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WTB DiscLite Hubs

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WTB DiscLite Hubs

WTB makes pretty good mountain bike parts; these LaserDisc Lite hubs fit into that category with a couple exceptions.

WTB LaserDisc Front Hub

These WTB hubs came as standard equipment on a 2009 Giant Trance X mountain bike, part of a LaserDisc wheelset. These LaserDiscs are actually re-badged American Classic hubs. Longtime cyclists recognize American Classic as a manufacturer of quality, lightweight parts. These hubs are just that; good looking and lightweight with stainless steel sealed bearings. They run smooth and quiet. The front hub is a 15mm QR; this setup adds noticeable stability to the front end.

WTB LaserDisc Rear Hub

Unfortunately, "lightweight" does not play that well on a 5" travel all mountain bike. After a season and a half of riding, the aluminum freehub body on the rear hub was shot. The teeth that engage the hub pawls were completely rounded off, causing the hub to skip when pressure was applied to the pedals. The cassette had also chewed up the splines on the freehub making it tough to get the cassette off. It's unfortunate the freehub is a weak link; the hubs and bearings showed hardly any wear. The DiscLite wheels were still solid and true; not even a loose spoke.
Aluminum freehub bodies are not uncommon so this is not just a WTB problem. American Classic/WTB has come out with a steel faced cassette body which helps keep the the cassette cogs from eating into the freehub splines, but won't help the wear from the pawls engaging the freehub. For an all mountain bike, we would prefer a stainless steel or titanium freehub body. This is a classic example of where it's just not worth it to save a few grams and sacrifice durability. Aluminum freehub bodies are not strong enough for heavy duty off road riding. No way aluminum will work with a 2 X 10 setup, especially if you go with a 36 tooth low gear on the rear cassette.
For XC riding, these hubs would be fine. Not maintainence free, especially if you ride a lot; expect to replace the freehub body on a regular basis. If American Classic/WTB would come out with a stainless steel or titanium freehub body, they would be right up there with Chris King and Hope for the best mountain bike hubs you can buy.

Check out the WTB DiscLite Rear Hub rebuild page

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