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Monday, November 04, 2019

Review: White Industries T11 Rear Hub

After about 15 years (and something like 60,000 miles of cycling), I finally wore out the cones on my Shimano 7700 Dura Ace rear hub. I took them to Cupertino Bike Shop, and they said: "this part is 15 years old. Shimano stopped making replacement parts years ago, your best bet is eBay. So  I gave them a Velocity Aerohead OC rear rim from my stash, and asked them to build up a new rear wheel using a White Industries T11 rear hub, and double butted spokes.

Pardo and I had done an analysis of rear hubs years ago, and I stills stand by that assessment.  If you want strong wheels, the best hubs are the Shimanos. All the other hubs are weaker. But the past 15 years have taught me that the total cost of ownership of Shimanos are very high if you're too incompetent to do your own hub overhaul. Each overhaul costs about $30 in labor, and you pretty much need to do them every year or so. So after 10 years, you've spent $300 more in hub overhauls than you would have if you'd bought say, White Industries or Phil Woods, which more than compensates for the Shimanos being about $100 cheaper than the equivalent White Industries T11 hubs.  Furthermore, the latest Shimano hubs (the FH9000) have changed their wR dimension to 17mm, which is less than the 18mm on the T11 hubs, so now the T11 hubs will actually build to a stronger wheel than the FH9000! (The reduction of the wR dimension is due to the need to accommodate 11 speed cassettes)

Overall, the wheel came out to 10g lighter than my 15 year old wheel. Whoop de doo. In exchange, they're noisy when you freewheel. I don't know why nobody but Shimano prioritizes having quiet freehubs, and the White hubs are less noisy than the infamous Chris Kings, but not by a lot. If you're riding on a bike path the hubs have the advantage of alerting non-headphone using pedestrians on the bike path, but the rest of the time it makes an annoying noise when you coast.

I finally bought new cones for my 7700 hub, and got the bike shop to install and overhaul the rear hub. They're a lot quieter but even with the new parts still aren't nearly as smooth as when they were new, so I'm relegating these to off-pavement work. Overall, I do like the T11 hubs, and hope I can get a good 15 years of use out of them as well!

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