Stealth Hub
Review

True Precision Stealth Roller Clutch Hubs

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major (unless noted)
Date May 8, 2017

True Precision

It's been six brutal months of riding since my friend Craig laced this pair of anodized gold Stealth hubs into my set of Race Face ARC rims. I had one set of clipless pedals explode and trashed another to the point of needing a full rebuild, replaced two chains, a ring, had a set of cranks fail, replaced a round of brake pads, re-greased* all the bolts on my bike and serviced my dropper post.

Other than tightening the rear axle once after the initial teardown I haven't so much as wiped the dirt off of the True Precision hubs (sorry Jeff). Engagement remains instant, action remains silent and the hub still spins very quickly if not as perfectly as when it was brand new. 

True Precision Stealth NSMB AndrewM

Other than tightening the rear axle once after the initial teardown in early November I haven't so much as wiped the dirt off of the True Precision Stealth hubs in six hard months of riding. 

The one concern about the silent roller clutch hub that I hear most regularly is regarding the early warning system a loud hub provides for other trail users. 

I can count the number of negative experiences I've ever had with other trail users on a couple fingers and the last one I only grabbed the headphone wearing walkers attention by singing Like A Prayer louder than her IPod was playing it. Personally it's not a concern for me but I wanted to recognize that for some riders it's a potential issue. 

Performance

The out of the box performance of the True Precision Stealth hubs is exactly as advertised. They are dead silent. They roll smoothly and quickly. Engagement is instantaneous. 

I noticed no degradation in performance over the review period but that isn't surprising. The same can generally be said for the slow devolution of suspension and brake performance as well. In this case, a basic service for both the front and rear hubs did result in a slight improvement in how smoothly the wheels roll.  

Stealth-Hubs-NSMB-AndrewM-10.jpg?w=1600

The out of the box performance of the True Precision Stealth hubs is exactly as advertised. They are dead silent. They roll smoothly and quickly. Engagement is instantaneous. 

I'm a huge fan of fast engaging hubs; Industry Nine Torch, Chris King etc. I get that some riders don't care. Non-weight weenies who appreciate the feeling of instant power transfer should add the Stealth hubs to their list of potential candidates. 

The Stealth rear hub is currently the only product I'm considering for future high-end wheels for my bike. 

Stealth-Hubs-NSMB-AndrewM-5.jpg?w=1600

Stainless steel driver meets INA roller clutch. One more look at the silent & instant guts from my original teardown with Bikeroom

Driver

The only bearing, front or rear, sitting outside of the Stealth hubs' perfectly toleranced aluminum bearing shields is located in the heat treated stainless steel hub driver. It is subjected to the the heaviest pedaling loads and the most exposed to the elements so it is bound to be the canary-in-the-coalmine of hub condition. 

The first step before performing any maintenance is removing the cog. True Precision makes standard Shimano and SRAM XD cassette drivers and in my case I'm testing the proprietary four-bolt mounted stainless steel BMX cog and driver on my single speed. I had zero issue with the four T-10 Torx bolts coming loose over the course of the test. With tiny heads and mucky trails it is a great idea to clean these fasteners out with a sharp pick before trying to twist them out. 

ib2016d5-stealth-hub-sram.jpg?w=1600

True Precision also makes Shimano & SRAM XD drivers (shown), a full complement of axle options and more recently Boost spacing options. I'm testing their proprietary four-bolt mounted stainless steel BMX cog and driver on my single speed. Photo: Fergs

True Precision Stealth NSMB AndrewM

A set of 4x T-10 torx bolts hold the Stainless cog onto True Precision proprietary BMX driver. I had no issue with the bolts coming loose over my test period. I checked them regularly. 

With the cog and axle assembly removed Jeff noted the driver bearing definitely felt crunchier than when it was new. We popped the bearing seal and forced in an ample amount of fresh grease while cycling the bearing. It feels great now but I would expect to replace it the next time I open up the hub for a full service. 

The driver itself is showing no wear whatsoever despite my neglect. 

True Precision Stealth NSMB AndrewM

The drive shell bearing is subjected to the heaviest pedaling loads and the most exposed to the elements so it is bound to be the canary-in-the-coalmine of hub condition. 

True Precision Stealth NSMB AndrewM

Jeff forcing clean grease into the drive shell bearing. This and a bit of lube was all it took to get the Stealth hub working good-as-new after at least 100hrs of riding. 

Shields

In addition to the perfect tolerances of the hub driver I'm also very impressed with how well True Precision's machined aluminum bearing shields keep out water and dirt without creating resistance like a seal. As a parallel, Hope uses a very similar configuration on their bottom brackets which are among the smoothest and longest lasting in the industry. 

True Precision Stealth NSMB AndrewM

Aluminum shields protect the hub internals and bearings from the elements without introducing drag to the system. 

Wear

True Precision Stealth NSMB AndrewM

There is no wear on the axle or any of the other components of the Stealth hub itself. I would expect to replace the drive shell bearing at the next service but otherwise all components are as new. 

Aside from the drive shell bearing the only item on the front or rear hub showing wear is the stainless single speed cog. Massive burrs where a couple of chains have had their way with the poor 20t plate. 

I filed down the burrs and flipped the cog. I'm anticipating it will get through at least another service if I can't stretch it for another service beyond that. That's pretty impressive longevity. Only my Chris King cog has shown less wear over a similar time period. The King cogs are roughly twice as expensive so as a value proposition both units are probably equivalent. 

True Precision Stealth NSMB AndrewM

The $35 (USD) stainless steel cog has held up really well to being chewed on by a Wippermann 108 chain. I filed the burrs off and flipped the cog around to extend its life.  

Service

I over-hedged in talking about service in my initial look at these hubs. I'd recommend a service schedule similar to a suspension fork, shock or brake system. It's a great idea to do a quick relube at the halfway point between a fresh hub and full-service time but the hubs have proved extremely resilient to abuse. 

A quick service consists of flushing the roller clutch bearing with some WD40 and then, after it dries, lubricating it with a couple of teaspoons of ATF. I recommend re-greasing easily accessible bearings as part of the process. 

True Precision Stealth NSMB AndrewM

Popping the bearing seals and replacing the grease ensures maximum life before having to replace the bearings. It's always a good idea to replace the Loctite on rotor bolts before reinstalling. 

True Precision Stealth NSMB AndrewM

A basic service consists of a quick flush with some WD40, drying time and then a couple teaspoons worth of ATF. 

The Sound of Silence

I've ridden a lot of high end super-quick engaging hubs. I've ridden a tonne of more value conscious hubs with 10-20 degrees of movement between engagements. I'll take fast engagement any day.

Thanks to the big stainless drivers the hubs aren't light but I think for most riders that's an easy trade-off for the extensive - if not infinite life. 

It potentially comes down to whether a rider wants the loudest hub on the market or silence. Even then I know a number of riders who long swore by their angry bees until trying a silent hub, roller or sprag clutch, and now evangelize about them. 

True Precision Stealth NSMB AndrewM

Instant engagement aside, the deciding factor compared to other high-end hubs will likely be the sound of silence. It's strange and amazing. 

On solo rides, especially at night, my Stealth equipped bike always exerts the strongest pull. It's amazing being alone with the sounds of the forest and my thoughts on a bike that makes no noise beyond my tires scrubbing the dirt, roots and rocks and the odd protest from my brakes. It's a beautiful thing. 

Having had the luxury to ride and service a lot of different high-end hubs, the Stealth is my favourite on the trail and coupled with impressive longevity and awesome, personal, service they will be at the top of my list for my next bike build. 

For more information and pricing check out True Precision.

*I actually use copper anti-seize or Loctite for bolts on this bike. 

Comments

GladePlayboy
0
Rob Gretchen  - May 8, 2017, 6:14 a.m.

So Andrew.... so safe to say you like these hubs?   :-)

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Rob Gretchen
Andrew Major  - May 8, 2017, 6:50 a.m.

There aren't many (any) products that I can think of that make me go "yep, if I could only ride X and never try anything else that would be fine."

It also helps that the level of support in terms of replacement parts and affordable after sale service is premium and the guys running the business are really nice but the performance alone makes them a best in class product for me. 

So yes... I "like" them :-)

Have you tried a set yet?

Reply

GladePlayboy
0
Rob Gretchen  - May 8, 2017, 7:55 p.m.

Admitedly no... very interested though.   Just having some fun...  your review was kick ass as usual.  :-)

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 9, 2017, 12:22 a.m.

Thanks Rob!

I'd say you should take my bike for a spin next time you're down but that's a bit like offering Shaq to try my shoes.

Reply

gt-dad
0
GT dad  - May 8, 2017, 8:34 a.m.

I love the instant engagement but torn on the ninja aspect. My wiife's bike xprezo has xt hubs which are almost silent , mine are hope's 64poi's and sounds like swarm of bees. On one hand  quiet is beautiful but my noisy hubs are fantastic at alerting people and dogs etc when you are approaching from behind. I few quick back pedals and people look over their shoulder every time even if they have earbuds in most times.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 8, 2017, 8:59 a.m.

I mentioned it specifically because the concern comes up anytime I talk about the hubs but has never been an issue for me. In BMX racing it's an advantage as the man in front of you never knows if you're coasting or pedaling (making a move) but on the trail I find it's more about just enjoying the sounds of nature and my tires scrubbing along. 

Maybe I,m just especially slow or especially aware but even on busy Seymour days my conflicts with other users are statistically non-existent.

Reply

Captain-Snappy
+1 FlipSide
Merwinn  - May 8, 2017, 8:50 a.m.

Any idea what grease Jeff was using?

You're writing some killer articles, Mr. Major. Keep it up. Cam should give you a raise, and not just a pint.

GT

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 8, 2017, 8:56 a.m.

Thanks!

It is Maxima Waterproof Grease.

Reply

speedster
0
Speedster  - May 8, 2017, 9:49 a.m.

So how would you compare these to the similar Onyx hubs?

Reply

AndrewMajor
+4 Rob Gretchen Endur-Bro Speedster Metacomet
Andrew Major  - May 8, 2017, 9:54 a.m.

Sprags (Onyx) vs. Roller Bearings (Stealth) on two super high precision USA made hubs vs. the horse power a rider puts out. I'm in the "you can't go wrong with either" camp.

Reply

Endur-Bro
0
Endur-Bro  - May 8, 2017, 7:35 p.m.

Could've invoked fighting words had you declared one a winner. :p

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - May 8, 2017, 11:29 a.m.

I'm interested to know more about how instantaneous engagement impacts suspension performance. It seems to me (and to some with engineering credentials) that this would stiffen suspension response in any bike that has chain growth. And most do AFAIK. Maybe we need andreXTR on the case?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 8, 2017, 11:42 a.m.

It's an interesting question.

As RyanW brought up on the first look (FB comments) it could potentially have more of a effect than a non-instant hub. The thing is that effect would be consistent (rear suspension pulling against drivetrain vs. instant hub engagement.

The more degrees of engagement - say a Turbine wheel at 3-degrees, an Aeffect wheel at 10-degrees and a DT wheel at 20-degrees the farther - based on his theory - the wheel could Potentially move rearward without the hub engaging and the drivetrain exerting a force on the suspension that could potentially disrupt traction.

The issue I have is where the ~ instant engaging hub (Stealth, Onyx, King, I9, Turbine, etc) is consistent that DT hub could be anywhere in the 20-degrees. So it could rotate 20-degrees before the hub engages or 10, or five, or it could engage instantly depending on where it is in the rotation --- one of the things I dislike about pedalling hubs without rapid engagement is the randomness of them.

It's probably easy for an engineer (not me) to predict an effect that an instant engaging hub would have on a suspension design with an initially rearward axle path (chaingrowth) but I'd like to see the model to map it against a hub with a wide degree of rotation and variance between engagements. 

Reply

jt
0
JT  - May 8, 2017, 12:05 p.m.

Andrew, curious if you noticed any 'wind up' on the Stealth Hubs like the Onyx hubs have?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 8, 2017, 12:13 p.m.

You mean like the paused feeling of a lightweight 29'er XC wheel loading under pedalling pressure before the bike moves?

I did not. And I would think if it existed I'd notice since there was no derailleur or suspension to create crosstalk. I've used the hub with a Wipperman/Connex 108 Chain and four different rings (two round and two oval) . 

Possibly there is a difference Sprags vs Rollers or with the Onyx springs the Sprags load against? I don't have enough hours on an Onyx hub to comment definitely - and I know it's a point of argument between people with a lot of hours on them - nor have I torn one down.

In conclusion. No I didn't notice any wind up. 32 spokes / RF ARC 30 / 3x cross + 4x cross Wheel built by Craig Sabourin.

Reply

jt
+1 Andrew Major
JT  - May 8, 2017, 2:15 p.m.

I've had a test ride on an Onyx, but a parking lot go is never something one should base on. I noticed a bit of wind up trackstanding, but nothing that I think I'd notice in the woods. Thanks for the persepctive.

Reply

wncmotard
0
WNCmotard  - May 8, 2017, 1:03 p.m.

Nice looking hubs for sure. But I'm also in the camp that likes a little noise from my rear hub. Also, no boost hub options in 2017?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 8, 2017, 1:17 p.m.

As I understand it Boost 110/148 exists as of ~ Interbike 2016. They just haven't updated website.

Reply

velocipedestrian
0
Velocipedestrian  - June 11, 2018, 1:03 a.m.

I'll try dredging here in case you have an alert, Andrew.

Any thoughts on the long term viability differences between the s2, s3 and s4 mtb versions? I've been offered an s2, and I'm torn. I want one, but any product that has been updated twice makes me leery. 

Cheers

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Velocipedestrian
Andrew Major  - June 11, 2018, 2:42 p.m.

If you look at what’s actually changed (http://www.trueprecisioncomponents.com/product-relation/mtb-rear-s2/) we’re talking about the size of the bearings and bearing adjuster over a 15-year period. That’s remarkably little change compared to most other products over that period of time.

At the time of writing this article I would have had zero concerns about buying any generation of Stealth hub. 

Since Box bought the brand I’m not certain to what level they are supporting the product so I’d check in that they still do service in house. That’s important if you need to replace the INA Roller Clutch and inner bearing.

Hope that helps.

Reply

velocipedestrian
0
Velocipedestrian  - June 11, 2018, 9:46 p.m.

Thanks Andrew

I'm sadly not encouraged by Box's response:

>

> I would suggest reaching out to Stealth, via there website and finding out the cost on replacement parts you are seeking. Regarding having your hub serviced, I would say you would have to send it to True Precision for this service unless it is something that can be done by yourself and the Steath video series. 

>

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 11, 2018, 11:02 p.m.

So True Precision had, as long as I've known of the Stealth hub, a program where for the cost of bearings and shipping they would rebuild the hubs for free because they never made a tool for users to remove the clutch.

Other than removing the clutch to access the inside bearing the hubs are absolutely bombproof with the industrial clutch and heat-treated stainless driver. When I have some time I'm going to do a deeper dive into seeing if there's a way I can get the INA clutch out myself and then ongoing support for the hubs wouldn't be important.

As it stands now if Box won't take it in and True Precision has sold the product line to Box what can you do? I reached out to my contact at True Precision but I don't think he's there anymore as in the past responses were always quick and thorough. 

Really too bad.

Reply

Please log in to leave a comment.

Trending on NSMB