Which Hubs, Spokes & Nipples: Our Guide
ALL OUR SPOKES AND HUBS AND NIPPLES ARE BLACK UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED
With so many spoke and hub options it can get a bit confusing! So, we’ve summarised all the key features and options here. Also, there is now a handy link to this page - on every single product page. Enjoy - and we're always here to assist! We like to give a clear honest appraisal of the key strengths of each bit of equipment ..
We say: "choose the right parts based on what you really need. Lightest equipment for lighter riders and summer usage & more robust kit if you're a heavier rider or plan to use the wheels all year round ".
This might seem an odd place to start! But we think it kind of speaks volumes about how we work, our values and what we prize!
Most brands actually spend nothing on spoke nipples. Literally zero. This is because all spoke manufacturers include basic nipples bundled with their spokes. They are usually pretty decent - But as they are such a critical party of each wheels longevity and performance... the first thing we do when they arrive is donate them to our local bike project!
And instead we purchase the best nipples that money can buy for every single wheel-build we do. We use either Alpina Bontrager Hex Head Blu Power self-locking nipples in brass or alloy. And Pillar Taper Groove TG Hex head nipples - again in alloy and brass.
You've only got to look at these up against ordinary nipples and you can see the scale of the difference: Bigger, fatter, more resilient, with a lifetime up to 10-times longer.... and also much lighter too...
Now these nipples are not cheap. The Alpina's are up to £1 each!! See Here, Ok so that's only £1. But we use 50 nipples per average wheelset and about 100 thousand every year. So I guess the point is that we spend out 100 grand extra, every year, that we don't strictly need to - on tiny components which are largely hidden from view.
Just because they help us make the best wheels possible. No one would notice for the first few years of owning our wheels if we used the free bundled "alright" nipples - And saved all that cash and took it as profit!
But after several years of UK/EU roads if we used lesser nipples you're wheels would start to degrade. Lose true and in the case of alloy nipples, begin to fracture. We have never had a single nipple fracture.
And perhaps the key bit; We don't add anything to the price you pay when we use these nipples. All we ask is that if you're considering buying from us and you've other brands on your shortlist... perhaps just ask them what nipples they use!
The funny thing is we've probably shelled out well over £1 Million on nipples over the past 20 years - and yet we've only just thought of mentioning all this to our customers. The main thing is always to build right... And bragging about it comes a distant second!
If you want to see more - click image above: All our nipples are BLACK
Our Build Versions (Hubs/Spokes)
We only use high quality branded hubs/spokes from very reputable companies - All European/Taiwanese - and all of whom have been building components for over 25 years. Their knowledge, quality and customer service mean we can better serve our customers - now and throughout the life of your wheels.
Hub choice is all about: weight/engineering/durability/price/drag/bearing quality. We use only high quality hubs of course as they do a heavy use job. Especially in the UK & Ireland with our wonderfully 'challenging' roads and weather. You'll notice immediately that we don't use unbranded or our 'own brand' hubs. Many wheel brands cut their costs enormously by 'badging up' unbranded low-cost hubs from the far east. (Most of these hubs are ok quality wise - from the sorts of brands you will see selling hard on ebay like Powerway for example)
But it does mean that in a few years time you may find it tricky to get spares/service for your wheels. We've seen so many hundreds of decent wheels discarded over the years just for want of a freehub body that's no longer made!
The same is true for spokes too! All our spokes are either Belgian made (Sapim) or Taiwanese made (PSR AERO, PSR AERO SL and the K1 Bladed spoke).
ALL HUBS WE BUILD WITH ARE SEALED CARTRIDGE TYPE WITH ALL PARTS BEING SERVICEABLE!
1. AEROFLOW RIM BRAKE BUILD (Miche Primato Hubs/K1 Aero Spokes)
Paired with our own K1 Aero spokes, this is our standard entry-level version... But these are no ordinary hubs! For the price, we view Miche as the best value economy hubs available. PARTICULARLY FOR HEAVIER RIDERS.
They have some fantastic credentials that make them stand out from the crowd. Italian made. Loved by mechanics everywhere for fantastic build quality, ease of servicing and superb bearing life - even in enduring harsh weather.
Interestingly some recent UK tests (by Hambini) have shown that the Primato’s have the lowest drag of any popular hub - irrespective of cost. For an entry-level prrformance hub this is pretty amazing too.
Not only do they have the best drag figures but there's more. Power transfer: Miche Primato hubs feature an incredibly strong/stiff steel axle that just does not flex under even heavy rider load. Most road hub axles are alloy! This makes for the best power transmission for all riders - and that goes double for heavier riders.
They are not super-light hubs of course. That's entirely because of the above characteristics. But what they are is tough, fluid, fast, durable. Excellent for riders who want an everyday/all-condition hubset.
They are also a pretty quiet hub in terms of clicky-noises! Some like quiet hubs some like machine-gun clickiness. No accounting for taste!
2. AEROFLOW DISC BRAKE BUILD (Miche Hubs/K1 Aero spokes)
Again used in combination with our own K1 aero spoke, these are excellent road hubs that can comfortably handle light use in non-tarmac conditions. With Miche's quality bearings and attention to detail. Not the lightest hubs and so we use them mainly on our standard rather than higher-end builds. They are also only available for 12mm Thru-Axle fitting (not QR or 15mm). Likewise they can only run with Centerlock rotors (not 6-bolt).
For all our mid/higher end builds we use Bitex and DT Swiss disc hubs - all of which are available in QR/12mm/15mm and in Centerlock/6-Bolt. (Details below).
3. AEROLIGHT RIM BRAKE BUILD: AMBROSIO HUBS/PSR AERO SPOKES
Combined with the superb PSR aero spokes (see below), This is our upgraders build version, offered on most of our builds. We love these hubs. Italian made and based on the classic Ambrosio Chronos hub. High grade alloy, Nice and light, superbly durable and they just spin-and-spin!
So if you are on a budget don't worry. Even our standard builds are really great kit!
THE AEROLIGHT MODEL COSTS A LITTLE MORE THAN THE ENTRY-LEVEL AEROFLOW MODEL BUT TAKES YOUR WHEELS TO THE NEXT-LEVEL!
The Ambrosio hubs are also 'mechanics favourites' as they are so easy to maintain and service, and very reliable. Spares are easy to come by (as these hubs are very cleverly built to the Novatec freehub/axle pattern. So you'll be able to literally get spares either from us ... or anywhere in the world! They have excellent bearing life and superb seals to prevent water/moisture ingress. Alloy axles and freehub bodies make them pretty light too'. Medium-loud hub sound.
The PSR aero spokes are our 'go-to' performance spokes.The PSR AERO is very aero at 2.2 x 0.9mm and very light at 5.5 grams. They are class-leading for performance and reliability.
4. SUPERAEROLIGHT RIM/DISC BUILD (Bitex Hubs/PSR SL Aero spokes)
OUR ALL-ROUND BEST COMBINATION FOR WEIGHT/PERFORMANCE/VALUE. Built round our Favourite lightweight high quality, performance hubsets. We always think that these hubs should cost twice the price! I should say that quietly or Bitex will hear! Taiwanese made and incredibly reliable. All hubs have high end features like 6-drive hubs and anti-bite guard. We use these on builds for all but the heaviest of riders! We'd say they are medium in terms of clicky-hub noise.
Balancing high performance, lightness with 'all season' durability. This is our go-to racing/training build version. These are coupled with the class-leading PSR SL Aero spokes. This is the Lightest, most resilient, most aero spoke made by Pillar technologies of Taiwan. Second only to Sapim's ultimate CXRAY .. and at an affordable price too.
5. SUPERAEROLIGHT++ RIM/DISC BUILD (Bitex Hubs/CXRAY spokes)
Built around stunning Bitex superlight SL hubs, these employ Bitex lightest technologies - including a new proprietary Superlight freehub body . Hubset weights are as low as 250-280 grams. These weights are pretty astonishing compared to what was possible only a few years ago. Combine these credentials with great bearings and fast engagement (and cxray spokes) and you have our fastest ever setup. To be clear: We love these hubs - and we sell more Bitex hubs than any other hubs!
These lovely hubs are combined with -- The best spoke in the world full stop. The SAPIM CXRAY is the pro's choice: Superbly light at 4.5 gram, It’s also the most aerodynamic bladed spoke available. And there’s more. It also is unique in strength and elastic responsiveness. Not cheap of course but a sound investment if you can afford it. If you can make this upgrade you really will see where your money is going! Ideal for both Rim brake and Disc wheels http://www.sapim.be/spokes/aero/cx-ray
If you are a competitive athlete looking to get 100% full-on performance - It makes sense to change the bearings every 3 years or so. We can do this for you as can any good bike shop.
6. DT Swiss 350 BUILD (DT 350 HUBS /PSR AERO SL SPOKES) (rim and disc)
The pinnacle of hub choice options in our opinion. Swiss precision engineering at its finest and with a uniquely engineered approach. They are endlessly durable and reliable. Coupled with the superb superlight PSR SL aero spokes.
The 350 is not the lightest hubset (on a par with our Miche hubs and heavier than Bitex. Its the Swiss precision engineering and hence longevity that carries the price tag.
To bring down the weight to a great performance level we employ the lightest SL version of Pillars superb PSR AERO spokes.
7. DT SWISS 240 BUILD (DT240 hubs/cxray spokes) (rim/disc)
The DT Swiss 240 hubs (both in rim brake and disc brake versions) are the top of the food chain. Light, fantastically engineered, and go on for countless years. Regarded by most in the industry as the world's all round best hub.
Being Swiss you could say they are literally like a Rolex for your wheels - though priced a little more kindly.
And combined with world's finest aero spokes in the Sapim CXRAY, you really do have it all with this build.
8. SUPERTOUGH RIM/DISC BUILD (Bitex Heavyweight hubs/CXRAY spokes)
Our Bitex BX103 RIM BRAKE hubs and BX207 DISC BRAKE hubs for heavy riders and tourer's and bike-packers (and aimed at rider/kit loads of over 125kg) use very large bearings and super-tough axles. They will add a little weight but they will carry heavier loads for longer. They are so strong they can be used on tandems!
These hubs are combined with the SAPIM CXRAY spokes. These are not only the world's lightest and most aero spoke .. but they are incredibly the strongest too. The cxray is our secret weapon on our SUPERTOUGH wheels. Stunning strength but helps keep weights down so that maximal performance is achieved.
WE THINK WE ARE STILL THE ONLY BRAND GLOBALLY WHO ARE BUILDING HIGH-PERFORMANCE WHEELS FOR BIG GUYS.