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Why road hubs on CX front wheels? Why not MTB?(9 posts)

Why road hubs on CX front wheels? Why not MTB?Bianchi4Me
Oct 27, 2003 4:44 AM
I can understand using a road REAR hub on a CX bike, you are stuck with the 130mm spacing and have to make do. But up front, why wouldn't you run a stiffer, much better sealed MTB hub? Do people just like doing maintenance and having steering flex? I can't imagine having "matching" hubs is all that big a deal, or is it? Is it just a "no MTB stuff on my CX rig" mindset?

Just seems strange to me that you see CX pairs built on Ultegra or DA hubs when Ultegra/XT or DA/XTR would seem to make a lot more sense from a performance standpoint.
re: Why road hubs on CX front wheels? Why not MTB?richpierce
Oct 27, 2003 7:41 AM
MTB hubs you see today had to be designed to handle the independent leg movement of suspension forks. If you look back to 1995 or earlier, all MTB front hubs were just like road hubs. Because MTB forks were like road forks. Rigid. There is no advantage to a "stiffer" front hub if there is zero (practically) independent leg movement in the fork.

Not so sire about the seals aspect either- whether MTB hubs are really sealed better. Certainly there is no reason for a correlation between quality of the seals and design (thin-or thick-waisted bubs).
re: Why road hubs on CX front wheels? Why not MTB?TWD
Oct 27, 2003 8:50 AM
Honestly, from a performance standpoint, I don't think it matters much either way. I don't see much of a performance gain or loss from running a MTB front hub.

From my experience riding year round in the Oregon slop, the MTB hubs are sealed a little bit better (depending on brand), but an Ultegra hub will hold up just fine.

Also, I don't feel any real flex or steering issues from running road hubs off-road. I weigh about 205 lbs (sometimes more) and like to power out of the saddle on climbs. If I don't have an issue with flex, not too many other guys/gals will. I'd bet anybody that is complaining about flex up front is more likely to be getting it from running lightweight road wheelset (low spoke count or light spokes) for cross.

An ultegra hub and a non-disc XT hub run about the same weight, so that shouldn't be much of a factor, except that the MTB hubs are probably percieved by many as being heavier since they look it.

I'd say the two biggest reasons you won't find guys running mtb front hubs is 1) perception 2) manufacturers generally don't spec bikes out with mix/match hubsets or wheelsets and 3) a minority of riders these days are buying traditional spoked/hand-built wheels that would allow you to pick out a mix/match hubset.

On the perception point, there are a fair number of cx riders/racers that don't like to see any kind of MTB equipment on cx bikes and even more that go along with the herd. Just look back at any discussions about brakes or gearing that come up on this board.

Things like V-brakes, disc brakes, and triple ring setups are generally disliked based more on perception than any technical justifications.
re: Why road hubs on CX front wheels? Why not MTB?flyweight
Oct 27, 2003 9:40 AM
You'll feel more felx from your spokes, fork, stem and handlebars than you'll ever feel from your hub.
re: Why road hubs on CX front wheels? Why not MTB?BenLomond
Oct 27, 2003 11:42 AM
I just talked to Michael from odds and endos and he recommended an xt hub for my cx wheelset. He stated the xt front hub was both stiffer and better sealed than the ultegra. He also recommended 13/14 spokes for my wheelset. My request was for bullet proof wheels for a 200lb rider.
re: Why road hubs on CX front wheels? Why not MTB?laffeaux
Oct 27, 2003 12:57 PM
"Bianchi4Me" is Mike from Odds and Endos.

He has a great reputation as a wheel builder.
re: Why road hubs on CX front wheels? Why not MTB?BenLomond
Oct 27, 2003 1:57 PM
thanks, did not know that. He was very prompt and curteous in his reply to my inquiry(gee I sound like a dork!). I plan to have him build my wheelset in the next week or so.
Doing your quote was what got me scratching my head. :-)Bianchi4Me
Oct 27, 2003 5:37 PM
I was pricing out your quote... and I'm looking at Ultegra front hubs... and the cost is basically the same as XT. But the XT is better sealed, weighs about the same, and has a stiffer oversized aluminum axle option. So I'm thinking "Why not XT? Is there an obvious drawback I'm overlooking? Or is it more cosmetic concerns and tradition?"

Thought I would get some perspectives from the CX experts here on the issue.
Oct 28, 2003 7:19 AM
I think it's a perception of weight. I didn't realize that non-disc XT and Ultegra hubs were the same weight. I would take XT hubs over my current wheels. =)