I have recently had a failure in my rear-hub during a brevet. The bike I use for brevets was assembled from used parts, and I tried to choose components that are dedicated to randonneuring (super-reliable, not too heavy, low maintenance and, if possible, not super expensive).

At front, I am already using a Schmidt SON generator, being very satisfied. I bought it because almost EVERY text about randonneuring over the internet mentions it, and it has been a very good choice so far.

The hub I was using at the rear is an American Classic, and it had the rather typical failure of "not engaging anymore" because of its hair-shaped spring not activating the engagement plate. That has happened to some acquaintances before, and I thought it wouldn't happen to me (wrong!) during an event (WRONG!). So it's light and fast but I cannot think it's reliable anymore.

I do not plan to use internally geared hubs, but these seem to be the only hyped rear hubs around. There are hyped fenders, tires, racks, bags, saddles... But no rear hubs that I know. Even less only the rear hub (I am not interested in buying a pair, or nagging some shop owner to sell me just the rear one from a pair).

So the question is:

Is there any famous model of rear hub indicated specifically for randonneuring or fast touring?

EDIT: 130mm axles are a possibility, since my bicicle has this spacing, and I actually opened the frame a bit to use the former American Classic.

  • 1
    While not my type of fun, I would have thought that getting a high end mtb hub such as a Chris King which is known to be long lasting, reliable and serviceable would be a good decision rather than a randonneuring hub which I imagine is a really small market filled with expensive parts.
    – DWGKNZ
    Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 21:39
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    @DWGKNZ I agree that some boutique parts are a bit overpriced, but Chris Kings are the epytome of "expensive" (if not outright overpriced) to me. I am taking a look at Grand Cru, from Velo Orange, and that looks great AND less expensive... (not that CKs are bad, not at all, but expensive...) Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 23:20
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    I think you are over-thinking this. People tour thousands of kilometres on bikes with pretty much stand gear. Personally I have over 10,000 kilometres on my Surly Long Haul Trucker which has a Deore hub. More than sufficient for touring, more than sufficient for randonneuring [I ride Audax with the basic hubs that came with the bike/relatively low cost wheel I have on the bike of choice. If I saw a hub advertised as a "randonneuring" hub I would consider it nothing more than marketing hype.
    – Aushiker
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 1:59
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    @Aushiker I'd wait until I saw the price, but I would expect it to be high. I couldn't even tell you what derailleur hubs I've used, but one generic one went well over 50,000km before it finally gave out. My special hubs are all Rohloffs :)
    – Móż
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 2:38

3 Answers 3

  • super-reliable
  • not too heavy
  • low maintenance
  • not super expensive

Any Shimano XT hub M76X - M77X. Also confider the newer T7XX "touring XT" models.

Shimano hubs are exclusively (afaik) loose-bearing rather than cartridge hubs, so they're easily serviceable and the balls are available almost everywhere.

The XT range should also have decent seals, durable materials and not be too heavy.

XT hubs don't get hyped because everyone already knows about them.


You're not typically carrying heavy loads while randonneuring, any quality, road hub should work. I think an MTB hub is overkill. I've used American Classic hubs for MTB race wheels, but I probably would not choose American Classic for randonneuring. I have thousands of brevet and randonnee miles on Shimano Ultegra, Cycle Ops Power Tap, and Schmidt SON hubs, and have yet to have a problem. You didn't mention if you're planning to build the hub into the old rim, or get a new wheel, of what type of drivetrain you have. Those factors might also influence your choice.

  • "I would probably not choose American Classic for randonneuring" - could you elaborate on that? Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 22:07
  • Yes, sorry. The reason I'd choose American Classic for race wheels is because they have a good price/weight ration, e.g. they're relatively lightweight for the price. However, I don't think they're as durable as Shimano or Campy.
    – vlieg
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 23:00

I randonneur extensively (on a touringy Kona Jake with a saddlebag) and have found Novatec hubs with sealed industrial bearing to be very cost effective, offering tens of thousands of kilometers with virtually no maintenance and no degradation of performance to speak of.

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