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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 07-07-08, 10:31 AM   #1
Zomar
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Fixed/Free vs. Fixed/Fixed vs. Fixed Hub

Hello all,

I'm thinking about purchasing my first quality fixed gear bicycle after messing around with my troublesome conversion for some time. I'm thinking of getting an Iro Mark V and uncertain what hub type would be best.

First off, is there any advantage to a hub that only can have one cog/freewheel, aside from weight?

Secondly, what should I consider when choosing between fixed/fixed and fixed/free?

I'm planning on always riding fixed. I know there is that "if you are tired you can switch it to the freewheel" thing. This bike is going to be my primary means of transportation and commuter, so that could be useful. I'm going to only have a front brake though, as I intend to ride fixed as long as I am physically able to. Is this "safe enough?"

Having fixed/fixed might be nice if I ever want to go into a higher gear (If I get an Iro it'll be 46x17 stock). I'm going to be in a city though, so I don't know if I'd ever really care to flip to a smaller cog. Another good thing I can think of is if I ever strip my threads on one side I can still ride fixed on the other, and not need a brand new hub. How likely is stripping threads on wheels of Iro quality?.

Thoughts?
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Old 07-07-08, 10:33 AM   #2
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There really is no reason for a free/fixed hub. You can put a freewheel on the fixed side so just get a fixed/fixed and have more options.
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Old 07-07-08, 10:36 AM   #3
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There really is no reason for a free/fixed hub. You can put a freewheel on the fixed side so just get a fixed/fixed and have more options.
+1
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Old 07-07-08, 10:38 AM   #4
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you can put a fixed cog on the freewheel side. Many here will gasp, and banty-about 'suidicide hub', and promote pounds of loctite, and talk about their 'friend who unspun a cog and was run over by a bus', but for most applications simply screwing on the cog is fine......especially if its just your 'backup' side.

Conversely, you can certainly put a freewheel on a fixed hub without any issues whatsover.

take your pick.
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Old 07-07-08, 10:39 AM   #5
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you can put a fixed cog on the freewheel side. Many here will gasp, and banty-about 'suidicide hub', and promote pounds of loctite, and talk about their 'friend who unspun a cog and was run over by a bus', but for most applications simply screwing on the cog is fine......especially if its just your 'backup' side.

Conversely, you can certainly put a freewheel on a fixed hub without any issues whatsover.

take your pick.
+1
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Old 07-07-08, 10:39 AM   #6
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I run three flip flop hubs and all are fixed / fixed... I just don't enjoy riding ss as much as I do fixed and that extra low gear comes in handy when the weather goes sideways (we get a lot of wind) or one simply wants to take it easy.
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Old 07-07-08, 10:42 AM   #7
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I run fixed cogs on both sides of a fixed/free hub on one of my wheels.
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Old 07-07-08, 10:45 AM   #8
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Fixed/Fixed is nice when you throw a chain and end up un-rotofixin' your cog and blowing the lockring threads off at 20mph.

Instead of having to rebuild the wheel around a new hub, I just put the cog on the other side and kept on riding.
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Old 07-07-08, 12:06 PM   #9
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I pretty much always go fixed/fixed:

a) As described above, can run a freewheel on the fixed side (though check you're engaging enough threads).

b) Nice to have a 'spare' side should you damage the threads at all

c) If you ever go racing, can have your road/warm-up gear on one side and racing gear on the other

d) But for me the clincher is really that you get the potential for a stronger wheel because you have same spoke length on both side and a symmetric hub - there are no dishing issues with fixed/fixed.

Much easier to build and get the tension balanced etc.
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Old 07-07-08, 12:26 PM   #10
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I pretty much always go fixed/fixed:

d) But for me the clincher is really that you get the potential for a stronger wheel because you have same spoke length on both side and a symmetric hub - there are no dishing issues with fixed/fixed.
??? Same's true with fixed/free, free/free, fixed/nothing and free/nothing. ?
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Old 07-07-08, 05:44 PM   #11
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Thank you everyone for helping. I'm positive I'd like a fixed/fixed now.
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Old 07-07-08, 06:04 PM   #12
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+1 for the fixed/fixed. I still cant believe people can run a fixed cog on a freewheel thread hub suicide style and run no brakes. You all must live on flat plains and weight 120lbs and/or run brakes.
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Old 07-07-08, 06:32 PM   #13
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you can put a fixed cog on the freewheel side. Many here will gasp, and banty-about 'suidicide hub', and promote pounds of loctite, and talk about their 'friend who unspun a cog and was run over by a bus', but for most applications simply screwing on the cog is fine......especially if its just your 'backup' side.
Almost the crappiest advice i've seen this week on bikeforums. If you're going to get a hub, get a ****ing hub that is fixed fixed. Freewheel on a fixed side is about 99999999999999999999%, safer than a fixed on a freewheel section with no provision for a proper lockring.

Give me a ****ing break.
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Old 07-08-08, 12:19 AM   #14
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Two of my fixed gear bikes have proper double stepped hubs and are fixed and fixed, one has a fixed / fixed set up on a double sided bmx "suicide" hub, and my longest serving fixed gear has been rocking a suicide hub for over 8000 km with no problems whatsoever.

Just screwing the cog on is really bad advice as if you are gonna rock a suicide hub you had better do it right and run a brake.

My biggest complaint with suicide hubs (if they are built up right) is that cog changes require a blowtorch and 3 guys to remove the cog... at least mine do.

I'll be building up a few more double stepped track hubs simply because I like being able to service a bike without needing a torch and a few friends who always insist on being paid in beer.

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Old 07-08-08, 12:21 AM   #15
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+1 for the fixed/fixed. I still cant believe people can run a fixed cog on a freewheel thread hub suicide style and run no brakes. You all must live on flat plains and weight 120lbs and/or run brakes.
I run brakes and this place isn't as flat as people think.

I got in a few thousand feet of climbing on my commute today.
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Old 07-08-08, 01:08 AM   #16
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The only reason for fixed one side for commuting is for looks... it just looks better, may not be practical.

I ride down some steep hills to get to work and never use my brake, but I use a front brake in emergancies... haven't used it since I learned level skids, but I work with cops and they would give me s**t and a ticket if I didn't have a brake.
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Old 07-08-08, 05:03 AM   #17
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Almost the crappiest advice i've seen this week on bikeforums. If you're going to get a hub, get a ****ing hub that is fixed fixed. Freewheel on a fixed side is about 99999999999999999999%, safer than a fixed on a freewheel section with no provision for a proper lockring.

Give me a ****ing break.
(eyes rolling). It was neither advice, nor a recommendation. Just a fact, coming from one of many people with actual experience.
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Old 07-08-08, 05:19 AM   #18
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... if you are gonna rock a suicide hub you had better do it right and run a brake.
Agree, I think endorsing brakeless (for ANY application) is far worse than endorsing lockringless.

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... My biggest complaint with suicide hubs (if they are built up right) is that cog changes require a blowtorch and 3 guys to remove the cog...
Disagree. Chainwhip, vice, and turning the wheel (as opposed to the cog). I have a freewheel hub I used for twenty years w/countless cogs
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Old 07-08-08, 09:16 AM   #19
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stevo - I use industrial strength 272 loctite... it has to be heated before it releases.

And I use a chain whip and turn the wheel.

I've built a of of suicide hubs at our shop (a co-op) with / for different folks and no-one has experienced any problems... once the hub has been assembled it is crucial to wait at least 24 hours to allow the loctite to set up properly.

Issues arise when people build them and ride them right away and don't run a brake... I won't build any fixed gear unless it has a brake and seeing brakeless riders here (on any fixed gear) is pretty uncommon.

As it is... I am looking forward to building a good number of new wheels for myself and a bunch of other folks as a proper hub / wheel is still the best way to go.
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Old 07-08-08, 09:17 AM   #20
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There are no dishing issues with fixed / free either.
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Old 07-08-08, 11:17 AM   #21
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Is loctite required to put a fixed cog on a freewheel side, or can a lockring be used and work fine?

I'm considering throwing my 16t on my freewheel side, so I can just flip it over in the event of a longer distance ride.. I won't be skidding with that side!
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Old 07-08-08, 11:23 AM   #22
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Just thread it on as long as you have a brake on your ride. Folks here can be a bit alarmist about stuff.
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Old 07-08-08, 11:28 AM   #23
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Just thread it on as long as you have a brake on your ride. Folks here can be a bit alarmist about stuff.

Sweet. That way I won't have to go buy a chain whip/lockring tool and spend too much time if I want to switch cogs.
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Old 07-08-08, 11:35 AM   #24
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I wish I was fixed/fixed. A single speed back wheel is dirt cheap, and as these guys are saying, you can apparently put a freewheel on a fixed side. It'd be great to run a 43x13 and 43x16
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Old 07-08-08, 11:45 AM   #25
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Personally I wouldn't ride for any significant amount of time on a cog without a proper lockring. But that is just me.

If you have a choice between hubs, always go with the fixed/fixed unless you have a really good reason to do otherwise. All else being equal fixed/fixed gives you the most versatility. You can safely use both cogs/lockrings and freewheels on fixed-threading. Using a cog on freewheel threading in certain circumstances (riding brakeless for example) is dangerous.
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