Hubs and their function
I understand that a hub houses the axel and bearings, and is the base for the spokes. What I don't understand is what distinguishes a good hub from a poor one. What are some symptoms of a bad hub? What are the advantages of a quality hub? Lastly, what brands (or models within a brand) are considered high quality by most riders?
Thanks for your perspective!
Performance, durability, serviceability, frequency and/or ease of maintenance needed, appearance, parts availability, axle options, ease of conversion to different axle standards, POE and freehub material options (POE = 'points of engagement' - on rear hubs). Probably missing something or other to round out the list.
Different hubs have different advantages depending on what combination of the above listed attributes you need or want.
Not all riders have the same requirements with regards to what hubs will serve them best. Kind of like asking "What's the best car to buy?" That said, some models from some manufacturers, and all hubs from others are considered high quality hubs. Chris King, DT Swiss (w/star ratchet), Hadley, and Hope are four very popular brands that are generally considered to be of high quality.
weight would be another thing. DT 240s is popular and weighs 240g for a rear hub. 240 is pretty light but there are ones that are 180g.
whether the hub can be converted to various axle types. This means you can transfer a wheelset from bike to bike. In the front there is QR, 15mm and 20mm, in the rear there are several but 142x12 and QR are common
Points of engagement describe how many degrees you turn the pedal before the hub engages. DT swiss hubs with the star ratchet have 36 points of engagement (10 degrees). Chris king has 72, I9 and others have some that are 120. Many hubs only have 18.
durability, hubs can die in as few as 1 year if they are cheap. If you do hard landings etc you can break them. Chris king hubs are well known to last across multiple bikes.
A light wheelset might be 1500g, heavy would be 2000 grams a superlight could be as low as 1300g.
These are just my impressions Im certain people will disagree:
chris king - bomb proof, great POE, not super light, convertible to all axle standards, expensive, noisy
dt swiss - super light, long lasting, not as great POE as CK, convertible to all axle standards, expensive
Hope pro 2- affordable, convertible, reasonably light, maybe not as durable
i9 - convertible, high POE, reasonably priced, maybe not as durable
hadley - high poe, affordable, not sure of durability
extralite hubs - extremely lightweight hubs, not durable
Other hubs might be
shimano XT/xtr hubs - middle of the road hubs
american classic hubs - large mix, end up on stock wheelsets a lot
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