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  1. #1
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    I need a Clyde-proof rear hub/freewheel!

    So I've just nuked the freewheel in my new(er) Shimano XT hub. Something about the pawls bending backwards or something. This is the second one this year, and my 4th or 5th over the past few years. The bearings are finally shot too after they have loosened several times.

    I'm looking for a good, durable hub that offers the best "bang for your buck" performance. I'm not looking for the lightest, loudest or most expensive, and I don't want a hub that requires proprietary tools to adjust or rebuild.

    Suggestions?
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  2. #2
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    Hope.

  3. #3
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    Has anyone had experience with the Hope aluminum freehub body galling with a cassette on it? I've had this issue with other aluminum freehub bodies.

    -B
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  4. #4
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    Find out what it is you are doing and stop doing it. If it is the internals, which it sounds like, your weight has nothing to do with what is happening. You are not putting more power through it than top riders, and they don't strip rear hubs.

  5. #5
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    I see you are experienced with using the forums....so I assume you know how to use the search function. Having said that, it sounds like you don't like Chris king, so hope is a great option, along with Hadley. Yes, alum. Fh bodies will get chewed up by a cassette. Either go steel fh or xt cassette with carriers.

  6. #6
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    I have been running a Hope Pro 2 Evo hub with a stainless body since December. No problems yet. If you're ordering/building a custom wheel, you could also bump up the spoke count to 36 for extra stiffness if you're currently on a 32-spoke wheel.
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  7. #7
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    authalic: regarding the Stainless body, are you referring to the freehub body, or the hub? Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see this as an option on their website.

    jonshonda: Thanks for the suggestion for the Hadley, I had forgot about that option! I'll probably go with a Hadley over the Hope as we build the new wheel.

    TooTallUK: Torque = Force X Lever Arm. If my force (weight) is 100lbs more than a comparable XC racer, then the engagement stresses (shock) on the pawls is more severe than a lighter rider. My freehubs have broken under shock-load, not constant load.
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  8. #8
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    Yes, the Hope Pro 2 freehub body is available in stainless or alloy. I can't find anything about it on their site, but here's the listing on CRC:

    Hope Pro 2 Freehub Body | Buy Online | ChainReactionCycles.com

    I ordered my wheels from prowheelbuilder.com and it was an option there. The price difference isn't very much. The stainless freehub body does weigh more.
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  9. #9
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    authalic: Thanks for the info! I appreciate it!

    After a little research, I'm weary to use the Hadley's because they do require specialized tools to do the maintenance.
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  10. #10
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    Sure. From what I have heard, Hope hubs are very easy to service. I haven't had mine long enough to require any work or rebuilding yet, but it looks like the bearings are easy to swap out and the pawls & springs can be replaced if they break. I did a fair amount of research before I ordered my wheels last fall. Hope hubs had almost universal good reviews. The only complaint some people had was with the noise. They are loud.
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  11. #11
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    Hopes are the best choice. Bomb proof IMO. I am a masher and not a smooth pedaler by any stretch of the imagination. My hopes are holding up great. Im running mine with the steel fb. Only complaint is the engagement leaves a little to be desired. On a single speed at least. Never noticed it on my geared bike.

  12. #12
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    You might take a look at the DT Swiss 240s. It requires no tools at all, and I'd like to think that its engagement mechanism will never break. But, it's not cheap either...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Octane View Post
    TooTallUK: Torque = Force X Lever Arm. If my force (weight) is 100lbs more than a comparable XC racer, then the engagement stresses (shock) on the pawls is more severe than a lighter rider. My freehubs have broken under shock-load, not constant load.
    I weight 100lbs more than most racers and I've never broken a rear hub that way. I know many other heavy riders who ride far more than me and far harder and they don't do that either. As I said, identify what it is you do when riding (shock load?) and stop doing it. That failure is not normal.

    Hope have had issues in the past with shells cracking at spoke holes.

  14. #14
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    TooTallUK: Yes, it is usually a failure due to shock load. The Shimano XT rear hub (specifically, the freehub) is a good product, but it is the weak link in my drivetrain for my riding style. I ride very technical trails and Trials, as well as racing DH and Enduros. I'm a big boy, and I expect to break stuff. Just looking for something stronger/more reliable than the Shimano XT unit.

    Thanks for the advice guys!
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  15. #15
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    For me, Hadley is the best bang for the buck. Simple, extremely well made, easy to service, and tough. Not certain what you mean by specialized tools (I think it is just spanners, allen wrenches, and cone wrenches), except for needing to replace bearings. May be tough to find sometimes, but I seem to always see rears on ebay. I think Balle Racing currently has some in stock.

    If you are into trials, then maybe consider True Precision. Heavy and expensive, but instant engagement. I have one (bought it used on ebay for way less thand $400), and it has been very reliable.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Octane View Post
    ... weary to use the Hadley's because they do require specialized tools to do the maintenance.
    Other than a 21mm cone wrench and Park (P-1?) spanner tool ($8) no special tools are needed to work on a Hadley hub.

  17. #17
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    I've gone through multiple shimano freehubs, big guys can eat em fast, thats a proven fact. Nothing you can do thats worth more than getting a strong hub with a strong freehub if you are big. I'm a huge fan of the DT swiss star ratchet. SUPER strong and exremely easy to take apart and service. Just as easy or easier than a hope. I would vote for a DT Swiss 350 rear hub over a Hope. You might pay a little extra but its worth it if you are worried about the freehub mechanism. The 350 rear hub (not true for front) is easily convertable between rear axle standards similar to Hope.

  18. #18
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    Oh and in regards to an aluminum freehub body. They work fine as long as you run a better cassette that has a spider for at least the biggest 6 gears. Been runing a SRAM 990 cassette on my aluminum bodied DT Swiss 440 for a couple years now with no issues. I hover around 330 lbs and ride my bikes hard.

  19. #19
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    I need a Clyde-proof rear hub/freewheel!

    I've been riding Hope Pro 2 Evos for 15 months. After 5 months (last August) I destroyed the alloy freehub body. Hope offered me a stainless body as a warranty replacement, and were great to deal with. Two months ago, I exploded two of the cartridge bearings. For reference, I'm 230 lbs, riding a Banshee Prime with a 2x10 drivetrain. I'd say they're reasonably strong hubs, affordable and easy to work on. But not bombproof, in my experience. I'm not bailing on Hopes, but I'm going back to DT Swiss for my next rear wheel.
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  20. #20
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    Chris King.

  21. #21
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    I have been on a set of Hope Pro 2's if I remember right going on about 5 years now and I haven't had to touch them. I was about 300lbs when I started riding on them. FWIW I also have a set of Hadley's on another set of wheels. The Hadley's are really nice but for value its hard to beat the Hope's.

    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    I've been riding Hope Pro 2 Evos for 15 months. After 5 months (last August) I destroyed the alloy freehub body. Hope offered me a stainless body as a warranty replacement, and were great to deal with. Two months ago, I exploded two of the cartridge bearings. For reference, I'm 230 lbs, riding a Banshee Prime with a 2x10 drivetrain. I'd say they're reasonably strong hubs, affordable and easy to work on. But not bombproof, in my experience. I'm not bailing on Hopes, but I'm going back to DT Swiss for my next rear wheel.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyin_W View Post
    Other than a 21mm cone wrench and Park (P-1?) spanner tool ($8) no special tools are needed to work on a Hadley hub.
    What he said. I have run Hadleys for years and they are probably the most reliable, maintenance free hubs you will ever own. they seal their hubs really well. they use sealed bearings and then they use the seal as well on the axles and covers. they also use full compliment bearings.

    I have had two rear hubs over years and am still currently using one of them. both have been utterly reliable to be. Hadley on the older hubs used stainless steel free hub bodies and the current ones are titanium. I had the stainless one on my first hub and the cassette never dig in even the slightest bit, the new hub has a titanium freehub body and there is a slight bit of deformation but not even enough to hinder taking off the cassette.

    either way like the other guy said you only need a few tools to work on them. Hadley makes in house tools which are super nice but not needed.

    I have also owned a set of hopes pro2's on the past. they are a really good value but cassette dig in is a serious issue on them. they do make a steel freehub body but with that cost you are really close to the price of a Hadley and the hope pro2 is no longer light with the steel freehub body. the ones I owned just started to feel very slightly less rough after two years of good use.
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  23. #23
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    I would also take a look at Saint and Zee, especially if you want to run Thru bolt which will really stiffen things up.

  24. #24
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    I really like my white industries mi6. I was going through shimano free hubs 2-3 times a year before. Now I'm 1.5 years into the whites with no grumbling from them.

  25. #25
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    I need a Clyde-proof rear hub/freewheel!

    Chris king, SS freehub body, Fun Botds for super secure attachment or thru axle if your frame supports it). Not cheap, but worth the money. I've used this on a tandem mtb, as well as my regular mtb, and never had an issue.
    Super quick engagement is a real plus, especially as you describe your riding. The engagement alone is reason enough to switch from XT.

    Regular maintenance is simple and no special tools required. Full overhaul needs special tools, but in ten years I've never had to do it, and all my hubs are running well.

    I would skip the DT 240s myself. I've had a ratchet fail on the trail. Easy to fix, but a near new hub spinning out? Forget it!
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by reamer41 View Post
    Chris king, SS freehub body, Fun Botds for super secure attachment or thru axle if your frame supports it). Not cheap, but worth the money. I've used this on a tandem mtb, as well as my regular mtb, and never had an issue.
    Super quick engagement is a real plus, especially as you describe your riding. The engagement alone is reason enough to switch from XT.

    Regular maintenance is simple and no special tools required. Full overhaul needs special tools, but in ten years I've never had to do it, and all my hubs are running well.

    I would skip the DT 240s myself. I've had a ratchet fail on the trail. Easy to fix, but a near new hub spinning out? Forget it!
    I still think Hope represents the best bang for the buck, but I agree that if you want trouble free and super quality, CK. I'm a recent convert having just laced up my first CK hub, a SS hub actually. I gotta say I'm definitely a fan now. I could never understand all the hubbub over them but now I do. I'd still consider Hopes on a geared bike because honestly, I could never feel the lack of engagement when riding gears on Hopes. But moving to SS it really showed. The CK's are nearly instant and roll super smooth. Still a bit painful to buy new, I'd looked for something used, that's what I did.

  27. #27
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    I need a Clyde-proof rear hub/freewheel!

    So, what hub did you go with? How's it holding up?
    --Reamer

  28. #28
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    I have been running 36H XT hubs for a while now, and not a lick of problems... started at 268, now down to 227. However, if it ever fails, I'm going to look for some 36H Hadleys.

    Hope and CK sound like a buzz saw going down the trail...Not my thing... I go out in the wilderness to enjoy it and see it, not scare it off

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by TooTallUK View Post
    I weight 100lbs more than most racers and I've never broken a rear hub that way. I know many other heavy riders who ride far more than me and far harder and they don't do that either. As I said, identify what it is you do when riding (shock load?) and stop doing it. That failure is not normal.
    Shimano freehubs have failed on me in the middle of a steep climb more than once. Not from shock load, just mashing down on the pedals. I'm not someone to slam into my drivetrain, and am considered to be a smooth rider, and not abusive unless you consider hauling my oversize carcass around to be abusive.

    You are correct about this: " identify what it is you do when riding (shock load?) and stop doing it."

    I figured out what it was that I need to stop doing when riding: Expecting Shimano freehubs to last while I ride up a steep hill.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    I still think Hope represents the best bang for the buck, but I agree that if you want trouble free and super quality, CK.
    Gotta say, if you're a big clyde and ride rough, avoid the Hope rear hub.

    I was 300lbs. at the time, and I literally ripped the freehub off of the shell of a Hope hub pedaling up a short, sharp hill in granny gear.

    I was riding Saratoga Gap in the NorCal peninsula. RIP9 in 22/34 gear, SLX 175mm cranks. Climbing up the gravel hills just by the trail entrance, and there's one short little section - maybe 50' - of super steep stuff, and I punched it to get over it quickly. I mean, 'CRACK' and suddenly pedaling was weird - when I tried to coast the chain gathered on the top of the chainstay.

    I took the bike to the shop, and when they removed the rear wheel, the cassette just fell off, with the freehub still connected. The rear axle was bent also, quite a feat considering it's a Maxle.

    For me, the only choices from now on are Chris King or Hadley. I've heard Industry 9 is in the same league, but I have no experience with them.

    (FWIW, I'm now a far healthier, slimmer, and more muscular 280, but I won't consider Hopes again until I'm 240.)

  31. #31
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    As a quick follow-up:

    My wheelbuilder laced up a couple rear wheels to some DT Swiss rear hubs. They were older models, and they were used already, but still in good condition.

    The first model had an alloy freehub body, and it galled after my first short ride (under 20 miles). The cassette was really stuck on there.

    The second model had a steel freehub body, and it held up much better. I put about 150 miles on that thus far.

    Unfortunately, I don't know exactly what models they are. I plan on getting some new hubs and having another wheelset built soon. But these hubs seem to be working good now with no issues or vagueness.

    Thanks for the feedback guys!
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj View Post
    I figured out what it was that I need to stop doing when riding: Expecting Shimano freehubs to last while I ride up a steep hill.
    +100

  33. #33
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    I have 12x142 XT hubs. I have broken 2 freehub bodies since may (3 1/2 months). The last one was on the bike for 2.5 weeks. It let go while I was seated and climbing. I think it cracked a few days earlier, but the climb killed it - big pop and no more freewheeling.

    The bike is new (may). I went with XT b/c I don't care about blingy hubs. I thought they would be fine. I do not usually break drivetrain parts.

    I was thinking Hadley or CK with steel freehub and flow rim. I currently have flow ex rims. I like them. I would re-use my current rim. Unfortunately, there is no cost benefit in re-using it. I have found Internet postings of broken Hopes. No broken Hadleys (I don't think there are really all that many of them compared to hopes and CK). And few CK problems.

    I would not mind a loud hub. I ride in a very populated area. Loud clicking would help notify joggers and hikers.

    Has anyone broken Hadleys or Chris Kings? I don't want to buy another wheel for a bit.

  34. #34
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    Not surprised to hear such stories about the new XT hubs, specifically. Their drive mech looks pretty small and fragile, and that was back when they were all 18 point, but now they're also 36 point. There was a time when they did not recommend 36T cassettes on it, due to the hub not able to hold up to that torque.

    The alloy freehub on CKs can gouge if you put a lot of torque on it (ie. on a *very* steep climb in granny), possibly turning it into a fixie, mainly since the freehub contains the helical spine that mates with the steel drive rings inside the hub (that steel drive ring eats into the softer alloy). Stainless steel might be better. I really like the CK design, apart from the alloy freehub. It looks to be made for very high load bearing, with angular contact bearings that are set wide as possible. The only thing holding it back is its slightly more noticeable seal drag. It relies of bearing lubrication to reduce friction between the ball bearings and the rubber seal that is actually pushed and held against them with a metal circlip. On the other hand, the sealing is better, the lubrication is lighter, and it likely doesn't dry out as quickly, so it kind of evens out. Not only precision made, but also very durable. Screams out American quality, back when that meant made to last. Can say that the alloy freehub didn't gouge badly from the cassette as well. No XX1 compatibility yet.

    I've also seen the upgraded 10 degree/36pt star ratchey upgrade on DTs fail through fracture. They seem to have gotten more expensive too. I thought they were about $35, but now $80 or so. Their design doesn't seem to be any more clyde friendly than others. They are just simply a high quality relatively traditional hub.

    i9 is well made, seemingly made to last (and look good). They seem to have the best resale value on the market, from what I've seen. Year old pre-built i9 wheelsets selling for $600 still. They have less seal drag than CKs, but there's more drag in them than DT or Mavic hubs (Mavic's reduced drag is probably related to all the customer claims of poor sealing). My i9 enduro alloy freehub suffered from cassette gouging *badly*. My older i9 hub has a XX cassette practically permanently stuck to it, while my newer Enduro hub let go of a XT cassette without any hitch, but I will admit I didn't grind the notches down fully flush before installing the XX cassette on that older one. The part on the drive mech parts in this article should cover how clyde worthy they are. Industry Nine Factory Visit: How Their Hubs Are Made

    Don't buy hubs with loud freewheel clicking for the purposes of alerting others. It kind of sours the experience for others on the trails, IMO. Wish bells weren't so out of fashion, as they really are far more effective than anything else for alerting others of your presence and intentions.

    One of the local clydes went with Zee hubs on their latest wheel build a couple months ago. I'll try and see if I can run into them again and get their opinion on them.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    The alloy freehub on CKs can gouge if you put a lot of torque on it (ie. on a *very* steep climb in granny), possibly turning it into a fixie, mainly since the freehub contains the helical spine that mates with the steel drive rings inside the hub (that steel drive ring eats into the softer alloy). Stainless steel might be better.
    Absolutely. Getting a hub with a steel drive shell (where the gears attach) is a must for Clydesdales. With most hubs, it's a relatively cheap upgrade.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by crit_boy View Post
    Has anyone broken Hadleys or Chris Kings? I don't want to buy another wheel for a bit.
    I've had hand-built wheels built by three different shops over the years. For my size and power, they all recommended Chris King, Hadley, or Industry9.

  37. #37
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    Just because it hasn't happened to you doesn't mean it's his technique. I tore the guts out of 3 rear wheels...actually sheering the hubs mating splines off rather than just tearing out the freehub. Neither my local dealer or my uncle, a Diamond Back/Raleigh dealer, had EVER seen such a thing. Each time was a steep granny gear climb really putting down the torque. How is that a technique problem?...couldn't get any lower gear. I can't count how many chains I've snapped either under similar circumstances.

    I resolved the issue by running a rear wheel built up with 40 spokes and a DT/HUGI rear hub...but even the first one of those succumbed to the same thing within 4 months of getting that wheel. DT/HUGI stood behind their product though and replaced it with a newly engineered version that has held up for the past 15 years.

    For some reason though, I've never had a problem tearing up hubs on my full suspension bikes. My guess is because of power loss to the suspension. This has only been a problem for me on a hardtail.

    Quote Originally Posted by TooTallUK View Post
    I weight 100lbs more than most racers and I've never broken a rear hub that way. I know many other heavy riders who ride far more than me and far harder and they don't do that either. As I said, identify what it is you do when riding (shock load?) and stop doing it. That failure is not normal.

    Hope have had issues in the past with shells cracking at spoke holes.

  38. #38
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    Technique and poor maintenance, most all the time.

    The weakest chain in the test I linked to on another thread here fails at just over 2000lbs of force. If you maintain that chain properly and don't put huge lateral forces on it (big to small gears etc), use a chain wear indicator (you have got one of them in your tool box?) and ensure the chain and the rear cassette are changed at the right times, chains don't break.
    Technique and maintenance.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    I've also seen the upgraded 10 degree/36pt star ratchey upgrade on DTs fail through fracture. They seem to have gotten more expensive too. I thought they were about $35, but now $80 or so. Their design doesn't seem to be any more clyde friendly than others. They are just simply a high quality relatively traditional hub.
    I can't speak for the 36 point ratchet, but the 18 point ratchet is bombproof. Been beating on mine for 3 years with absolutely zero problems. And super easy to maintain. DT swiss 18 point hubs are some of the best hubs for clydes.

  40. #40
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    I need a Clyde-proof rear hub/freewheel!

    I have had several CK hubs. SS driveshell on the tandem MTB and AL of a few different MTBs. The AL shell gouges if you use the cassettes made from individual steal cogs. Better cassettes, xt and XTR have the larger cogs ganged to a carrier and those will not have any issues. The smaller cogs that ride individually on the driveshell will gouge the AL a little. Make sure you torque the cassette lock ring properly. After the initial gouging on the Al drive shell I have cleaned it up with a file (when changing cassettes) and have had no further issue.

    The CKs need a little maintenance and lube but last a long time and work great. I've been guilty of abusing a set (zero maint or re-lubing) for as long as three years and have never had a problem.
    I do recommend proper maintenance, though.
    --Reamer

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    Easy answer-
    stop buying the latest and greatest parts that everyone else uses. Go back in time and get yourself some Chris Kings, Bullseyes, White Ind, Ringle Bubbas, older XT/XTR.
    You'll find that these older hubs are far more durable than the crap produced today.
    I ride all of the above and have never had any problems with any of them.
    FWIW, I'm 6'5", 285# and ride approx 800-1000 miles off road yearly.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by TooTallUK View Post
    Find out what it is you are doing and stop doing it. If it is the internals, which it sounds like, your weight has nothing to do with what is happening. You are not putting more power through it than top riders, and they don't strip rear hubs.
    And they also weight about as much as a runway model, and ride race courses that are mostly smooth with little technical climbing.

    In the past 7 years I have broken 2 Mavic hubs. One Shimano. 1 WTB, and 2 Charger Pro's. I am 190# and I ride VERY rocky trails in AZ, and my favorite thing is technical climbing. So I am torquing hard up rocky stair steps.

    Find out what I am doing and stop doing it? Oh, you mean stop climbing rocky hills? Not gonna happen. Big guys climbing rocky chunk puts on 3 times the strain of a stick boy riding XC trails.

  43. #43
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    I run Hope with MTX 33's but only for about 6 months.

  44. #44
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    I've run Kings for years and they hold up very well. Also let's through Phil Wood hubs in the mix, they are bombproof.
    Woody

  45. #45
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    i've had good luck with my phil wood 36 hole hubs. bigger flanges then sum. 14 gauge spokes, ryno lite rims...

  46. #46
    Track Junkie
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    Interesting you mentioned the Phil Wood hubs. I've been eyeing those too. Thanks for the feedback!

    Quote Originally Posted by sanitaire View Post
    i've had good luck with my phil wood 36 hole hubs. bigger flanges then sum. 14 gauge spokes, ryno lite rims...
    I get paid to ride shotgun.

  47. #47
    roots, rocks, rhythm
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    Interesting about the Slick Honey.
    I assume it does not break down the seals or anything else.
    Because I have taken the hub fully apart changed the aluminium free hub and used the CK lube and have had no issues. (The aluminium hub was 7 years old and pretty beat up....)
    And I am 245# with gear and climb a lot.
    I look into Slick Honey though as I am always interested in new products.

  48. #48
    rock crusher
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    I broke 3 Phil Wood 36h rear hubs in 2 years; Not worth it IMO, although they replaced/rebuilt them no questions asked. I now have 3 years on CK's with zero failures: single speed and geared. They get my vote hands down. By the nature of a no-pawl system (ring drive) they should be more reliable and less susceptible to oil weight/moisture/bad lube failures that a pawl system is prone to.

  49. #49
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    It sounds like consensus is to stay away from Shimano and Hope if you're 240+ and/or ride hard?

    I have Bontrager Race Lite hubs (which are probably re-badged Shimano or DT Swiss I imagine), which have been great so far, but I always like to research what I'll replace each part that will eventually need replacing ahead of time. I like that they are loud so I don't have to ask hikers to move.

  50. #50
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    LaceMine29 recommended a 36 spoke Hope hub built rear wheel for this over 240lb clyde.

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