Novatech hub experiences?

Everything about building wheels, glueing tubs, etc.
RocketRacing
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Joined: Thu May 10, 2018 2:43 am

by RocketRacing

Any experiences on these novatec ud carbon road hubs? Seem to be deciently priced, and ok weight for the price.

http://www.novatecusa.net/product/as61cb/

As61cb
Fs62cb rear

Also, any experiences with the novatech ultralight road hubs?

https://r2-bike.com/NOVATEC-Hub-front-Ultralight-Road

I do mostly dry riding and hand wash my bikes. I understand that bearing quality/seals is usually what you are giving up... and brand name bling.

by Weenie


NovemberDave
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by NovemberDave

Built tons of Novatec hubs, the A291 fronts are pretty good, and the other ones are probably fine as well.

Let me take two seconds to debunk the "it's only bearings and bling that differentiates OEM hubs from boutique ones" mindset, though.

With these front hubs, and also a lot of other light weight fronts, they use #699 bearings, which are tiny. Tiny bearings overall don't work or last as well as bigger ones like 6902s in the real world. The A291 design is fairly narrow on the flanges as well, which when coupled with small bearings and axle, it's not the stiffest hub. But tiny bearings are light, that's how the old American Classic fronts could be like 55g or whatever they were.

Bearing quality is not inherent to the hub. By that I mean some of these hubs will ship with the lowest grade crap bearings and some will ship with fine bearings. Novatec I think uses fairly good EZO bearings with 2RS seals and a good grease fill as standard, but from a third party source you'd have to confirm what's in there. Could be a great SKF (though almost definitely not), could be a dry and out of spec piece of crap (and if the hub's really cheap...).

A291s are most frequently paired with F482 rears. F482s have fine bearing sizes (6902 and 6903, and your bearing choices for rear are limited based on cassette body design) but the flange geometry just isn't that hot. Same with the more popular Bitex hubs. And a lot of Bitex/Novatec/KT/etc hubs have TRAGIC flange geometry, presumably in the interest of looking unique and cool. Design is "free" so I don't know why they don't optimize but they don't.

The hub shells on these better OEM hubs are forged, which is a must, but the metal is never as hard as the better hubs. When I build a front with an A291, I MASH the spoke ends into the hub through the build process, which elongates the holes because the metal is relatively soft, and it takes a lot of work to get them to stop moving. Similar with the rears. When you see a couple year old wheel built with these kind of hubs, you see spoke hole elongation and distortion that you just don't see with WIs or I9s or CKs.

The softer metal also manifests in bearing bore roundness problems sometimes. The machining generally seems pretty good, but I've seen more than a couple of these kinds of hubs distort and not hold bearings over time. When that happens you get to replace the hub and rebuild the whole wheel. You hear of this with some of the "better" hubs on very rare occasions, but my data set is big enough to say it happens with the OEM hubs and not with WI/I9/CK etc.

The cassette bodies are problematic with these things. I'd rather they didn't use the anti-bite guards because in a season that thing may have worked loose and now the problem is worse than cassette chew. We've glued a lot of those suckers back into place with Gorilla Glue, which works, but not something you want to have to do.

I'm all for a mid-priced hub that has high quality and good reliability. It seems quite hard to do in a weight weenie hub. We love the Aivee disc hubs because they're very simple, well executed, and great price. They are not WW hubs, though. And their rim brake hubs have funny geometry that we don't like. So yes a lot of hubs do seem kind of expensive for what you get. It's way too easy to find $700 hub sets on the market and way too hard to find a good high quality $220 hub set on the market. But it's not just bearings and bling that make the difference, at all.

RocketRacing
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by RocketRacing

Thanks for that thoughtful and detailed reply.

Cheap/reliable/light, pick any two. Seems that with superlight, You just have to accept that it will not be cheap or reliable (without extra maintenance).

Thoughts on dt swiss 240s? That was to be my default. What would your choice hub be with weight in mind... or have you moved beyond that fantasy and moved to what works?

bm0p700f
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by bm0p700f

The f482 hub has 6902 and 6802 main shell bearings. That's the only technical error in November's post. The carbon hubs the op is on about is a more expensive version of these hubs. While a bit lighter they are not a hub for life. Consider them hubs to use in a low cost wheelset. One which you accept the rim might outlast the hub. I stopped building with them after a string of early bearing failures. The rear nds flange is too small and soft and I suspect that the bearing seats distorted during building killing the bearing off after a few rides.

The flange spacing on the novatec and bitex hubs is not tragic. The nds flange is 37mm from centre which does leave a low tension balance but also a laterally stiff wheel. This is fine on a hub where the flanges don't distort allowing high tensions but with the small nds flange that's the problem. I regularly use hubs with the nds flange placed 39mm from centre (miche Primato syntesi) but the flange is beefy, the Shell robust so the bearing seats don't distort under high tensions making such a hub reliable but heavy. The rear is 290g.

As November Dave said, cheap light weight hubs come with çompromises. You can get too snobby abouts hubs too. The novectec hubs are o.k just pair them to cheaper rims and expect a seasons riding out of the bearings.

Bitex raf12 has 78mm flange spacing do while it's a light weight 80g front hub with tragically small bearings it build into a stiffer wheel than the novatec hub.

Novatec disc brake hubs can be variable. Having built a few up a number of people get a seasons cross from the bearings and have to change everything. I gave a wet on my commutor bike and they have done 23000 filthy km with a bearing change at 18000km. I have been lucky. This indicates some variability in the shells. I don't build with the disc brake hubs either. I consider my left over stock dead.

DT Swiss hubs have tragic flange spacing for the rear (17/33mm flange to centre spacing) You can build good wheels with them but lateral stiffness is compromised for tension balance. The trade off goes too far though for me. for light hubs I have yet to find better than carbon Ti. White industries hubs would be the other choice if the bearings are changed for skf, ina or ntn. I dislike enduring bearings. They always seem to wear quickly.

If only campagnolo made the record hub in drilling other than 32h. There is fine hub.

Shimano dura ace are not too heavy.

The later two hubs have ideal geometry. 17/37mm centre flange to centre spacing.

I dislike most hubs or they have too many compromises. White industries use the wrong bearings, DT Swiss have compromised geometry, dura ace are for Shimano cassettes only and not that light, campagnolo is 32h only, novatec are variable. I once considered aviee hubs till I visited a nearby shop whies wheel builder is good and he showed me a bucket full of aviee hub with cracked flanges. That out me off.

Hope are good and industry nine probably are but I have no experience of them. personally j have settled on miche and carbon ti hubs. I like Royce too.

The problem is with wanting light hubs. You have to pay through the nose to get those.

NovemberDave
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by NovemberDave

It's important for everyone to remember that there can only be one opinion, and that opinion is bm0p700f's!

RocketRacing
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by RocketRacing

I suppose it is easy to look at products and see all the flaws, and strengths. Time to buy some wheels, and enjoy them!

alcatraz
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by alcatraz

I think you have to realise the level at which some builders are with their wheels.

Getting from 0-80% is what many of the posters strive for and would be fully pleased with reaching. Then there is the 80-99% finetuning of a wheel that requires a minute attention to detail and possibly ordering of custom made parts.

I think it'd be great if bmp could maybe put together his own brand of hubs/wheels that could help raise the level of all builds.

Maybe there are no really good affordable hubs out there just because people that design hubs don't care enough? It certainly leaves an attractive market opening for establishing something new. :)

/a

RocketRacing
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by RocketRacing

These seem to be the best of design/reliability/cost/light

http://blog.fairwheelbikes.com/2017/03/ ... ub-review/

Thanks for the find!

mattr
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by mattr

alcatraz wrote: ↑
Sun Jan 06, 2019 3:22 am
I think it'd be great if bmp could maybe put together his own brand of hubs/wheels that could help raise the level of all builds.
he already is well on the way to that.

bm0p700f
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by bm0p700f

November Dave erm.. I agreed with you in my post.

bm0p700f
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by bm0p700f

There are compromises with every hub choice. You just have to know which your buying and willing to accept. If your doing a 28 spoke build then the DT Swiss hubs work fine with alloy rims. They can work fine with 24h build if your don't mind the compromise in lateral stiffness ( that mean more risk of brake rub as the nds spoke find it more difficult to bend a stiff rim to keep it between the pads).

There are compromises with the hubs I use. Miche Primato are not light and carbon Ti are expensive.

Next week I am paying for samples of my own rim brake hub but these weigh is 388g and they are for 2:1 lacing only. Lighter means the cost going up alot. To get miche to make them with a forged shell will cost me ÂŁ50000 for 500 front and rear pairs. I don't have that kind of change. also 500 pairs is alot of hubs for one man. Production would have to be scaled up which requires investment and the profit goes up in smoke. I also build more disc brake wheels now. So by getting another manufacturer to make them in lower volumes is going to mean more testing. I lack the equipment for some of this and that's another expense. Nothing cheap about this at all.

RocketRacing
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Joined: Thu May 10, 2018 2:43 am

by RocketRacing

Well i must thank you both again as i have zero wheel build experience.

I am not a fan of brake rub, and i will be going with mid depth aero rims with 20/24 spokes, so carbon ti should fit the balance i need there. I also like the idea of easy serviceability, decent reliability... as the really light stuff from extralight seems as bit too fussy with upkeep, and $$$.

Pinguin
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by Pinguin

No experience with the novatec hub,but what should be a problem?
Only have to know that the risk is to change the bearings every year
The bearings are very cheap and is done on 10 minutes

NovemberDave
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by NovemberDave

RocketRacing wrote: ↑
Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:23 pm
Thoughts on dt swiss 240s? That was to be my default. What would your choice hub be with weight in mind... or have you moved beyond that fantasy and moved to what works?
The problem with DT240 is the price. They’re good hubs but not at the price they ask. We pay almost $200 more a set for DT240 than WI T11 and the T11 is a better hub.

We build some Carbon Ti and they’re good for a light hub, but overall I’d pay the weight penalty for I9 or WI, and save money in the trade.

by Weenie


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LouisN
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by LouisN

I built many wheels with NOvatec hubs and also higher end hubs.
I have 10 year old wheels with F482SB rears that are still super round , balanced and smooth (with kinlin XR270 27 mm rim). They are used by the local kid's club, they get beat up pretty badly, but don't run super high km's, maybe 1500km/yr.
I had issues with front A291 SB hubs, with lateral play on some hubs. 95% of the rear hubs I built were excellent.
All the wheels they built are still good today. Like others say, bearing swap is needed at times.
I ''power washed'' one set after a cyclocross race once and had to chage every bearing that time. Otherwise it's pretty good.
I will build wheels again with those rear hubs ( I use the F482SB with the anti bite guard on the freewheel).
For the front I would go with bigger bearings at the expense of 15-20 grams added...

Louis :)

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