** Looking for this week's Promo Code? Read on to the end of this post... **
As Shimano's centerlock rotor mounting standard has become widely accepted by hub manufacturers and us riders alike, there is now an increasing number of options available, and we all know that where there are choices, there are questions! Now that Phil Wood's new Centerlock Disc hubs are joining the White Industries CLD and Chris King R45D Centerlock in our store, we thought it would be a perfect time to talk about the differences between the three.
While opinions vary from rider to rider on whether ISO (6-bolt) or Centerlock is the best standard, we do tend go with the latter when there's an option. The simple, one-tool installation and removal is easy on the wrists, very secure, and just feels like an elegant, modern solution to disc mounting. It's lower profile, and should offer slightly better aerodynamics (though we haven't found any studies on that), but most importantly, it just works well. Whether you're already a fan of centerlock or not, we hope this post will help you understand more about the options that we have to offer because we feel that they're really good ones!
There are a number of considerations when it comes to choosing the best hub, so rather than comparing each of the parts, we'll just talk about the key points of each. That way you can see which one has the features you're looking for!
Like all White Industries hubs, the CLD is beautifully machined in Petaluma, CA. It's available in a standard 135/142mm rear and 100mm OLD front version called the CLD, and a 148mm rear and 110mm front boost version called the CLD+. Both versions are available in White Industries' full range of colors: polished silver, black, gold, pink, purple, red, or blue anodized (though the colors do come with a slight up-charge).
We really like the fact that each of of these is available with the full range of White Industries freehub bodies, so if you want an XD driver on your gravel bike, you can do that no problem. Speaking of freehub bodies (including the new Shimano Micro Spline compatible one!), White Industries makes all of theirs out of titanium, which not only means they're lightweight, but it also makes them more durable than an aluminum variants. This is mainly a consideration for the classic Shimano HG style because the individual cassette cogs will tend to dig into aluminum freehub bodies to varying degrees over time. A titanium freehub means no marring, great durability, all without the weight of steel!
If there's a place where the White Industries hubs fall behind the others in this post it's probably their bearings and bearing adjustment, which uses a simple system of set screws to hold the adjustment ring in place. White Industries, like most other hub companies (that's important!), uses stock sealed cartridge bearings. That's not really a bad thing, but in this group, it's a small disadvantage. Some might even say that it's probably better to leave bearing manufacture to bearing companies, but as we'll see later, that's not the end of that story. One upshot of this type of bearing is the White Industries only offers a 60 day warranty on the bearings in their hubs (which is longer than most considering that many companies consider bearings disposable, and don't warranty them at all), but when compared to Chris King's 5 year bearing warranty, it's a bit on the short side. A potential positive of this choice though, is that the bearings are all standard sizes, and so are readily available should you need to replace them. On top of that, you have choices when it comes to replacements: there are steel, stainless steel, and ceramic bearing options out there, and on top of that, you have choices of different seals and types of grease. All of this lets you tune your bearings to your riding conditions and needs, and makes this 'disadvantage' look a lot more like a potential advantage. And importantly, this also allows these hubs to be more affordable than the other options.
Overall White Industries CLD and CLD+ hubs are really great hubs. They're lightweight, have an extremely smooth and low-drag freehub with a distinct, but not overly loud sound, and you get all of that for a lot less money than the competition. We recommend them highly, and use them on many of our own bikes!
The R45 was Chris King's fist deviation from their classic 72 tooth ring drive mechanism, and this centerlock disc version of that hub uses that same new mechanism. Along with the new 45 tooth ring drive, which reduces drag when coasting, this is also the first (and currently only) hub that Chris King offers with a centerlock rotor mount. This hub is available in Chris King's super-rainbow of colors, which, as of this writing is: Black, Silver, Red, Navy, Mango, Turquoise, Matte Jet, Matte Slate, Matte Punch, Matte Mango, Matte Turquoise. These hubs are available in 24, 28, and 32 hole drillings.
The R45D Centerlock has a lot going for it, and high on the list of its positive attributes has to be its bearings. While you can make the argument that it might be best for a manufacturer that makes only bearings to be in charge of that part of the hub, Chris King seems to have proven that that's not always the case because the bearings in these hubsÃ¢â‚¬â€œlike the bearings in all Chris King productsÃ¢â‚¬â€œare second to none, and they've got a warranty to back it up! These bearings tend to feel slightly stiff when they're brand new, because, like the best old Campagnolo hubs from yesteryear, they are made to break in and give decades of smooth riding. All you have to do is periodically service them and adjust the hubs! It's safe and justified to say that these bearings are in a league of their own, and they are an important part of what you're paying for when you invest in Chris King parts. They're also one of the big reasons we love this stuff so much!
Beyond the bearings, you have the Ring Drive mechanism. Now whether or not you love the classic Chris King buzz sound, it's hard to deny the fundamental design merits of this freehub design. By completely engaging two rings, drive force is spread out much more widely than it is in a traditional pawl design, and on top of that, you get super fast engagement (though slower on the R45 than on Chris King's other hubs with their greater number of teeth). Like the bearings, the freehub mechanism is designed to be serviced periodically, and only gets better with age.
So with all of the really special aspects of the R45D Centerlock hubs, are there any downsides? Yeah, the answer is yes, in certain circumstances.
These may or may not be deal-breakers for you, and if they are, we have the other options for you that are available with multiple driver and spacing options! For many riders, the limitation to a Shimano Driveshell isn't a limitation at all, and road, cross, and gravel bikes with boost spacing isn't really a thing, so the R45D Centerlock hubs will work great for most riders. At the end of the day, these are arguably some of the best, if not the best road disc road hubs on the market: you might be able to find slightly lighter hubs, or hubs with more freehub options, but you won't find a lightweight hub that will only get better with time, and that you can expect to ride and still be proud to ride in 10 or 20 years.
This one's fresh out of the anodizing tank, as it were, and is set to start shipping any day (which is why we don't have a photo of it in the wild). If you're familiar with Phil Wood's other hubs, you'll have an idea of the their design philosophy: make it durable, polish it well. Well, of course there's a lot more to it than that, but it's not without reason that Phil Wood has built up a reputation for making extremely durable parts with finishes that you can get lost in. Hubs with the iconic red script logo are built to last, with beautifully polished hub shells, and heavy duty axles, and easy-to-service freehub designs. These hubs are available for 100mm OLD, 9mm QR, or 15mm thru axle front spacing, and 135mm QR or 142x12mm TA rear. Like the other options Phil Wood hubs come in a wide range of colors, and like White Industries, those colors cost a bit extra. Because Phil Wood does small runs of each color, sometimes there's a bit more of a wait for some of the options, which currently are: Silver, Black, Red, Blue, Green, Purple, Pink, and Gun Metal Gray.
The centerlock hubs have high flanges with windows to save weight, and because of how much smaller the rotor mount is than their ISO hubs, these should save some weight when compared with their other disc hubs. With the different axle and driveshell options available, these hubs can be built for light-weight or maximum durability, so you can really tune them for your needs!
Phil Wood, like White Industries, uses sealed cartridge bearings in stock sizes in their hubs. What sets them apart, however, is that those bearings are completely custom made for them, and they bring nearly 50 years of sealed bearing experience to those bearing designs, specifying everything from bearing tolerance to seal gap and type. Phil Wood was by most accounts the first company to use sealed cartridge bearings in bicycles, and since the early days, they've been known for have the best out there. All of their bearings are also filled with their well-known and loved Phil Wood Waterproof grease. They also have standard, and low-drag carbonyte options available. There's a good reason why Phil Wood replacement bearings have long been the go-to for anyone looking to upgrade the stock sealed cartridge bearings in their hubs (and other parts): these are a big step above much of the competition, and are designed to give long service intervals with low to no maintenance.
Phil Woodhas used a simple, but effective freehub design for quite a few years, but last year it got a few upgrades including a new 40 too drive ring with five, individually-sprung pawls. All of this makes for a freehub that has the same great durability as the previous version, but with faster engagement. Based on our experience, Phil Wood freehubs are among the easiest to service of any currently available, and like the rest of Phil Wood's line, are designed with maximum durability in mind.
Since the company's start in 1971, Phil Wood has been in the business of making hubs. In the time since, they've tended to stay away from trends to make things lighter at the expense of durability, and have instead focused on making really high-quality parts that are worth investing in, and that holds true today. These hubs might not be the lightest, they might not have the fastest engagement, but they are beautiful, work flawlessly, and are designed and built to last. If you you think they're the right hubs for you, you're probably right because they are fantastic, and come with our very high recommendation!
While each of these options represents one of the best hubs available, they each have their strengths, so below you'll find some of the key points compared.
Note: all White Industries drivers use the same titanium construction and 3 pawl/ 48 point engagement.
Note: only available with aluminum driveshell, so there are no stainless, or Campagnolo options available for the R45, though they are for other Chris King hubs.
Note: all Phil Wood drivers available in heat treated stainless steel or 7075 aluminum.
Still have questions? There are a lot more details on each of the product pages, so check those out, but if you have more, we're here to help! Give us a shout, and we'll help you figure out the best option for you!
Once you've decided which hub will work best, use the code below to save!
THIS WEEK'S PROMO CODE = 12_Centerlock
|Buy any Centerlock hub from Chris King, White Industries or Phil Wood and get 12% off.|
Just use code: 12_Centerlock when you checkout. Applies to any quantity of hub purchase.
Valid until midnight Nov 14th.
When looking for a low-profile aero rim that's tubeless compatible, light-weight, and made-in-USA, there aren't a whole lot of options, but luckily Velocity USA has a very good one: the Aileron. That's the rim that's featured on this week's Wheel Build of the Week, so check it out!