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  1. #1
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    Phil Wood's worth their price premium?

    I am jonesing for a pair of Phil Wood road hubs for my next wheel build. As I look at the all of the other cartridge bearing hubs available, I wonder if paying almost $400 for a rear cassette hub is worth it. I know Phil's are the hallmark of quality, but are Formula, Velo Orange, WI, or Kings their equal? I know the front hub is affordable, it's the rear that's killing me. Are there other hubs that you can recommend from personal experience?

    Thanks,

    Dan

  2. #2
    Online Wheel Builder
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    dantheviking, this is a question that is entrenched in the culture of wheelbuilding and you will hear a lot of opinions but what any wheelbuilder or bike guru will agree with me about is they have a bit of a cult following due to their legendary quality. Phil's components are built with one idea in mind. That is to be durable. They pay no attention whatsoever to the weight of their products and because of that they make some boat anchors that you could run over with a train,.

    So it seems that Phil Woods do have their niche. For example if you were 300lbs you would most likely consider a pair of Phils or White industries MI5s. The real advantage to Phils as far as I can see is custom work. The following are custom hubs as well as a fully custom belt drive drive train that Phil did for us. 29er project - a set on Flickr

    Assuming that your not 300lbs and you don't want you initials carved into the flanges of the hub I think that in terms of real world differences the WIs and CKs stand up to the Phils in all respects. Both WIs and CKs are made in the USA just like Phils and to be honest either hub is better for 95% of applications than Phils.

  3. #3
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    Overbuilt

    Quote Originally Posted by Zen Cyclery View Post
    Phil's components are built with one idea in mind. That is to be durable...

    So it seems that Phil Woods do have their niche. For example if you were 300lbs you would most likely consider a pair of Phils...
    We have a pair of PW hubs on our tandem and are a 300lb team rolling down the road. Been running them for ten years and are on our third build as we wear out the braking surface on the rims. The experienced shop rat that just did our recent build has tons of wheel building experience and he was creaming his pants to get to lace up a set of PW hubs. He said the hubs are still in great shape and we should get another ten years out of them. They have been bullet proof since the day we got them.

    If the weight and the price does not bother you then go for them, you wont be disappointed.
    Luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for your thoughts on Phil hubs. You're right, they are heavy and this will be a wheelset for spirited riding. I weight 155 lbs. One thing that appeals to me about the Phil's is that there is no adjustment to mess with, like a WI or CK hub. I really don't want to fiddle with bearing pre-load and locking collars. Perhaps I am making too much of it. I've never had either in my hands to compare.

    Thanks again for your insight.

    Dan

  5. #5
    A wheelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by dantheviking View Post
    are Formula, Velo Orange, WI, or Kings their equal?
    WI & King will be somewhat (arguably) comparable in quality but the other two you mentioned, sourced from the Orient, while ok for the money, can't be classed as the equal to PW.
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  6. #6
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    Spirits

    Quote Originally Posted by dantheviking View Post
    ...they are heavy and this will be a wheelset for spirited riding...
    Well remember the weight is near the axle so it is more like frame weight that is stationary vs. rim weight you have to spin up when accelerating. With regards to spirited riding, we take the tandem out to the local Tuesday Night World Championships and hold our own and the "heavy" hub does not hold us back. Comments were to help you make an informed decision, not to discourage you away from PW.
    Luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T. View Post
    WI & King will be somewhat (arguably) comparable in quality but the other two you mentioned, sourced from the Orient, while ok for the money, can't be classed as the equal to PW.
    You hit it on the nose Mike.

    dantheviking,
    Your absolutely right that Phils have no bearing adjustments and the CKs and WIs do. With that being said assuming that whoever sources you your hubs makes sure that the bearings are adjusted to the correct preload you wont have to touch them. And even if for some reason they are a hare tight or loose they are very easy to adjust. Dont let the bearing adjustment shy you away from the WIs or CKs because its really a non-issue.

    The points that Keeping up with Junior made were absolutely correct and his tale of 10 year old tandem hubs being in perfect shape is another notch that Phil wood gets in their belt. They do make bomber components. With that being said I am going to make the following analogy. Your 155lbs so will you notice the difference between the durability of the three sets of hubs that were discussing? No. This is why... Lets say that you decide to go out and buy a helmet. And there are two helmets on the shelf. 1 Is a reasonably light road helmet. 2 is a full face downhill helmet. Now aside from it being a little harder to breath in the full face helmet why dont you get it? Because the chances of you going down face first into a pile of rocks on your road bike is pretty low. Unless your in the tour descending at 70 mph in the Alpes...

    I will agree with Keeping up with Junior that the Phils will last longer but at 155 lbs a pair of CKs or WIs will likely last you 20-20 years (thats a long time for any bicycle component!) assuming you dont run them over with your car. So even though the Phils may last longer that simply means that theyll outlast you.

  8. #8
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    I have a 22 year old front wheel laced to a Phil Wood hub that has never been serviced. This wheel is on its 3rd set of spokes. Other than the weight of the hub, the rim is only 295 g with 24 ti spokes so it is almost as light as a climbing wheel. The way it is going, it just may outlive me.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for valuable feedback

    Thanks to all of you who have responded to my OP. I think I have been moved away from my original plan to get PW hubs and now am leaning towards WI. I have a Phil cassette hub on my touring bike, and I think for that application it is perfect. But for a lighter set of road wheels, I think the weight (and price) makes WI H2/H3 the right choice.

    Dan

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dantheviking View Post
    Thanks to all of you who have responded to my OP. I think I have been moved away from my original plan to get PW hubs and now am leaning towards WI. I have a Phil cassette hub on my touring bike, and I think for that application it is perfect. But for a lighter set of road wheels, I think the weight (and price) makes WI H2/H3 the right choice.
    Excellent choice. Just think about this though - the silver WI are not anodized and stain from sweat, slobber and energy drinks very easily. The upside is that with an occasional polish with a good cleaner (I use Brasso), toothbrush and a rag they sparkle like no other hubs and look a million dollars. Their black ones are anodized and don't need that upkeep.
    .
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