Paul WORD vs. Surly Hubs?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Paul WORD vs. Surly Hubs?

    I'm building up a new set of SSCX wheels. The rims will probably be H+Son Hydra.

    I want a cartridge bearing SS wheelset, with nice hubs that will last me a long, long time. Replaceable bearings is a must.

    So, school me- I love Paul Components. What am I looking at if I upgrade to Paul over the Surly hubs? If weight is not a consideration, could the Surly hubs perhaps be better for durability? They're a lot cheaper!

    Thanks for any and all insight!
    Max
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  2. #2
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    Ive run Pauls on my Voodoo, they are super nice.

    I have a surly rear hub on my Dean. They're not at the same level as the Pauls. If I adjust the surly to where theres no slop in the bearing, then it binds due to poor machining.

    Given the chance, Id run Pauls again.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by evad nosam View Post
    Ive run Pauls on my Voodoo, they are super nice.

    I have a surly rear hub on my Dean. They're not at the same level as the Pauls. If I adjust the surly to where theres no slop in the bearing, then it binds due to poor machining.

    Given the chance, Id run Pauls again.
    Can I budget effectively if I go with a Paul in the rear and a Surly in the front? I've got Surly front hubs on my 29+ and 26 fat wheelset on my SS pugs, and they are holding up fine.

    But, I'm not opposed to spending a little extra $ on a Paul FHUB. I'm just curious how far my dollar goes there. I've been really happy with some Surly stuff, like my O.D. crankset- that BB has been amazing.
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    I like the Surly stuff too, and the Surly hubs on my Moonlander and Pugsley are great. Im sure a front hub wont be an issue. Just given the two, Id take the Pauls. I was on a tight budget with my Dean build, so the Surly fit the bill perfectly in my case. They're fine hubs, I just wish I could get the play out of mine. Im thinking the dust covers arent sitting correctly...so they bind on the hub body

  5. #5
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    I have no experience with the Surly hubs but I do have Paul hubs front and rear. I can say that they have exceeded my expectations! They spin forever and super easy to maintain and adjust. I wouldn't hesitate to use them again in another build.

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    I love me some Paul hubs! I have ridden a few sets and never have they let me down. Bearing replacement is a 1 to 1.5 beer job while taking your time...

  7. #7
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    Thanks for all the feedback. I think I'm going to cut some costs in the build and make sure I can use Paul hubs front and rear. Paul is a cool guy and I like all the stuff I have from him, and hearing the feedback here I am pretty sure I'm gonna like these, too.
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  8. #8
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    I love Paul Comp. as a company, but I have nothing but good things to say about the Surly Ultra New hubs. I have a set on my SS cross bike that's seen an insane amount of commuting and gravel miles, and a set on my fixed gear 29er that's been ridden to hell and back. For the money you really can't beat em.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DualRollers View Post
    I love Paul Comp. as a company, but I have nothing but good things to say about the Surly Ultra New hubs. I have a set on my SS cross bike that's seen an insane amount of commuting and gravel miles, and a set on my fixed gear 29er that's been ridden to hell and back. For the money you really can't beat em.
    Are they the Ultra New version? I had some understanding that the originals had issues, and Surly redesigned them for the Ultra New line. Would love to know what's different if anyone knows.

    The see-saw goes back and forth...
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
    Are they the Ultra New version? I had some understanding that the originals had issues, and Surly redesigned them for the Ultra New line. Would love to know what's different if anyone knows.

    The see-saw goes back and forth...
    Both sets are the Ultra New version. I originally bought them because it's hard to find a 135mm flip flop hub, and they were reasonably priced. I was so impressed that I built my cross bike wheels around them as well. On the cross bike I slapped a White Ind freewheel on and those wheels are basically indestructible. I bet I have upwards of 2k commuting and gravel on that hub/freewheel setup and they're still as smooth as the day I bought them.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by evad nosam View Post
    I have a surly rear hub on my Dean. They're not at the same level as the Pauls. If I adjust the surly to where theres no slop in the bearing, then it binds due to poor machining.
    A lot of people have mentioned this about the Surly New hubs, with the 7901 adjustable bearings. If you originally set the locknut so there was no play but no resistance while spinning and not check it and snug it after a few rides the bearing races would wear in too much and develop play/slop that wouldn't go away. I have had no problems in the 5 years since I built my SS wheelset with the New hubs and I've ridden it hard as well as commuted in the winter. I just recently tightened the front up a little, maybe 1/32nd of a turn or something on both sides to take care of very minute play that I honestly could have left alone, probably. The Ultra New hubs have the non adjustable 6901 bearings as do the Paul hub IIRC, so it's more set and forget. If you own the older New hubs, the 7901 bearings can be replaced with 6901 if you've had issues and want to make it easier on yourself. The hub shell is also the same so if you want to replace the axle to the Ultra New axle you can do that as well, Surly sells the kit to do so. Both Paul and Surly rear hubs have a chainline that lines up with the outer ring of a traditional 3x mtb crankset. If you want to use the middle ring+bash, you may want to consider a WI ENO hub if you want to stick with a freewheel. Otherwise, if you want to go to the freehub/cog system to change your ratio more easily and manage chainline better, I would recommend the Hope SS Trials hub.

    Surly is burly and made in China, thus the price. Paul is certainly respectable and perhaps under appreciated US made. WI ENO is the best freewheel period and they make a darn nice hub too in the US. Hope is light, colorful and blingy.
    I don't know why,... it's just MUSS easier to pedal than the other ones.

  12. #12
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    I love my Paul hubs, but my only issues were getting the 52mm chainline set up properly. I'm running Raceface Atlas cranks, which are supposed to have excellent adjustability, but it was still a pain in the ass. I think I had to add an extra spacer on the driveside BB and pull off one of the 1mm white plastic spacers from the actual crank. What cranks are you guys running to get the chainline proper?

  13. #13
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    I had a set of Sram/Truvativ Firex SScranks for the longest time, but that doesn't count because I was using a BMX chain to manipulate the chainline. I had Surly ring in the middle position with a bash that was shimmed out with washers and used longer bolts to hold it together nicely. The chain would run against the outside of the ring and the inside of the freewheel and it worked rather nicely but was bulky. I'm now running an older set of RF Deus 9spd cranks and an AB Oval with an 8 spd chain. The AB ring is intended to go in the middle position but is in the outer ring spot so I'm still using longer bolts. Anyway, the chain line looks good so nothing is shimmed. Standard, by the instruction book setup for the cranks on a 68mm BB shell.
    I don't know why,... it's just MUSS easier to pedal than the other ones.

  14. #14
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    I personally wouldn't go with either Surly or Paul for a singlespeed hub. Mainly because they use a thread on freewheel. That's archaic technology that just needs to go away!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny View Post
    I personally wouldn't go with either Surly or Paul for a singlespeed hub. Mainly because they use a thread on freewheel. That's archaic technology that just needs to go away!
    What's your recommended alternative?
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
    What's your recommended alternative?
    SS specific regular hub would be lighter and likely more beneficial. That depends on your spacing though, you said this is going on a cross bike? Is it running 135? If so, you could put a Hope Trials hub or something similar on it and save some weight. Personally, the reason I have 2 Ultra New hub sets is because of my weird situations. I need a 135 flip flop for the fixed 29er, and my cross bike uses track spacing (don't ask, it's goofy as hell).

    My regular SS runs a regular hub. It's just more efficient, saves weight, and there are a lot more options.

  17. #17
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    In my case I got the New hubs as a pair from someone who decided they were "archaic" tech and I was happy to get them for 50 unlaced and brand new. Since I built the wheels myself and got a Shimano freewheel until I could get the WI they were considerably cheaper than the Hope Trials hub, which I would wholeheartedly recommend since I love my Pro2s if you don't want a freewheel. Again, I have had zero issues and a fair share of complements on the wheels.

    Also, bikeny, as soon as Hope makes an eccentric SS hub for my RMB BLizzard, 'cause I'm anti chain-tensioner, I'll stop using the WI Eno hub... maybe.
    I don't know why,... it's just MUSS easier to pedal than the other ones.

  18. #18
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    As others said, get a good singlespeed cassette hub. You could go super pricey, as in Chris King or Hadley, but I personally don't think they are worth it. I am personally a big fan of DT Swiss hubs these days, but their 240 singlspeed hub is pretty pricey, and there is unfortunately no 350 version. I just did a quick search, and the cheapest I saw was $369 from Bikewagon on Ebay. That's a pretty good deal actually. I think Hope is the best bang for the buck right now. They can be had for under $250.

    There are others around as well that I have no experience with: Industry Nine, Profile Racing, Tune, Stan's. There a sweet looking orange Industry Nine hub on Ebay right now for $250. No connection.

  19. #19
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    Do the axle bolts on Surly Ultra New or Paul hubs prevent the axle from slipping in track ends? Or would I need to use a chain tug? I see that Surly Ultra New hubs have a maximum axle bolt torque of 12 Nm, which is much less than I use on my nutted solid axle hub (tight AF). It would be nice not to carry a 15mm wrench, but is this too good to be true? I can't find a torque limit for Paul hubs.

    My frame is aluminum and the track-ends are reinforced with very hard steel plates, so I'm concerned the lock nuts and washers may not get much bite without a lot of clamping force.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillTheGreat View Post
    Do the axle bolts on Surly Ultra New or Paul hubs prevent the axle from slipping in track ends? Or would I need to use a chain tug? I see that Surly Ultra New hubs have a maximum axle bolt torque of 12 Nm, which is much less than I use on my nutted solid axle hub (tight AF). It would be nice not to carry a 15mm wrench, but is this too good to be true? I can't find a torque limit for Paul hubs.

    My frame is aluminum and the track-ends are reinforced with very hard steel plates, so I'm concerned the lock nuts and washers may not get much bite without a lot of clamping force.
    Pretty sure you'd still have to use a chain tug.

  21. #21
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    I talked with my LBS. The guy who owns the place is a good friend and he's very anti-tech. He usually leans towards the simplest solution. That said, when it comes to wheels he's the first to recommend quality parts.

    His first recommendation was Chris King, but his second recommendation was the Surly hub. Since the bearings are easily replaceable, he said "You're looking at replacing a bearing, maybe, after 3 years instead of five years." He knows I ride all through winter and that I'm out every single day, so I trust his estimate.

    So, if the difference between the Surly hub and the CK/Paul hub is 3 years vs. 5 years, I'm tempted by the Surly hub. What I want to know is whether anything loosens up or if the seals fail on a regular basis- that would be a big reason for me to upgrade. Nothing lasts forever, but I want to minimize my fiddling and maximize reliability.

    I may just default to spending more on boutique shit so that I'm not tossing and turning all night wondering if I cheaped out.
    Last edited by mdilthey; 10-27-2016 at 06:25 PM.
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  22. #22
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    In my case, with the New hubs with a threaded axle and the 7901 adjustable bearings, I expected to have to make minor adjustments like one might with the cup'n'cone loose ball Shimano Deore/XT hubs I used for a long time and it turns out I adjusted them much less, almost never once they were set right. I've had the bike in the shop a couple times during the winter in the last 5 years when the rates are lower for overhauls and asked about the wheels and was nearly always told they didn't touch them as they didn't seem to need it. The Surly hubs have surpassed my expectations honestly. I would think the ultra new with that non adjustable bearings would be an improvement in terms of longetivity. That is, not having to futz with them other than checking them while you do general maintenance on your bike. Honestly, I don't think you can go wrong with Paul's, who seems to be rather meticulous about his products, or the CK. However, the CK is too expensive for me, so I'd settle for Hope SS. If it's good enough for Danny MacAskill they're certainly good enough for me.
    I don't know why,... it's just MUSS easier to pedal than the other ones.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillTheGreat View Post
    Do the axle bolts on Surly Ultra New or Paul hubs prevent the axle from slipping in track ends? Or would I need to use a chain tug? I see that Surly Ultra New hubs have a maximum axle bolt torque of 12 Nm, which is much less than I use on my nutted solid axle hub (tight AF). It would be nice not to carry a 15mm wrench, but is this too good to be true? I can't find a torque limit for Paul hubs.

    My frame is aluminum and the track-ends are reinforced with very hard steel plates, so I'm concerned the lock nuts and washers may not get much bite without a lot of clamping force.
    I have a fixed gear 29er that I ride really hard, and I do not use a chain tug. I have never had a single slipping issue with the Ultra New bolt on hubs.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbhammercycle View Post
    Otherwise, if you want to go to the freehub/cog system to change your ratio more easily and manage chainline better, I would recommend the Hope SS Trials hub.

    Hope is light, colorful and blingy.
    I like yer style, dude. Thanks for the tips. After looking at all my options with fresh eyes, I went with the Hope Pro 4 Trials hub in the rear and a Surly Ultra New hub in the front.

    I think this will be a good combo. There's something very industrial about both hubs, jet black with high flanges and no flash. I am pleased with my choice and I don't think I would have chosen either without help from this thread.

    Cheers, all
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  25. #25
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    Glad to be of help. Enjoy the hubs/wheels!
    I don't know why,... it's just MUSS easier to pedal than the other ones.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny View Post
    I personally wouldn't go with either Surly or Paul for a singlespeed hub. Mainly because they use a thread on freewheel. That's archaic technology that just needs to go away!
    I will agree that it is old technology, but the White Industries hub and freewheel on my commuter bike have been reliable through all 4 seasons of use in the PNW. They are also very easy to maintain. I'd say they are on par with my Hope and Chris King hubs.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan View Post
    I will agree that it is old technology, but the White Industries hub and freewheel on my commuter bike have been reliable through all 4 seasons of use in the PNW. They are also very easy to maintain. I'd say they are on par with my Hope and Chris King hubs.
    It's hard to argue the quality and longevity of a White Industries freewheel. I have one on my cross bike that's seen an insane amount of miles through dry dirt, mud, rain, snow, etc. It won't die and I feel like it actually runs better now than it did when I first put it on.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
    I like yer style, dude. Thanks for the tips. After looking at all my options with fresh eyes, I went with the Hope Pro 4 Trials hub in the rear and a Surly Ultra New hub in the front.

    I think this will be a good combo. There's something very industrial about both hubs, jet black with high flanges and no flash. I am pleased with my choice and I don't think I would have chosen either without help from this thread.

    Cheers, all
    Sounds like a great setup! can't wait to see the finished product.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan View Post
    I will agree that it is old technology, but the White Industries hub and freewheel on my commuter bike have been reliable through all 4 seasons of use in the PNW. They are also very easy to maintain. I'd say they are on par with my Hope and Chris King hubs.
    I agree with you about the quality of that setup. I just can't bring myself to use a system where the freewheel threads on to the hub. My engineer brain just won't let me do it! There are much better ways to attach a cog to a hub.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny View Post
    I agree with you about the quality of that setup. I just can't bring myself to use a system where the freewheel threads on to the hub. My engineer brain just won't let me do it! There are much better ways to attach a cog to a hub.
    Agreed. I probably would not have gone with the White Industies hub/freewheel combo but I wanted to convert a non SS frame to SS. I went with the eccentric hub and have been impressed with the quality.

  31. #31
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    Late to the party here, but wanted to add that (when comparing surly and paul) the main difference is that the paul stuff is a lot lighter. and by lighter, i mean much less able to take repeated adjustment. the bolts/nuts are soft and round off really easily.

    i still like the paul stuff, but you really have to be delicate with it.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Late to the party here, but wanted to add that (when comparing surly and paul) the main difference is that the paul stuff is a lot lighter. and by lighter, i mean much less able to take repeated adjustment. the bolts/nuts are soft and round off really easily.

    i still like the paul stuff, but you really have to be delicate with it.
    that's disappointing news. i was thinking about building new wheels with Paul hubs. could this be resolved with different stainless hardware?
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
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    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    that's disappointing news. i was thinking about building new wheels with Paul hubs. could this be resolved with different stainless hardware?

    in theory, yes. but i have no idea where you'd source it as it's all pretty much specific to their hubs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    that's disappointing news. i was thinking about building new wheels with Paul hubs. could this be resolved with different stainless hardware?
    The small socket head axle bolts may be a design choice to prevent stripping the threads in the aluminum axle. It's a lot better to round off the bolt head then ruin the axle. Using a high quality hex wrench and not over-tightening will help prevent rounding the bolt.

    If you need bomb-proof hardware, stick with archaic solid axle nutted hubs. Heavy is good, heavy is reliable.

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