Choosing Hubs for Handbuilt Wheels

Hubs are the centrepiece of any wheelset and choosing the right pair for you can seem like a daunting challenge.

We’ve broken down the hubs that we offer into several tiers and categories to make your life easier though!

Read on to find out about our most commonly available hubs used in all of our ‘Ready to Roll’ and ‘Rider’s Choice’ wheels, before delving into the wonderful world of high end boutique and specialist hubs such as internal gears and dynamo’s.

Shimano Hubs

Shimano offer a fairly limited range of hubs but they are solid, dependable and spares are readily available as well as being easily user serviceable. They’re also exceedingly well priced at certain levels and as such are our go to hub’s of choice for riders who need to reign in their budget a bit or want a pair of winter training wheels.

For road use their 105 series hubs are available in black or silver, disk or rim brake, in 32 or 36 hole options at £80 a pair. Tiagra hubs make a cheaper alternative whilst those looking for an impressive colour match with hard anodised rims of other components may look towards the Ice Grey Ultegra range. For ultimate cup and cone goodness Dura Ace hubs come in a variety of drillings more befitting of high end wheels and switch out to a rather nicely machined Titanium freehub for extra weight savings.

Mountain bikers and touring cyclists are well served by anything from the Deore range upwards where a pair can be had from £80 also. Rim Brake LX’s for sturdy yet classically styled touring wheels, 6 Bolt or Centrelock Disk Brake hubs from the XT Range for the mountain biker on a budget. If your hubs have just got to match your groupset then the styling of XTR hubs is pretty smooth although technically more proficient hubs are available for the cost.

Bitex Hubs

I could talk about Bitex hubs a *lot*…but let’s just say that as a wheelbuilder I love ’em.  Simply put they offer astoundingly good value and performance all round and are my main choice of hub for all of our ‘Ready to Roll’ range and mostly where I suggest people start from.

Priced at around the £115 a pair mark depending on options, we stock them in a whole host of flavours be it from lightweight race day/climbing hubs, durable yet light road hubs in disk or rim brake, burly touring options with added bearings to versatile do any axle MTB hubs there’s a hub here for you!

Most are available in a host of spoke drillings meaning they become a cross platform performance piece very easily. The most popular ‘Standard Road’ and ‘Standard Disk’ hubs also come in a selection of well anodised colours with everything else usually having silver or black as the option.

Technically speaking Bitex hubs are also pretty damned good. Alloy, well thought out axle designs, well spec’d sealed bearings, anti-bite inserts on all freehub bodies, a 6 pawl design giving a 7.5 degree engagement angle, all with spares readily available from us (should you need them) and allowing you to run Shimano, Campagnolo or SRAM XD across most options. From a wheelbuilders perspective they’re great too: well thought out, progressively wide flange spacing and design allows for strong bracing angles on all builds.

Both of us here ride either the Standard Road or Standard Disk hubs on one or several of our personal machines: the Standard Road are 300g a pair; alongside the details above I’m confident that you’ll be hard pressed to find a better hub for the price.

Hope Hubs

We sell a lot of Hope’s hubs! Why? Because they’re awesome! Legendarily robust and with a buzz like no other you’ll often hear ’em before you see ’em! “Bzzzzzzzzzz”!

Hope are the go to choice for most mountain bikers when it comes to a set of handbuilt wheels and the fact that they’re UK born and bred means you get the added joy of supporting a company close to home. For riders wanting a set of performance wheels that go above and beyond the £450-500 mark upgrading to Hope Hubs is usually my first suggestion because they’re so flexible and look so damned nice: the machining and anodising on all of their products is exceedingly well executed with the added plus point that most of their colours are an exact match for Sapim’s range of Alloy Nipples; nothing makes me happy quite like a set of Purple Pro4’s with nipples to match…

Most set’s of Hope Hubs are £204 from us as we offer a standard 10% off of the whole range: The trusty Pro4 has got every mountain biker covered, whilst the new to the scene RS4 comes in both disk and rim brake options with all of them being able to cover every axle and freehub option available with a simple plug and play adaptor system: a hub you can have for life quite happily.

Want Something Special?

Not content with any of the above and ready to go above and beyond for some truly stunning kit? Then the world of Boutique hubs awaits! Click here to start exploring the different categories.

Are Hub Gears and Dynamo’s more your kind of thing? They’re both a speciality of ours both for building and maintenance: go here!