Is there any road bike hub like Phil Wood (uses cartridge bearing) but costs only more or less US$40?
A good Phil Wood brand costs US$409.00 (for the rear hub) which is just too heavy for my pocket. I’ve heard that there are cheaper brand but are of the same specification (i.e. cartridge bearing) but I don’t have any idea where to find. Please help…
I’ve got Phil hubs on one bike. They’re very nice, but they’re a bit overkill for most applications.
Phil Wood hubs are produced on a much smaller scale than hubs from Shimano, Formula and others; that alone will add to the cost per unit. The hub shells are machined rather than cast; that’s more expensive, too. And they’re all made by U.S. workers in one of the most expensive labor markets in the country (northern CA).
Functionally, Phil hubs have the advantage of easy field service. With two allen keys, you can tear open a rear hub for servicing. Compare this to sevicing a Chris King or DT hub, both of which require special tools. Easy field service is important for long distance tourers, but of only minimal importance for 99.9% of cyclists.
Phil hubs are available in a wide variety of drillings and widths. If you need a 145mm tandem hub, go with Phil. If you need 40/48 drilling, go with Phil. But, again, these are uncommon requirements.
If all you want is a decent cartridge bearing hub at a low cost, you can go with Formula (or the similar Surly or Velocity hubs). Unless you need unusual drilling/width hubs or have a need for a high bling, ultra-durable hub, you should be pleased with Formulas or similar cartridge hubs.
Now some cartridge bearings are considered better than others, though some of those “better” bearings are spec’d for applications that are much more severe than what a bicycle hub needs; so there isn’t an added benefit here. But, supposedly, the bearings used on Phil hubs are better lubricated than what you’ll find on other cartridge bearings, and that [again, supposedly] is a key difference in performance. I have heard of people adding Phil grease to the cartridge bearings on Formula hubs to increase performance.
As for availability, any decent LBS will stock or can order these other hub options. You can also find them available at good prices online, both from legitimate dealers and through ebay.
Phil Wood’s New Carbonite Bearings at Interbike Video 2 of 2