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  1. #1
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    How does a high engagement hub help you?

    One of the primary decision factors for many, and in many of the "which hub?" threads, is the number of engagement points. How does a high engagement hub affect your ride?

    I ride mostly midwest single track and currently use Hope (24 point) and DT Swiss (18 point) hubs. I don't see how having more engagement points on the hub is going to help my riding. Can you explain how having more engagement points has changed the way you ride or improved your riding?

    I'm not trying to start a flame war here. I really want to know how these hubs affect your ride.

  2. #2
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    It pretty much just comes down to the feeling that your power is transferred to the ground a split second faster when you resume pedaling. Most casual riders don't even know the difference in normal speed riding.

    The really low speed technical stuff is where they help the most. If you're virtually standing still and trying to move your bike 4 inches forward to clear something its nice to only have to pedal forward a few degrees.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli
    It pretty much just comes down to the feeling that your power is transferred to the ground a split second faster when you resume pedaling. Most casual riders don't even know the difference in normal speed riding.

    The really low speed technical stuff is where they help the most. If you're virtually standing still and trying to move your bike 4 inches forward to clear something its nice to only have to pedal forward a few degrees.
    Agreed. If you are keeping the pedals moving then engagement doesn't factor in because the hub is already engaged. It doesn't even matter too much when accelerating out of a coast other than the nice, warm feeling of instant power when you start to pedal again.

    But when you are riding slow, technical obstacles it can even be the difference between succeeding and failing sometimes. When you are stalled and need to surge forwards any time lost to spin the crank without moving puts you closer to tipping over. These situations also often involve ratcheting the cranks back and forth because there isn't enough clearance to pedal a full circle and you are therefore re-engaging the hub every time you ratchet.

    This is especially true if you are in a granny gear since a low gear multiplies the degrees of engagement at the hub so that the cranks need to be rotated through an even larger angle

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn

    But when you are riding slow, technical obstacles it can even be the difference between succeeding and failing sometimes. When you are stalled and need to surge forwards any time lost to spin the crank without moving puts you closer to tipping over. These situations also often involve ratcheting the cranks back and forth because there isn't enough clearance to pedal a full circle and you are therefore re-engaging the hub every time you ratchet.

    This is especially true if you are in a granny gear since a low gear multiplies the degrees of engagement at the hub so that the cranks need to be rotated through an even larger angle
    great response. i noticed an enormous diff going from my 36pt XT hubs to I9s. i would not go back.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 29ftw
    great response. i noticed an enormous diff going from my 36pt XT hubs to I9s. i would not go back.
    haha, it's all relative I guess. I upgraded my DT hub from 18pt to 36pt this past summer and it made a big difference, but it also has felt more than quick enough when I've put it to test on obstacles

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    haha, it's all relative I guess. I upgraded my DT hub from 18pt to 36pt this past summer and it made a big difference, but it also has felt more than quick enough when I've put it to test on obstacles
    haha..it was huge going from 18pt WTB laserdisc hubs to the XTs too!

  7. #7
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    When it's under 10 degree it's very fast and feel instant already. Many nowadays are 10, 7.5. good already. I have I9s and Kings. Kings of course 5 degree, I can't tell the difference between 3 degree, 6 degree(I took 3 pawls off one of my I9) and the Kings on the trail. It's a bit more noticeable when going back and forth while doing trackstand though

  8. #8
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    One of the nice things about the DT Swiss hubs, even the 18 point one, is that right after you hear the click, the engagement starts almost immediately. That means you get at most about 21 degrees free play, and at least about 1 (just a guess). On the other hand, the wtb LAser Disc Lite hubs are notoriously bad for still having free play after the click. After the pawl clicks down, it is still free to rotate a few degrees before the pawl actually digs in. I think it is around 6 degrees. So even though my WTB hub has 24 clicks, the actual engagement is max 360/24 + 6 = 21, and the minimum engagement is 6 degrees. As you can see, it is WORSE than the DT swiss hub with fewer clicks.

    Next thing to note is that the worst case is if you are in a granny gear and slowly rolling along. Let's say you just heard a click on your WTB hub and start pedaling. You go pedal about 30 degrees to get 20 degrees at the hub (due to gearing). In the mean time, the hub has already rolled forwards another 10 degrees. Now you need ANOTHER 15 degrees at the pedals to keep up. I tried doing this test on my wtb hubs, and it is disconcerting how much free pedal play I got.

    In any case, this hasn't been a big issue for me. I use my WTB wheels as my roadie wheels, so no big deal. I use my DT swiss hub off road. The only times I ratchet the pedals are when I'm about to fall off anyway, or after I've fallen off and need to get the bike started again.

  9. #9
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    Ok so this is something that I have been wondering for awhile.. How to you all figure out how many points of engagement a hub has. I have looked and looked but never found an answer and cant find anything on the spec sheets. I would really like to know because I want to get a "decent" hub for my 29er I am building. The bike that I am riding now has old LX hubs on them and I can definitely see the benefit when I am going through our singletrack around here (very much undulating hills).

    So can someone show me how to figure it out or what to look for on a spec sheet?

  10. #10
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    You might not ever notice the help provides by a high number of engagement points.

    For me, it is that rare time when I am cranking over some odd obstacle and I need to slowly ratchet over it.
    Nobody cares...........

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregnash
    Ok so this is something that I have been wondering for awhile.. How to you all figure out how many points of engagement a hub has. I have looked and looked but never found an answer and cant find anything on the spec sheets. I would really like to know because I want to get a "decent" hub for my 29er I am building. The bike that I am riding now has old LX hubs on them and I can definitely see the benefit when I am going through our singletrack around here (very much undulating hills).

    So can someone show me how to figure it out or what to look for on a spec sheet?

    It is typically part of the spec sheet. If it is not given then you can be fairly certain that it is low, otherwise it is a selling point that is used in the marketing endeavor.

    Another thing you can do is look inside and count the number of "teeth" that are used.
    Nobody cares...........

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas_martel
    Another thing you can do is look inside and count the number of "teeth" that are used.
    If half your pawls are offset, you'll have twice the engagement points as there are "teeth".

    The easiest way to find out is to mark your freewheel somehow, ratchet back one full turn counting the clicks (or one half turn and multiply by 2)

    Personally I got addicted to high engagement after starting riding trials. With lower engagement, I can't quite back pedal as I like to do anymore. I often backpedal a fraction of a turn to clear an obstacle or simply for "power synching" (that is placing my pedals to get maximum power output at the right moment).
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  13. #13
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    For years I rode low POE hubs and never gave those big $$ high POE hubs a second look. I blew a rear hub and my buddy let me borrow his Chris King equipped rear wheel. I rode this for almost a month before my 18 pt hub was replaced. I didn't think much of the CK other than its famous bzzzz sound. Got back on my 18pt hub and thought somethings wrong feels like there is a hugh lag every time I pedal out of a turn - nothing was wrong I was spoiled by the fast engagement. Currently have 72 + on all my rides.

  14. #14
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    Does the bzzz sound also consistently warn people that you're incoming so they yield (is it loud enough)? I just got a used set of i9 enduro wheels for christmas and I'm looking to try em out beyond the front of the house. They're not very loud, but I'm hoping that they're loud enough. I can warn people long before I have to use the brake with the bell.

  15. #15
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    you don't think your i9's are loud? lol they're one of the loudest on the market!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by redmr2_man
    you don't think your i9's are loud? lol they're one of the loudest on the market!
    My ears may not be the greatest, but on Monday, I'll have a few more sets of ears to judge.

    Hopes sound silent to me. It's what 2 of my buddies ride on, and I'm surprised some call them loud. I know Cobalts had a bzzz to them too that was comparable to this. I blame my previous profession for my lack of sharp hearing.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis
    My ears may not be the greatest, but on Monday, I'll have a few more sets of ears to judge.

    Hopes sound silent to me. It's what 2 of my buddies ride on, and I'm surprised some call them loud. I know Cobalts had a bzzz to them too that was comparable to this. I blame my previous profession for my lack of sharp hearing.
    If you think Hopes are silent you do have a hearing problem - really. I have used just about every hub available and I9's are not loud especially when compared to a Hope Pro II. Any hub will increase in noise level w/ use (after break in ) or lack of lube. Just use your bell and slow down that's better than continuing @ full speed and hoping someone recognizes a hub as a safety / warning device.

  18. #18
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    When I backpedal my cranks with the bike on the stand, the wheel turns backwards too with an i9. Is that normal? It's not like a fixie, but it worries me still. Uploaded a quick video demonstrating:

    <iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/18195678?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0" width="398" height="224" frameborder="0"></iframe>

  19. #19
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    Wheels moving backwards when backpedalling without any resistance is normal
    mike

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by keen
    Got back on my 18pt hub and thought somethings wrong feels like there is a hugh lag every time I pedal out of a turn - nothing was wrong I was spoiled by the fast engagement.
    This is likely the biggest problem with high # POE hubs. It is when you go back to
    a low # POE hubs that you really feel the difference. I know, I ridge both types.
    Nobody cares...........

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis
    When I backpedal my cranks with the bike on the stand, the wheel turns backwards too with an i9. Is that normal? It's not like a fixie, but it worries me still. Uploaded a quick video demonstrating:
    I wanna say that's it's ok, but I have 4 set of I9s none is doing that, one of my wheelset came close which is Xmax SL, but I ended up changing the bushing. I'd call Brandi at I9 tomorrow and ask him.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by dysfunction
    Wheels moving backwards when backpedalling without any resistance is normal
    normal for hubs with super tight engagement and the drag that comes with those systems. You will not see that on a Shimano, DT or Mavic hub as long as they are in good shape. However it's common place for King, I9 and Hopes to do that.

    I'd be curious to see some roll down testing with a stock hub but with different free hub systems and see how much difference there really is in the added drag while coasting for some of the higher POE hubs.

  23. #23
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    There's certainly some noticeable drag spinning it in the dropouts, but I personally think its effect is minimal/unnoticeable in the large scope of things, such as tire rolling resistance, weight, and such. It also only comes into play when you're not pedaling. One think I like about i9 hubs are the dustcaps with set screws to lock them to control side load on the bearings, which cause drag in other wheels.

    I'm just worried since the freehub binding up while coasting really fast on a trail can be a nasty surprise.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis
    There's certainly some noticeable drag spinning it in the dropouts, but I personally think its effect is minimal/unnoticeable in the large scope of things, such as tire rolling resistance, weight, and such. It also only comes into play when you're not pedaling. One think I like about i9 hubs are the dustcaps with set screws to lock them to control side load on the bearings, which cause drag in other wheels.

    I'm just worried since the freehub binding up while coasting really fast on a trail can be a nasty surprise.
    You have your opinions and I have mine that's why I thought it would be interesting to see something with real testing, moot to debate it other wise.

    The biggest problem with freehub drag is it slacking the top run of the chain to the point that it can become caught in the wheel and/or chain stay.

  25. #25
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    I know this thread hasn't been touched in a while, but I thought I would try my luck here. I was wondering how to figure out how you calculate how many degrees of rotation it takes for a hub to get from one engagement point to the next. I was looking at specialized' new 650b Fattie wheelset, which according to DT swiss have 24 POE and 3 pawls. I'm more or less just curious if the DT 360's specced on these wheels are any good. I like to build my own wheels instead of purchasing a wheelset most of the time, but I'm always trying to learn.

  26. #26
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    you can use pretty basic math to figure it out.

  27. #27
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    Perhaps the actual process of performing the math might be easy, however I am unsure of what inputs to use in figuring out the math. While I know that the hub has 24 points of engagement and 3 pawls, I do not know the spacing between each individual pawl, or the spacing between each individual point of engagement. I am assuming these measurements are necessary to obtain the degrees between each point of engagement; however, I could be completely wrong, which is why I am here on this forum.

  28. #28
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    Upon further reading, it seems like the overall concensus for finding the degress of engagement with standard pawl hubs is to take 360 and divide that by the points of engagement. That would give this hub 15 degress rotation between each point of engagement. Not exactly great, but at the pricepoint the wheelset is at it's more or less to be expected.

  29. #29
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    food for thought

    theres pros and cons to everything $ aside.
    I find it helpful sometimes to get your legs moving before the load takes up.. esp when pedals are in 12.30 position- straight up and down.. one has no power when pedals are in this position- so if the load takes up immediately.. it will be harder to 'get moving forward'
    food for thought
    Quote Originally Posted by aspiringmechanic View Post
    Upon further reading, it seems like the overall concensus for finding the degress of engagement with standard pawl hubs is to take 360 and divide that by the points of engagement. That would give this hub 15 degress rotation between each point of engagement. Not exactly great, but at the pricepoint the wheelset is at it's more or less to be expected.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridetwe View Post
    theres pros and cons to everything $ aside.
    I find it helpful sometimes to get your legs moving before the load takes up.. esp when pedals are in 12.30 position- straight up and down.. one has no power when pedals are in this position- so if the load takes up immediately.. it will be harder to 'get moving forward'
    food for thought
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  31. #31
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    agreed

  32. #32
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    ....
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  33. #33
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    Lol @ henceforth

  34. #34
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    If anyone says "ratchet" I will turn this car around!

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    If anyone says "ratchet" I will turn this car around!
    Source- Urban Dictionary

    Ratchet: A ghetto-dialect mispronunciation of the English term "wretched".

    "Ol' girl with her hoochie-ass clothes too tight an' her tracks shown' in her scraggly-ass weave with her fake-ass Gucci bag think she cute. She ratchet."
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  36. #36
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    If you don't ride on trails with baby head to watermelon sized rocks and steep, punchy climbs, you'll never understand the value of a precise ratchet.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schulze View Post
    If you don't ride on trails with baby head to watermelon sized rocks and steep, punchy climbs, you'll never understand the value of a precise ratchet.
    Or maybe we do ride on trails with baby head to watermelon sized rocks, and steep, punchy climbs, and we just don't care.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  38. #38
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    Or stream crossings where you only have sn inch of clearance to your pedals, have to go slow so your shoes don't get sprayed, but need to be able to punch the drivetrain instantly where your hubs engage and move you forward before your cranks turn too far and your feet get wet.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Or maybe we do ride on trails with baby head to watermelon sized rocks, and steep, punchy climbs, and we just don't care.
    You can understand without caring. I'll allow that.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schulze View Post
    You can understand without caring. I'll allow that.
    Oh, I understand, it just doesn't make a real difference to me. That's why I don't care. This always turns into a "because I need it, every one else does" thing...
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    This always turns into a "because I need it, every one else does" thing...
    Or a "because I don't need it(yet ride high POE/sprag hubs that I paid a big $ and/or weight penalty for, but mysteriously chose for other reasons, and am surely not posting just to feed my ego), noone else does" thing. Oh, there must be something wrong with y'all if you want a different hub, it must be 'cause I'm soooo skilled. Yeah...


    I care, though a lot less when riding geared than SS. But when you're jammed up and at a standstill in the "wrong" gear, riding through stuff that forces you to depend on partial pedal strokes to maintain momentum, or uphill patches that have multiple small obstacles within a bike length at very low speed where you feel like you're riding a seesaw instead of a bicycle, more POE sure doesn't hurt!
    I've been flirting with the idea of P321 or Onyx hubs while riding SS, but since going back to gears am quite happy with my 54T DT350, and can't swear I'd notice if I put the 36T ratchets back in. May have to try that, just to see.
    The 18T felt clunky to me either way, though-which is why I tried the 36T ratchets to begin with.

  42. #42
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    I've never been riding and thought to myself, "Man, I really wish I had more points of engagement.". In fact, my girlfriend hates when I go on a casual ride with my beehive hub because it really is obnoxious.

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  43. #43
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    I mostly ride for fun, only sometimes race. I like fast engagement hubs because they feel and sound nicer; I can't stand the "clunk" with 18-tooth. High POE feeds my senses good things, which is the main reason I ride bikes, to nourish my senses.
    You can't buy happiness. But you can buy a bike. And that's pretty close.

  44. #44
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    As far as rolling resistance, onyx are like a front hub, they just keep spinning. After onyx I would say the low engagement cheap hubs are next, followed by Hadley/i9, then CK, then hope.

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