Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Is a MTB hub all that much better than a road hub?

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Is a MTB hub all that much better than a road hub?

Old 09-07-23, 08:55 PM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 1,352
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 412 Post(s)
Liked 454 Times in 240 Posts
Is a MTB hub all that much better than a road hub?

I'm talking 8~10 speed hubs. Conventional wisdom was that a mountain bike hub was much stronger than a road hub and thus that's what you wanted. Well this winter I want to lace a 27" wheelset for my vintage bikes and im pondering if there is anything significant to gain from going mountain.
abdon is offline  
Old 09-08-23, 06:58 AM
  #2  
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montreal Canada
Posts: 13,139
Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2713 Post(s)
Liked 937 Times in 773 Posts
I don't really have much experience with road hubs, but I can say that over the decades, I have always been impressed by the seals on good mtb hubs, XT specifically. When I do periodic regreasing, it seems to me that the seals do a very good job of keeping the grease clean.
Others with road hub experience can probably give a better opinion on the comparison.

Of course, what I am referring to is very much dependant on if you never ride in rainy, gritty conditions, which to my mind is what mtb hubs are specifically designed to deal with.
With all bike stuff, rider and bike weight is always going to be a big factor. I'm a lightweight so parts have a much easier life than someone who weighs 100 lbs more than me.

Without the specifics of what you'll be doing with the bikes, how much riding etc etc, you're always going to be better off going with really good quality hubs, and if they are ball bearing hubs, making sure they are well greased and cones properly adjusted yourself, if you have experience with this.
djb is offline  
Old 09-08-23, 07:59 AM
  #3  
tcs
Palmer
 
tcs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 8,490

Bikes: Mike Melton custom, 1982 Stumpjumper, Alex Moulton AM, 2010 Dawes Briercliffe, 2017 Dahon Curl i8, 2021 Motobecane Turino 1x12

Mentioned: 37 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1606 Post(s)
Liked 1,712 Times in 998 Posts
Originally Posted by abdon
...8~10 speed hubs....a 27" wheelset for my vintage bikes...
Cold setting the OLD, of course. Going to that level of effort, I'd probably move to 700C rims, too, but hey! It's your project.
tcs is offline  
Old 09-08-23, 09:10 AM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,797
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1219 Post(s)
Liked 727 Times in 545 Posts
Originally Posted by tcs
Going to that level of effort, I'd probably move to 700C rims, too, but hey! It's your project.
That may of may not be an easy fit. Existing brakes may not reach. Other brakes may or may not resolve the issue. Longer brake reach may hurt brake performance if they are too flexy. Borrow some 700c wheels from another bike to try before committing. Try both front and rear they may not both be the same for brake reach.

700c will allow a much wider selection of available tires now and probably more so in the future. So it is a nice upgrade if it works out.
staehpj1 is offline  
Old 09-08-23, 09:33 AM
  #5  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 1,352
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 412 Post(s)
Liked 454 Times in 240 Posts
I do have brakes that would reach just fine. And I do have bikes that I have moved to 700c tires. I just have bikes where I'm perfectly satisfied with the tire selection of 27" tires so I want to have my cake and eat it too; a stronger hub on native rims.
abdon is offline  
Old 09-08-23, 11:17 AM
  #6  
20+mph Commuter
 
JoeyBike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: New Orleans, LA USA
Posts: 7,482

Bikes: Surly LHT, Surly Lowside, a folding bike, and a beater.

Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1413 Post(s)
Liked 311 Times in 207 Posts
Originally Posted by abdon
...is anything significant to gain from going mountain.
Well...what is there to lose? If you're doing fully loaded touring the weight of your hubs and a few extra spokes are just a drop in the bucket and IMO well worth the lower risk of hassles on the road.

That said, I toured self contained on Sansin cartridge bearing road hubs back in the '90s for roughtly 15,000 miles without a single hiccup. Also American Classic hubs after that.

In "Modern History" I have been riding on Shimano XT hubs. Never a problem. In fact, the only two times I ever considered servicing them after about 5 years of mostly everyday riding they looked so good upon inspection that i just put them back together and rode them some more. The grease looked like I had just serviced them yesterday. Of all the hubs I mentioned I have never broken any of them.

Short answer: Yes. Go with MTB hubs. Nice ones. Do not have to be Gucci (Chris King etc.) although if you love spending money, why not? King headsets are hard to beat.
JoeyBike is offline  
Old 09-08-23, 12:15 PM
  #7  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 1,352
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 412 Post(s)
Liked 454 Times in 240 Posts
My trek 720 is on XT mountain hubs. If I was to overload that would be the mule I would use. And yes, it is amazing how little tender loving care those things need.

Basically I have a small stable of vintage touring bikes with free wheels and 126mm rear triangles. Having a wheelset with sealed bearings will let me throw them in any of those bikes and not have to worry about when was the last time I repacked the grease on the axle. A 130mm axle would not even require me to resize the rear triangle, it would take just a bit more effort installing the tire.

I must say 36h road hubs are not as common as they used to, specially on cassette hubs
abdon is offline  
Old 09-08-23, 03:32 PM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: South shore, L.I., NY
Posts: 6,727

Bikes: Flyxii FR322, Cannondale Topstone, Miyata City Liner, Specialized Chisel, Specialized Epic Evo

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3130 Post(s)
Liked 1,946 Times in 1,113 Posts
If the frame can accept a 135mm QR hub, then you gain those 5mm of room, assuming current is 130mm. The wheel might be slightly stronger.
Steve B. is offline  
Old 09-08-23, 05:48 PM
  #9  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 1,352
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 412 Post(s)
Liked 454 Times in 240 Posts
Most are 126mm, the norm during the mid 80's quick resurgence and subsequent quick fading of touring bikes in the US marketplace. You can get a 135mm hub to fit but it requires a modicum of stretching. Easy enough but best if you are doing that permanently. A 130mm hub can be made to fit a 126mm triangle with just a modicum of cajoling but with no permanent effect on the frame.
abdon is offline  
Old 09-08-23, 10:44 PM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
Yan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 2,738
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1675 Post(s)
Liked 500 Times in 352 Posts
Mountain hubs are wider than road hubs. You need to choose based on what your frame can accept. Everything else is irrelevant if it can't even fit your frame.

I'm not sure why you think mountain hubs would be stronger than road hubs. On Shimano hubs, for example, the guts of their mountain and road hubs are identical. I have not had a problem with touring on their road hubs.
Yan is offline  
Likes For Yan:
Old 09-09-23, 01:26 AM
  #11  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 1,352
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 412 Post(s)
Liked 454 Times in 240 Posts
Originally Posted by Yan
Mountain hubs are wider than road hubs. You need to choose based on what your frame can accept. Everything else is irrelevant if it can't even fit your frame.

I'm not sure why you think mountain hubs would be stronger than road hubs. On Shimano hubs, for example, the guts of their mountain and road hubs are identical. I have not had a problem with touring on their road hubs.
First of, going from 126mm to 135mm is perfectly doable, stretching a steel triangle the extra 9mm is trivially easy. Aluminum and carbon are a whole different conversation. And if you look at the post title that's a question, not a statement.

Early on mountain bike hubs were indeed stronger and with better seals. The way Shimano keeps improving, I don't know anymore. Heck even on the mountain bike side you get to choose between grams and durability; XT vs XTR.

The biggest issue is that 36h road hubs are not as common as they used to be. I would want to find a silver 36h road hub with sealed bearings instead of loose balls.
abdon is offline  
Old 09-09-23, 11:12 AM
  #12  
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 27,212

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, a black and orange one, and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 148 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6114 Post(s)
Liked 4,032 Times in 2,290 Posts
The only real difference between road and mountain hubs is width. In the late 80s and early 90s, mountain bike hubs went to 130mm width while the road hub was still 126. Later the hubs widened to 135mm while road hubs widened to 130mm. In the mid2000s, 142mm and wider started to make an appearance but the road hubs stayed at 130mm. The seals on both types of hubs are pretty much the same.
__________________
Stuart Black
Plan Epsilon Around Lake Michigan in the era of Covid
Old School…When It Wasn’t Ancient bikepacking
Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!



cyccommute is offline  
Likes For cyccommute:
Old 09-09-23, 11:48 AM
  #13  
cowboy, steel horse, etc
 
LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: The hot spot.
Posts: 44,485

Bikes: everywhere

Mentioned: 71 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12436 Post(s)
Liked 7,306 Times in 3,859 Posts
It wasn't uncommon for XC racers to run Campagnolo Record front hubs back in the 8-speed rim-brake days.
LesterOfPuppets is offline  
Old 09-09-23, 12:38 PM
  #14  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 1,352
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 412 Post(s)
Liked 454 Times in 240 Posts
I'm of the age of 130mm road, 135mm mountain. I'm in need to update my knowledge base which is why I started the thread, not to advocate for one over the other. Although 36 hole road hubs are uncommon on 8~10 cassettes and forget about finding a higher spoke count.

I'm going to try and hunt down a Mavic 571 36h hub. Not common but they are out there.
abdon is offline  
Old 10-02-23, 11:09 AM
  #15  
imi
aka Timi
 
imi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Posts: 3,191

Bikes: Bianchi Lupo (touring) Bianchi Volpe (commuter), Miyata On Off Road Runner

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 138 Post(s)
Liked 118 Times in 88 Posts
I have had a number of bikes cold set from 130mm to 132,5mm so both road and mtb hubs will fit.
imi is offline  
Old 10-02-23, 10:32 PM
  #16  
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 27,212

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, a black and orange one, and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 148 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6114 Post(s)
Liked 4,032 Times in 2,290 Posts
Originally Posted by imi
I have had a number of bikes cold set from 130mm to 132,5mm so both road and mtb hubs will fit.
Cannondale made their touring bikes with 132.5mm OLD so that either 130 or 135mm hubs could be used.
__________________
Stuart Black
Plan Epsilon Around Lake Michigan in the era of Covid
Old School…When It Wasn’t Ancient bikepacking
Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!



cyccommute is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.