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Feel and function

dtaffe said:
Can anyone comment on the fact that some high-end wheels/hubs spin like butter in the hand, and other equally-expensive seem stiffer (not necessarily gritty)? While it may not affect on-road performance much, I'd certainly rather the buttery feel, even at the expense of increased maintnence.

Do I have any options, other than shelling out megabucks for full ceramic bearings (which may not give me much better results?)
Assuming we're actually talking high quality hub sets, then the differences you feel are seal friction (which typically goes down with time), grease viscosity (likewise), or poorly adjusted hubs. In no case does any of this "added drag" mean anything significant in actual use. Ceramic bearings, assuming they are the same roundness specification as quality steel bearings, bring NOTHING to the party in bicycle applications.

You can use oil instead of grease in any hub, you just have to clean and oil frequently. If you want the lowest drag bearing system, look for a non-contact seal system (Campy is a good example). Unelss you are competing at the highest level and in "special" events, the benefits of oil over grease are drastically outweighed by the reduced service life of components and the added maintenance required.
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