White Industries' T11 hubs have been the de facto standard for our road builds for a long time. It would be fair to call us raving fans, and since their introduction we've sold more of them than any other hub. They have no significant liabilities. But first, let's do the numbers...
The geometry numbers for the T11 are a great balance of all of the relevant parameters. When thinking about these numbers, the most important question is really "can we put an outstanding set of wheels together based on these hubs?" In any hub we use, the answer is "yes," but with T11s it's an emphatic yes. We also have an enormous background with them, can strip them down and put them back together blindfolded in about .25 seconds, and have NEVER had a substantive issue with one. All of that makes us 100% comfortable recommending them to anyone in any application to which they fit. If Peter Sagan needed us to build our best set of wheels for his classics campaign next year, these would be the hubs.
The front hub has a forged and machined shell, and aluminum axle, 2 #6901 bearings, and aluminum endcaps. The bearing preload adjustment system is simple and effective. A lot of people freak out when they look at the hub and see that one end looks a little different from the other, and they think something's wrong. That's how it's supposed to be.
The rear hub has two compelling features that most hubs don't: a steel axle and a titanium cassette body. The steel axle provides a great deal of strength and stiffness at a small expense of weight. To us, this trade is well worth it. The rear bearings are kept precisely concentric and parallel, and overall wheel stiffness is enhanced. The titanium cassette body is frankly impervious to cassette spline chew, resulting in a lifetime of precise shifting and zero pain in the butt when changing cassettes. They simply don't wear.
The rear bearing adjust is also easy and effective. The adjustment instructions that WI provides on their site are complete and easy to follow. The rear hub has 3 #6902 bearings and 1 #3802 (Campy cassette bodies swap one of the 6902s for a 3802). All bearings are made by Enduro, they work great out of the box, they require very little very simple maintenance, and they are easy to replace. Again, if you must on ceramic bearings, those are easy to get.
Switching between Shimano, Campy, and XD drives is easy, requiring no re-dish. The cassette bodies being titanium, they're a bit expensive, but they're lifetime parts.
By way of critiques, there are very few. The drive side outboard bearing in the cassette body is perhaps a little more exposed to the elements than on some hubs. Update - White Industries changed their bearing seals, and these have addressed this issue nicely. White Industries has gone from having bearings that were a little bit of a liability to having bearings that are a relative strength. You can read about this here. We have seen a very few adjustment-side endcaps that were a tiny bit small and didn't provide the nice interference/slip fit that they usually do. That's really it. They're great hubs and WI is awesome to work with.
For the value provided, T11s are an outstanding value, even if they cost a little more than the standard November hubs. We have every confidence telling people that while rims may come and go, you can just relace your T11s into whatever "next" set of rims you get, and you're back rolling. And then hand them down to your kids after that.
Available colors (in approximate order of popularity per our orders) are black, red, pink, blue, purple, silver, and gold.
Hi Christian -
The bearing preload adjustment is described here: http://0104.nccdn.net/1_5/30d/138/249/REAR_HUB_ADJUSTMENT.pdf. That may help.
If there is a clunking sound, you’ll want to check the pawls and pawl springs as they may not be engaging correctly. The above link has the info on how to get to them. If you have any problems doing that, check with your wheel builder/hub supplier or White and I’m sure they’ll be able to help right away.
I have used White Industries hubs on our tandem and my good road bike. After a cyclical groaning noise when pedaling hard on the tandem was finally traced to the excessive play in the rear hub bearings, I replaced the axle with the heavier one WI recommended and then the bearings as well. It did not reduce the play enough to stop the groaning. So I switched to a Phil Wood hub which did.
Now my road bikes WI T11 rear hub is exhibiting a clunking sound with every pedal rotation. Yes the rim play is about 2 mm. After checking the pedals and bottom bracket, I switched rear wheels and confirmed it is the T11 hub play. Is there a fix for this? Closer tolerance bearings?
Hi Joe,Good question. To answer the second question first, they aren't popular in aftermarket wheels because they have severely limited drilling options across the range (on Shimano, only DA comes in other than 32 or 36h drilling), they have a thinly veiled contempt for aftermarket builders (we pursued an account with Shimano, they told us to go piss up a rope) and they have exceptionally disheveled distribution situations. You can probably buy a set of Shimano hubs from somewhere offshore for less than we could buy them if Shimano deigned to let us buy from them. And then our build prices would appear out of line and… not worth it. They make nice hubs. Some people sanctify them way beyond their due ("I weigh 110 pounds dripping wet and even with 32 spokes and old wooden rims I FLY past big guys on their new fangled deep dish wheels on the descents! Just try and catch me, ya whippersnappers!! Those loose ball bearings are MAGIC!!") but they're nice hubs. But again, they make themselves impossible to do business with so screw it.Dave
How do high end Shimano or Campy hubs fit into the hierarchy of hubs? Why aren't they popular in aftermarket wheels?
Bob – Very easy. You need a new axle/end cap kit (we usually have them, WI always does, they're ~$50), a 2mm hex, and 5 minutes. Conversions will be more of a topic when we get to disc hub reviews, but these things are a huge time commitment to do so it might be a while before we start posting those.