In the universe of bicycles, hubs are the sun and everything revolves around them – literally. The best rims in the world are worthless unless they are built around a great hub. If the hub ceases to function properly, your ride comes to a halt. For this reason, ENVE only specs Chris King, DT Swiss, and now the ENVE Carbon Road Hub.
So, what is it that makes these hubs great? Let’s lay it all out there…
First, these hubs reduce the tradeoffs between reliability, strength, weight, stiffness, and efficiency better than any other hubs we’ve tested.
The best hubs are the ones that you don’t have to think about. These hubs feature drive-train mechanisms that are robust, predictable, and require virtually no maintenance.
Each hub offered in an ENVE wheelbuild is designed to run quiet, smooth, and fast for many years. In the case that one of these hubs starts to get noisy or rough, they can be easily serviced and tuned at home with proper tools and lubricants or professionally at your local ENVE Retailer.
Hubs bear the burden of a lot of abuse. Your power output is hammered through the drive-train, into the rear hub’s drive mechanism, out through the hub flanges, through the spokes, rim, and tire to eventually propel you forward. On top of merely accelerating your mass efficiently the hub must also manage cornering, braking, and impact. Needless to say, there is a lot of stress placed on a hub and if it can’t take this kind of heat, it doesn’t belong in the kitchen.
To ensure the durability of these hubs we put them through the ringer to test the strength of the hub’s flanges, drive mechanism, and ultimately the entire wheelbuild.
The hub torque test is aggressive but illustrates that not all hub drive mechanisms are created equal. In order to be spec’d in an ENVE wheelset, the hub needs to reach 10,000 cycles on this test before it’s deemed ENVE worthy.
The wheel fatigue test’s purpose is to abuse the entire wheel build to ensure long term durability.
This particular test fixture is capable of a variety of tests but in the case of hubs it primarily serves the purpose of putting extreme lateral loads on the wheel to test the strength and durability of the hub’s flanges.
Drag is the enemy of speed. A hub must roll smooth and fast in order to not inhibit your performance on the bicycle. As such, the best hubs on the market will have bearings in the hub shell and free hub bodies that reduce drag as much as possible.
Bearings consist of an inner race, outer race, and balls. These components are generally constructed of stainless steel. For increased durability and efficiency ceramic is used for the ball bearings. Ceramic bearings achieve greater durability because of their increased hardness over steel which makes them less prone to pitting and deformation. Efficiency is increased because ceramic balls are manufactured to more exact dimensions than steel. In other words, they are more perfectly round.
Because good bearings are integral to the performance of the hub, manufacturers like Chris King actually manufacture their own bearings with their standard offering being a steel bearing. Ceramic bearings are also an option for an additional charge. DT Swiss offers stainless bearings in their utilitarian DT 240 and ceramic in their flagship DT 180 hub model. The ENVE Carbon Road Hub features CeramicSpeed ceramic bearings.
In the cycling technology and innovation game, incremental gains make a big difference to riders seeking the best performance. Saving weight means you go further, faster.
|ENVE Carbon Hub||74 g||158 g||232 g|
|Chris King R45||102 g||215 g||317 g|
|DT 180||101 g||184 g||285 g|
|DT 240||107 g||225 g||332 g|
|DT 350||150 g||265 g||415 g|
The geometry of the hub refers to the width between the hub’s flanges and the physical diameter of the flanges themselves. Wider spacing and larger flanges will typically create a more laterally stiffer wheelbuild, but not without the consequences of added weight. Geometry also affects the spokes. Certain hub geometries will fatigue spokes faster lending to premature spoke fatigue and failure. The best hubs feature geometries that lend to an efficient wheelbuild without putting other components in the wheel at risk.
The ultimate hub is the one that embodies all the performance metrics listed above without sacrificing too greatly in any one area.
If you have purchased or are considering the purchase of a new wheelset don’t overlook the hubs. If you are buying an ENVE wheelset, we’ve done the ground work for you. Simply research our standard Chris King, DT Swiss, and ENVE hub options and pick the hub that best aligns with your budget and performance expectations.
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