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Road bike hubs - the benchmark for performance

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Road bike hubs are crucial components that influence a bike’s performance, durability and comfort. Recurring questions from users concern the choice between ball-bearing and cartridge hubs, weight and the impact on performance, compatibility with different axle widths, maintenance and longevity, the influence on the number of spokes, the difference between top-of-the-range and entry-level hubs, the importance of aerodynamics, options for disc brakes and the impact of the engagement point on responsiveness.
What is the difference between ball-bearing and cartridge hubs?
Ball-bearing hubs use steel balls in a cage and require regular adjustment. Cartridge bearing hubs, on the other hand, contain sealed bearings that are generally more durable and require less maintenance. Once worn, however, cartridge hubs must be completely replaced, whereas ball bearings can be cleaned and greased.
How does hub weight affect performance?
The weight of the hub can significantly influence a bike’s acceleration and handling. A lighter hub allows you to accelerate more quickly. Durability and strength, however, should never be sacrificed for lightness.
Why is the engagement point essential in a road hub?
The engagement point of a hub determines how quickly pedaling power is transmitted to the wheel. A fast engagement point means that the wheel will respond almost instantaneously to each pedal stroke, offering increased responsiveness, particularly during quick starts or sprints. Top-of-the-range hubs generally have higher engagement points, ensuring greater efficiency and performance.
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