First Impressions: Hubset

Over the last two-and-a-half years, of Chapel Hill, NC, has made a name for itself by offering great deals on hubs, rims, and spokes.  For the past couple of months, GRAVELBIKE has been testing two of the company’s latest offerings–the SL218 rear hub, and the SLF85W front hub. Campagnolo’s SL218 and SLF85W hubs.

Both hubs feature CNC-machined 6061 alloy bodies, 7075 alloy axles, and roll on Enduro sealed bearings (which are easily serviced with common hex keys).  Our samples came in a 28/32 configuration with a Campagnolo-compatible freehub (130mm rear spacing).  Weight was dead-on at 85g (front) and 218g (rear).  For this review, the hubs were laced to H Plus Son Archetype rims by local expert Peter Chisolm of Vecchio’s Bicicletteria.  Sapim spokes completed the build, with 2.0/1.5/2.0 Lasers being laced 2x in front, and 2.0/1./8/2.0 Race laced 3x in back (both using brass nipples).

The heart of the SL218 rear hub is a six-pawl, alloy freehub.  The hub is available in Shimano- or Campagnolo-compatible versions, and both drivers are fitted with two Enduro sealed bearings.  Engagement is solid (even below freezing), and the axle’s drive-side end cap features an additional rubber seal that does an excellent job of keeping water and dirt away from the bearings. BHS Campagnolo Enduro
The SL218’s freehub is well sealed and easy to service.

For this test, I used a Campagnolo Veloce cassette with separate cogs, and couldn’t detect any excessive gouging or notching of the freehub body’s splines.  One thing to note, however, is that the SL218’s freehub positions the largest cog very close to the spokes.  Extra care should be taken when adjusting the rear derailleur’s inner limit screw so that there’s no contact with the spokes when the chain is on the large cog.

One of the highest compliments I can bestow on the hubs is that I basically forgot about them.  They worked (very) well, and didn’t require any babysitting or tweaking whatsoever during the test period.  Whether I was exploring dirt roads or riding pavement, they became “invisible” and let me focus my energy on enjoying the ride.  And in all honesty, you really can’t ask for more than that.

Disclosure: provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation for this review.

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