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  1. #1
    spins pedals Zomar's Avatar
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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?

  2. #2
    Team Beer Cynikal's Avatar
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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.
    I'm not one for fawning over bicycles, but I do believe that our bikes communicate with us, and what this bike is saying is, "You're an idiot." BikeSnobNYC

  3. #3
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynikal View Post
    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

  4. #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.
    Bikes are meant to be ridden. Matt 6:19

  5. #5
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevo View Post
    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

  6. #6
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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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.

  7. #7
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    I run fixed cogs on both sides of a fixed/free hub on one of my wheels.

  8. #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.

  9. #9
    asleep at the wheel fixedpip's Avatar
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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.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by fixedpip View Post
    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. ?
    Bikes are meant to be ridden. Matt 6:19

  11. #11
    spins pedals Zomar's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone for helping. I'm positive I'd like a fixed/fixed now.

  12. #12
    Nymphomaniactionhero RichPugh's Avatar
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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.

  13. #13
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevo View Post
    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.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  14. #14
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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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.


  15. #15
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichPugh View Post
    +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.

  16. #16
    straight krushin'
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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.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    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.
    Bikes are meant to be ridden. Matt 6:19

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    ... 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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    ... 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
    Bikes are meant to be ridden. Matt 6:19

  19. #19
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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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.

  20. #20
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    There are no dishing issues with fixed / free either.

  21. #21
    Senior Member patrickgh's Avatar
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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!
    Quote Originally Posted by ZiP0082 View Post
    my opinion is more correct than your opinion

  22. #22
    Team Beer Cynikal's Avatar
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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.
    I'm not one for fawning over bicycles, but I do believe that our bikes communicate with us, and what this bike is saying is, "You're an idiot." BikeSnobNYC

  23. #23
    Senior Member patrickgh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynikal View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by ZiP0082 View Post
    my opinion is more correct than your opinion

  24. #24
    ALL PARTY ryansexton's Avatar
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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
    Quote Originally Posted by crushkilldstroy View Post
    This is SSFG. Nothing is logical here.

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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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