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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 09-17-09, 11:09 PM   #1
coloneluw
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why nuts vs. skewers?

I was riding today and thinking about getting/making a fixed geared bike...you have a lot of thinking time on a long ride. I've always wondered why they use axle nuts versus QR on fixed geared bikes. I've never been a track rider or had experience with track riders but I was a mechanic for about 10 years and my experience was that a QR actual has as much or more holding power than any nut (I work on a lot of BMX) because of the cam system within a QR. Add a textured axle nut and I don't see any slipping. I don't see a weight advantage. Solid axle and nuts vs. hollow axle and skewer (lightweight skewer presumed). I can see if you were actually on a track why fixed is the only way because changing is not an option, but most riders today seem to be using them for zipping around town. Is it just something that has not changed with the times and they keep it with nuts? Remember, before the sarcasm from "fixie" riders, I am a novice to this realm but would like to try it.
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Old 09-18-09, 12:20 AM   #2
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A couple recent threads on that topic...
Quick release track wheel for Fuji Track
Fixie Skewers?
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Old 09-18-09, 06:04 AM   #3
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Your sarcasm cuts deep and true PoN!
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Old 09-18-09, 07:06 AM   #4
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Before the advent of quick-releases, bicycle wheels were secured with very large wingnuts. These were considered dangerous on the track because a misplaced pedal or even a fall in the wrong place could send the wheel flying, so a bolt-on axle became the standard, and nothing ever changed.

For real though, I think it's nearly impossible to move a properly tightened quick release on a bike, but if anyone could, it's Gregory Bauge or Chris Hoy at a standing start.
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Old 09-18-09, 10:13 AM   #5
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From a practical standpoint, quick release wheels are more easy to have stolen.

Its also easier to get a rear wheel in track ends aligned properly and your chain tensioned the right way if you can tighten the right/left nuts independently of each other, something you can't do with a QR.
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Old 09-18-09, 10:24 AM   #6
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From a practical standpoint, quick release wheels are easier to lock up. I've used a QR skewer on my front wheel for a while, and when i need to lock it up, I take the five seconds to remove it, put it with the rear, and boom - both wheels locked with a u-lock.

It just makes more sense.

There are... strains of obsession with track standards among the fixed gear folk, despite the fact that it's unnecessary. There are also talk of fixed gear riding being "harder on parts," and thus comments about how QRs wouldn't hold up to pedaling forces. Though lz5004 makes a decent point about tensioning a chain tightening the left and right nuts independently of each other.
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Old 09-18-09, 11:32 AM   #7
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Though lz5004 makes a decent point about tensioning a chain tightening the left and right nuts independently of each other.
You can actually set the tension faster and easier with practice than having to go back and forth securing each side and walking the wheel to where it needs to be.
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Old 09-18-09, 05:10 PM   #8
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From a practical standpoint, quick release wheels are more easy to have stolen.

Its also easier to get a rear wheel in track ends aligned properly and your chain tensioned the right way if you can tighten the right/left nuts independently of each other, something you can't do with a QR.
all it takes to steal a nutted wheel is a 15mm wrench that fits in my pocket.
it just keeps honest people honest.

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You can actually set the tension faster and easier with practice than having to go back and forth securing each side and walking the wheel to where it needs to be.
This is my experience as well. QR is easier and faster than wiggling a wheel with nuts.

I should really get around to chopping the axles on my rear so I can use a QR with it.
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Old 09-18-09, 06:25 PM   #9
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all it takes to steal a nutted wheel is a 15mm wrench that fits in my pocket.
it just keeps honest people honest.
It's weird how many people I see trusting their axle nuts to theft prevention. I could have a field day with my wrench at school.
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Old 09-18-09, 08:25 PM   #10
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all it takes to steal a nutted wheel is a 15mm wrench that fits in my pocket.
it just keeps honest people honest.
I carry my hand with me more often than a 15mm wrench...
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Old 09-19-09, 12:20 AM   #11
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Great replies. Thanks for the insight. I can really see the advantage of a nut system for setting the wheel to the gear. Lock the left and find the high point on the chain...makes sense for a true track rider. But for an around town (spinner?) fixed bike it sure seems like QR is a plus. Not that I have ever stolen anything in my life, but carrying a wrench around a college campus would be very tempting! lol Here's my next question, flip hub? I have what I need for a fixed bike except the rear hub. I've seen pictures of a double crank (39/42? I have an old Galli crank that I could use as a double) or is it better to have a single crank with a flip hub?
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Old 09-19-09, 12:32 AM   #12
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How well do you guys think a double cog works with double cranks, considering chain length/tension?
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Old 09-19-09, 01:24 AM   #13
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How well do you guys think a double cog works with double cranks, considering chain length/tension?
Double chainrings or just a double crank with a single chainring? Can't imagine the former working very well unless the chainrings is spaced really close together and you have exceptionallyl long dropouts. Otherwise you'd have to add/remove links just to switch gears.
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Old 09-19-09, 01:32 AM   #14
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Double chainrings or just a double crank with a single chainring? Can't imagine the former working very well unless the chainrings is spaced really close together and you have exceptionallyl long dropouts. Otherwise you'd have to add/remove links just to switch gears.
That double chainring thing is pretty much the exact setup I've heard of using, and it actually is supposed to work pretty well. Have a chainring that's just a couple teeth smaller coupled with a cog that's a couple teeth bigger and you have an appreciably lower gear with the ability to use the same length chain. Or go the other way with a bigger gear, as long as you make it just a couple teeth different for each it'll fit. Just loosen the rear wheel to get some slack to move the chain and you can get to a different gear pretty easily.

I remember reading a post on Fat Cyclist where he tried out a bike set up like this and really liked it.
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Old 09-19-09, 01:53 AM   #15
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QR users, you are reading a post from the future owner of your wheels. Lock carefully.
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Old 09-19-09, 02:40 AM   #16
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the only shady thing imo about QR levers on track bikes is the front doesn't have the lawyer tabs on most bikes. probably not a problem with old closed cam skewers, but i guess with the new open cam ones it could be dangerous. I've done it no problem, and it's less sketch than a lot of bikes on this forum, but not entirely suggested.
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Old 09-19-09, 04:53 AM   #17
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the only shady thing imo about QR levers on track bikes is the front doesn't have the lawyer tabs on most bikes. probably not a problem with old closed cam skewers, but i guess with the new open cam ones it could be dangerous. I've done it no problem, and it's less sketch than a lot of bikes on this forum, but not entirely suggested.
not a problem with open cam skewers either.
the only 'supposed' problem arises when you use a disc brake which puts forces to the open end of the fork dropouts, ejecting the wheel. but only IF you don't close the QR properly.

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That double chainring thing is pretty much the exact setup I've heard of using, and it actually is supposed to work pretty well. Have a chainring that's just a couple teeth smaller coupled with a cog that's a couple teeth bigger and you have an appreciably lower gear with the ability to use the same length chain. Or go the other way with a bigger gear, as long as you make it just a couple teeth different for each it'll fit. Just loosen the rear wheel to get some slack to move the chain and you can get to a different gear pretty easily.

I remember reading a post on Fat Cyclist where he tried out a bike set up like this and really liked it.
I've read that you want the exact amount of teeth difference for the chainrings as well as the cog.
for a 17/19T, you want 2T difference chainrings.
for 17/21, you want  4T difference chainrings.
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Old 09-19-09, 06:08 AM   #18
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not a problem with open cam skewers either.
the only 'supposed' problem arises when you use a disc brake which puts forces to the open end of the fork dropouts, ejecting the wheel. but only IF you don't close the QR properly.
There are a number of accounts of this happening with a properly tightened open-cam skewer, but only on tandem bicycles.
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Old 09-19-09, 06:19 AM   #19
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white double/double

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How well do you guys think a double cog works with double cranks, considering chain length/tension?
works perfect.

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Old 09-19-09, 10:21 AM   #20
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That double chainring thing is pretty much the exact setup I've heard of using, and it actually is supposed to work pretty well. Have a chainring that's just a couple teeth smaller coupled with a cog that's a couple teeth bigger and you have an appreciably lower gear with the ability to use the same length chain. Or go the other way with a bigger gear, as long as you make it just a couple teeth different for each it'll fit. Just loosen the rear wheel to get some slack to move the chain and you can get to a different gear pretty easily.

I remember reading a post on Fat Cyclist where he tried out a bike set up like this and really liked it.
So smart selection of chainring size is the key.
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Old 09-19-09, 05:25 PM   #21
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Surly intends for the Dingle to be used with a dual chainring setup. Here's the text from Surly's website:

Dingle Cogs are part of a different concept for fixed-gear drivetrains. Having two cogs on the back means you have more options for gear changes when the conditions demand it. For instance, say you want to ride your off-road fixie from your house to the trailhead, but your gear combo is either too high for the dirt or too low for the road. With a 17/19t Dingle on the back, pick two chainrings that are 2 teeth apart, like a 44t and a 42t. When you change from the outer (44:17t) gear combo to the inner (42:19t), you’ll have a much better off-road gear and your wheel position will not change. This maintains effective chainstay length so you won’t have to worry about having too much or too little chain length to accommodate the gear change. The Dingle (the word derives from from dual and single) works great in hilly terrain both on or off-road. Like our cassette and track cogs, these are made from machined, heattreated and chrome plated SCM415 CroMoly steel, so they are tough and long lasting. They’re available in 3/32" (narrow chain) tooth width 17/19t, 17/20t or 17/21t combinations. We recommend using 9-speed chains only. You can thread it onto any standard ISO threaded (1.375x24tpi) fixed gear hub and it takes up the same 7.4mm threads as a standard fixie cog. We recommend using a wider lockring (like our improved track lockring) to assure you can get a lockring tool onto it.
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Old 09-19-09, 06:02 PM   #22
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The White Industries crankset and freewheel posted by soil_sampler above is called the Double/double.
Here is the text from the website..... "The Double/Double is a unique drive train system the we offer. The system is comprised of a double chainring machined from one piece of aluminum, mated with an ENO crank and a DOS ENO freewheel. The configuration for a 26" wheel bike is offered with a 38/35 big ring mated with a 16/19 freewheel. The 29er configuration mates a 31/34 ring with a 16/19 freewheel. The system works by either running the chain in the outer tooth positions or, alternatively, in the inner tooth positions front to back. The gear ratios are significantly changed when switching from one combination to another, however, the chain length does not need to be altered to accommodate the two differing ratios. Running the ring in the outer position tends to be more suitable for on-road style riding, whereas, riding in the inner ring position lends itself more to off-road riding."
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Old 09-19-09, 06:13 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coloneluw View Post
I was riding today and thinking about getting/making a fixed geared bike...you have a lot of thinking time on a long ride. I've always wondered why they use axle nuts versus QR on fixed geared bikes. I've never been a track rider or had experience with track riders but I was a mechanic for about 10 years and my experience was that a QR actual has as much or more holding power than any nut (I work on a lot of BMX) because of the cam system within a QR. Add a textured axle nut and I don't see any slipping. I don't see a weight advantage. Solid axle and nuts vs. hollow axle and skewer (lightweight skewer presumed). I can see if you were actually on a track why fixed is the only way because changing is not an option, but most riders today seem to be using them for zipping around town. Is it just something that has not changed with the times and they keep it with nuts? Remember, before the sarcasm from "fixie" riders, I am a novice to this realm but would like to try it.

It's Hipster Irony. You'll notice that Campy track hubs do not come with quick release skewers.
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Old 09-19-09, 06:46 PM   #24
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Double chainrings or just a double crank with a single chainring? Can't imagine the former working very well unless the chainrings is spaced really close together and you have exceptionallyl long dropouts. Otherwise you'd have to add/remove links just to switch gears.
Check out Rivendell's Quickbeam SS/FG.

My bike isn't as dramatic a change but it is effective.





48-44T crankset with 17-20 Dingle. 18T SS on the flip side. I've used the 48-17(76gi), 48-20(65), 44-17(70gi) fixed and 48-18(72gi) and 44-18(66gi) singlespeed. The 44-20 is 59gear inches; chain fits but I've not needed to ride that low a gear.
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