Re: Hubs - worth extra money for "quality"

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Luke, Oct 9, 2004.

  1. Luke

    Luke Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, Retro Bob
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    > In my continuing list of "does it really matter" questions, I'm
    > wondering about hubs. OK, sealed bearings have advantages, no
    > question about that. Also, a hub that lasts a long time is a nice
    > thing to have. A glorious finish is fun too. But, well greased cheap
    > alloy hubs from 1965 are still running smooth and I don't need to
    > use my hubs for mirrors.
    > So, is it worth the extra money for a really expensive hub?

    A good question. But it should be qualified. For instance, what
    conditions is the hub to subjected to? Or would the longer lifespan
    (ostensibly) and greater serviceability of a higher quality - say a
    Phil with it's stainless axles and cartridge bearings - be worth the
    premium paid?

    Consider this case. I've two fixed gears: One is a equipped with a Phil
    hub, the other a Suzue. The five year old Phil hub is on a beater
    commuter that's ridden in the most adverse conditions: Snow, mud, rain
    etc..., while the Suzi is on a fair weather short distance bike. I paid
    roughly five times as much for the Phil as for the Suzi. But, for me,
    it's worth it; the extra value being the Phil's troublefree and
    undemanding operation. The Phil's stainless axles don't rust and every
    year I replace the bearings: No muss no fuss. Now if you relish
    settings cones and greasing bearings in mid January, then perhaps the
    Phil would not be cost effective. And in that regard, your expectations
    of the hubs' performance figures into determining their worth.

    Another example: Last year a LBS had a box of specials. I picked up
    three new Shimano 600 36h front hubs for $5 Cdn each. What a deal. I've
    laced up two of them and when riding cannot tell the difference between
    them my Ultegra hub. Cheap dead stock definitely doesn't equal
    mediocrity. With no significant benefits - the nice polish
    notwithstanding - I don't consider the Ultegras worth the premium. But
    I'm not a racer and am not particularly fastidious when it comes to
    counting grams.

    > In the
    > relative scheme of forces, can a slightly rougher hub have any
    > significant effect on speed or effort required to propel the bike ?

    I've not experienced a noticeable decrease in the resistance of an
    expensive hub over a well lubed and adjusted cheaper hub. Usually, the
    extra $ goes toward more attractive cosmetics and lighter weight.