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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 05-21-06, 05:39 AM   #1
mihlbach
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any good data on failure rate of suicude/rotafixed hubs?

It doesn't seem like there are hoards of people out there complaining that their rotafixed cog slipped, even though many people on this forum will tell you that its dangerous. I've seen way more threads about people with stripped hubs, loose lockrings etc. As far as I can tell the rotafixing method is pretty safe and a good cheap way to start out riding fixed. Please relate your successful and unsuccessful rotafixing experiences and if rotafix failure put you in a dangerous situation. It would be nice to come up with a even a vague idea of failure rate.

Me...2000 miles with 42/15, skipping and skidding for at least 1500 of those miles, no lockring, no locktite, and no slippage to report.

Last edited by mihlbach; 05-23-06 at 07:35 AM.
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Old 05-21-06, 06:33 AM   #2
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At 206 pounds with camelback and tools, I rotafixed at the end of a really long hill.

The cog unscrewed itself. It took me 30 seconds to screw it back. Later on that day -riding the same gear ratio as you - I did hit 150 rpms in a long downhill without any Ill effects.

That being said, the night before the incident I was in my trainer tooling around and trying to learn to skid.

I love my front brake.
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Old 05-21-06, 11:58 AM   #3
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I've been depressed for the past 6 years. I'm still alive today, more or less, no thanks to this stupid effing suicide hub.

Please help me. I don't wanna live no more.
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Old 05-21-06, 01:00 PM   #4
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If you have brakes, what's the worst thing that can happen due to a rotafix? Will it cause a lockup?
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Old 05-21-06, 03:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCjolsen
If you have brakes, what's the worst thing that can happen due to a rotafix? Will it cause a lockup?
I doubt it. If your cog spins off, it'll just spin freely..and if your chain is derailed in the process, it is doubtful that it can get caught between the cog and spokes because the cog is loose, so I seriously doubt that a lockup can happen if the cog spins loose. If you have brakes, it seems to me that the cog spinning off would be no worse than chain derailment on a freewheel bike, which happens quite frequently and is unlikely to cause a catastrophic crash.
Has anyone really had a nasty accident due to cog coming loose or spinning off? Thats what I really want to find out? I think the term "suicide hub" is a myth.
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Old 05-21-06, 06:30 PM   #6
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the term "suicide hub" is neither myth nor non-myth. it simply refers to the fact that riding one is risky, and some people are very adamant that nobody ever do it.

is it dangerous? possibly, under some circumstances. other people, however, have ridden them successfully. even brakeless (red loctite and BB lockring may help).

conclusion? if you do it, weigh the risks involve, ride smart, and know what you're doing when you install it.
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Old 05-21-06, 07:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mihlbach
any good data on failure rate of suicude/rotafixed hubs?
deaths in the tens, maimings/decapitation incidents numbering in the thousands.
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Old 05-21-06, 08:00 PM   #8
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I heard a friend of my cousin's english teacher's daughter's boyfriend totally got ****ed by his suicide hub.
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Old 05-21-06, 08:21 PM   #9
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I heard sometimes they explode and kill you
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Old 05-21-06, 08:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queerpunk
the term "suicide hub" is neither myth nor non-myth. it simply refers to the fact that riding one is risky, and some people are very adamant that nobody ever do it.
Your stating that its risky as if its a fact, but you (or anyone else) haven't provided any evidence that riding a rotafixed hub adds any significant additional risk to fixed gear riding. Obviously without a brake it presents a potential risk, but I would think that anyone with a rotafixed hub would also be using a brake..that only makes sense. Moreover, that vast majority of beginners use brakes. Given that, the possability that your cog could unscrew may present an annoyance similar to chain derailment on a freewheel bike, but its not something that would necessarily cause a crash.

If there is even one case of an unscrewing cog putting causing a crash or endangering someone, I'd love to know about it. Until then, I assert that the term "suicide hub" is a misnomer that may be driving off people that would otherwise be interested in trying out riding fixed on the cheap.

Last edited by mihlbach; 05-21-06 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 05-22-06, 06:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mihlbach
Your stating that its risky as if its a fact, but you (or anyone else) haven't provided any evidence that riding a rotafixed hub adds any significant additional risk to fixed gear riding. Obviously without a brake it presents a potential risk, but I would think that anyone with a rotafixed hub would also be using a brake..that only makes sense. Moreover, that vast majority of beginners use brakes. Given that, the possability that your cog could unscrew may present an annoyance similar to chain derailment on a freewheel bike, but its not something that would necessarily cause a crash.

If there is even one case of an unscrewing cog putting causing a crash or endangering someone, I'd love to know about it. Until then, I assert that the term "suicide hub" is a misnomer that may be driving off people that would otherwise be interested in trying out riding fixed on the cheap.
it doesn't take too much intuition to say it's a risk. on the otherhand, i'm not knocking them, because you're right. using brakes--and, as i said, some healthy protections like rotafixing, bb lockring, and red loctite--reduces that risk. but there's always the chance that something bad *could* happen just due to the construction--without redundancies.

i agree that it's counterproductive to call them "suicide hubs," but--much like the conversation about brakes and brakelessness--i think it's important to talk about their use as *potentially* unsafe or undesirable, to ensure that people who decide to go for one of them can learn why, and learn how to minimize danger.
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Old 05-22-06, 07:36 AM   #12
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Before I spent money on a proper rear hub, I did a cheap rotafix hub to see if I liked fixed gear. I got it hand tight with my chain whip, put the wheel on the bike and away I went.

"Hmmmm? I wonder if I can trackstand?" I thought after riding about 20 feet. "Whoa! that was wierd" I thought as my cog spun backwards on the hub. I quickly applied forward torque and the thing screwed back on and I rode down the street.

"Hmmmm? I wonder if I can stop without using my brakes?" I thought after riding about 100 yards and getting up to speed. "Oh crap!" I said as my cog once again started to spin off the hub. I braked, and turned the pedal to get the cog back on, thinking that I might have found and easy way to strip threads on a hub if I ever so desired.

"Hmmmm? I better stomp on the pedal really hard this time to make the cog tight." So I positioned the pedals at 9 and 3, put my hands on both brakes and jumped on the forward pedal as hard as I could.

"Hey, I really can stop without using the brakes" I thought, after riding about 200 yards and coming to a complete stop. "Darn, I guess I can't trackstand" I thought as I never quite mustered the nerve to get my bike going in a backwards direction.

But the cog stayed put until I tried to remove it. In order to do so, I had to wrap my chain whip around it and stand on it with almost all of my 215 pounds in order to get the thing to come loose.

Later that night, I read some posts by these meanies at Bikeforums that said I couldn't make a hub like that and that I had to go out and buy a proper track hub with a lockring in order to gain acceptance into the fixed gear community.

So I did.
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Old 05-22-06, 07:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCjolsen
Before I spent money on a proper rear hub, I did a cheap rotafix hub to see if I liked fixed gear. I got it hand tight with my chain whip, put the wheel on the bike and away I went.
chainwhip and rotafix are two different things.
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Old 05-22-06, 07:46 AM   #14
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If someone who uses a suicide-hub had a failure, and it really was a true suicide-hub, then they would be dead... so nobody could possibly come back on here and claim that their suicide-hub failed because if they survived then they must not have had an authentic suicide hub...

lol

I had a lot of luck with loctite. that 5hit works... It works so well that I have a few wheels with un-removable cogs on them !!!!!!! LOL

After being unable to remove the 15t from my practice track wheel, I was forced to use the freewheel side in the true suicide fashion.. so I did not use loctite or a BB lockring...

I just rotafixed it ... so far no troubles... I suppose that IF this is a true suicide-hub setup, and that IF it ever failed, I will not be here to post about it... since of course I would be dead.
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Old 05-22-06, 08:15 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by fordfasterr
If someone who uses a suicide-hub had a failure, and it really was a true suicide-hub, then they would be dead... so nobody could possibly come back on here and claim that their suicide-hub failed because if they survived then they must not have had an authentic suicide hub...
Some guy told me that his friend read on the internet somewhere that speakng from beyond the grave is something that hipsters like to do with their ipod nanos.
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Old 05-22-06, 08:21 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queerpunk
chainwhip and rotafix are two different things.
Wait. Is a rotafix a type of setup, or an event that happens as a result of that setup? I'm confused.

I've also heard the term "bum hub" or something like that which relates poverty to bicycle componentry.
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Old 05-22-06, 08:27 AM   #17
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neither. rotafix is a method of tightening a cog onto a hub. some people say that you don't need a lockring if you use it, and others question its ability to stand up to repeated, sharp backpressure (as in slowing to a stop, skipping, or skidding).
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Old 05-22-06, 08:32 AM   #18
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rotafix'ing is something people should definetely learn to do. Its a great way to get a cog on in a jam. Probobably one of the best ways to remove a cog too, just reverse the direction of the chain rap. Just make sure that you put a thick rag or something around your BB to prevent the chain from diggin into the shell. I would be confident in putting slow back pressure on a rotafixa's cog, but you will eventually need to skid, and it won't stay on for that strong of an torque. Thats why I would never fully trust just a rotafixa'd cog.

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Old 05-22-06, 09:24 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Learn_not2burn
......... Thats why I would never fully trust just a rotafixa'd cog.

That is where red loctite and a bb lockring come into play..

Just go ahead and red loctite one of those and then also red loctite the bb lockring and let it set properly...


you won't ever get that thing off again... lol at least not without a torch...
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Old 05-22-06, 09:44 AM   #20
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The thing about drivetrain safety is that fixed/free and brake/brakeless matter a lot. For example, chain breakage isn't a safety issue if you have at least one brake on your bike. And chain tension does not matter nearly as much if you are riding with a freewheel, where you can have your chain flapping in the breeze, as it does with fixed gear.
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Old 05-22-06, 11:47 AM   #21
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I personally won't ride my "suicide hub" without a front brake, but I am a wuss, and I have no desire to learn how to skid. I trust my setup though. I know plenty of people who ride them, including messengers who don't have brakes and skid to a stop 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. Does that make me uncool? I don't care to know. Though, eventually I would like a "real" track wheel set. Atleast one with a less scary name... heh.
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Old 05-22-06, 01:16 PM   #22
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One guy's experience- 3,000+ miles, including about 300 fully loaded touring miles, riding up/down mountains, all on a suicide hub made with blue loctite. I skid, skip, resist, etc. I have even changed cogs a few times with no ill effects.

No problems at all. I don't weigh much however, around 145-50 pounds. Gear ratio varies- 42x18, 44x18, 44x16.

My method: blue loctite on clean hub threads, spin cog on, rotafix cog on wicked tight, spin bb lockring on, tighten bb lockring with cold chisel/hammer.

I always ride with a front brake; that's the only way.


Works for me.
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Old 05-22-06, 01:47 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by BostonFixed
spin bb lockring on, tighten bb lockring with cold chisel/hammer.
Yow! Hardcore. Lockring spanner too wussy for this application? I'd totally see myself munging up the slots that way.
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Old 05-22-06, 01:57 PM   #24
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Lockring spanner too wussy for this application?
Don't own one. Buy me one, and I'll use it.

For the one "real track hub" that I own, I took the wheel to the LBS and borrowed their tool to tightne the lockring.
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Old 05-22-06, 02:26 PM   #25
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Rotafix is a good and cheap way to convert an old bike in a fixed gear

Re-space and re-dish an old style freewheel wheelset (http://www.fixedgeargallery.com/wheels/) and rotafix a cog on is the chepest way to pedal a fixed gear.

I converted this way 2 bikes this year and they work perfect with NO locktite and NO lockring (one has front brake and the other both brakes)

Anyway I'm going to buy REAL track hubs with lockring to try brakeless riding
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