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I'm beginning to see manufactures making carbon hubs and am wondering if they have the potential to perform better than conventional metal hubs or if they are just a way to save a couple of grams of weight, possibly at the expense of performance.

Edit:
These are the hubs I was originally asking about, manufactured by enve. They have a full carbon shell and flange. The flange is not drilled, the holes are molded as such.

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    They are an excellent choice for separating you from your money. Sep 2 '15 at 16:40
  • (In what way do you feel they could "perform better"??) Sep 3 '15 at 0:45
  • @DanielRHicks I don't feel that way. I was asking if the material has the potential to perform better than various metals as a hub.
    – ebrohman
    Sep 3 '15 at 3:20
  • Define "perform". In theory one could use a composite to have more resistance to "tear-out" of the flange than regular alloys, but I haven't heard of a case of tear-out in 10-20 years. Sep 3 '15 at 11:58
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Which hubs are you thinking about?

It would be very hard to make a carbon hub flange strong enough to withstand spoke tension, assuming you are building a wheel with conventional spokes. Most carbon hubs I have seen use aluminum flanges, and the few which offer significant weight savings are ultralight equipment not for general use.

Carbon probably won't replace the axle, bearings, freehub, or quick release, either. So you're talking about a few inches of tubing being carbon instead of aluminum, and you're trading the one-piece hub shell for something assembled. The hub is subject to considerable stress from riding so it's not an area where it makes sense to compromise.

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  • See my edit on the OP - they did manage to make a full carbon flange. Internals are DT Swiss. The free hub body may be carbon as well, I can't tell.
    – ebrohman
    Sep 3 '15 at 23:26
  • The Enve hubs look lovely. I would still call them ultralight equipment, and very costly. If you have the pleasure of building a super light bike, by all means get them. I suspect I would break them.
    – user21401
    Sep 5 '15 at 21:40
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If you want to make a very large flange hub (to produce shorter spoke lengths and produce a stiffer wheel), bonding a large metal flange to a carbon hub shell is not a bad idea. If you try doing it with a one piece design, the larger shell (coming from the larger flange) would likely make the hub heavy. Making the shell out of carbon instead has the the potential to preserve the advantages of a large flange without the drawbacks of having an overweight heavy metal shell.

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Does a carbon brake lever perform better than an aluminum?

I am pretty sure a carbon hub is purely for weight and not performance.

Frame and fork is a case of carbon also has performance benefits. Carbon has flex and damping characteristics that many people prefer over other materials. In a hub you just want rigid and strength - I think.

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    Carbon levers perform much better in cold weather (below 0F) because they are poor heat conductors as opposed to using any metal. Everything has it's place. Sep 2 '15 at 15:56
  • It would be for general weight reduction. The flywheel component and the inertia of the hub are negligible because the weight is close to the axle.
    – Carel
    Sep 2 '15 at 16:15
  • @ChrisinAK Did you go carbon levers thermal properties. In AK do they really go with carbon levers for thermal properties?
    – paparazzo
    Sep 2 '15 at 16:34
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    Yes. I have a couple sets of aluminum levers on Formula brakes that are actually so close to the same weight as the carbon that it doesn't matter AND they feel better because they are wider and more comfortable. However, my winter bikes all have carbon levers because at -20F there is an extremely noticeable difference. People that don't opt for carbon pricing usually wrap their metal levels with hockey tape or something similar (at extra weight cost!) to offset the cold some. Sep 2 '15 at 16:39

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