The Phil Hub Saga- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Harmonius Wrench
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    The Phil Hub Saga

    I was asked in the Moonlander thread by another poster about what troubles I had with a Phil Wood 170mmOLD hub, and instead of muddying up that thread, I decided to open up a new thread for discussion about it.



    This is the bike it was installed on, a Salsa Cycles Mukluk. I will dispense with the details surrounding the frame and fork, but suffice it to say that due to the means by which I got it, I have attached some meaning to the bike.

    Okay, the components I started accruing long before I got the frame and fork, and of course, the Phil hubs were part of that. I laced the hoops myself, (Surly Rolling Darryls, Wheelsmith spokes) and once everything came together, I had the bike completed just a few days from my birthday in January.

    I rode the bike once, noticed some grinding, snapping noises. Thought it might be drive train adjustment issues. Went out a second time, and it was worse, even had some free hub "skipping" issues. Well, by this time I suspected the rear hub. Phils are easy to look inside of, and so I did. It wasn't pretty.

    The ring gear was torn up, and one of the four pawls was not engaging due to a defective spring. I slapped it back together for one last ride on my birthday, and then shipped the wheel back to Phil Wood for servicing. In the mean time, my good friend, Ben Witt of Milltown Cycles loaned me his Phil Wood/Rolling Darryl wheel, which he hadn't even ridden yet, to use for a bit. His hub was flawless.

    I had to give the wheel back to Ben in Mid-February, and my wheel returned Feb 10th. All was good, eh?

    Not so fast! First ride and I had all sorts of snapping and popping. The free hub was already slipping, and I didn't get 10 miles in. Sent the wheel back again. Remember- I had a total of 4 rides on this wheel. I didn't even bother looking inside of it the second time.

    Just to be clear, this was the same hub shell with new guts and free hub body. It was my opinion that the hub shell was out of spec, and I told PW at that time that I thought they should replace the hub altogether.

    After they received it, they informed me they were back ordered on free hub bodies. Months go by, and in late May, I found that they had finally received new free hub bodies, and after an inspection, the wheel would be coming back. Another month and a half go by.....



    Then, just a week ago, I got word that the entire hub had been replaced, and that the re-built wheel was on its way back to me. I received it today, went for a ride, and so far.......so good! I think the issue has finally been resolved.

    So, my conclusions are the following...

    -Phil Wood customer service is not so hot. I had to pester them for every update, barring the last notification. I also had to eat shipping both times I sent the wheel out. They finally did give me a new hub and re-laced my wheel at no charge, but in the process I lost over 5 months of ride time.

    -Phil Wood quality seems great, with the single (known to me) exception of the old hub. I haven't heard anything else that would sway me away from buying a Phil product from anyone else. My issue seems to be waaaay out of the norm for the company, so take that into advisement here.

    -So far, I am confident the hub will be good. I noted that each of the other times the problems started straight away, and Ben's hub never gave me any pause for concern. I am planning a longer ride over the weekend to verify this.

    So, I do have a bit of a sour taste in my mouth over the deal, but I also recognize that mine is an isolated case, (as far as I know), and it did finally get resolved. I'm happy it's all behind me now. (Fingers crossed!)

    Time to go ride......
    Riden' an Smilin'
    Guitar Ted

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  2. #2
    rmb
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    Eating shipping twice is horrible, and that is one expensive hub.

  3. #3
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    phooey to Phils

  4. #4
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    I had an unbelievably horrible experience dealing with the woman who answers the phone. No need to name names. Right Darla In the end and after months of waiting they still got it wrong. I thought I was getting a solid front axle, but surprise it was a QR

    I'll never deal with PW again until someone else starts taking the orders.

    Phil Wood

    Good products.

    Very Slow.

    Terrible to deal with,

  5. #5
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    Sucks that you had to pay shipping, you shouldn't have had to do that. And it is unfortunate that they didn't solve the problem the first time, but as you said this issue seems to be a very rare occurrence.

    Beyond that, it sounds like bad luck. $h!+ happens.

  6. #6
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    What I have used of their product has been good, but like wise I have been less than impressed with their service.

    Yes ago I was having a custom off road tandem made. They offered to make me some disc brake hubs... but then never followed through on it.They "two weeked" me for months. They did try saying that they were "doing me a favor" with the project.. but what kind of favor did it end up doing by .keeping me hanging.. and then never producing the product.

  7. #7
    aka bOb
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    Thanks for posting this! I don't ming getting crapped on by big mass producing companies that I buy from because you get an OK product for a reasonable price. But wouldn't expect it from a company like PW and info like this can and will make a difference in future purchases.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Ted View Post
    ...Phil Wood customer service is not so hot....
    I agree. It's foul.

    A couple of years ago I got a set of track hubs from them. They were supposed to be anodised blue. They weren't. Nicely made, but not what I wanted.

    I sent a couple of emails and got no reply whatsoever.

    I didn't waste my time jumping up and down. I got a set of hubs from another quality manufacturer who got the order right, and I simply didn't order the rest of the bits I was going to, and dropped PW from my supplier preferences. (Shipping the product back from the UK just wasn't worth the expense).

    I have no problem with their quality. I'm using their EBBs in 2 bikes, and never had them move or squeak.

    I did break down recently and reluctantly ordered a BB for my fatbike, but that's because they are the only company making a quality square taper one.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 5736' Highlands, Scotland

  9. #9
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    Hi another Phil user here, I have a 20mm hub that wouldn't fit the brand new rockshox revelation, it needed 10mm machined off the end cap bit.
    Couple of emails (I live in new Zealand) so calling won't work, no response
    They finally responded saying their custom stuff takes longer to do, I explained it was not custom at all.

    2 years in still no response, end caps were locally machined to fit , nice hubs by the way

    Chris king on the other hand ...., replaced a 20 yr old 3dv headset for nix !!!!!
    I know where I'll be spending my hard earned

  10. #10
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    I hate saying anything negative about a well respected company, but we should learn from each others experiences. The trouble is pw offers so many things on their site you need to make contact to sort out what you need. I had absolutely no trouble getting good information from Mark when he worked there. Super nice to deal with. I had my square taper within days mainly because it was in stock, and it's super good quality.

    Dealing with Darla Sasaki was a totally different story. I believe she's the VP. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. From the get go she gave me disinformation about my options, continually lied about build and ship dates, and generally gave me a feeling I was bothering her and that I should just shut up and be glad for what I'll get and when I'll get it. She rarely returned my emails, and when I would call she said that she was just getting ready to reply to me....another obvious lie.

    I can sympathize with Ted. It took five or six months to get my hub, and it wasn't what I thought I was getting. If you order directly from their website and have no contact just be prepared to wait. The trouble is there is no way to deal with anyone else but Darla. I asked her several times to * please * put me in contact with someone else, but she refused every time saying they're a small company and no one else to deal with.

    If you want to order a square taper bb for your bike I say do it. PW makes great bb's, but again if it's not on the shelf be prepared to wait several months and probably more. If it's special order and you have to go through Darla you better have done your homework so you won't be fed a bunch of bs, then be prepared to wait a very long time.

    I'll return the floor to Ted. I didn't mean to interrupt your thread.

    btw beautiful hub

  11. #11
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    My experince was 10 or so years ago. I don't recall who I dealt with, but it was not Darla. I would not "refuse" to use them again... but the past experience [and what is shared here] does come into play when making future purchases. When I was just looking at upgrading hubs [135mm].. there were a lot of good choices out there.

  12. #12
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    I would have thought the shop were you bought the hubs would have covered the shipping and gave you a loaner wheel.

    No such luck I guess.

    Best of luck with the replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Ted View Post

    -Phil Wood customer service is not so hot. I had to pester them for every update, barring the last notification. I also had to eat shipping both times I sent the wheel out. They finally did give me a new hub and re-laced my wheel at no charge, but in the process I lost over 5 months of ride time.


    Time to go ride......

  13. #13
    Harmonius Wrench
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    Quote Originally Posted by shoo View Post
    I would have thought the shop were you bought the hubs would have covered the shipping and gave you a loaner wheel.

    No such luck I guess.

    Best of luck with the replacement.
    The shop I bought it from, (Milltown Cycles), is the same that loaned me the wheel to ride for a bit. I decided to take the issue up with Phil Wood directly, so I don't see how Milltown can be held responsible, since I took the responsibility of dealing with PW myself.

    Thanks for the well wishes.

    Furthermore, it seems that others have seen some not so great customer service issues as well from PW & Co. That's discouraging, as the products, for the most part, seem top notch.

    Hopefully they see fit to rectify their mistakes with future raising of customer service standards.
    Riden' an Smilin'
    Guitar Ted

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