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  1. #1
    Drew
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    El mariachi hubs

    I ride 2011 EM ss and was wondering if anyone has upgraded the factory formula hubs to one of the premium hubs available, king, i9. If so, can you share your impressions? I ride technical single trck with lots of climbing and am thinking of making the jump to the Chinese carbon rims and upgrading the hubs as well.

  2. #2
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    Donít upgrade. You will never ever be the same once you have a set of Kings or i9s. You will want to upgrade all your other bikes, learn how to build wheels, and have your wife or significant other roll their eyes at you when you tell them you need another wheelset. Ignorance is bliss. You will never be happy with standard wheels again.

    I know there will be opposition to my comments, but... I will not buy a set of i9s again. I have 2 sets of Kings and Iíve always been curious about i9s so I bought a set. Theyíre GREAT and all, but the attention to detail on the King hubs are amazing. The i9s? Kinda flimsy, itís NOT, but it is? I know that makes know sense but I would recommend King over i9 any day to anyone. Points of engagement? Between the 2, blind test? You might not know (I can hear the comments already). Pawls, more small parts, special super mini allen key. Drive shell? Less small parts, easy to replace. Go King! Spend the extra dough and get the stainless steel drive shell with fun bolts. Youíll have a solid wheelset thatís super strong and durable.

    Carbon rims? No thanks!

  3. #3
    Birthday Collector
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    VO2 Lax is right -King Hubs over pretty much anything else - UNLESS you like quiet hubs... I have been riding a Formula hub for years, it is heavy-ish, but I haven't had to touch it in 6 years. Lots of SS riding over that period. Absolutely bullet-proof inexpensive hub set. After saying all that, I will be building a set of King-hubbed SS wheels in the next couple of months. We have built 2 sets of the Chinese CF rims. Customers buy the rims, bring them in for a build. Not impressed. Exterior finish is nice and smooth, interior/bead area was very sketchy. One of them WOULD NOT seal up tubeless with a Maxxis Ardent (which sealed up fine on the rear wheel...) As far as I know he has a tube in his front wheel to this day. Can't go wrong with an ARCH EX or appropriate Notubes rim for your weight, and a lot less $$ than a poorly-made CF rim. If you are going to go for CF, ENVE, Reynolds, Easton and other companies put out a high-quality (but pricey) rim that I would have faith in. Personally, I'll stick with a $90 retail rim that works great, and if I do blow life and punch a rock or something, won't ruin my month because I have to buy another rim.
    R.I.P. Corky 10/97-4/09
    Disclaimer: I sell and repair bikes for a living
    http://www.endlesscyclesonline.com

  4. #4
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    My first MTB was a 2011 El Mar. I soon decided I needed a FS so I bought a Tallboy and I ride King hubs on it. When I got back on my El Mar with it's Formula hubs, I felt like I had broken off half the pawls.

  5. #5
    Drew
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    Hey thanks for all the comments. One last question. My lbs has recommended that even though I will only ride the new hubs as a ss, still buy the ck (they are all about ck) geared hub as opposed to the ss specific hub. Reason is they believe it will have a higher resale value with absolutely no performance loss. Would/did you buy a ss specific hub? I'm 6'6 about 205.

  6. #6
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    I would agree with your LBS but the dedicated SS head purist will probably not. Just remember to shell out the extra for the stainless steel drive shell with fun bolts vs the aluminum, trust me, itís SO worth the extra dough. One last thing, just in case. You also need to decide on your front hub, QR to 15mm (SD) or 15mm to 20mm (LD) you canít have it all. I suggest you go QR to 15mm so if you decided to run your front rigid you have the option.

  7. #7
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    i'm going to hijack for a second...what's the difference you feel with a better hub like a ck? i've only ridden stock hubs and they seem fine to me. please tell me what i'm missing. i'm intrigued. thanks.
    - 1995 Giant ATX 870
    - 2011 Salsa El Mariachi XL
    - 2011 Kona Unit (singlespeed) XL

  8. #8
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    Instant engagement. Iíll try to describe the best I can. Youíre rolling along and a root appears, you load back on the freewheel, torque forward and BANG, your over the root! On hubs like Formula or Shimano XTs, thereís a slight delay, not that you wonít clear the root, but youíll notice how GREAT it feels on the Kings. Every serious, passionate rider should experience a set of handmade wheels with King hubs. To me their totally worth it, but donít say I didnít warn you in thread #2 . A wheelset is BEST and should be the first upgrade on any bike, not a derailleur or carbon handlebars.

  9. #9
    Drew
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    That's it I'm throwing down on a set. I was debating spending the cash on a fat bike but its just time to upgrade. I ride way too much not to. I'm not giving up on a fat bike but it'll just have to wait till I convince my wife I need both.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by VO2 Lax View Post
    Instant engagement. Iíll try to describe the best I can. Youíre rolling along and a root appears, you load back on the freewheel, torque forward and BANG, your over the root! On hubs like Formula or Shimano XTs, thereís a slight delay, not that you wonít clear the root, but youíll notice how GREAT it feels on the Kings. Every serious, passionate rider should experience a set of handmade wheels with King hubs. To me their totally worth it, but donít say I didnít warn you in thread #2 . A wheelset is BEST and should be the first upgrade on any bike, not a derailleur or carbon handlebars.
    That helps me understand. Thanks. I have noticed a slight delay on my Formulas on my El Mar but not bad- of course I don't kow what I'm missing though. Now do I buy a dedicated SS or a wheelset?

    Thanks again.
    - 1995 Giant ATX 870
    - 2011 Salsa El Mariachi XL
    - 2011 Kona Unit (singlespeed) XL

  11. #11
    Drew
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    Just pulled the trigger on some arch exs laced to Hadley's. After talking to a few different folks got only positive feedback on the Hadley's. The cks I'm sure would of been awesome too.

  12. #12
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    I've got Stans ZTR hubs on Arch-EX and DT Supercomp - I'm Happy!

  13. #13
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    If you don't buy things with the intent on selling them (which is sometimes a consideration if you are "testing" things) I'd say go with the SS hubs for one reason: Less dish in the wheel, better triangulation on the spokes, stronger wheel, which does matter a bit for 29" more than 26". The advice on the Stainless shell is good too - it does hold up much better than the alloy bodies do.
    R.I.P. Corky 10/97-4/09
    Disclaimer: I sell and repair bikes for a living
    http://www.endlesscyclesonline.com

  14. #14
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    I'm going to buck the trend here... I do not like King hubs, particularly the SS ones with the HD axle. Engagement is great, but mine persistently had both play and drag. They have been the most maintenance-heavy hub I've ever used.

    Now I'm running standard ratchet and pawl hubs (Stan's ZTR and Bontrager) and couldn't be happier.

    Hadley? Very limited experience, but they were great. Fantastic execution. DT Swiss Star Ratchet hubs are also great.

  15. #15
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    Look at the Hope Pro hubs. Very nice, heavy duty, and nearly maintenance free. Easy to service when necessary. Loud but in a good way. CK sounds like buzzing bees. Hope sounds like a rattlesnake. Your friends certainly know when you're sitting on their wheel.

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