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Worth the extra money for White Industries hubs?

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Worth the extra money for White Industries hubs?

Old 06-27-18, 05:55 PM
  #1  
jfoobar
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Worth the extra money for White Industries hubs?

I am about to either buy or have built a more road-centric wheelset for my gravel bike. I am leaning towards Velocity Aileron rims. I have spoken with a couple of wheel builders (both fairly well-known) and both really like the White Industries XMR 36h for my needs. However, both pretty much admitted that the Velocity ATB hubs seem pretty decent (although neither would give them a ringing endorsement). I am a casual rider, am a big dude (6'4"/270 or so), and am slowly working my way up to longer rides. These wheels would be for pavement and packed gravel only.

I have no doubt that the Whites are a superior product that will probably last a long, long time but is it really a pragmatic decision in your opinion? As going the White route would add a few hundred dollars to the cost, I am wondering if the extra cost is worth it. Money is a bit of an issue right now. One advantage with going with the Velocity hubs is that I could just buy a wheelset straight from Velocity and save a lot of money over any custom build using their rims.

Thanks in advance for any opinions.
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Old 06-27-18, 07:11 PM
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Buy what you can afford. When riding you most likely won't notice the difference.
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Old 06-27-18, 07:19 PM
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They are nice. They are also expensive because of prestige and lack of economy of scale.

You can get handbuilt wheels with 32h quality mid deep rims, bitex hubs, butted spokes, and brass nips for $450 delivered that will weigh 1700g.
Prowheelbuilder.com and look at the custom section. H+son archetype rims.

excellent on road and gravel. I'm 6'5 230#.

and velomine has machine built options for $220 or so that are about 1950g. 105 hubs, butted spokes, etc.

WI hubs are cool, but they won't make you faster or anything.
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Old 06-27-18, 07:24 PM
  #4  
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I doubt many people can discern the difference. I also doubt that there is any appreciable durability difference.
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Old 06-27-18, 08:35 PM
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As someone who is owns 5 WI hubs (T11 front and rear plus an extra T11 front I need to build up and a set of CLD thru axle hubs) and two of their freewheels, I can say the quality is worth it. They are probably one if not the cheapest American made hub that I know of but they are nicely made and I have had zero issues with them and nothing but nice things to say about them. Full disclosure I am wearing one of their hats as I type this.

You personally may not notice a huge difference right away performance wise but over the long term you will notice it and certainly looks wise you will notice it. Plus I find saving money and not getting what you really want just ends up with you paying more in the end and having extra stuff you don't need anymore. On my touring bike there were features I wanted but didn't spend for and now I wish I had when I was having the frame built. Obviously in this case I am not going to buy another frame from Co-Motion just to get those rectified but I wish I had initially granted some stuff is stuff I learned after building the bike up and riding it a bunch but still I wish I could go back in time and just put down more money and gotten exactly what I want now.
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Old 06-27-18, 08:42 PM
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I'm sure they're nice (I have a WI freewheel cog), but I figured DT350's were good enough so went that route instead. Ditto for I9, King, etc. MIA is nice, I guess, but feels like a farce on a bike wearing Shimano.
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Old 06-28-18, 10:41 AM
  #7  
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There is little point in buying a Caddy if a Chevy will do the job for you just as well. All hubs are of high quality and will last for many years. My own hubs are Ultegra 6600 with individual bearings. So far, 24,000 miles on them and only require occasional cleaning and re-greasing. Save your money and don't make other people rich.
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Old 06-28-18, 10:44 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by jfoobar View Post
Money is a bit of an issue right now...
Don't buy more than you need. Your finances can change over 20-30 years. Make the responsible decision now...
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Old 06-28-18, 02:05 PM
  #9  
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The WI hub is over $300. You can get a dura ace rear for about $250 if you try. And an ultegra for under $100.

I know I would never perceive the difference in either performance or durability going from an ultegra hub to a WI hub. But that's me. And I value utility over bling.
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Old 06-28-18, 02:55 PM
  #10  
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WI hubs comes in GOLD color and are good mechanically. I'd say its worth it!

I have DT240 with the 36t upgrade and also steel freehub upgrade. Its a good hub.
The best part about it is that it takes about 3 seconds to dismantle it for cleaning and lubing. Tool free!
Dont even need to remove the cassette. another good thing is that almost all bike shops in the civilized world can get parts for it quickly, especially in europe.
They are also tried and proven very reliable over the years. And if you ever manage to break (like split one in half) one they usually send you a new one.

Those are the 3 best reasons to get a DT hub. DT350 is the made in taiwan version, i have those too. good enough. DTs dont come in GOLD though....

Being able to get spares (quickly) down the road in 10 years or so is important to me. But WI has been around since at least 95 or so, so no problem there really. But they are not as widespread as DTs.
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Old 06-28-18, 02:57 PM
  #11  
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I might be alone in thinking this but very few hubs are as good as an overall package as cheap shimano cup and cone hubs. Preferably the ones with thin steel axles.
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Old 06-28-18, 10:27 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by jfoobar View Post
As going the White route would add a few hundred dollars to the cost, I am wondering if the extra cost is worth it. Money is a bit of an issue right now.
If money was no object, knock yourself out. Buy what tickles your fancy. But since money *is* an issue, White Industries hubs don't seem like a smart purchase. They're a luxury item. You can get hubs that are arguably 90% as nice and 100% as functional for significantly less than half the cost. You'll almost certainly never notice the difference between a WI hub and any other quality hub, except when ogling your bike at a standstill.

If you're on a ramen budget, buy the best damn ramen you can find. But don't blow your cash on steaks or you may go hungry.
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Old 06-28-18, 11:05 PM
  #13  
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I take that White Industries hub money and buy wheels with Bitex hubs, then spend the considerable pile of saved cash on other silly stuff, like tires, brake pads, etc. Every time I've crunched the numbers, things like high-end hubs end up as giant false economies-- say for example a typical Chinese hub went 15k miles before it needed to be overhauled-- a WI, Chris King, Industry Nine, etc, would all need to go 40,000+ miles before needing service. White Industries F+R hubs, ~$560. Bitex F+R hubs, ~$210.

Good or bad philosophy, I'm not looking to buy "legacy" hubs. I don't expect a wheelset to last my entire life. I view every single part of a bike as a wear item, which will at some point need replacing. As long as the part performs well and lasts long enough to justify its pricetag, it's a good part. Literally, if I started running White Industries hubs today, they would need to last until at least 2027 before I considered the money well spent.

But I've never even hit $560 for a complete wheelset yet.
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Old 06-29-18, 06:53 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by carlos danger View Post
I might be alone in thinking this but very few hubs are as good as an overall package as cheap shimano cup and cone hubs. Preferably the ones with thin steel axles.
Properly maintained and adjusted (not hard to learn - I can overhaul 'em for the cost of new bearings and a little grease), I don't think anything else out there is any smoother and stronger than Shimano cup and cone hubs.
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Old 06-29-18, 07:02 AM
  #15  
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Save yourself some money and get some Bitex hubs. Research indicates they are good. I have them on my Velocity Aileron wheels. Zero issues and they spin like crazy!

BikeHubStore.com
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Old 06-29-18, 08:48 AM
  #16  
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They're fantastic hubs-I was reluctant to buy my first set but each additional set was easier. They work really well but the extra money is kind of an extravagance, imo. I wouldn't hesitate to put them on a nice bike that meant something to me as a small touch to make it more special. But functionally you can get similar service from any number of less expensive hubs that'll do the job just fine. So if you're on a tight budget or if they're for a bike that either doesn't need to be fancy or is already fancy enough without them, I'd skip them.
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Old 06-30-18, 05:15 AM
  #17  
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If money is an issue "right now", then wait till later when its not an issue.
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Old 06-30-18, 08:20 AM
  #18  
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Spend a lot of time Gazing Adoringly at your bicycle ?
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Old 06-30-18, 01:42 PM
  #19  
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I asked Mike Varney at Black Mountain Cycles if it was worth the upgrade from the 105 to White Industries on my upcoming build.

His take? No Save a few dollars and get a second set of wheels so I have fat ones for winter/gravel, skinner smoother ones for road days.


That said, my main bike has 2001 Record hubs... smooooooth as silk.
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Old 06-30-18, 02:52 PM
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I have 10 bikes, which = 20 wheels, plus I have about seven spare wheels. Only one of these wheels has a White Industries hub. But if I were to awake tomorrow and discover that all of my wheels had White Industry hubs, I would cease being an atheist, and would become a wholehearted believer in God.
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Old 07-02-18, 09:12 PM
  #21  
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I'm building up a new wheelset for my mountain bike and went with Shimano. I could easily get something lighter for the same money that wouldn't last nearly as long or spend 5 - 15 times as much to match the reliability. I went for robust and inexpensive. The WI stuff is beautiful. My budget doesn't include beautiful right now.
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Old 07-03-18, 09:11 AM
  #22  
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Just wanted to respond and thank everyone for their replies in this thread. I think, on the whole, a very compelling argument was made for my *not* buying WI hubs right now.

Of course, I went ahead and bought them anyway. PWB had a nice deal that allowed me to get a good wheel set that included them for at least $200 cheaper than I had been expecting to spend (ended up being $640 total with Kinlin XR31s). The same wheels with Bitex hubs would indeed have been $200 cheaper. So long as I replace my daughter's expensive baby food with ramen noodles for a couple of months, it'll work out.

Kidding about that last part.
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Old 07-03-18, 09:37 AM
  #23  
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That's good. They are excellent hubs. Glad you have your priorities straight. I have two wheelsets with WI, and one with Chris King. The CK hubs might be ever so marginally superior, but the difference is negligible. The WI hubs have a distinct advantage in that they are much easier to maintain, and don't require an expensive, proprietary tool.
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Old 07-03-18, 09:41 AM
  #24  
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Apropos of nothing, the Bitex hubs come apart with two 5mm hex, and the freehub comes off with a 10mm. I swapped out the normal freehub for an xD Driver in less than 5 minutes. Come to think of it, my Crank Brothers are the same way. Changing hub bearings takes 10 minutes.

I sat at the same decision point about the WI hubs when I ordered my PWB set. Couldn't do it. 200 bucks? Nope. That's four tires, and I go through those like Kleenex.
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