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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?

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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

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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.

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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.

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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; 4 Days Ago 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; 1 Day Ago 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.

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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 Ä50 per wheel plus parts a new wheelset with those parts plus Novatecs at around Ä400 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 Ä450 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?

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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 Ä50 per wheel plus parts a new wheelset with those parts plus Novatecs at around Ä400 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 Ä450 shipped they look like a fine deal. Thanks!
    Thatís the one i use Daily, Itís rock solid.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  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.

  62. #62
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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.

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