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Custom Wheels- Which is more important to you? - Hub vs Rims

Oct. 2, 2020, 9:25 a.m.
Posts: 84
Joined: Oct. 10, 2017

I think the adage of "You get what you pay for" is true in the world of custom wheels for bikes. Assuming that you have a competent wheel builder, which would you invest your hard earned $ into.

Are you spending it on Hubs? Does that high dollar hub make you a better rider? or does it make you the envy of others?

EG: DT350 vs Chris King/i9


Are you more about the rim? Brand Cache or unbranded cache?

EG: DTxm481/ex511 vs RF Arc

For me Im more about spending $ on the rim, as riding out of round wheels/tires makes me want to throw my bike off a cliff.

 Last edited by: ehfour on Oct. 2, 2020, 9:27 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
Oct. 2, 2020, 9:41 a.m.
Posts: 1012
Joined: June 26, 2012

I’ve never ridden DT rims, but my experience with $100-$150 alloy rims is that they all perform fairly similarly. Just pick the weight/width for the type of riding you want to do and replace them when there are too many dents/flat spots.

For hubs, I’m happy if I have Hope or DT 350 and couldn’t see splurging on fancier ones. Cheaper than that and you lose reliability and ability to repair broken internals.

I would take Hope/DT 350 and reliable, cost effective carbon rims (e.g. We Are One) over fancy hubs and alloy rims.

Oct. 2, 2020, 9:53 a.m.
Posts: 1305
Joined: Nov. 6, 2006

Hub first, rims after. I’m pretty hard on rims so I treat them as somewhat disposable.

Oct. 2, 2020, 10:12 a.m.
Posts: 11932
Joined: June 4, 2008

Hubs first for sure, then a carbon rim that has a lifetime warranty.

e*13 gets shit on a lot, but where I'd go through three or four 570's a season I'm now down to one LG1r.

As for hubs, the i9's have lasted way longer than cheaper ones (funnily enough, like the e*13 hubs, which aren't that good).

Oct. 2, 2020, 11:14 a.m.
Posts: 1405
Joined: Sept. 30, 2006

I have 10 and 15 year old King hubs that I still ride to this day. To me, they are one of the best investments to be made on a bike. They have gone through 5-6 bikes now. The only reason Ill need to switch them to (probably more King hubs) are the ever changing hub spacing standards. As for rims, ill put my money in a quality aluminum offering as Im not really that hard on rims and cant justify 5x the price for something carbon.

 Last edited by: shoreboy on Oct. 2, 2020, 11:16 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
Oct. 2, 2020, 12:16 p.m.
Posts: 390
Joined: April 15, 2017

I had Hope hubs with Stans Flows/Arch  -killed a few rims, hubs kept on trucking. I would have liked a little more engagement from the rear but they were bulletproof for my riding time. What really stuck it in and broke it off was changing from a 12x142 bike. So I kissed them goodbye along with the bike they were on - which was a large factor in not buying a frame and buying a full bike.

I'm now riding a Spank Ooozy wheelset and I'll keep it happy and oiled and see how long it lasts but I certainly learned a semi-expensive lesson about changing standards.

Oct. 2, 2020, 12:36 p.m.
Posts: 816
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

I'm thinking along the same lines of going DT EX511/King. I'm just trying to get over my poor experiences with alloy rims before I switched to carbon a few years ago. My major concern being damage that prevents a good tubeless setup but not wreck the wheel, I.e having to ride tubes Indefinitely.

Now I think the EX511 is strong enough to handle that at a reasonable weight. Has anyone ridden these back to back against carbon for trail use?

Oct. 2, 2020, 1:14 p.m.
Posts: 1516
Joined: Nov. 8, 2003

After running an I9 rear hub for the previous few years I've been running an inexpensive OEM DT Swiss 370 hub this past year. 

Bearings roll a bit better on the low end DT Swiss hub, and I haven't missed the higher engagement at all. 

In future builds I think I'd be hard pressed to justify spending big on a rear hub again.

Then again I've never tried an Onyx rear hub...

Oct. 2, 2020, 1:56 p.m.
Posts: 64
Joined: Dec. 15, 2017

Posted by: ReductiMat

Hubs first for sure, then a carbon rim that has a lifetime warranty.

e*13 gets shit on a lot, but where I'd go through three or four 570's a season I'm now down to one LG1r.

As for hubs, the i9's have lasted way longer than cheaper ones (funnily enough, like the e*13 hubs, which aren't that good).

I second your comment on the e13 carbon rims. Mine have been bomb proof for about 2 years now. My hub has also been rock solid. It has a bit less engagement than an I9 but hasn’t given me any issues either so no need to replace it. My buddy (over 200 lbs and rips) hasn’t had any issues with his e13 LG1 Plus wheelset either. He had bad luck with his DT1900 wheelset but that’s a lower end DT product.

Oct. 2, 2020, 4:55 p.m.
Posts: 165
Joined: Jan. 21, 2013

Dont know how you prefer to assign value to hub vs rim for your usage case, but what I can definitely say is dont go for the middle price point hubs. 

I have I9 1/1 hubs and they have not been the best. Rear had several QC issues (bad heat treat in the pawls that had to be replaced, and bearing bore tolerance issues, premature wear issues, etc.) For the price I paid I'd expect them to perform better and be more durable than cheap hubs and that has not been the case. 

I have learned an important lesson. If you're spending more on wheels as an upgrade, spend a lot more.

Oct. 2, 2020, 9:23 p.m.
Posts: 409
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Rims are a consumable component. They will dent shatter or otherwise be damaged beyond repair but hubs can be a lifetime investment.

Oct. 2, 2020, 11:55 p.m.
Posts: 1138
Joined: May 11, 2018

Hubs over rims. Rims can be fixed. If you get a wobble or dent, you can try to fix it and often ride a long time on a beat down rim. If the hub has troubles, you aren't riding until you get parts or have to replace the hub entirely. In short, rim troubles are easy to work around whereas hub issues usually make the bike non-rideable. 

I have four sets of Chris king hubs between my wife's and my bikes and have never had a single issue, let alone failure. I also have several sets of hope pro4's and similarly haven't had an issue. I'm 220lbs and break cheap hubs. My last set of deore hubs would last one ride. After the third freehub body blew in as many rides i threw them away and bought my first king hub.

I don't notice an improved riding experience between my stans flows and my enves or my derby rims. The carbon rims are a bit stiffer but it doesn't actually improve my ride.

Oct. 3, 2020, 12:48 a.m.
Posts: 1302
Joined: March 18, 2017

Hubs. Especially the rear hub. 

I have one annoyingly loud Pro4, 3 sets of 240s and an Onyx Classic. God damn that onyx silence is golden. I can’t see myself willingly choosing other hubs again. 

Saying that the price point on a DT complete wheel (240s-471/511rim) is hard to beat.

Oct. 3, 2020, 6:10 a.m.
Posts: 839
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

I don't have a preference between rims and hubs for custom wheels in terms of importance. They are both pretty critical to a good result. I've used Light Bicycle for carbon rims which are around ~$200/each and a variety of metal rims that are closer to $100/each. For hubs all my custom wheels use Hope hubs. They are priced well and have held up well for me. I've moved hubs from 135mm QR to 142mm thru-axle to 148mm with convertible end caps. I haven't spent a ton on my custom wheels, but they've all performed pretty well for me. So I haven't been motivated to buy any really bling $$$ hubs or rims.

Oct. 3, 2020, 8:44 a.m.
Posts: 2124
Joined: April 25, 2003

Hubs, but I also consider a DT 240 or 350 to be a pretty fancy hub. I’m not going near the price of a King rear hub, a “lifetime” product is great and all but my 240’s have been in constant use since 2011 and are now on their third hub standard and still kicking. Good enough durability for me. 

Rims will have more of an effect on ride quality, I choose nice aluminum or Light Bicycle carbon depending on my bank account at the time of rebuild.

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