Inside the hubs, everything is spinning on four Enduro Abec 5 bearings in the rear and two Abec 5 bearings in the front. The Abec 5’s are Enduro’s top quality steel bearings for use in hubs, and in a nice touch, White actually gives you the part number for the bearings on their website, so even though the bearing should last a good long time, when they do eventually need replacement it’s a bit easier to find the part.
Taking the hubs apart is quite simple, and only requires a 2mm hex wrench. Here’s the rear hub fully disassembled:
To help put everything back together, White Industries makes a tool to preload the bearings, or you can just put a bit of pressure on them while tightening the set screw—a method I found to work just fine. It’s a simple system that seems to work well, and it’s less finicky than the preload system used by Industry 9 or Chris King. And many hubs don’t have any sort of preload adjustment at all, which in many cases leads to premature failure of the bearings.
On the outside of the hub, the XMR’s have large, 60mm flanges. I’m a big fan of the larger flanges; simply put, they make for a stiffer wheel. Especially with larger diameter 29” wheels, a bit of extra stiffness is always welcome, and large flange diameters help with that—they effectively give the same spoke bracing angle as a boost spaced rear hub, but without the hassle of replacing your entire frame.
The flanges are also slightly angled so the spokes run smoothly and kink-free to the rim. The only downside I found on the flanges is that, while the spoke holes on the outside of the flanges are bevelled, the holes on the inside of the flange are not. This means the inside spoke heads don’t sit quite as nicely in the flange, and theoretically they might incur a bit more stress.
Aside from my nit-pick regarding spoke hole bevels, the machining on the XMR’s is top notch. It’s a minor point, but the White Industries / XMR logo is machined into the hub shell, which I think just looks a lot nicer than printing it or laser engraving it. The anodization is also high quality, and the XMR is still available in WI’s signature polished silver (as well as most other colors).
Measured weight on the XMR’s came in at 311g for the rear, and 172g for the front, which puts them squarely in the middle of comparable options. They’re a bit heavier than DT Swiss 240’s ( 240g rear, 160g front), but a bit lighter than Chris King ISO’s (336g rear, 164g front).
The Ride & Other Notes
The first, fairly noticeable thing about these hubs is that they’re not quiet. I’d put them roughly on par with Industry 9’s in terms of noise, although the guys at WI were quick to point out that I could grease up the pawls to make them quieter.
The second thing I noticed is that these hubs roll really, really well. They have the least resistance of any hub I’ve spent time on in recent memory—that includes Chris Kings, Industry 9’s, various DT Swiss hubs, and a bunch of less expensive options. This is particularly noticeable on the rear hubs; the freehub on the XMR’s spins very freely. Give the wheel a spin, and it’ll keep going for approximately forever.
I laced these up to some WTB Asym i35 rims, and as I noted in that review, the wheel was decidedly stiff. While a lot of the credit for that stiffness goes to the rim, the hub—and particularly the tall flanges—certainly help the cause.
While the 48 points of engagement on the XMR isn’t class leading, it’s fast enough. I felt like I could ratchet the pedals on technical climbs and still get engagement when I needed it. I’ve also yet to have the freehub “skip” when I mashed on the pedals (something I can’t say for DT Swiss or Chris King). The engagement on the XMR’s is very positive.
In roughly a month of riding, I haven’t needed to do anything to the hubs. They’ve been rolling smoothly from day one, and I haven’t had any issues with them developing play or anything like that. Since a month or so clearly isn’t long enough to make any final conclusions regarding durability, I’ll check back if there is anything to report as I put more time on them.
The White Industries XMR hubs check all the right boxes for a quality hub: they roll extremely well, they’re easy to adjust, the tall flanges make for a stiff wheel, and they do all of that while looking really pretty. Since White Industries doesn’t offer any pre-built wheels, XMR’s are always going to be a bit less common on the trails. But if you’re looking to build up a quality set of hoops, the XMR’s should definitely be on your radar.