Weights all look comparable so are you paying for finish, warranty, bearing smoothness, durability, availability of spare parts?
I've been juggling the options looking for a new custom wheelset for every day riding and honestly if the bikehubstore hubs are of decent quality I'm tempted to go that route get them assembled locally.
I figure I can experiment with some deeper/wider rims, and then if I don't like them I still have some money left over for some ultra light Stans or Kinlin Rims and have them rebuilt for less than it would cost me to buy just one set of Hubs from the big boys.
If they are beater training wheels, just get DT swiss 340s/350s and don't worry about the rest.
A DT swiss star ratchet will last around 20,000-40,000km. They have been, and will still be a spare part at that stage. A set of pawls and springs from the others will likely not be available. I have seen, first hand, numerous Tune hubs with cracked flanges. They make very light stuff, but they just doesn't work as well as other products. They use a shitty proprietary bearing, their colours are inconsistent and their QRs don't work.
You will not get spares for BHS hubs in 3 years, let alone 10.
King hubs are excellent also. You'll need to fork out for a service tool after a little while, but they last soooo long and roll so nicely it is worth it. Lots of cool colours.
Have not played with a set of Alchemy hubs. They seem neat, although I've always had many, many happy miles out of Dura Ace and DT swiss hubs, and I don't think I would really go with anything else.
Of course the Chris King hubs are nicer, but I think the original poster wants to know what are some of the glaring discrepancies are between the two.
I would also like to know from someone who is a mechanic that has taken apart a high end hub and a BHS hub.
Compared to my White Ind hubs the BHS hubs don't roll quite as well in the stand, as though the bearing seals have more drag. There is no noticeable difference while riding. The bearing preload is not adjustable like it is on the Whites. And the Whites have a Ti freehub body so cassette cogs won't dig into it. The BHS freehubs do seem to resist the cogs better than other aluminium freehubs I've used, but they probably wouldn't hold up to the large individual cogs I use in my hillclimb race cassette. And of course they're lighter than the Whites.
The single significant drawback to the BHS hubs is the DS flange spacing. It is not as good as White or Shimano but is better than DT. Lacing 1x heads in on the DS is one way to work around it, if you need to.
I also like the fact that the CKs are American made and as a matter of fact I am waiting for a Alchemy build on another wheelset. I wanted another American build hubset and feel that the $200-400 difference for better durability, piece of mind, glorious riding and pride of ownership it is chump change, especially over a 4-5 year period. If money is tight then I'd buy used or consider BHS.
I went through hub selection a while back and considered all of the above (with the exception of CK because of the lack of campy option). Eventually went for Alchemy and have since purchased another set. I also go the service kit from Jeremy, which includes a nice bearing press and all the drifts required to service both hubs, for $130.
If you are after red hubs, I am selling a set. If not red, Fairwheel bikes is your best bet.
I think this is a problem with many hub brands that want to be able to be Campy & Shimano/SRAM compatible with just a simple freehub change. If you look at the BHS rear hubs, with a cassette installed, the cassette sits a bit more inboard than on a Shimano brand hub by about .5-1mm. Also, the spacing between the DS Flange and the largest cog (with a 10 speed Shimano Cassette) is a bit more than Shimano - thus the Shimano hubs, when laced, have the spokes just a bit closer to the cassette. This will get worse with new 11 speed I am sure...
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