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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 04-24-14, 07:08 AM   #1
Dr1Gonzo
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flip flop hub with one side for the hills?

Was thinking of getting a fixie for the commute to work. Most of it would be on the flat in Montreal, but occasionally there are some hills.
Wondering if I could somehow have a flip flop hub with one side a bigger gear than the other?

Some have suggested in this post that I use a 3 speed hub but I'm worried about the weight or price of that.

flip flop hub with one side for the hills?
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Old 04-24-14, 07:12 AM   #2
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Do you think you'd want to be stopping in the middle of your commute and pulling the wheel out to flip it. If you need varied gearing for your commute, get gears. If you really want to do this, just using a flip-flop hub would only get you a couple of teeth difference before you have to start changing the length of the chain, hardly worth the effort, but you could consider the Surly dingle cog with two chain rings.
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Old 04-24-14, 07:20 AM   #3
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If buying new, lost of manufacturers make 3 speed bikes and that is a much better choice given your needs. If that doesn't fit your budget, buy a used bike with gears. Rigid mtbs (old mountain bikes) make fine commuters and generally can be found at reasonable prices.
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Old 04-24-14, 07:24 AM   #4
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If you are just talking about changing the gear ratio at home by flipping the wheel around then that can work but it isn't really that big of a deal to change cogs once you know how to do it. I wouldn't want to have to change my wheel around in the middle of a ride. If you have a fixed/free flip-flop hub one side can be for a free wheel and many people prefer a freewheel for going down hills.
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Old 04-24-14, 07:53 AM   #5
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If you are just talking about changing the gear ratio at home by flipping the wheel around then that can work but it isn't really that big of a deal to change cogs once you know how to do it. I wouldn't want to have to change my wheel around in the middle of a ride. If you have a fixed/free flip-flop hub one side can be for a free wheel and many people prefer a freewheel for going down hills.
what about a hub like this:
Sturmey Archer

How can I add that to an existing fixie?

I guess I could get a 2nd hand MTB but I'd like as little as possible on the bike to save weight...but be cheap too
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Old 04-24-14, 07:58 AM   #6
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Just learn how to ride your bike up hills.
Pick a gearing that is suited for your surroundings.

It's completely stupid to stop before a hill and get out your wrench and flip the tire around. As long as you aren't mashing a huge gear, it shouldn't be an issue to get up and down a few hills
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Old 04-24-14, 08:23 AM   #7
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Just learn how to ride your bike up hills.
Pick a gearing that is suited for your surroundings.

It's completely stupid to stop before a hill and get out your wrench and flip the tire around. As long as you aren't mashing a huge gear, it shouldn't be an issue to get up and down a few hills
I suppose I could always change it for more teeth.

To fit a 3 speed hub on the back, do I need to buy a whole new wheel or can I slot the hub in somehow?
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Old 04-24-14, 08:28 AM   #8
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You will either be getting a new wheel or rebuilding one with new hub and probably spokes to use the geared hub. New wheel is the best option.
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Old 04-24-14, 09:09 AM   #9
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the idea would be to put a higher tooth freewheel on the flip side. if i was biking 100 miles and i came to a very hilly stretch, descending would be my worry for saving my legs. that's where the freewheel makes the biggest difference.

if you're just doing short commutes, it wouldn't really be a concern.
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Old 04-24-14, 12:55 PM   #10
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I could see flippy-floppy making a bit of sense if your way to work was all downhill, and your way home was all uphill. (Or vise-versa.)
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Old 04-24-14, 01:07 PM   #11
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I don't see why not. If you rock a SS a dual free wheel would be more convenient than a flip flop if you care to pay White Industries prices.

DOS ENO Free wheel
White Industries - Free Wheels
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Old 04-24-14, 01:53 PM   #12
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Just buy a used 3 speed bicycle. Rebuilding your rear wheel and converting to a 3 speed would be expensive.
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Old 04-24-14, 07:11 PM   #13
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The flip-flop hub makes a lot of sense in that it allows you to experiment more easily with different ratios. Realistically though, you'll work out one ratio that works fairly quickly and that will only change after a lot of riding. I've carried a different cog on the offside for many months and I can't remember ever swapping the wheel around on the road.

The S3X three speed fixed gear hub works very well but they are pricey. They're really only worth it if you have wildly varying terrain with lengthy climbs around the 8% mark or more. Despite some snide comments above, you will find your ability to climb hills will improve with time as you get stronger and your technique improves and similarly downhill as your technique allows you to run higher cadences.
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Old 04-28-14, 02:26 PM   #14
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I ride 46-16 in montreal and I dont have any problem, ok i maybe wont go up the mont royal every day but .... all the other "hills" like sherbrooke and streets like these can be done .... if you don't stop right at the bottom ....

Like on st-hubert or papineau when you go under the "bridge" and you have to go through the "hill" on the other side you will notice all the bike are going SUPER SLOW when going up, but since you have one speed you actually speed up on you way down and rush to make it on the top and actually pass by all the people going 2mhp on their geared bike.

Montreal is pretty flat, even when you face up hills like ontario-sherbrooke you can always find a street that is easier to climb ...

If you old or kinda noticeably out of shape your maybe better with a geared bike. Dont know what you ride now but a 46-16 ( stock purefix ratio ) is kinda like between the speed no.2 and no.3 on a bixi, I never faced a hill I could not climb in montreal ( exept mont royal never even wanted to try it since its already a pain with a geared bike on the biggest gears ).

Last edited by kungfu; 04-28-14 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 04-29-14, 12:35 AM   #15
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internal gear hub with few advantage, but it does come with some con you need to know.
Con:
1. weight. I find weight is ok but my friend not.
2. Complicated when tire puncture. (No QR and you need to remove cable to change tube).
3. Complicated setup after cable remove.
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Old 04-29-14, 12:50 AM   #16
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You are either going to ride fixed or not. Suggestions to get a 3 speed are funny lol. I have ridden a lot of three speeds cause I buy,sell and collect old Schwinns. 3 speeds are fun but not very efficient for commuting long distances. If you are going to ride geared might as well go 10 speeds or more.

If you are not an old fart like myself I would try and ride fixed and see how you do on the few hills in Montreal. I know there is an ardent fixed gear movement in Montreal, I have never heard of the hills being an issue at all.
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