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· hairy-legged roadie
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I was talking to the service manager at my LBS and he recommended DT 240 hubs for my wheelset. I have been wondering about other possibilities as far as bearings are concerned., since I've heard its better to go with a cup and cone design for hubs vs a standard sealed 'cartridge' bearing design. Thoughts?

Also, if I decide to stick with cup and cone hubs, what choices would I have in the DT's weight range or would I have to go heavier (ie: Dura-ace rear 255g)
 

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"better" in what respect? Easier to rebuild? The cup and cone hubs are easier to take apart than many cartridge bearing hubs, and it's possible to clean and regrease their bearings. But if you pit a bearing race in the hub, it's a pain to replace. Where as with cartridge bearings the race comes out as part of the bearing. Cartridge bearings also usualy have better seals. They can be really easy to replace or kind of difficult depending on the design.

The DA hubs are the lightest Shimano-compatible cup and cone bearing hubs around. New (7800) DA hubs only work with 10sp clusters.
 

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You can go with Ultegra 10 speed hubs (6600), they weigh 60g more than DA 7800, and are 8/9/10 speed compatible. Keep in mind while the weight is rotating, it's very close to the axle so the effects are minimal.

If you want to stray from Shimano/Campy, I would use White Industries over DT, and CK over both (if you can tolerate a loud freewheel). But those three don't make cup and cone hubs.

DA or Ultegra would probably be your best choice for cup and cone hubs.
 

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DT 240 hubs: The cartridge bearings are easy to change, well, most of them. You pull the freewheel carrier off by hand. You tap the axle out. You tap the bearings out of the freewheel (some models have a snapring that has to be removed), and bam, three out of four of the bearings are in you hand. Problem is, the bearings are pretty small ones, so although they're pretty light, they're going to need to be replaced relatively often. Second problem, is that the first one that seems to wear out, is the fourth one of the four that you didn't get out with simple hand tools. Make sure your bike shop has the special DT swiss 240 hub tool that will be needed to get to that fourth bearing before you let them sell you hubs. Same goes for high end bontrager wheels, as they use the same hub design from dt swiss. Anyhow, the tool only comes as part of a $120 or so kit, so most shops don't have it, and are unwilling to buy it. I ended up having to buy the kit myself. No shop within 100 miles has the thing...

Shimano DA hubs. Hey, if you're already using 10 speed drivetrain, you can't beat the 7800 series hubs. They're shiny. They're light. They're smooth. They have traditional bearings. They come apart with traditional tools (cone wrenches) for repacking. Be careful comparing weights between these and the DT models, as I believe they are specified WITH the skewer weight, whereas the DTs are specified without. They're light, and they're approved for radial lacing (DT models have radial specific models, which are a bit heavier, as they're thicker at the flanges). They actually have really great axle seals, so don't pay attention to the myth of "cartrige bearings have better seals." Frankly, these are great hubs. I'm considering owning another set. The deep sines of the aluminum cassette carrier keep it from getting gouged like the DT carrier will, although it's also the reason you can only put a 10 speed cluster on them.

Shimano Ultegra: I've only seen them from a distance, so I can't comment. They look stout, and they take a 9 speed cluster, although they weigh more since they have a steel cassette carrier rather than the aluminum of the DT or the DA.

Now that I own the tool for the 240 hubs, I'd rather service them than my DA 7800 hubs. However, I suspect that the internal parts (good bearings are $8 apiece, star ratchet sets are $40 or more) for the DT hubs will be pricey to replace. I feel like my DA hubs will roll longer with less maintenance, whereas the 240 hubs would need atleast some of the bearings (two of them are subjected to much higher stress than the two others) fairly frequently. I don't reccomend against the 240 hubs, I'd just make sure you have access to the special tool first. But if you're running ten speed, you can't go wrong with the DA hubs.

For what it's worth, the DA hubs come with nicer skewers than the DT hubs.

(my DA 7800 hubs laced 28 hole to DT R1.1 rims with butted/bladed spokes are lighter than my ksyrium SLs)

Further, I own four sets of chris king hubs, but I haven't had to do anything more to any of them yet than regrease the drive rings. Once they need new bearings/drive rings, I'll have to buy the $150 special tool for them, and I'll probably feel the same way that I do about the DT hubs.
 

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My opinions are thus:

DT 240 - Excellent hubs and I love the fact that I can interchange freehub bodies to run both Campagnolo and Shimano cassettes (a process that takes all of about 15 seconds). Servicing can be a pain, though.

Chris King - Bearing replacement is unheard of and the hubs require only the smallest amount of maintenance. The $180 tool (which I own) makes servicing the bearings easy. My one and only complaint with these hubs is that the freehub bodies are Shimano only. A Campagnolo variant has not been designed and will likely never be. Currently, I'm rolling a DA drivetrain precisely for this reason.

Record/DA - The only traditional cup-and-cone hubs that I'd probably ever ride with. Both are excellent and will give many years of reliable service if they are properly maintained and bearings are replaced with grade 25 bearings. Most shops will only stock the cheapest (grade 300) - mine stocks grade 25 for DA and Record hubs.

If you run Shimano only, the Chris King hubs are probably the best hubs on the market. If you are a Campagnolo guy, I'd probably run the Record hubs over the DT hubs. I've seen plenty more failed DT hubs than the DA and Record stuff. Also, at all costs, avoid the American Classic and Mavic wheels. The freehub bodies in the Mavic hubs simply lack the longterm durability that you are probably looking for. Kings are probably the best way to go, unless you are running Campagnolo.
 

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Good notes. The campagnolo cone system with the OS axle is brilliant.

My LBS is a Campy 'Service Course' centre so they've all the tools to replace the bearing cups in a hub if there are problems. I've replaced one due on my winter training/cross racing rear wheel. $20 and five minutes to knock out and press-in a new cup.
 

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Campy and Shimano cup-and-cone hubs have been running for years without issues, if they're maintained. I know peope with well over 30 years on the same set of Campy NR hubs. Been laced into more rims than I've owned, and still going strong. I doubt their current hubs are any different.

For durability in cartridge-bearing hubs, look no farther than Phil Wood if weight isn't an issue, or Chris King if it is. While Phil Wood hubs are, bar none, the most reliable hubs ever made anywhere by anyone, their rear cassette hub isn't light. Nor is it cheap. But when you hold one in your hand, and feel the action of the ratchet (like a custom Mauser-actioned rifle or a tuned Colt Python), and study the details of how they're built, you'll want one, regardless of what they cost or how much they weigh. The Kings are damned fine hubs as well, but they won't last as long as the Phils will. There's not as much metal in them, that's why they're lighter. And they do sound like a swarm of angry bees. But they are sweet hubs, and for a lightwieght set of wheels, they'd be my first choice.

Aluminum has no place in a freehub body. Take the slight weight penalty, and have a hub that' will outlast your cassette. I've seen too many aluminum freehub bodies in the shop with deep notches where the cogs bear on the splines. I'll never own one, and I didn't know anyone in the shop who did either.

--Shannon
 
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