple job to do, and if you have a cheap set that works well enough, the only real benefit from upgrading is sex appeal.

The rear hub has a bit more going on though, in terms of durability... IMO Shimano freehubs use the best design principle. As for adjusting bearing preload on the bike, to some extent that can be done with any hub by changing QR tension.

But once again, if they work, they work. Talk about bearing drag is just wank; it doesn't factor until you're talking bearing carnage. Consider the worst-case bearing drag scenario, turning a bare hub. Now consider it built into a wheel, and how you can now barely feel it at the tyre. Now, imagine how much of that you feel with the wheel on the bike. IIRC, such drag goes up with the square of velocity, which sounds terrible, until you consider that aerodynamic drag goes up with the cube of velocity. Dwarfed by comparison.

Last edited by Kimmo; 08-29-12 at 11:55 PM.
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Old 08-30-12, 12:12 AM
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We were talking at the shop today about the limited number of hubs we have built with a cassette interface and for those custom hubs have used Shimano's silent clutch bodies which are superior to Shimano's current offerings as far as bearing support goes and they are very easy to install in a custom built hub.

As far as smooth goes I have hubs from Shimano, Campagnolo, Suzue, Sansin / Suntour, Arvon, Maillard, Perry, Sturmey Archer, Atom, Sunshine (Sansin), and probably a few I am forgetting.

Campagnoo makes an excellent conventional hub as their machining tolerances are exceptionally high but one should not overlook the cartridge bearing hubs from Suzue and Sansin as well as their conventional models and without any bias would say my Arvon hubs are my favourites due to their excellent design which could be likened to Phil Wood freewheel hubs which are very similar.

There is something about having a service interval that can be measured in years and tens of thousands of km.

I run a pair of mid eighties Suzue cartridge bearing hubs on my separable touring bike as they were given to me and are as smooth as any hub I have ever used, my Sansin tandem hubs are also unbelievably smooth and they built Suntour's Superbe racing hubs as well as a good number of excellent conventional cup and cone hubs that are also outstanding. Perhaps this stems from them specializing in the making of hubs over everything else.
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Old 08-30-12, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
Shimano's silent clutch bodies
Were they 7spd, or did they come in the 8/9/10 size? Any NOS floating around?
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Old 08-30-12, 12:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
Were they 7spd, or did they come in the 8/9/10 size? Any NOS floating around?
They came in 7and 8 speed and were LX level, they are heavier but fairy robust and also have instant engagement. They show up on ebay a fair bit and should not cost too much. Shimano no longer supports this design with replacement parts for the freehub so spares need to be found in the wild.

In our climate they also have the advantage of being nearly impervious to extreme cold.
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Old 08-30-12, 01:00 AM
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The old Perry coaster hubs I have use a roller clutch, spin them up and they make no noise at all and they are freakishly smooth...
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Old 08-30-12, 03:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
They came in 7and 8 speed and were LX level, they are heavier but fairy robust and also have instant engagement. They show up on ebay a fair bit and should not cost too much. Shimano no longer supports this design with replacement parts for the freehub so spares need to be found in the wild.

In our climate they also have the advantage of being nearly impervious to extreme cold.
What search terms would you suggest?
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Old 08-30-12, 08:31 AM
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"shimano silent clutch"

=8-)
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Old 08-30-12, 10:52 AM
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But once again, if they work, they work. Talk about bearing drag is just wank; it doesn't factor until you're talking bearing carnage. Consider the worst-case bearing drag scenario, turning a bare hub. Now consider it built into a wheel, and how you can now barely feel it at the tyre. Now, imagine how much of that you feel with the wheel on the bike. IIRC, such drag goes up with the square of velocity, which sounds terrible, until you consider that aerodynamic drag goes up with the cube of velocity. Dwarfed by comparison.
Power to overcome any sort of rolling resistance is _linear_ with speed because drag is constant.

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Old 08-30-12, 05:00 PM
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Yes, and aero drag force increases as the square of velocity, so the power loss is velocity-cubed.

Getting back to hubs, Shimano's silent-clutch hubs lend an elastic feel to the transmission, and they have high intermittent friction when traversing rough ground at speed.
I used to see racers ahead of me almost losing their chains when they took bumps at speed with those hubs.

I've had the best luck with Shimano freehubs myself, those built AFTER the model-60 6-speed freehubs. Some of the "60" and "600" freehubs would un-swage from the hub body, which wasn't a catastrophic event (the axle assembly kept everything nicely in place) but which made bearing adjustment sketchy and so led to replacing the hub. Their Dura-Ace 6-speed freehubs otoh were solidly put together from the beginning.

I recall my Huffy Aerowind had a steel Shimano freehub, 5 or 6 speeds, no problems at all with that one.

Campagnolo's 8sp Ergo vintage freehubs used a pressed-on drive-side axle cone that was failure-prone and are now unavailable, so I avoid these.

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