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  1. #1
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    Vintage Fixed Gear Wheelsets

    So, I've been wondering. We all know that older roadies used to use fixed gear for their winter training, and that this was generally on their main bike, rather than a specific training bike. I also know that up to the 70's, it was common for bikes to come with flip-flop rear hubs, with a regular side threaded for freewheel, and the other side threaded a track cog, with the reverse threading for a lockring. So, I'm wondering, did riders have two wheelsets, or is there some black magic way of building up a wheelset so that you can have a 5 speed freewheel one side, and a track cog the other, and have the chainline sufficiently sensible to use? I know it can be done with a single speed freewheel and a track cog, because the chainline can be the same both sides, and I'm fairly sure that the answer here is "no chance", but maybe someoen knows?

  2. #2
    My bikes became Vintage OLDYELLR's Avatar
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    The chromed steel 3-piece Brampton flip-flop hub was standard on the Raleigh Grand Prix in the early seventies.



    See this bike on eBay.

    I've been told that when these bikes came into the shop with buckled wheels, the customer was given an exchange wheel off the rack and these hubs ended up in the junk drawer. I picked up one of them at the LBS about 15 years ago for $5 and put it on my track bike.
    1981 Nishiki Ultimate
    1977 Nishiki Landau
    1967 Jeunet Captivante track bike
    1951 Claud Butler New Allrounder under construction
    "index shifters = frets on a fiddle"

  3. #3
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    Yep, I have several steel wheelsets with flip flop hubs. There's not question I can redish them, or rebuild them with different rims etc, to use for fixies. What I'm wondering is whether old time racers maintained 2 wheelsets, or had some voodoo way of actually flipping it with the 5 speed block on there.

  4. #4
    hunter, gatherer coelcanth's Avatar
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    did you see the picture ?
    the hub's got threading for a cog & lockring on one side and a 5sp block on the other

    anyway, i don't doubt most people had more than one wheelset.. they even used wheel carriers to ride to the race on the training wheels but still bringing the good wheels along


  5. #5
    My bikes became Vintage OLDYELLR's Avatar
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    Here's what I remember racers doing in the 1950s. They would carry their sprints & tubs to the race mounted on brackets on the front axle and secured to the drops with toe straps. I was just dabbling in timetrials back then and couldn't afford tubs. All I ever did was remove the DR and block in the winter and replace it with a fixed cog and BB lockring.

    Yep, coelcanth, those are the brackets!
    1981 Nishiki Ultimate
    1977 Nishiki Landau
    1967 Jeunet Captivante track bike
    1951 Claud Butler New Allrounder under construction
    "index shifters = frets on a fiddle"

  6. #6
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    Despite that flip-flop Brampton hub on the Raleigh GP, I don't imagine it was built to be flipped as Sammy wonders about: 5-speed block on one side and single fixed cog on the other. Instead, I'd guess those wheels are dished, and if you were going to use it as a true flip/flop (which you probably wouldn't with that cheap steel rim), you'd have to re- or un-dish.

    I do wonder if the early 3- and 4-speed blocks might have been narrow enough to do that flip, however.

    Neal

  7. #7
    My bikes became Vintage OLDYELLR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nlerner
    Despite that flip-flop Brampton hub on the Raleigh GP, I don't imagine it was built to be flipped as Sammy wonders about: 5-speed block on one side and single fixed cog on the other. Instead, I'd guess those wheels are dished, and if you were going to use it as a true flip/flop (which you probably wouldn't with that cheap steel rim), you'd have to re- or un-dish.

    I do wonder if the early 3- and 4-speed blocks might have been narrow enough to do that flip, however.

    Neal
    Frames are built symetrical, so flipping the wheel would still put the tire in the centre. That's why the wheel is dished. All that needs attention is the chainline; whether to use the inside or outside chainring, or go to something else altogether. I do know that if I try a 5-speed or compact 6-speed freewheel on the straight thread of my Brampton hub, it extends past the locknut. But that's because I have track rear spacing (110mm) on my Jeunet. I'm sure the Brampton hub with a 5-speed block in the freewheel side could be flipped on the Raleigh GP.
    1981 Nishiki Ultimate
    1977 Nishiki Landau
    1967 Jeunet Captivante track bike
    1951 Claud Butler New Allrounder under construction
    "index shifters = frets on a fiddle"

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by OLDYELLR
    Frames are built symetrical, so flipping the wheel would still put the tire in the centre. That's why the wheel is dished. All that needs attention is the chainline; whether to use the inside or outside chainring, or go to something else altogether. I do know that if I try a 5-speed or compact 6-speed freewheel on the straight thread of my Brampton hub, it extends past the locknut. But that's because I have track rear spacing (110mm) on my Jeunet. I'm sure the Brampton hub with a 5-speed block in the freewheel side could be flipped on the Raleigh GP.
    I've never tried this flip, so I don't speak from experience, but while frames are symmetrical, most rear wheels are not (and I've converted enough multi-geared rear wheels to single speeds to know that). There's a lot more axle sticking out of the freewheel side. I'd guess the rear spacing on the Raleigh GP is 120mm. Once that wheel is flipped, the chainline might be fine, but the rim/tire won't be centered in the triangle.

    Okay, you 70s Raleigh GP owners--do the test!

    Neal

  9. #9
    Yet another vegan biker
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    I don't thinks there is much dish on those old Raleigh wheels.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=270077370015

  10. #10
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    I saw the picture, and I understand the theory of a flip/flop hub. I have several of them, as I said. I took a similar rear wheel off a bike, took off the freewheel, and flipped it over. Even though I had the chainring on the outer position of a former double, the track sprocket was STILL too far outboard for the chainline, meaning that with a single ring crank, it would've been worse. I had to respace it. Also, it was only when I did respace it (with washers - where the hell do you buy axle spacers?) that the rear wheel was anywhere near the middle of the dropouts. I can't make sense of that part in my mind.

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