I fell in love(again) this weekend....

Warning contains content referring to multiple gearing!!!

This all came about because I am currently bikeless, how I can own 30 bikes and be bikeless is a parody, but I did not have my bike. My 650B is with a friend while I rebuild his commuter and my Xtracycle is with a prospective customer trialing the xtracycle for trip up the Tanami Track. So in celebration for my being out of the building industry for good, I decided to build a bike this weekend.

Being a cheap-skate, I decided the build the bike from the parts bin. So I raided my steel frame stock, found a 52cm Miyata 710 which filled the bill. I moved to the components section of the larder where I have had a complete Shimano 600 Arabesque group(cranks, derailleurs, shifter, brake levers, headset, brakes and hubs) that has been looking for a home, so it come along. I found a 3TTT stem and drop bars, Campag seatpost, Phil Wood 113mm BB and Brooks B-17(I must confess, I raided the new stock section, just do not tell the boss!), I just cannot tolerate using any other BB or saddle anymore. I was in a quandary about wheels, sure I have plenty of Phil Wood hubs and Velocity rims around, but…

So I assembled the bike, all the while arguing with myself about the wheels, just build a new set of wheels, no use something second-hand. So I finally headed back to the larder to check used wheelstock and… I found my set of Suntour Superbe hubs!!! Oh, they are so sweet and gorgeous, I felt like I was cheating on my Phil Wood hubs.

I grabbed the hubs, a set of old stock Araya rims and a fistfull of spokes and headed to the wheel building stand. The Suntour Superbe hubs are just out of this world. Now remember, I am surrounded by Phil Wood hubs all day long, so I know a bit about good hubs. I was finishing trueing the front wheel, and give a little flick to check it for round and true, and it just keep spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning. Unreal. A most beautiful sight.

So am I saying that Superbes are better than Phil Wood. Well, look at this way, I consider my Suntour Superbe hubset to be like the fragile beauty queen of my hub collection, drop-dead gorgeous but needing plenty of care and attention. Whereas Phil Wood hubs can be abused, neglected and ignored, and still provide years of silky smooth, trouble-free performance all the while looking very smart indeed. Both are hubs, but that is where the comparision ends.

Also a word of warning, never, never breath a word about any Suntour Superbe hubs that are for sale, cause you will have to line up first after me. Especially since I am the prowl for a set of Superbe track hubs for a fixie, which is next on my bike love list.

I completed the drivetrain with a Maillard 7spd freewheel that purrs like contented cat, shod the bike with a set of 23mm tires and hit the street.

I have not ridden a dedicated go-fast road bike in at least 3 years. The bike was so fast and quick, it was addictive and intoxicating. No fenders, no puffy 650B tires, no panniers, no xtracycle, no front shock, just a pure and unadulterated lightweight steel road bike. I just could not slow down, the speed was incredible, I rode like fiend till my legs were pulp and my lungs on fire. Like my 6 year old said on his first down hill, " look dad, the bike is going by itself!" I covered 15klms in a flash, and wanted more.

So what is the moral of the story? I have rediscovered the sheer joy of riding a bike, very fast. It been a long time since I just rode a bike just for fun, since all of my riding in the past few years has been for work or family errands. So it was just pure exhilaration, feeling wind ripping through my hair(sorry, I only use a helmet under duress), and it has just reinforced that I have made the correct decision to go full-time with CTA.

I am in love again…

Great stuff. I’ve been considering rebuilding a geared roadie because I think I’ve been missing riding fast. It’s been so long since I’ve cracked 70 or 80km/h.

I had convinced myself to build up my Superbes next week (notwithstanding the fact that I have no rims, and no idea what rims to get), but now I’m getting worried.

What do you mean by ‘fragile beauty queen’ and ‘plenty of care and attention’?

I’d be treating mine with respect anyway because they’re unused NOS and absolutely worth looking after, but I don’t want something that’s going to need constant maintenance.

Can you elaborate a bit?

Don’t fall for it 853! It’s just a trick so that you get scared to use the hubs then sell them to teamCTA!


Build them up! You know you have to do it.

If you find that they suck later on … pass 'em to a lighter and gentler rider like myself.


You calling me fat?

Of course, I am using scare tactics get him to sell the hubs to me.

But what I really meant was, you can install a set of Phil Wood hubs and forget about them for 30,000klms or more. Rain, snow, dust, mud, whatever, they will just keep going without any maintenance. And if you do stuff a set of bearings, you can with a set of 10mm hex wrenchs, install a new set and your hub is mechanically like new, even if the you ran the hub until the bearings were galled and seized.

Suntour Superbes are very well built and precision machined, but you will need to be mindful of maintaining them. You would want to repack and adjust the bearings once a year for optimal longevity and smoothness. Make sure that you use a very high-quality cog to prevent stripping the threads on the hub. If you neglect the bearings until the they are gritty, you had better hope that you have not scored your cup races, since as far as I know you cannot pull the cups and replace them like you can with Campag hubs. And god help us if you let them seize, cause you will destroy the hub completely.

So while the Superbes are beautifully machined and precision hubs, which are incredibly smooth and virtually drag-free, they are no where as robust as a set of Phil Wood hubs. If you are in Melbourne, swing by Shifterbikes, Dan has a few on display. One look will tell you that Phil Wood hubs are in a completely different league. Phil Woods are just built like tanks and could be called bomb-proof. But I reckon you would need to have about 3,000klms on a set of Phil Woods before they would spin as free as a set of Suntour Superbes.

The difference between the hubs is best described as the Phil Wood hubs are spinning in stiff butter, silky smooth, almost a velvety feel, completely silent of all vibrations, even the minute ones that you can only feel through the tips of your fingers. Where as the Superbe hubs feel drag-free, spinning in air, but the feel in your fingertips is more metallic.

Build up the Superbe hubs, enjoy them, they are incrediblly fast and smooth. Just make sure you take care of them and I am sure you will get many years of great riding out of them.

I would similarly describe a set of vintage Campag or Dura-Ace hubs. Campag are slightly better since you can replace the cups if you stuff them.

Enjoy the ride,

ok so nothing more than maintaining loose bearing hubs then?

I was thinking your point was that there was something in particular about Superbes that make them high maintenance.

I’m running Record hubs now so there’s probably no difference in maintenance requirements? Which reminds me, they’ll need repacking in about 3 months.

Building a set of wheels can be such a rollercoaster of emotions.

I’ve fondled the Phils myself and yes you’re right, they are incredibly good.

Nope. Just bigger. That’s why the chicks look at you first then notice the clown on the jumbo bike.



Your all beggining to understand what things are trully beutiful!!!

I have a set of 650 tubs (28hole) superbe pro. Radial laced front, just waiting for me to find the right bike. Also waiting to be built up are a set of 36 hole superbe hubs.


and for my track bike… superbe pro 36 holes.

its all soooo good it makes me happy thinking about it!!


Me thinks that Lats has a disproportionate amount of Superbe hubs.

Anyone else agree? He needs to share!!

yet apart from the track bike, they are all roady hubs

i got a 36 screw-on superbe pro road hub if anyone wants it.

I got sweet F.A! Anyone?

  • Joel

Just to remind everyone, don’t be decieved by the title of this forum…as there is no such thing as love!!!

In a heartless mood.

Aww, you need a hug. Or a shiny pair of hubs. I’ve got some NOS low flange 32h Record track hubs at home waiting for a special pair of rims and bike.

(Just back from honeymoon in NZ, I managed to find some time to snap shots of the track bikes I found in Christchurch and Dunedin. Really tempted to bring a frame back, but (in)sanity prevailed and only the hubs followed me home.)

Woops…corretion! There may be something called love, if Blakey lovely wife happens to have some nice single friends!!! :smiley:

Befriend your friends sisters and girlfriends (and wifes)- they are the gateway to others!

I finally got some pictures of the my latest set of wheels on the web-site.

Miyata 710

Sorry the fixie is still in pieces.