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Long Lasting Hub

andyrrandyrr Posts: 1,561
edited February 2009 in Workshop
In relation to my post today about a hub/ freehub issue with a Giant wheel, and in advance of having to bin the wheel, I wonder if there is a cheap wheel whose hub is able to put up with a good couple of years+ of what I assume must be pretty hard usage.
I had a 105-hubbed wheel that I used initially for dry training rides and then used for all weather commuting and lasted a couple of years when the freehub failed and, upon replacing that the hub didn't continue much longer.
Replaced this with a Giant-OE Alex-rimmed wheel with unbranded hub that has at a guess only lasted 1000 miles or so.
I commute/train around 5000 - 7000 miles a year and would wonder if the cheaper hubs are pretty much disposable after a year's mileage for me ?
Problem then is that once a hub has expired it is often not economical to replace it and a new wheel is the sensible purchase : spending of cash that I'd rather avoid.

So continue in this vein or cough up for a more expensive, hand-built wheel or are there good hubg on any of the cheap wheelsets ?


  • Get something with cartridge bearings in. When the bearings wear out, it's an easy job to knock the old ones out and press new ones in. The freehub mechanisms tend to be a bit more robust too.

    Once you get to that point though - its worth spending a bit more on decent hubs (I like Hope and DT), as you can keep the hubs for decades and just get them rebuilt every few years when the rim wears out.
  • pliptrotpliptrot Posts: 582
    There is a fairly compelling argument -proven by personal experience - that cup-and-cone bearings are a better design for bicycle hubs, if only to cope with such things as side loads from quick releases. Keep these bearings clean and they will outlast cartridge bearings, because the balls are much bigger, and thus can handle larger loads.

    It always amazes me how people are prepared to tolerate misaligned bearings in expensive hubs.

    The key is keeping the bearings clean - go for Dura Ace or XT. They're worth it.
  • crankycrankcrankycrank Posts: 1,830
    Even at 7000 miles of wet potholed roads I'm surprised the 105 hubs have failed you. As pliptrot stated if you keep the bearings clean and lubed they should last a very long time.
  • acorn_useracorn_user Posts: 1,137
    Just get Shimano mtb hubs. They are well sealed and ride ok. If it's for wet weather, they will be ideal. Campagnolo hubs with cup and cone bearings will last you forever because you can buy all the parts; you can't change all the races of Shimano hubs so some things will kill them.
  • robbarkerrobbarker Posts: 1,367
    Are you maintaining them? Shimano freehub bodies are disposable items, but a flush through with wet chain lube every 1000 miles or so, more often in the wet, keeps them sweet. Similarly, if you clean, grease and adjust cup and cone bearings every 1000 or so miles, they will last a lot longer than 5000 miles IME.
  • balthazarbalthazar Posts: 1,566
    Shimano and Campag hubs are the highest quality, in my judgement. They are of a proven design and are easily maintainable. These manufacturers really understand how to make this stuff. Also, wheels with even their most expensive hubs end up cheaper than many common factory wheels. Dura-Ace and Record are beautifully shiny, made like jewellery, and will last practically for ever.
  • andyrrandyrr Posts: 1,561
    That's because I am not a great maintainer of hubs : I do occasionally strip them but not with any great regularly and most often once I feel there is something not quite right (probably by that point the major wear has set in) : particularly the rear as it's more hassle than the front.
  • balthazarbalthazar Posts: 1,566
    andyrr wrote:
    That's because I am not a great maintainer of hubs : I do occasionally strip them but not with any great regularly and most often once I feel there is something not quite right (probably by that point the major wear has set in) : particularly the rear as it's more hassle than the front.

    That's ok. As was said, freehub bodies are disposable, and if you have Shimano hubs they are freely available. I don't know how much offhand but 20-30 GBP is probably about it. The main bearings are usually extremely durable, lasting for years even without attention. With it, they last indefinitely.
  • andyrrandyrr Posts: 1,561
    Problem with not maintaining even a solid hub (105) seemed that after replacing the freehub at a reasonable cost of £25 I found the hub itself was worn and couldn't get to a point of tightening the cones up where the play was eliminated yet still ran free and smoothly so the wheel is unusable at the moment.
    It has a CXP33 rim which has a few miles left in it - if I had the time to rebuild myself I would source a hub and for maybe £30 or so I would be back on the road but I can't see myself doing that in the next couple of weeks and in the meantime I could do with a wheel.
    I've had to drag my hack bike off the turbo, with 7-speed Quando rear hub, and put it back into service.
  • WappygixerWappygixer Posts: 1,396
    I'm at the point of going back to cup and cone due to issues with cartridge bearings.
    You just cant beat it.
    How much do you pay for decent cartridge bearings?How much do you pay for a pack of ball bearings and grease?
    As for freehubs, yes they do go and prices of these for Shimano are getting expensive due to exchange rates.One thing we are about to try at work is drilling a small hole in the splined section just big enough for the straw that comes with many lubes.This way the dirt can be blasted out under pressure and the whole thing completely cleaned inside.
    A hole this size wont cause any issues and may extend the freehub loads.
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