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Looking into getting a new wheelset. I'll be upgrading from LX level hubs, any thoughts on how the XT compare with the Onyx?

The XT seem to be a bit more reliable and well known, whatever the shortcomings are, while the onyx seem to be a bit of a wildcard. Thoughts?
 

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I ride wimpy xc, and use rim brakes, but I've had a Bontrager Race Lite rear wheel (uses DT Onyx hub) for about a year now, no complaints. No experience with XTs, sorry I can't be of greater assistance.

The links at the bottom of this page (to related threads) offer more, varying opinions.
 

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Shimano XT disc hubs are mediocre at best compared to ONYX (Which are made by DT Swiss). The Shimano hubs come loose often and can become damaged or destroyed if ridden loose. They are also loose-ball (or non-sealed) bearing and therefore can become contaminated faster than the DT's which are sealed. Shimano hubs are also some of the heaviest on the market.

Don't get me wrong, the Shimano's are not bad hubs per se but the DT's are leaps and bounds better. Not to mention much lighter as well.

BTW- I am referring to the older high-flange XT 6-bolt disc hubs as opposed to the newer centerlok style with which I have no experience or knowledge.
 

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nihilan said:
Looking into getting a new wheelset. I'll be upgrading from LX level hubs, any thoughts on how the XT compare with the Onyx?

The XT seem to be a bit more reliable and well known, whatever the shortcomings are, while the onyx seem to be a bit of a wildcard. Thoughts?
I'm not impressed by Shimano as a hub maker from my experience, I had cracking ball tracks on a pair of LX, and the front was just.. Awful.
 

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I have XT on my hardtail, DT Swiss 240 on my XC FS, and DT's Onyx on my trail/FR bike. All good hubs but the DT line is quite a bit nicer. Smoother, more durable, and more specialized in the field. My 240's are quite comparable to Kings but I still envy the "killer bees" sound of Kings.
 

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punkassean said:
Shimano XT disc hubs are mediocre at best compared to ONYX (Which are made by DT Swiss). The Shimano hubs come loose often and can become damaged or destroyed if ridden loose. They are also loose-ball (or non-sealed) bearing and therefore can become contaminated faster than the DT's which are sealed. Shimano hubs are also some of the heaviest on the market.

Don't get me wrong, the Shimano's are not bad hubs per se but the DT's are leaps and bounds better. Not to mention much lighter as well.

BTW- I am referring to the older high-flange XT 6-bolt disc hubs as opposed to the newer centerlok style with which I have no experience or knowledge.
I am sorry, but calling XT mediocre at best and loose bearings poor technology is some combination of or all of ignorance, inexperience or trolling.
 

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Shimano are decent...

nihilan said:
Looking into getting a new wheelset. I'll be upgrading from LX level hubs, any thoughts on how the XT compare with the Onyx?

The XT seem to be a bit more reliable and well known, whatever the shortcomings are, while the onyx seem to be a bit of a wildcard. Thoughts?
but the Onyx will be pretty kick ass.

I had a set of the XT Disk hubs (M756s), and never had issues with them working loose, binding, getting gritty whatever. No problems at all, and I ran them for 3 years in good and bad weather. I put over 2000 miles on them. I cleaned and re-greased them once a year, and apart from that no issues at all. They were kinda heavy, too.

I switched to Hope XC hubs (same class as the Onyx) and immediately noticed that my disc brakes stopped rubbing around turns from flex and the freehub engaged much more quickly. They also spin more smoothly.

So the Onyx is an upgrade from the XTs, but the XTs are decent. I'm not sure if the XTs are any better than LX, tho. They are basically the same cup and cone bearings, same borozon coated races, same double seals, same CroMo axle, same QR. I really can't see what the difference is, apart from maybe a slightly lighter shell. If weight is a deciding factor for you, then you prolly won't get XTs anyway.

BTW, Shimano hubs (all of them, IIRC) are sealed bearing. The guy who said they aren't sealed is wrong. He is refering to cartridge bearings vs cup and cone loose bearings.
 

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XT hubs are fine. I do not consider them to be a big upgrade over the LX. The main differences are in the finish. I have bought several set of Shimano disc hubs in the last few years and seen not reason to buy XT instead of Deore. The Deore are usually less than half the price and the same weight. The XT has one more internal seal and a slightly better axle. If I have a problem with the Deore axle I can replace it with an XT.

Both are loose ball and cone bearing hubs. As such they do need to be adjusted properly from the start and serviced regularly for best performance and long life. They are not forgiving to neglect as a cartridge bearing hub, such as the Onyx, can be.

My preference is for cartridge bearing hubs. Easy to service. Easy to adjust. Basically last forever.

That said, The freehub of the Onyx hubs (different design than the 240/340/FR hubs) is not as durable in wet conditions and/or under heavy/strong riders as Shimano freehubs. It is also easier to find a replacement FH for a Shimano when you need one.
 

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punkassean said:
Shimano XT disc hubs are mediocre at best compared to ONYX (Which are made by DT Swiss). The Shimano hubs come loose often and can become damaged or destroyed if ridden loose. They are also loose-ball (or non-sealed) bearing and therefore can become contaminated faster than the DT's which are sealed. Shimano hubs are also some of the heaviest on the market.
Wow, you have no clue what you are talking about here.

The shimano hubs are sealed, but no hub is going to be able to deal with being submerged for any extended period of time, so if you are looking for some sort of "waterproof" hub, it doesn't really exist.

The shimano hubs just don't "become loose", if they are tightened correctly, you aren't going to have a problem, and they are super-easy to service with replacement parts at just about any bike shop.

Shimano hubs are bombproof (if adjusted correctly of course). They used to be super heavy, but the newer centerlock ones are actually pretty light.

If you want a hub with easy-to-get parts that will last year upon year, the shimano hub is for you. You will have to service them occasionally, but there's plenty of cart-bearing hubs out there that should have the bearings replaced, and people just go on them untill they die.
 

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shiggy said:
My preference is for cartridge bearing hubs. Easy to service. Easy to adjust. Basically last forever.
I'm curious as to how you "adjust" your cart bearing hubs, and I'm also curious how you purge replenish the grease that breaks down due to wear.
 

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Jayem said:
I'm curious as to how you "adjust" your cart bearing hubs, and I'm also curious how you purge replenish the grease that breaks down due to wear.
I didn't mean to start any flame war, as much as point out that mid-level Shimano stuff is far from mediocre, and that loose ball bearings do not mean not sealed.

You can remove and replace seals on many cartridge bearings, and repacking them seemed to work better with a grease that films more so than something more gelatinous or viscous like Phil Grease (at least in my environment). Sealed cartridge bearings are also shimmed and threaded to axles and spindles some applications.

I a previous career learned that the seals were about keeping grease in before water or other stuff out, and I witnessed many worn and failed sealed cartridge bearings of the same type used in bike hubs.

Not that much wet salty winter got to Paul hubs, but the cheap loose ball Shimano hubs on our family commuter bike have not been touched since 1999. All that said I like the way my Paul WORD hubs work, but know that they're in the realm of boutique or bling.
 

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Jayem said:
I'm curious as to how you "adjust" your cart bearing hubs, and I'm also curious how you purge replenish the grease that breaks down due to wear.
Some cartridge bearing hubs can be adjusted. Some can not. Same goes for the bearings themselves (as you know). I do what the hub requires/allows.

Servicing the bearing consists of popping the outer seal, flushing with solvent, a little compressed air to dry and repacking. 5 minute job, max, for a front hub. A repack can "tighten" or reduce the slop in a worn cartridge. Can usually do it a couple of times before the bearing is shot. Then I replace the cartridge (a 10 minute job. I keep spare bearings in my toolbox). Never a worry about ruining the hub shell because the race is trashed. Never have to find new cones. Never lose a ball.

Cartridge bearings are just my personal preference for the wet and gritty conditions I ride in much of the year.
 

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okay buddy somebody needs a nappy poo. :D

Shimano hubs are loose-ball or more accurately "cup-and-cone". Although they do in fact employ "dust seals" they are referred to by most people as unsealed-meaning they do not have sealed cartidge bearings. From my experiences (I owned a set of XT disc hubs) they would work loose (axle cones) from time to time and dirt would still find it's way past the "seals" eventually muddying up the grease.

My King hubs on the contrary stayed nice and tight and relatively clean. I have rebuilt them a few times just for my piece of mind. King's sealed bearings are user servicable and if they become damaged they can be replaced as is true with all sealed bearing hubs. Unlike Shimano hubs where once the bearing race becomes pitted the whole hub is junk (with the exception of Saint hubs which have replacable races).

As I said in my first post XT's aren't bad hubs per se, they are mediocre at best. I mainly say this because they are VERY heavy and not particularily durable. Everything I posted is based from first hand experience.

Jayem said:
Wow, you have no clue what you are talking about here.

The shimano hubs are sealed, but no hub is going to be able to deal with being submerged for any extended period of time, so if you are looking for some sort of "waterproof" hub, it doesn't really exist.

The shimano hubs just don't "become loose", if they are tightened correctly, you aren't going to have a problem, and they are super-easy to service with replacement parts at just about any bike shop.

Shimano hubs are bombproof (if adjusted correctly of course). They used to be super heavy, but the newer centerlock ones are actually pretty light.

If you want a hub with easy-to-get parts that will last year upon year, the shimano hub is for you. You will have to service them occasionally, but there's plenty of cart-bearing hubs out there that should have the bearings replaced, and people just go on them untill they die.
 

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punkassean said:
...would work loose (axle cones) from time to time...
...is not as bad as...
punkassean said:
...Shimano hubs come loose often...
I agree with Jayem that if the hubs are properly adjusted they hold it pretty well. When they do need readjustment it is usually time for a complete servicing.

XT hubs are not really comparable to Chris King. They are comparable to Onyx, which I would not compare to CK either.
 

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punkassean said:
okay buddy somebody needs a nappy poo. :D

As I said in my first post XT's aren't bad hubs per se, they are mediocre at best. I mainly say this because they are VERY heavy and not particularily durable. Everything I posted is based from first hand experience.
XT maybe mediocre if your slice of life is the high end of the market. I am sorry, but I look at the whole market and who and what I see as a trail manager and trail crew leader in the state that's 20% of the bike industry world-wide. What keeps the bike industry alive and what most people show up with in the parking lots are $150-1000 bikes where XT is actually a high end product.

The importance of this (moderation) dawned on me when I realized one friend of mine was not riding because he could not afford a fancy bike. I got him to ride my maybe $300 city bike and he realized he could have fun, and a month later bought his whole family basic bikes, and is sad he has to work weekends and can't help build trail. He's gone from reactionary foe of the Bike Federation to new fan of bike trail infrastructure and his biking and running have kept him 40 pounds lighter for several years.

A business associate went into a shop and left when a dumb a$$ said he needed at least a mid-level Trek or Fisher dual suspension bike to ride trails around here. He rode my single speed in a circle in a parking lot and it lead to $350 hard tails for his daughter, and a $500 bike for him and the whole family is having fun for less money than the LBS stooge said he needed for one bike and in his case he's taking his daughters to volunteer in parks? He was gullable enough to buy a black SUV for business image, so where would we be if he felt he could only bike with a black carbon fiber Trek he could not afford?

I have obviously digressed here, but I make my point because this very forum has helped intimidate some I know and I think we'd all rather have what I brought up here - new riders and new volunteers and two families getting outside instead of walking from car to mall food court.

I will also admit that I many not see it this way if I was not of the 3 kids, 1 each of dog, wife, minivan and wagon demographic, did not work with several bike shops as well as bike makers and did not spend 20+ weekends a year building infrastructure (trail) for our sport.

We need more riders, more volunteers, less avoidable obesity and more common sense in this nation. All I see that elite does is make the elite happy and increase debt for millions of fools.

Rant over, caffeine fading, and off to work!

P.S. I am guilty of owning some bling as the young folks call it, and I'd love to hear a plan where the world can all ride on $300 hubs and still have money in the bank.
 

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Also a bit off-topic... The LX and Deore hubs have 1 less ball-bearing in each cup-cone set versus the XT (at least the older ones that I've serviced.) This means that the races and bearings wear out a bit faster on the lower end hubs.

I just build a disc XC wheelset using Onyx Hubs (Actually NOS Hayes Elite) laced 3X to Sun Sub-IV rims with Wheelsmith DB 14/15 spokes. Total cost was <$140 and the total weight is ~1,780 grams.

I'm very pleased with how they turned out. The ride is very nice but it is strange to coast so quietly (my other wheelset is an aggro/FR build with Chris King hubs). The jury is still out on durability, but they have about 40 miles on them so far. ;-)
 

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Tony said:
Also a bit off-topic... The LX and Deore hubs have 1 less ball-bearing in each cup-cone set versus the XT (at least the older ones that I've serviced.) This means that the races and bearings wear out a bit faster on the lower end hubs...
Every Shimano hub of any level I have worked on has had 10 balls per side front and 9 per side rear.
 

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shiggy said:
Every Shimano hub of any level I have worked on has had 10 balls per side front and 9 per side rear.
Maybe I was just confused since my first generation XT rear disc hub had 10 in each side? I moved a freehub from a Taco'd LX hub to my XT disc hub and that is when I noticed the ball quantity discrepancy.

All the Shimano LX rear hubs I've repacked have had 9. The only other XT hub I've repacked in recent memory was a 1993 vintage and I don't recall how many balls it had.

... come to think of it, the XT disc hub had been repacked by a LBS previously (yet another freehub replacement.)...perhaps they put an extra ball in each side thus leading to my perpetual confusion.
 

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punkassean said:
As I said in my first post XT's aren't bad hubs per se, they are mediocre at best. I mainly say this because they are VERY heavy and not particularily durable. Everything I posted is based from first hand experience.
This post was about things like DT swiss onyx hubs vs. shimano XT. Since the XT rear hub is about 370g, and the onyx about 400g, I fail to see this huge weight discrepancy. A CK ISO disc is about 307g, a little lighter, and then again there's aways the XTR hubs at about the same weight. I'm still not certain where you are getting this "very heavy" thing from, but maybe you are talking about the older generation shimano disc hubs, and not the current lighter ones. And from my experience servicing hundreds of shimano hubs, they are indeed very durable, but like any part if they aren't serviced once and a while you'll have problems.
 
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