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  1. #1
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    Current state of Novatec hubs?

    Hi,

    Thinking about getting an affordable upgrade wheelset. I'm seeing some very compelling setups using Novatec (or obviously rebranded Novatec) hubs, especially the 711/712 Boost hubs. Novatecs have obviously been very popular hubs and correspondingly Google comes up with all kinds of horror stories with them - but how do they stack up now, ca. 2017?

    I am perfectly aware that shelling out for DT 240, i9 and whatnot will get me better hubs but that is not the price point I'm after. The more relevant alternatives would be Shimano XT, DT 370 and maybe Bitex. Oh, and the wheels will be for not too aggressive XC/Trail riding and I am not particularly heavy or a strong rider.

  2. #2
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    Dt 350 !!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Calf View Post
    Dt 350 !!
    Yeah well, that one, but it is still somewhat above my budget. They are not very high engagement either without the ratchet upgrade, no?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimoA View Post
    Yeah well, that one, but it is still somewhat above my budget. They are not very high engagement either without the ratchet upgrade, no?
    reliable, cheap, high engagement - pick two!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Calf View Post
    reliable, cheap, high engagement - pick two!
    Or you can pick three.

    Novatec MTB Disc Black Hub Set D542SB 32h 4in1 shimano 11s black | eBay

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Calf View Post
    reliable, cheap, high engagement - pick two!
    I was able to get all three with Bitex/BHS hubs. I am a clydesdale with a history of hub failures (mostly Shimano). These have been holding up quite well now for about a year now. 54 point engagement and a very reasonable price make these a winner.
    Change begins by doing something different.

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    Bitex looks good but the problem is to find a reputable vendor to offer a set I like with them within Euroland. Sourcing them on my own and having them built locally is very likely to blow the budget.

  8. #8
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    BikeHubStore ships to Finland. Now would be a good time to learn how to build the wheels yourself. There are plenty of resources on here to learn how to do it. There is something very satisfying about riding on wheels that you have taken the time to learn how to carefully build yourself.
    Change begins by doing something different.

  9. #9
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    Hope Pro 4 has 44 poe which is plenty...more than that is hitting a point of diminishing return IMO. Paying a lot more for not much more in performance. And yeah...I've had Chris Kings so I can attest to the difference in 44 and 72 poe and there's not enough difference to justify the cost difference. Again, IMO. And you can get a Hope Pro 4 rear hub for $170. So more than a Novatec but WAY better quality but not breaking the bank either.
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  10. #10
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    Received a pair of 711/712 Novatecs today from bdopcycling.
    Look and feel very solid, Japanese EZO bearings, not very loud. Love them so far.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by d.lus View Post
    Received a pair of 711/712 Novatecs today from bdopcycling.
    Look and feel very solid, Japanese EZO bearings, not very loud. Love them so far.
    Give it three days. 4 tops.
    I would advise not taking my advice.

  12. #12
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    Well, given that there is very little input on my actual question and the hubs are widely offered and used I'm inclined to conclude that they are okay if somewhat uninspiring. Which is fine by me.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimoA View Post
    Well, given that there is very little input on my actual question and the hubs are widely offered and used I'm inclined to conclude that they are okay if somewhat uninspiring. Which is fine by me.
    Novatec hubs are shit as you correctly indicated by your original post. I wonder how you expect customers who just bought the hub in 2017 to give you long term reliability feedback by now?

    However if you're poor and cannot afford a real hub like DT Swiss you don't have any other choice than to bite the bullet on this one

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    No issues with my 2 front and 1 rear Novatech hubs so far on 2 single speed hard tails for the last couple of years.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimoA View Post
    upgrade wheelset.
    If you're replacing hubs that are working fine then you should get something really good or don't bother. The better novatecs are worth considering if you're building up a new bike, or you need to replace a damaged wheel, but not as part of an 'upgrade wheelset.'
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  16. #16
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    I've had my 4-1 front hub for years now. Probably close to 10 actually. It's well made and still going.

    I didn't buy the matching rear on purpose. They're not good rear hubs and often do break the pawls.

  17. #17
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    Santa Cruz spec em on some of their bikes.

    If SC thinks they're good ^^ I'll have to agree.

    PS - I am running a steel freehub version D882SB on my AM HT 29er.

    Only a couple of rides in... Works fine at the mo. Time will tell if it stays that way.

    I paid $120 NZD for rear 142x12. Approx. $85 USD.

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  18. #18
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    They're spec'ed because they are dirt cheap. Even SC has to save some money somewhere.
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  19. #19
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    More than a year on rebranded novatec hubs (boost front, 9mm QR rear) and have not had any problems so far. 70kg rider, hardtail, very rocky terrain, steep uphills.

  20. #20
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    I've used novatec without issue, but it depends on the rider. I'm light and pretty easy on hubs. I very rarely break them. If you're like me then they're a pretty acceptable option

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    They're spec'ed because they are dirt cheap. Even SC has to save some money somewhere.
    Yeah, cheap gear could never compete with the over priced stuff

    https://youtu.be/0wq4v3s2_Po

    PS - ironically the over priced one is made by SC o_0

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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by targnik View Post
    Yeah, cheap gear could never compete with the over priced stuff

    https://youtu.be/0wq4v3s2_Po

    PS - ironically the over priced one is made by SC o_0

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    expensive is not the same as over priced. Cheap stuff can be over priced too. They're unrelated.

    given the trail footage in that video their results make sense.



    You just gotta identify your needs. Maybe novatec hubs are great for you, maybe not. But I wouldn't replace any half-decent appropriate wheelset with them just because upgradeitis.
    Last edited by scottzg; 09-15-2017 at 09:09 AM.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by targnik View Post
    Yeah, cheap gear could never compete with the over priced stuff

    https://youtu.be/0wq4v3s2_Po

    PS - ironically the over priced one is made by SC o_0

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    It's longevity...not performance that's the issue here. Who cares if a cheap bike rolls down the hill as fast as an expensive bike once or twice. It's 3-6 months or more of hard use that's more important. To me at least. I could care less if my cheap hub works as good or better then an I9 or a Chris King...if it only lasts a few hundred miles.

    At the end of the day...I couldn't give two shits what you or anyone else puts on their bike. It's not my money. It's not my problem. If you are ok with "upgrading" cheap with cheap...by all means, "upgrade" away.
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  24. #24
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    The best budget hub made is DT 350. It will outlast your bike and requires almost no maintenance. Hopes and good too, but novatec is just asking for trouble over the long run.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Calf View Post
    Novatec hubs are shit as you correctly indicated by your original post.
    Bit harsh. No way so many bike manufacturers would be fitting them if they were that bad. Design-wise, they are very similar to Hope. Bearings probably not as good etc but still perfectly serviceable hubs.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Bit harsh. No way so many bike manufacturers would be fitting them if they were that bad. Design-wise, they are very similar to Hope. Bearings probably not as good etc but still perfectly serviceable hubs.
    Dude, sometimes your humour is over the top.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Bit harsh. No way so many bike manufacturers would be fitting them if they were that bad. Design-wise, they are very similar to Hope. Bearings probably not as good etc but still perfectly serviceable hubs.
    No way so many bike manufacturers would be putting SR Suntour XCT forks on bikes if they were bad.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexbn921 View Post
    The best budget hub made is DT 350. It will outlast your bike
    thank you for making my point
    If one cannot afford the DT350 in the first place he cannot afford buying some cheap hubs either as they'll entail service costs on the long run

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Bit harsh. No way so many bike manufacturers would be fitting them if they were that bad.
    Sram Guide brakes are equally shit
    come on Mr. Pig, I know you know it!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Calf View Post
    Sram Guide brakes are equally shit come on Mr. Pig, I know you know it!
    Ha ha ha, you got me on that one ;0) I guess you've had more exposure to Novatec hubs than me, mine are working fine.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    No way so many bike manufacturers would be putting SR Suntour XCT forks on bikes if they were bad.
    Big difference between a fork and a hub!

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by In2falling View Post
    Big difference between a fork and a hub!
    Same concept. Just because a company puts something on a bike doesn't mean it isn't shit.
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    Anybody calling novatec shit is out of touch. Plenty of people use them with no issues for a long, long time. But if the OP is hard on hubs, then they aren't a good choice, pretty simple. It doesn't make them bad, they are what they are.

    This is true of most things... Except guide brakes. There's no excuse to have those on a bike, ever.

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  33. #33
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    Running Guides and Novatech's on the single speed hard tail.
    I like them both

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by NordieBoy View Post
    Running Guides and Novatech's on the single speed hard tail.
    burn that bike

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by tfinator View Post
    Anybody calling novatec shit is out of touch. Plenty of people use them with no issues for a long, long time.
    Novatec is a looser company which huge quality variance in their product hence the variety in user feedback from good to bad

    Plenty of people use Suntour XCT forks for long time with no issues too but what about the others that got knocked off their bikes because no rebound damping is found in this piece of crap fork

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by NordieBoy View Post
    Running Guides and Novatech's on the single speed hard tail.
    I like them both
    You're missing the Suntour fork though.

    And if you really want to be legit as far as bad OEM spec goes, you should probably get some Nevegals as well.

  37. #37
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    Nevegal my ass

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by NordieBoy View Post
    Running Guides and Novatech's on the single speed hard tail.
    I like them both
    Guides and Novatech hubs on my Bronson as well. No issues with either. I have a set of xt brakes lying around and honestly prefer the lever on them, but I prefer the modulation and power of the guides.... Hubs have been flawless so far.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Calf View Post
    Novatec is a looser company which huge quality variance in their product hence the variety in user feedback from good to bad

    Plenty of people use Suntour XCT forks for long time with no issues too but what about the others that got knocked off their bikes because no rebound damping is found in this piece of crap fork
    "Novatec is a looser company" You sound like Donald Trump.

    You don't use their stuff, so I am going to say you can't speak to the quality variance. You also can't speak to it, because the people breaking their stuff could just be using it harder. Those are the people who need to look to higher end hubs.

    The fact that the Suntour fork actually lacks a feature of another, makes this a bad metaphor - it doesn't apply.

    Either way, a Novatec hub isn't an 'upgrade' item. If I was on a tight budget, not too hard on my equipment, and needed new wheels, I would be fine with them.

    See how that's a reasonable and logical reply? Try it out for yourself now...

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by tfinator View Post
    "Novatec is a looser company" You sound like Donald Trump.

    You don't use their stuff, so I am going to say you can't speak to the quality variance. You also can't speak to it, because the people breaking their stuff could just be using it harder. Those are the people who need to look to higher end hubs.

    The fact that the Suntour fork actually lacks a feature of another, makes this a bad metaphor - it doesn't apply.

    Either way, a Novatec hub isn't an 'upgrade' item. If I was on a tight budget, not too hard on my equipment, and needed new wheels, I would be fine with them.

    See how that's a reasonable and logical reply? Try it out for yourself now...
    With these under bridge dwellers there is no such thing as logic

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  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by tfinator View Post
    "Novatec is a looser company" You sound like Donald Trump.

    You don't use their stuff, so I am going to say you can't speak to the quality variance. You also can't speak to it, because the people breaking their stuff could just be using it harder. Those are the people who need to look to higher end hubs.

    The fact that the Suntour fork actually lacks a feature of another, makes this a bad metaphor - it doesn't apply.

    Either way, a Novatec hub isn't an 'upgrade' item. If I was on a tight budget, not too hard on my equipment, and needed new wheels, I would be fine with them.

    See how that's a reasonable and logical reply? Try it out for yourself now...
    Don't bother with him, he's the king of his own world.

  42. #42
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    I read 'looser company' to indicate that novatec hubs are built to looser tolerances than something like a dt350. You can see it installing the end caps, replacing the bearings, or running them through a wheel building machine. That's not to say they're garbage, just built to a lower price point. You get what you pay for.
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    Current state of Novatec hubs?

    I would go with bitex hubs, mine have been flawless. Not better than dt350 but they take everything i throw at them. Justridingalong.com in the UK is a bitex dealer.


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  44. #44
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    I would look at some new take off wheels too. All kinds of people upgrade their wheels before even riding the set the bike came with.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexbn921 View Post
    I would look at some new take off wheels too. All kinds of people upgrade their wheels before even riding the set the bike came with.
    That is true. Although a lot of those wheels will have Novatec hubs..

  46. #46
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    DT Swiss 350's if you can swing the cost. Hope Pro4's if you're on a budget. It's better to spend a bit more money once, than to spend little bit of money over and over. 350's are simple bulletproof and easily serviced. Hope's are just plain reliable.
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    I always love these I want to upgrade but not spend money on a upgrade thread.

    What I find funny is all the defenders of Novatec. Hey they come stock on this bike or the one about people that break obviously are the ones that need a better hub- really love that one, is there a test we can take so we know before buying them?

    Anyway to the point, yea them come stock on some bikes, so buying a set with them really isn't an upgrade. Going from stock wheels to marginal better stock wheels is a waste of money and effort.

    To the OP save up a little more and actually upgrade your wheels. I bet that the LB wheels I listed in another thread with DT350/carbon rims at around 1600g for around $800 are fairly close in price to the cheap upgrade you're looking at.
    Last edited by TwoTone; 09-18-2017 at 05:24 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimoA View Post
    . Oh, and the wheels will be for not too aggressive XC/Trail riding and I am not particularly heavy or a strong rider.
    Then Shimano XT are perfect for you. Seriously.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schulze View Post
    Then Shimano XT are perfect for you. Seriously.
    If you're happy with cup and cone bearings.

    (I am)

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    I always love these I want to upgrade but not spend money on a upgrade thread.

    What I find funny is all the defenders of Novatec. Hey they come stock on this bike or the one about people that break obviously are the ones that need a better hub- really love that one, is there a test we can take so we know before buying them?

    Anyway to the point, yea them come stock on some bikes, so buying a set with them really isn't an upgrade. Going from stock wheels to marginal better stock wheels is a waste of money and effort.

    To the OP save up a little more and actually upgrade your wheels. I beat that the LB wheels I listed in another thread with DT350/carbon rims at around 1600g for around $800 are fairly close in price to the cheap upgrade you're looking at.
    Good point, while I am happy with the novatech hubs per my prior response, I find them good for an entry level wheelset. If I were looking for an upgrade I would be looking at I9 or Hope.

  51. #51
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    4 years ago I bought Novatech 771-2 hubs with Lightbike carbon rims, Pillar spokes, alloy nipples, and built by lightbike. ALL of which the nay sayers here said not to do. At the time I was close to 200# geared up and was not nice to the wheelset because they were so cheap compared to Envies I considered them disposable. They are still doing great and strong today.

    Novatech do/did have problems, mine have a 4 pawl hub. The 3 pawl hub bodies are known to crack under heavy hitters riders and the hubs can come with a crazy range of bearings brands, from crap to excellent.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ratt View Post
    The 3 pawl hub bodies are known to crack under heavy hitters riders...
    If you look at the aluminium hub bodies, the older ones had metal scooped out in between the pawl recess. That's why they cracked. There was not enough strength either side of the pawl. The ones you get now do not have that metal removed.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    If you look at the aluminium hub bodies, the older ones had metal scooped out in between the pawl recess. That's why they cracked. There was not enough strength either side of the pawl. The ones you get now do not have that metal removed.
    This is the kind of information I was looking after, thanks!

    This thread has become rather entertaining Just to give a bit of an idea what I was after, my current wheelset (this is on a 27.5+ bike) has Formula Boost CL hubs (which have been fine to date), unbutted spokes and rims weighing 670 grams each. Just by having them relaced with reasonable 35mm ID rims and D-Lights would probably shave off a pound of rotating mass. Given that going rate for a wheel relace around here is €50 per wheel plus parts a new wheelset with those parts plus Novatecs at around €400 sounds better to my ears.

    Dan_rider, I noticed that JRA has a pretty nice set with Bitex hubs and WTB i35 rims. A bit heavier than other builds I've looked at but at €450 shipped they look like a fine deal. Thanks!

  54. #54
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    Timo get a subscription on rczbikeshop newsletter, i picked up a set of dt swiss xm1501 i40 boost wheelset for 279. sometimes their prices are crazy, but then you need to have your visa card topped up and quick fingers.

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    Actually I am subscribed to that newsletter, funny that I missed that one deal. Was this just recently?

  56. #56
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    it was beginning of summer i think... not many boost wheelsets since then.

    i have a set of miche 966 PLUS wheelset if you need it, they are i40... also i have my stumpy 6fattie oem roval wheelset, they are i29 and sram xd freehub. both 250 eur shipping included.

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    Quote Originally Posted by syl3 View Post
    Timo get a subscription on rczbikeshop newsletter, i picked up a set of dt swiss xm1501 i40 boost wheelset for 279. sometimes their prices are crazy, but then you need to have your visa card topped up and quick fingers.
    I ordered a xm1501 i40 boost front wheel for 99e a little over week ago from there. It was sold out in 30 mins. Unfortunately no rear wheel available this time as my KT (aka Origin8 MT3200) freewheel is showing signs of failure. Current replacement favorite is hope4+xm551 from actionsports for around 365e. I want more than 18 POE and I have bad experience from DT 36T ratchet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimoA View Post
    This is the kind of information I was looking after, thanks!

    This thread has become rather entertaining Just to give a bit of an idea what I was after, my current wheelset (this is on a 27.5+ bike) has Formula Boost CL hubs (which have been fine to date), unbutted spokes and rims weighing 670 grams each. Just by having them relaced with reasonable 35mm ID rims and D-Lights would probably shave off a pound of rotating mass. Given that going rate for a wheel relace around here is €50 per wheel plus parts a new wheelset with those parts plus Novatecs at around €400 sounds better to my ears.

    Dan_rider, I noticed that JRA has a pretty nice set with Bitex hubs and WTB i35 rims. A bit heavier than other builds I've looked at but at €450 shipped they look like a fine deal. Thanks!
    That’s the one i use Daily, It’s rock solid.


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  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimoA View Post
    This is the kind of information I was looking after, thanks!
    Just to show you, this is an older free-hub. Notice the cut-away sections between the pawls:

    Current state of Novatec hubs?-img_20141207_freehubfail2.jpg

    Too much taken away, so they broke:

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    But now they look like this, and won't break:

    Current state of Novatec hubs?-cassbody%2520b-b1-d1.jpg

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by In2falling View Post
    That hub may have promise. I'm actually kind of impressed. Someone at novatec copied a GOOD hub. Click through and look at the freehub pic. The outer diameter is supported by a huge bearing in the hub shell and it has an axle bearing all the way on the edge. There's no huge unsupported span over the axle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    But now they look like this, and won't break:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    That is garbage. The entire pawl/drive ring area has no bearing support. It's just floating there, at the mercy of the axle flex... horrible.

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    Well that's looks exactly like my KT freehub body which my according to my research should be KT-M4TR aka Origin8 MT-3200:
    Current state of Novatec hubs?-dsc_2316.jpg

    There's the spacer still in place but it's not supporting the pawl area. That explains why I'm saw ratchet outer ring teeth marks between the pawls. And little bending in the pawl tips. And occasional single tooth skips. This with 8 months old wheel. Also, I've already changed the freehub body bearings since the inner one got completely destroyed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli View Post
    That hub may have promise. I'm actually kind of impressed. Someone at novatec copied a GOOD hub. Click through and look at the freehub pic. The outer diameter is supported by a huge bearing in the hub shell and it has an axle bearing all the way on the edge. There's no huge unsupported span over the axle.
    Agreed, but it's $118 for just a rear hub. I can get a Hope for $180.


    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli View Post

    That is garbage. The entire pawl/drive ring area has no bearing support. It's just floating there, at the mercy of the axle flex... horrible.
    My Novatec looked like this one and the ENTIRE freehub cracked in half such that the cassette was holding it together. You could hear 3 distinct clicks when slowly rolling the bike, so I'm pretty sure only one pall was carry all the load at all times which led to the failure.

    Like others in here, I really wanted to believe Novatec was the answer to what I saw as grossly overpriced hubs. Not anymore. I won't risk the ~10mile walk home nor the money "saved". I lost $40 in spokes and the hub cost after half a season of use to then rebuild the wheel with a Hope. I also enjoy knowing Hope will have replacement & upgrade (new hub driver or axle spacing) parts available for the next decade.

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli View Post
    That is garbage. The entire pawl/drive ring area has no bearing support. It's just floating there, at the mercy of the axle flex... horrible.
    The Hope Bulb, considered to be one of the best hubs Hope have made, is exactly the same!

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Too much taken away, so they break
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    probably designed by the same guy who messed with the master cylinder tolerances of the Sram Guide lever! Sad!

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    Quote Originally Posted by huckleberry hound View Post
    I was able to get all three with Bitex/BHS hubs. I am a clydesdale with a history of hub failures (mostly Shimano). These have been holding up quite well now for about a year now. 54 point engagement and a very reasonable price make these a winner.
    About how many bucks for these Bitex/BHS 54T hubs?
    According to our daily seeing, some riders now began to take DT350 upgraded to 54T. Maybe Bitex/BHS 54T hubs is a good option, too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfan View Post
    About how many bucks for these Bitex/BHS 54T hubs?
    According to our daily seeing, some riders now began to take DT350 upgraded to 54T. Maybe Bitex/BHS 54T hubs is a good option, too.
    They retail for $250 for a pair of boost hubs here in the US.
    Change begins by doing something different.

  67. #67
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    Curious the thoughts on Novatec Factor hubs. They actually look like solid kit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjw View Post
    Curious the thoughts on Novatec Factor hubs. They actually look like solid kit.
    I'm 6'-5" 280lbs. I have a 2017 Santa Cruz Tallboy C.... S build. My hub slowly ate the big bearing up. It was rideable bit getting worse after a hard summer of learning to go faster. I now ride Onyx

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    Try the new Novatec D791/D792.
    But, Novatecs are not really for professionals.

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by onewheelwunder View Post
    I'm 6'-5" 280lbs. I have a 2017 Santa Cruz Tallboy C.... S build. My hub slowly ate the big bearing up. It was rideable bit getting worse after a hard summer of learning to go faster. I now ride Onyx

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    Eating the bearing?? Please elaborate??

    I believe the novatec hubs that come in the Santa Cruz bikes are one step below the Factors no? The shell is different as far as I can tell? Or am I wrong? The Factors have 120 Poe, did yours?

    I have two sets of Onyx, and a set is Stealth hubs which have even better engagement than Onyx, if you can believe that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfan View Post
    But, Novatecs are not really for professionals.
    So you mean they're bulletproof and last forever?

    Pro's only need it to last a race and it's rebuilt...

  72. #72
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    All real reviews I can find for the Factors wheels point to the hub's being really good product.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjw View Post
    Eating the bearing?? Please elaborate??

    I believe the novatec hubs that come in the Santa Cruz bikes are one step below the Factors no? The shell is different as far as I can tell? Or am I wrong? The Factors have 120 Poe, did yours?

    I have two sets of Onyx, and a set is Stealth hubs which have even better engagement than Onyx, if you can believe that.
    It was certainly less than 120 Poe. Better engagement would be hard to believe. I do remember my build had the better novatech hub then was available on the lesser C carbon build. I'm not certain, but I think it was this one per there website.

    D642 Rear Hub 12x148 (XD)

    The hub developed play.. the wheel tipped side to side and got progressively worse

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  74. #74
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    D642's are at least a step down from the Factors. D642 have 84 Poe, while Factors have 120 Poe. Have not heard a single complaint about the Factors. Thinking about scooping up a set.

    And as for the Steal hubs - they have a different clutch. Then Onyx sprag clutch has a slight bit of give while the roller stand and grip in the clutch when they engage - hardly noticeable. The stealth hub's are solid off the get-go - a harder/snappier engagement. They aren't quite as well sealed however, as the onyx and require more maintenance, or has been my experience. It's dead simple mind you! Box components just purchased True Precision I'm the last few months and you'll start to see Box brand stealth hubs shortly I'd imagine, likely made in the Far East vs in California where TP makes them now.

    Given the reliability...I'd buy Onyx over and over when money is no object.
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  75. #75
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    Is Factor not what Novatec call their wheel builds? I didn't think it was a type of hub.

  76. #76
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    No. They have a particular wheel model called the factor, which is/was their highest end wheelset for mtb. The hubs used for it, are called the Novatec Factor xd601/xd602sb hubs. They have a Factor logo etched into them, no goofy serial number code, and the finish is top notch. You can buy the hub's seperately, though they are becoming hard to find as far as I can tell.
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  77. #77
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    Does anyone know a good place to get parts? Specifically I need the standard front 110x15 caps (21mm) to replace the Rock Shox/SRAM 31mm "Torque Caps" on the Novatech 541 hub. They are the hubs used on Santa Cruz's Race Face AR27 wheels (Carbon S build).

    My shop has bikes with these front hubs on both RS and Fox. The RS bike uses Torque Caps and the Fox bike has standard caps so they must be available, However I can't find them. The shop didn't either, but they are not the best at this sort of thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    Does anyone know a good place to get parts? Specifically I need the standard front 110x15 caps (21mm) to replace the Rock Shox/SRAM 31mm "Torque Caps" on the Novatech 541 hub. They are the hubs used on Santa Cruz's Race Face AR27 wheels (Carbon S build).

    My shop has bikes with these front hubs on both RS and Fox. The RS bike uses Torque Caps and the Fox bike has standard caps so they must be available, However I can't find them. The shop didn't either, but they are not the best at this sort of thing.
    Get in touch with Brian at BDop.

    He may be able to source them.

  79. #79
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    the bearings on the novatec hubs can be iffy unless you get your hubs from a trusted source that would use decent bearings.

    I have not had any mechanical issues with 2 rear novatec hubs. Though one had bearings that sucked after a few rides --after some new phil wood bearings they are totally fine. and the steel cassette should last for quite a long time.

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    I realize the original question is a bit dated, but I'll add my $0.02 since I've used a few models of Novatec and Bitex hubs -- and Hope. These are all on wheels I've built.

    I'm really only talking about rear hubs here; front hubs aren't usually a problem. I weigh ~80kg / ~175lbs.

    In my opinion the disc-brake Novatec hubs are superior to any disc-brake Bitex hubs I have used (I have used the recent Bitex/BHS MTB280 as well as earlier generation. I've also used their lightweight road disc hubs.) I have had multiple Bitex MTB280 hubs where under heavy load (example, very steep incline) the pawls would skip. This was pretty rare, admittedly, and I've been riding a MTB280 hub on my road disc bike for awhile (5k miles?) without any real issues, but probably wouldn't choose it for MTB. Perhaps axle flex? The same thing happened with the Bitex road disc hub. Looking at the end caps for the MTB280 (thru axle), the NDS does not seem well sealed against water (no rubber gasket). I have used it on a generally good-weather bike, so can't really comment. I had an older generation Bitex hub that I did use on MTB and it did not last very long before it needed a new pawl spring). I will say that Brandon at BHS provides fantastic customer service and while I've not had good experience w/ Bitex hubs, I always look to buy everything else from BHS. I will also say that I've built a couple MTB280 wheelsets for other riders and they've been very happy with them. No issues. So riding style / gearing is probably a factor.

    I've generally had better experience with Novatec -- generally from BDOP, though I've also bought a few Novatec hubs and then replaced the bearings (just going off of various reviews suggesting that when you get a hubset for $88 the bearings probably are crap -- but it's still a good deal after adding $30-40 in Enduro bearings).

    Admittedly, I do not have a lot of long-term data for Novatec. I had a D712SB rear wheel that had at least 5k miles on it, but I rebuilt it with a D772SB hub so I could change to thru axle. My current commuter wheelset is a D772SB/D771SB DIY wheelset from BDOP and it's holding up fine, but it's only been a few thousand miles. Every now and then, I do get a ping sound from the hub, which is disconcerting; but it's strange since it has not ever happened under load -- rather, seems to happen when starting to pedal (easily) after stopping or slowing to turn. Perhaps some force from braking causes pawls to misalign against the ratchet teeth or something? This is with an alloy axle.

    I am replacing a rear wheel with the steel-axle version of this hub (which weighs ~380g --
    i.e. about 100g more than the alloy version) for my winter tires and off-road wheelset. I'm curious to see if this also exhibits that same behavior.

    I have had fantastic experience with Hope Pro 2 Evo hubs. Had one set going strong after 25k miles without ever servicing. I assume they'll keep going strong for much longer. So, if the cost isn't a huge factor, I would without hesitation use Hope hubs for everything. I assume that the Pro 4 offer similar reliability.

    But for my commuter bike with 2 (and probably soon 3) wheelsets, there is some incentive to both use inexpensive hubs and use hubs that match up so I don't have to adjust derailleurs or calipers when swapping wheels.

    So, in short, I would hesitate to ever consider Novatec an upgrade, but so far my experience has been that these are decent hubs. My experience with Bitex has been less favorable. Hope hubs are definitely an upgrade, though. I'm sure DT350 are too. CK or I9 etc. don't offer much of a value proposition, in my opinion, given the existence of lower-priced and super-reliable options like Hope.

  81. #81
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    Novatec and Bitex have both made continual upgrades to their hubs. Novatec changed from 3 pawls to 4 pawls a few years ago, then the 542 design as above, now the 772 hub is replaced by 792 which has a larger body and chromoly steel axle.
    Bitex makes a solid steel freehub with three bearings, titanium freehubs also with three bearings for road and MTB, and large range of hubs that BHS doesn't sell, including heavy duty clydesdale hubs (BX207F/R) with 4 bearings in the front, three bearings in the rear hub shell, and three more bearings in the freehub. Bitex also makes chromoly axles for most of their rear hubs.
    And both brands take common sizes of top quality Enduro ceramic bearings and bdop sells CEMA brand ceramic bearings.
    So the lowly Bitex hub can actually be fully optioned to a much higher spec than Hope, I9, WI, etc.

  82. #82
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    I haven't had problems with Novatec Hubs. Been running them for about 4 years on two wheelsets. Obviously, they are not as well built as Chris Kings, DT Swiss, etc, but for the price they are good. However, the only gripe I have with them is the axle adapters. They are only held in by a thin o-ring that is impossible to replace. So, mine have been falling out at times. Right now I bought some o-rings that don't fit exactly and using teflon tape to try to keep them in place. Just for that fact, I am going to another hub company.

  83. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by MudSnow View Post
    Novatec and Bitex have both made continual upgrades to their hubs. Novatec changed from 3 pawls to 4 pawls a few years ago, then the 542 design as above, now the 772 hub is replaced by 792 which has a larger body and chromoly steel axle.
    Bitex makes a solid steel freehub with three bearings, titanium freehubs also with three bearings for road and MTB, and large range of hubs that BHS doesn't sell, including heavy duty clydesdale hubs (BX207F/R) with 4 bearings in the front, three bearings in the rear hub shell, and three more bearings in the freehub. Bitex also makes chromoly axles for most of their rear hubs.
    So, I've got a set of D791SB/D792SB hubs that I'm planning to use. Note that mine have an alloy axle -- but I know BDOP sells theirs with steel axles. (But all of these Novatec hubs can have either alloy or steel axles; I replaced a failed Formula hub on my winter rear wheel with a steel-axled D772SB hub sourced from BDOP.)

    The NDS endcap seal on the D792SB seems much better than even the D771SB.

    The "problem" with the steel axles is they definitely put the hubs in a different weight class. The steel axle adds around 100g to the D772SB hub -- so the ~270g rear hub becomes 370g, which is no longer weight competitive with a Hope, DT Swiss 350, WI, etc. I've only got one ride on my steel-axle D772SB, but it did *not* exhibit any hub pawl engagement quirks. But need more data. I like, though, that I have an easy option to convert my other D772SB and D792SB hubs to steel if that indeed fixes the weird, and minor-but-annoying engagement hiccups that happen just riding along (not under load) on the D772SB.

    I'd be interested in Bitex hubs that are more sturdy. I like the brand and would love to support BHS, but after having many pawl skipping issues under load, wouldn't buy another one.

    Incidentally, does anyone know if there's any trick to removing the front (15mm) endcaps from the Novatec D791SB? They seem different than previous models and aren't easily coming off. I wish Novatec had a little more (and current) online documentation / help.

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    Some Novatec endcaps are screwed on and some are pressed on.

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    Yeah, I considered that option, but I don't see any holes to put in a pin spanner (or whatever that tool is called) to unthread, so I figure they must be pressed on a little more firmly? Anyway, I will try with a little more force.

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    I've been running Novatec Diablo 27.5 wheelset with xd641/2sb hubs for 4 years now. They are by far the best wheels and hubs I've ever owned. I'm a big guy..245lbs, 6'2" and I've never had an issue with either. I'm no expert and don't really delve into these threads with emotion...just build up my own bikes from scratch and have been riding for about18 years. I'm going to build a 29er up soon and will be purchasing another set of diablos for that bike too.

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