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 ".
SCROLL DOWN TO SEE OUR SPECIFIC HUB/SPOKE ‘Build’ COMBINATIONS
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 Sapim Double Square, or Alpina Bontrager Hex Head Blu Power self-locking nipples in brass or alloy.
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! lBut 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!
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),
1. AEROLIGHT RIM BRAKE BUILD: AMBROSIO ITALIAN HUBS/ PSR AERO SPOKES
Combined with the superb PSR aero spokes, this is our club-level 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 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' lightweight performance aero 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.
2. “SUPERAEROLIGHT” RIM/DISC BUILD (Bitex Hubs/ CX Delta or 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! Bitex have quietly been building superlative hubs in Taiwan for 100 years now! Yes you read correctly. That’s quite a surprise to most people. https://www.bitexhubs.com/htm/company.php
Taiwanese made and hence 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 OR the Superb SAPIM CX Delta aero spoke. Both at the same level of price and performance - choices are made depending on availability.
3. “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 spokes 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.
4. DT Swiss 350 and 240 BUILDS (DT HUBS /SAPIM CXRAY SPOKES or PSR Aero).
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. And combined with world's finest aero spokes in the Sapim CXRAY, you really do have it all with this build.
The 350 is not the lightest hubset (a bit heavier than our standard Bitex hubs for example). Its the Swiss precision engineering and hence longevity that carries the price tag.
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.
5. CARBON Ti BUILD (CARBON Ti hubs/cxray spokes).
Extraordinary hubs! The pinnacle of Performance, weight-saving, materials .. and of course Italian styling. It does not get better than this! We love what we do!!
6. 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.
7. OTHER BUILDS
AEROFLOW BUILD :This is our midway build between our Aerolight and Superaerolight build options. We employ this mainly as a reserve option when our Ambrosio hubs are unavailable from Italy. Using high end Miche Italian hubs - a higher spec alternative to the Ambrosio option - still Italian made too!!