There are many variations in bike types and wheel sizes, it is important that your hubs match with your front and rear wheel size, frame and fork width, brake type and also your cassette preference.
In road bike frames, the front hubs are generally used with the width of 100 mm and the rear hubs are used with the width of 130 mm. Besides, the hubs for road bikes are designed for fewer spokes, for example, in the front wheel the spokes typically range between 18-24 where in the rear wheel spokes range between 20-28.
In addition, you may find some road bikes are designed for straight pull spokes because they are shorter than the j-shaped standard spokes which decrease the weight of the bike. So, in case of using the straight pull spokes, you need specific types of hubs so that they can be compatible with these spokes. Moreover, in the road bikes, you may notice that the rear hubs feature a freewheel mechanism which allows the wheel to rotate separately from the gearing mechanisms.
So, it is essential that you have the proper information regarding the road bike hubs before you set out to purchase them. Hence, we bring you here all the necessary information that you will need to buy the best hubs for your road bike.
Why are Good Hubs Important for Road Bikes?
In order to have a fast and smooth ride you should use good quality hubs. Using hubs in the both front and rear wheels will allow you to have two breaks in your bikes. Moreover, cyclists who like to use fewer spokes in their wheels, use hubs on both of the wheels.
How to Choose A Road Bike Hub?
There are a number of factors you need to take into account while choosing a hub for bicycles. Since wheel hubs differ according to the bike types, you should know which bike type you are using. For example, if you use a BMX cycle, you can choose either cassette hubs, freewheel hubs or freecoaster hubs depending on your riding type.
However, don’t forget to maintain the following checklist while choosing a hub
The Hub Weight: There was a time when heavier hubs were considered to be perfect for bikes. But, in recent times, with the help of high-end technology, hubs tend to be made out of lighter and stronger materials such as high quality aluminum. This helps to reduce the weight of the bike and also increase the strength of the bike to carry maximum weight.
Good Quality Bearings: The well made bearings are always sealed and protected from dirt, water and damage. You can choose bearings like cup and cone bearings or cartridge bearings depending on your budget.
Number of Spokes: Before buying hubs, you need to be sure about the number of spokes you want to use so that they match with your bike’s hub and rim.
Strength Of The Hub: To make sure that your hubs can longlast through dust, grime and water, you should buy the hubs from a good manufacturer. Additionally, try to buy the hubs which are made from ductile iron as it tends to carry more strength and weight than any other materials.
Brake Rotor: If your bike has a disc brake system, you have to select the correct hub so that the disc rotor can attach perfectly. Depending on your disc interface, you can choose either the six-bolt or Center-Lock hubs.
Axle Dimension: You have to ensure that the hubs are compatible with the axle standard that you are currently using. Generally, the diameters of front thru axles are 20 mm, 15 mm, 12 mm, and 9 mm whereas the diameters of rear axles are 10 or 12 mm.
5 Best Road Bike Hubs Reviews
Now let’s look at the top 5 best hubs for road bikes along with answering some of the related questions:
1. Phil Wood Rear Track HF Single-Sided Hub (32 x 120, Silver)
This hub is appropriate for fixed gear wheels with the configuration of 28, 32, and 36 spoke holes. The width of this rear hub is 120 mm and the axle diameter is 12.68 mm. The bolts and washers of the hub are made of stainless steel whereas the hub shell is made of 6061 Aluminum. This rear hub weighs 388 grams so the maximum weight it can take is 127 kg.
The best part of this hub is that it has two bearing options such as Standard Phil spec bearings and Carbonyte Phil spec bearings. The first type of bearings have full contact seals and they are filled with100% Phil Waterproof grease. On the other side, Carbonyte Phil spec bearings have partial contact seals but they are filled with full synthetic Phil Carbonyte grease. Moreover, this rear hub is supplied with a Phil stainless steel lock ring.
Can You Also Use This Hub For A Single-Sided Freewheel Setup?
No, this hub can only be used for fixed gear setup. As fixed cogs and freewheeling cogs have opposing thread rotations, you cannot use it for your freewheel setup.
Does It Come With Standard Cog?
Yes, it does come with standard cog.
2. DT Swiss Rear DT 180 RD Shi Hub
This hub is mainly popular for its lightweight and ceramic cartridge bearings. The material used for the axle is aluminum which takes down the weight of the hub to 0.5 pounds. Besides, this hub has a star ratchet freehub engagement system that adds an ultimate professional performance to the hub.
This hub can be usable with 20 spoke holes and it can be ideally used for high performance in road racing and training. Interestingly, this hub uses a center lock rotor mounting design which you can convert into ISO 6 bolt by using the DT Swiss Center Lock IS (6-bolt) Adapter.
Is The Hub Durable?
Yes, it is one of the best durable hubs that you can find now.
3. DT Swiss Front Wheel hub 350 Road/MTB
This aluminum made hub allows you to maintain the freehub system without special tools. You can use this hub for both road and mountain bikes along with 28 and 32 spoke holes. Additionally, it has a classic J-bend flange design which makes it compatible for both radial and cross laced patterns.
Besides, it has been especially designed for rim brake use applications. So, if you are on budget this front wheel hub would be perfect for you.
Is It A Qr Style Hub?
Yes, this hub has been made in a quick release style so that the riders can easily maintain their freehub system.
What Is The Axle Width Of The Hub?
The axle has the width of 100mm with QR style.
4. Shimano Deore M525A 32h 11-Speed 6-Bolt Disc Rear Hub, Black (not compatible with 11-Speed road cassettes)
This rear hub is made of alloy which weighs around 1 pound. The length of this hub is 7.5 inches, width is 4 inches whereas the height is 3 inches. This Deore M525A model is perfect for a 7-8 speed cassette with an adapter of 32 spokes, 6 bolts disc brake.
If you own a mountain bike, this rear hub will be perfect for you as it weighs light and comes with alloy QR lever and nut.
Will It Work On A 9 Speed Cassette?
Yes, this hub can hold a 9 speed cassette.
Is This Hub Compatible With A 12 Speed Cassette?
This hub has a Shimano standard spline freehub body which may not make it compatible for all 12 speed cassettes. You will need the correct freehub spline to use it in a 12 speed cassette.
5. SHIMANO XT HB-M8010-B Front Hub – 15 x 110mm, Rim Brake, Black, 32h
It is an aluminum made lightweight front hub which also comes with Center-Lock disc brake system. Besides, this hub has Labyrinth and Contact seal and it can be used with maximum 32 spoke holes. Even though it supports most of the bike types, it would be better if you use this front hub in a mountain bike.
To ensure the hub’s reliability and longevity, Shimano has used Micro-spline technology which makes this hub perfect for 12 speed cassettes. Hence, if you are looking for a durable front hub with rim brake system, it can be a preferable option for you.
What Is The Weight Of This Hub?
As it has been made with aluminum, it weighs really light, so the weight of this hub is 147 grams.
Can You Use This Hub In Any Front Fork?
No, you cannot use this hub in any front fork. This hub can only be used in combination with a special fork front and E-THRU.
To sum up, the hubs play the role of engine room in the road bike wheels. They generally consist of an alloy body with two sets of bearings through which the axle is threaded. Here, a quick release skewer runs through the axle in order to secure the wheels to the frame or fork.
Since the purpose of using road bikes is to make the riding experience as smooth as possible, the rear hubs of this bike also integrate a freewheeling mechanism which enables coasting for the riders.
Moreover, previously the hubs of the road bikes were solely made out of strong steels but now you can also find the hubs which are made of high end technology. So, depending on your preferences and budget, you can easily purchase the hubs for your road bike wheels.