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  • PG

    I’ve been riding Jeremy’s original ELF/ORC 10 speed hubs since 2012. Over 12,000 km on my Sunday morning special. I’m ~90 kgs and I built my wheels with Hed Belguim rims using a 28/32 spoke count. The wheels are bombproof and the hubs continue to work beautifully. I’ve needed to change bearings about every 5,000 km or so.

    • fat coppi

      Changing the bearing every 5000km?? that’s less than ideal >
      I’m the same weight and have put over 40,000 on set of CK R45 hubs.

      • PG

        How much does it cost you to service your CK bearings?

        Alchemy hubs use standard cartridge bearings. You’re not comparing apples with apples.

        • The first gen hubs are really sensitive to pre load.. use light lock tight. And set them up with a little bit of play as the skewer clamping affects the end preload. I have a pair of gen 1 hubs.. the front has had 2 sets of bearings and the rear none.. in over 20000kms
          Kings are nice but… $1100au a pair and if you don’t look after them they get very expensive very fast.. they are a bit like a Swiss watch.. expensive, complex and really expensive to fix if you don’t look after them

          • Ssanchez

            A pair of CK R45 are pretty much same money if you know where to shop. Try AVT. I’ve used them for over 15yrs. They’re the best.
            Also to consider, CK have 5yr warranty and they’re fully serviceable.
            There is No warranty for the ABEC 3 and 5 bearings used by Wheels Manufacturing in these hubs, however everything else is lifetime so that’s good.
            I think it’s cool that CK make their own bearings, and you can rebuild them if required. That speaks volumes to me.

            • sorry but how does $764 US dollar equate to $810 AU????? they used to cost around $850 AU a pair but exchange rate changes and a 15% price increase last year changed that.. i like the kings but they require way more looking after, have disposable freehub bodies in the shimano spine and who needs a year warranty on a $25 bearing?
              Also it takes a very competent home operator with the expensive tool to service them your self.. i charge $150 for a full service on a set of kings and $75 for a basic ( not pulling any bearings )..
              they are by far the most expensive hubs in the bracket of hubs i consider good and far from perfect

              • Ssanchez

                my math says $451+$230+$12 shipping = US$693 = AU$885. At that price point, $75 isn’t a deal breaker to me.

                • sorry i was looking at the campag version. if you choose to buy them from aTV you don’t get can’t get any warranty locally, CK will only sell through dealers out side of America where as companies like ATV buy direct and are not having to make a wholesale margin on them… that is the nature of buying from the internet and from the au dealers they are $812 for a rear and around $390 for the front..
                  the version 3 alchemy’s ( which are not the V1 hubs as this comment thread is talking about ) are a set and forget hub set that will build a wheel of similar strength and geo numbers for around 70grams less weight.. pretty darn good that you can build a wheel thats much lighter with out making durability compromises

                  if you like kings buy kings it really doesn’t matter.. as a wheel builder they are both really nice hubs to work with and i personally own wheels with kings, 2 versions of alchemy’s and a pair of extralites.. I’m very happy with all of them for different reasons..
                  having another choice in the market at that level is a good thing as it brings things to the table that other older designs don’t have

        • RayG

          Sorry. Being happy with 5000km bearing replacement means your standards are too low. I get much more than that from Novatec hubs.

        • reippuert

          Service on a Record OS hub: 15 minuttes, a bit of grease. If done approx yearly you will never need to replace balls, cones or cups.

      • That’s one of the pitfalls of owning a “Sunday morning special” bike. If the bike is left to stand for a week in between rides, then even a light shower can cause problems if the water gets under the seals.

      • reippuert

        Record OS hubs does +100000km easyly incl scandinavian winther. Just clean and regrease once a year.

        Though i have replaced casette body’s outer bearing after 50000km (easy to replace with std SKS sealed bearing)

  • Nathan

    These hubs are the business! 1300g build with my Curve G4s — best wheels/hubs I’ve ridden.

    • BRK

      Hi Nathan – if you could elaborate a bit more on why they’re the best wheels/hubs you’ve ridden that’d be awesome. Also, how long have you had them? …Where did you buy them from?

      • Nathan

        I found them best mix of strength/lightness/longevity between maintenance from the three sets of hand built wheels I’ve had in the last few years. My other wheels have White Industry T11 and the other set was Extralite. They were built by Skunkworks who has posted and supplied the wheels for review.

        • BRK

          Awesome. Thanks mate

  • Hansel

    How loud are they?

    • Above average.. they start bout quite but get louder with breaking in

    • Louder than Mavic and Shimano; not as loud as DT or Chris King.

      • RayG

        Not loud enough, then.

  • weiwentg

    I’ve also got a pair of the original Elf / Orc hubs, bought in 2012. I was changing out the bearings in the front hub, and it turned out that the axle had also got bent. Wheels Mfg took care of the axle. Kudos!

    That said, as others have observed, the price is on par with a pair of Chris Kings. They’re also about $200 more than a pair of White Industries hubs in the US. The White Industries T11 also has a drive side center-flange spacing of 18mm. I’m not really sure the premium versus White Inds is worth it.

    Other potential issue is that White Industries still hasn’t come out with a Campy freehub body, by the looks of it. I’m no wheelbuilder, but as I understand it, Campy’s deeper splines mean that there’s less room in the freehub body for bearings. That’s manageable on other hubs, because as the article observed, the drive side bearing is usually not in the freehub body. But Jeremy’s design relies on the drive side bearing being right at the end of the axle. Is that trade off worth it? Because a bunch of other good hubs don’t do this, and I haven’t heard anyone lose a sprint on account of 40% of the axle being unsupported, therefore the pawls didn’t engage as well in the sprint and because they lost .5 watts or something … you get the drift.

    All told, I’m more than satisfied with my Alchemy hubs. I got a deal on the last 24h Campy Orc hub that one wheelbuilder who I think works or worked with Jeremy a lot had (Eric Gottesman, ergottwheels.com). As I said, if I were getting wheels from scratch, I’m not sure I’d pay the premium over White Industries. I’m a light rider, and I can’t say I’ve won any town line sprints on the Alchemys that I wouldn’t otherwise have won. And I do hope, for their sakes, that they’re able to work out a Campy version.

    Tech note: when Alchemy released the Orc-UL hub, I recall they said they were releasing a spacer kit to re-space Shimano 11 cassettes to Campy spacing. The cog-cog spacing is very close already, though, and one can just use a stock S11 cassette on a Campy drivetrain and get good results (by report). Campy’s cog-cog spacing is not constant over the range of the cassette, whereas Shimano’s is. I’m the sort of guy who would find it acceptable to just go with a Shimano cassette. Not sure every other Campy rider would do it. Campy is a small segment of the market. That said, the guys who’d choose Campy are probably more inclined to go with a premium and well-designed hub like Wheels.

    • Cameron

      White Industries do make a Campy freehub body for the T11 http://www.whiteind.com/campy-shimano-convertion. I converted an older H3 rear hub from 10S Shimano to 11S Campy a couple of years back. Preloading on the H2 and H3 can be a little fiddly, but they’re pretty.

    • The only real issue with the T11 hubs is there is no external bearing sealing. If you use them in the wet a lot they will eat bearings for breakfas.. fortually the bearings are heap and they are very tough hubs other wise, always build a good wheel

  • winkybiker

    I wouldn’t buy these:

    1) J-bend spokes are less-than-ideal, with a big stress pint on the inside of the bends. With top quality materials and execution they admittedly work fine, but straight-pull spokes just make so much more sense to me.

    2) I much prefer the engineering of rear wheels that have a 2:1 drive to non-drive spoke ratio to equalize spoke tension. Having the same number of spokes on each side of a dished wheel means you have either too many on one side, or too few on the other side.

    • You don’t seem to like any thing that gets reviewed on cycling tips.. don’t forget to send Matt your new bike build for a bikes of the bunch post.. I’m sure it will be very entertaining…

      • winkybiker

        Not true. I like that Baum. But yes, I’m critical of poor engineering, and like everyone have my own sense of aesthetics. I’d love to get my new bike on here. I’d be pleased if it entertained. I don’t think Matt takes unsolicited photo submissions though.

        • right so please enlighten me to the ‘poor engineering’ going on with these hubs? also a little context to your engineering background…

          for the record i really like 2:1 hub and am waiting for the new extralite 2:1 straight pulls that i have had a hand in the creation of to arrive for testing.. but while 2:1 hubs offer things that normal hubs don’t they are far from perfect and IMO not suitable for applications.. oh and i have had bit of a browse through your post history and its most certainly riding the NegOtrain pretty hard.

          • winkybiker

            In the case of these hubs, the term “poor” is likely too harsh. Apologies. But they’re certainly not to my liking in a couple of areas. The efforts to space the bearings out makes sense to me.

            But as I said, the redundant NDS spokes. What applications do you find them unsuitable for? I thought that a disc-brake hub might be one. The relatively high elasticity of spokes relative to hubs means that braking torque should be transmitted fine from the drive side though. Combine that with low braking forces at the rear and I’m not necessarily convinced that the extra spokes are required on the NDS even with discs.

            J-bend spokes seem like a wheel builder’s cruel joke to me. A design that deliberately creates a point of high stress, right where the spoke has been bent, thus disturbing the grain structure and building internal stresses as well. It CAN be done well, with good metallurgy, heat treatment and a precise shaping so the spokes hole. Perfect spoke tension also really helps. But why start with a fundamentally flawed design?

            Your dismissal of CK hubs is pretty harsh, but somewhat consistent with my builder’s views. Expensive, worth it for some people, but hard and expensive to service. He personally uses hubs that have less durable but cheaper and easily replaceable bearings. Straight pull 2:1 lacing too! So that’s what I’m getting.

            I’m a professional engineer but not mechanical. I’ve worked as an engineer for 30 years. It’s true that I tend to be inclined to post criticism rather than gushing praise. I can elaborate on any previous discussion….

        • We’re always scouting for new bikes for BOTB so feel free to submit your pics and story. the photos have got to meet our standards and should be sized 1600x1000px.

          • Winky

            Challenge accepted. I’ll send through a set of photos and some back-story. The bike (from Naked Bicycles) is due in a week-or-two.

            • Velt

              Why do you post from two accounts? Most confusing.

              • Winky

                It is confusing. To me too! Once I’m logged into Disqus on one account, I can’t figure out how to log out and log in on the other one. Different sites log me in under one of the two. It seems random to me, but presumably isn’t.

                • Velt

                  Just delete one?

                  • Winky

                    I’ll look into it. I can’t currently seem to access the other one (which is the one I’d delete).

  • RobertW

    Wow. Awesome review. Just completely satisfying. Good job, Mr. Wikstrom.

  • BRK

    Curve 35mm G4’s built up with DT240S have been on my wishlist for a while… now I’m thinking Wheels Mfg. I was leaning towards DT240S because of relatively low weight and good reputation for lasting (and low maintenance). Thoughts anyone?

    • Very close call. It’s hard to beat the 240s on the basis of low maintenance. Super robust with a choice of standard or straight-pull flanges. On the flip side, the Wheels hubs have better hub geometry so if you’ve been hard on your previous wheels (i.e. breaking spokes), they might be a better choice. You also get a choice of red or black hubs, too.

      • BRK

        Thanks

    • Nathan

      This is my wheel set with 35mm Curve G4’s — hit up Skunkworks Bikes for a build.

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