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Multiple broken freehub bodies. Possible replacements?

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Multiple broken freehub bodies. Possible replacements?

Old 10-14-21, 10:12 PM
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dwsmartins
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Multiple broken freehub bodies. Possible replacements?

I've got a recurrent problem with freehub bodies broken or seized. First of all, let me put the variables on the table: I'm definitely fat (134kg/295lb, down from 157kg/345lb), my neighborhood is filled with 15%+ climbs everywhere, I'm used to climb these hills on a daily basis and I carry groceries on my bike panniers (never more than 30kg/65lb).

Back in mid 2018 I installed a FH-RM30-8 which lasted about 11000km/7000mi until I managed to literally crack it's freehub body in mid-2020. I replaced it with a FH-M430 (contact seals on non-drive side and up in the Shimano lineup, so I thought it was an upgrade). It's freehub body locked up (the place where the pawls sit got distorted, like it was above it's design load or the metal was out of specifications) after 6 months during social distancing, when I rode less than 3000km/2000mi (quite a low mileage, in my opinion), so I bought another FH-M430 to caniballize it's freehub body, as a spare freehub body here in Brazil is hard to find and almost the same price as a complete freehub. Back then, I just considered it was a bad batch, as the parts are from the local Shimano distributor, so I really don't think they're fake.

Fast forward another six months until today: the current freehub body just locked up! That raises some questions:

* Is there anything wrong with the FH-M430?

* Am I wrong assuming it should be stronger than a (cheaper, without contact seals of any kind) FH-RM30-8 or a (about the same price, with external rubber seals) FH-RM70?

* On the other way around, am I wrong assuming a FH-M590 or FH-T610 should be stronger?

I'm not searching for less weigth, just longer durability. I only have these options around here, despite the M590 and T610 are imported from Germany by courier, this fact alone doubling it's cost relative to the other options. Could you tell me your personal experiences with these hubs or similar situations?
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Old 10-15-21, 06:50 AM
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I'd suggest asking over in the Clydesdale section, they will have much more real life experiences with hubs, rims, spokes that can live well with a rider and load of your weight.

I'd also recommend lowering your gearing as much as you can, at least it will put less strain into your drivetrain.
good luck with proper advice, although I realize getting stuff into Brazil will be pricey and tricky.
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Old 10-15-21, 10:52 AM
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Already asked there, as you suggested. But right now I can't help but think about it, so some ideas came to mind:

* There are more disk brake hubs available on the market right now than v-brake specific ones. If I choose one of these, the asymmetric spoke pattern could cause any trouble?

* I've never used non-Shimano hubs, but some folks around here say marvels about Novatec hubs. They're kind expensive around here, but I don't know if this is just hype. What can you tell me about then?

* Which hubs do you recommend for bike touring? Maybe I could find then around here, but right now I need some guidance. Could you help me?
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Old 10-15-21, 11:44 AM
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I built 3 wheels on the FH-RM30 hub.
I'm amazed you got the mileage you did on yours.
The cones only have an oxide rather than polished finish.
DS cone tends to pit. 2/3 so far. 3rd doesn't get a lot of miles.

I'd go to the better Deore level with your 30kg load.
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Old 10-15-21, 12:46 PM
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What cassette are you using now? Lowering the gearing (by using a smaller chainring or bigger cog) actually puts more torque on the freehub, and Shimano used to have max cog ratings for some freehubs to prevent damage...

EDIT. Found a note in an old thread on the subject:

"Shimano HG61 9-Speed Cassettes.

FW6005

12-36t 29'er-specific cassettes must be used with either M529 (6-bolt) or M629 (centerlock) hubs, which are designed and manufactured specifically to withstand the extra torque load exerted by the 36t low gear

Use of the 12-36t cassettes with other hubs may result in hub-failure and may void warranty coverage"
From the other thread, I like the idea of using tandem-rated parts, even though that may not be cheap. It doesn't sound like you're doing anything wrong, the parts just aren't up for it.
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Old 10-15-21, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by dwsmartins View Post
I've never used non-Shimano hubs
Very wise of you. I'm pretty sure you need a hub which employs the cassette body as a stressed member to place the drive side axle bearing next to the dropout, and provides preload adjustment for the bearings, so Shimano and Shimano copies only (Joytech, some Alex).

Given your record of destroying the ratchet in these hubs, I'd say your only options are to try the silent hub from about 15 years ago if you can find one, or get hold of a titanium freehub body for XTR/Dura-Ace. The silent hub uses a whole different mechanism which might be up to it (I think the hubshell is different too, so you're talking the whole hub), and the titanium cassette body, depending on the grade of ti, is likely to be tougher and/or more fatigue resistant.
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Old 10-15-21, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
From the other thread, I like the idea of using tandem-rated parts, even though that may not be cheap. It doesn't sound like you're doing anything wrong, the parts just aren't up for it.
Actually yeah, that's another angle to look at. There might be something specific for Steps-powered cargo ebikes from Shimano these days too.
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Old 10-15-21, 09:08 PM
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Where are you at dwsmartins ? The cheap-o hubs are probably the wrong direction for you. Get something of quality. I would talk with your local wheel builder and see what they recommend. I would personally look at the White Industries MI5 but you make it seem like you are in a place that is hard to get decent parts. They may be more expensive but can be had in 36 and 40h and are really reliable hubs. I have a set of their T11s and haven't done anything to those wheels they just roll perfect every time and they are rim brakes so I would know if there is an issue and while not as heavy as you am not a light weight rider by any means.

Oh wait I see Brazil, I should have read more but you might see if Tassara bike in Chile could help out? World Wide Distributors ? White Industries They also make some nice titanium frames from the look of it so probably could also help out with wheel building which as a Clyde I am sure you are well aware of.
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Old 10-16-21, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
What cassette are you using now? Lowering the gearing (by using a smaller chainring or bigger cog) actually puts more torque on the freehub, and Shimano used to have max cog ratings for some freehubs to prevent damage...

EDIT. Found a note in an old thread on the subject:



From the other thread, I like the idea of using tandem-rated parts, even though that may not be cheap. It doesn't sound like you're doing anything wrong, the parts just aren't up for it.
I'm using a SunRace 11-40t 8s cassette. Looks like I'm overloading the freehub, as they're usually intended for 34t max.

But what about 2x10s bikes with 42t cassettes and 36-22t cranks? The torque applied on then should be similar or even greater to what I'm putting on mine. The FH-T610 is listed as compatible with this setup, but it's freehub body looks similar to the FH-M430 I'm currently using. Some shops around the web even sold replacement freehubs supposedly compatible with both of then.

If only Shimano published torque spec for their freehub bodies...
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Old 10-16-21, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Where are you at dwsmartins ? The cheap-o hubs are probably the wrong direction for you. Get something of quality. I would talk with your local wheel builder and see what they recommend. I would personally look at the White Industries MI5 but you make it seem like you are in a place that is hard to get decent parts. They may be more expensive but can be had in 36 and 40h and are really reliable hubs. I have a set of their T11s and haven't done anything to those wheels they just roll perfect every time and they are rim brakes so I would know if there is an issue and while not as heavy as you am not a light weight rider by any means.

Oh wait I see Brazil, I should have read more but you might see if Tassara bike in Chile could help out? World Wide Distributors ? White Industries They also make some nice titanium frames from the look of it so probably could also help out with wheel building which as a Clyde I am sure you are well aware of.
You already find out I'm from Brazil. I'm having a hard time around here, as there are few choices of parts. Importing duties are about 80% also, just to make things worse, and the local currency is on an unprecedented low, so everything is VERY expensive at the time.

I'll check your suggestions, but I can't say right now if they are feasible or not. Thanks, anyway.
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Old 10-16-21, 06:48 AM
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dws, I've lived and traveled in Latin America, so I get the steep thing, but about torque and all that, it really must be down to your weight and the power you put out when going up steep stuff.
I weigh less than half of you, and while I've had 50+ lbs on my bike going up steep stuff, I know even at my lowest gear , 22 small crank and 34t cassette, there's just no way I can be over burdening the drivetrain just because I don't have the force you do. (And the force needed to get you up the hills, so much less for me so I can spin easier with higher cadence, so less torque actually going into chain etc etc)

what crankset is on your bike, mine is a mountain bike triple.

is mud etc a factor with your freehubs, ie a lot of dirt getting in etc?
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Old 10-17-21, 04:18 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
dws, I've lived and traveled in Latin America, so I get the steep thing, but about torque and all that, it really must be down to your weight and the power you put out when going up steep stuff.
I weigh less than half of you, and while I've had 50+ lbs on my bike going up steep stuff, I know even at my lowest gear , 22 small crank and 34t cassette, there's just no way I can be over burdening the drivetrain just because I don't have the force you do. (And the force needed to get you up the hills, so much less for me so I can spin easier with higher cadence, so less torque actually going into chain etc etc)

what crankset is on your bike, mine is a mountain bike triple.

is mud etc a factor with your freehubs, ie a lot of dirt getting in etc?
I also use a mountain triple, but I customized it to 48-36-22t. Couple that to a 11-40t 8s cassette and I can climb loaded without standing on the pedals at the low 22/40 ratio on a 26", about 1,14m per revolution and 5km/h (about 3mi/h) at 75RPM or 4km/h at 60RPM on longer climbs, almost too low to keep balance, but easier on my legs, heart and lungs.
The high gear at 48/11 makes 9,00m per revolution and I can keep a comfortable cruise speed of 25km/h (15mi/h) at 45RPM on perfectly smooth flat tarmac, as long as the wind isn't against me. If the world isn't perfect, I usually ride on 48/13 or 48/15 and rise the cadence to compensate, but that costs endurance. I tend to plan my rides about 100km/60mi max per day.

Mud isn't a factor, really. I almost never ride when it's rainy on dirt roads, except when strictly necessary. My rides consist of moving around town (tarmac and stone paved roads of varying conditions, wet or dry climate, sometimes very badly maintained, but still a road) and intercity rides on secondary roads (dirt and gravel roads are the rule, almost 100% of times dry climate).

The RM30-8 I've used for 9500km simply doesn't have any contact seals, relying on grease alone to prevent water and dirt intake. I repacked it every 3000km, giving it a thorough cleaning with a rag and degreaser (not a lot, as I couldn't open the freehub body and it could remove it's grease if it's soaked), replacing dull looking bearings, checking cones and cups for pitting (replaced the cones once, but the cups where OK) and packing as most lithium water-resistant grease I could.

I know lithium grease is bad for plastics and rubber seals, but the RM30-8 simply doesn't have any parts from these materials. With both the M430s I couldn't even get to overhaul them, as their freehub bodies seized before I could reach maintenance time, but I bought some Shimano internal hub grease for it (the yellowish white stuff, not the green one).

That basically sums up my maintenance routine of my hubs and headset, and I don't see anything wrong with it, correct me if needed.
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Old 10-17-21, 05:44 AM
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Obrigado, thanks.
ya, your low is lower than mine, but you certainly are a masher at 45 rpm compared to me. Your maintenance and not riding in mud all the time probably just means that you unfortunately need a higher quality hub and free hub for your weight and power-but completely out of my experience.
I hope you can find an option that lasts and isnt super expensive. Tricky now with bike parts in short supply anyway due to covid.
I can say from experience that higher quality hubs stay in good condition longer, and tandem stuff is certainly designed for more weight. Good luck.
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