The hub is the central point of the wheel structure where all dynamic loads transfer from the tire-wheel system through the spokes into the bicycle frame. The hub handles tremendous static and dynamic loading created by the road, the rider and spoke tension. The following guidelines aim to help you pick the best hub for your application.
Hub Weight: Of all the components on a wheel, the hub plays the least important role in rotating inertia because it is located at the center of rotation. This means the weight of the hub is not as significant as other wheel components located further from the center of rotation (i.e., rim, nipples, tires, or tube). On bicycles with suspension, the weight of the hub contributes to unsprung mass -- these systems will gain marginal benefit from decreasing hub weight. Decreasing hub weight on a road bike will make your bike lighter, which can be an important factor for racing or climbing, however it will not make your wheel accelerate faster.
Hub Flange: The largest load on a hub is created by the tension of the spokes. Wheels that are laced with 2-, 3- or 4-cross spoke patterns create significantly less stress on a hub flange than those that are radially laced. Radially laced spoke patterns can contribute to flange cracking and breakage. For this reason some hub manufacturers will not warranty radially laced hubs. Some manufacturers produce hubs with extra thick or forged flanges with holes drilled closer to the axle, leaving more material to handle the additional stress of radial lacing. Keep in mind that larger flange diameters usually contribute to higher lateral and torsional wheel stiffness. For these reasons, large flange hubs are popular with track racers.
Hub Hole Count: Consider rim compatibility when selecting your hub. Some hubs are not available in very low or very high spoke counts. Pay careful attention to the number of spokes you select on your hub and rim to make certain they match.
Axle Type: New axle configurations continue to pop up as frame manufacturers attempt to optimize any number of parameters from disc brake compatibility to improved chain line. It is critical to note the axle specification requirement for your frame and fork before ordering hubs. We currently carry over 40 unique axle standards covering a range of applications from BMX to Fatbike.
Make sure you select an appropriate axle for your application. Selecting the wrong hub can create a real challenge after a wheel is built.
Drivetrain: Similar to axle configurations, there are new drive systems being introduced every year. Verify the hub you select is compatible with the component group you plan to use.
Other Hub Considerations: Color preference, manufacturer preference, durability in wet weather, ease of maintenance, availability of spare parts and of course cost.
If you have questions please contact our expert staff for further assistance.