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/ Mountain Biking Australia: Tune King & Kong Hubs

When it came to building my
Enve rims, I wanted to use
some high-quality lightweight
hubs. While the obvious
choice would be from DT
Swiss or maybe American Classic, I was
curious to try something a little different.
German brand Tune specialises in really
light gear and their hubs are offered in
a broad range of spoke hole drillings (I
wanted to run 28 spokes and some MTB
hubs are only offered in 32-hole). Despite
their Germany manufacture, they sell for
$219 and $439 (front/rear)—not cheap
but definitely more affordable than DT
Swiss. A selection of axle kits will convert
them to fit most thru-axle standards and
Tune also offer retrofit-able freehubs to
suit SRAM’s new 11-speed XX-1 cassettes.
On the scales the front 15QR disc hub
was 113g and the 142×12 rear came in at
just 210g. That’s almost 100g lighter than
a pair of DT 240s and around 30g lighter
than American Classic. Want lighter
again? Tune also makes their Prince and
Princess hubs which drop a further 30g
a pair from the King and Kong combination.
The three-pawl rear hub has
27-point (13-degree) engagement—while
this isn’t super-fast, all three pawls lock
in simultaneously which ensures the
engagement is solid and secure.
Now, after 10 months of use, the front
hub remains particularly smooth and
hasn’t required any servicing. As a more
complex creature, the rear has required
a little bit of attention. Like many hubs,
the pawls enjoy the occasional clean and
lube. They ran dry early on in the review
period, perhaps due to a lack of lube
from the factory, and this caused a faint
‘ticking’ noise under moderate pedalling
load. Thankfully the freehub is very easy
to service; simply pull on the cassette
and the whole body will come off in your
hand—just make sure you don’t lose any
springs or pawls! Wipe everything down,
apply a little light oil and away you go
again; it’ll take about 15 minutes. The
hubs have been silent ever since but I’d
suggest a bit of intermittent loving to
keep your investment running clean.
While the front bearings have been
perfect, the harder-working rear wheel
bearings now have a tiny bit of roughness.
Not enough to warrant replacement
but they are no longer silky smooth. Like
most modern hubs, they spin on press-fit
sealed cartridge bearings, and they can be
replaced as required.
As featherweight hubs that aren’t
insanely expensive, the Tune King and
Kong are an attractive alternative to the
better-known brands. They are simple,
adaptable, serviceable and also come in a
range of fancy anodised colours—a
worthy contender if you plan on building
your own lightweight wheels.
EightyOneSpices (08) 8388 3581 /
Article & Photography by John Hardwick
Ploughing through

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