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Please school me on “old” British flip flop hubs

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Please school me on “old” British flip flop hubs

Old 04-10-21, 08:25 AM
  #1  
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Please school me on “old” British flip flop hubs

This always happens to me. Until you own something you don’t think about how it actually works.

I picked up a Raleigh Lenton Grand Prix. It came with a flip flop wheel.







Four speed freewheel on one side and fixed cog on the other.

So how are you supposed to ride it as a fixie?
What do you shift the derailleur to?

If I want to rebuild the wheel where can I find info for this type of flip flop hub?

Any information is appreciated.
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Old 04-10-21, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by b dub View Post
So how are you supposed to ride it as a fixie?
What do you mean? Loosen the bolts. Take wheel off. Turn 180 degrees. Put wheel on. Ride with fixed cog. You can run the chain through the derailleur, it won't hurt it any. Typically, back in the day, the fixed cog would have the lowest number of teeth for the finish line sprint.

Originally Posted by b dub View Post
What do you shift the derailleur to?
Wherever the chainline is best.

Originally Posted by b dub View Post
If I want to rebuild the wheel where can I find info for this type of flip flop hub?
If you mean measurements for spoke length, measure what you have, no need for Spocalc. And flip-flops typically are really easy, with 114mm spacing, typically the same spoke length on both sides. If 120mm spacing, maybe 1mm longer on the non-drive side, you can get away with using the same length. If you mean whether you have Airlite or Racelite hubs and where can you find more info on their history, sorry, I haven't a clue.
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Old 04-10-21, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
What do you mean? Loosen the bolts. Take wheel off. Turn 180 degrees. Put wheel on. Ride with fixed cog. You can run the chain through the derailleur, it won't hurt it any. Typically, back in the day, the fixed cog would have the lowest number of teeth for the finish line sprint.


Wherever the chainline is best.


If you mean measurements for spoke length, measure what you have, no need for Spocalc. And flip-flops typically are really easy, with 114mm spacing, typically the same spoke length on both sides. If 120mm spacing, maybe 1mm longer on the non-drive side, you can get away with using the same length. If you mean whether you have Airlite or Racelite hubs and where can you find more info on their history, sorry, I haven't a clue.
He's got a derailleur. To make that work he had to take the derailleur off and shorten the chain. Then it is only a maybe that he can use all of the 4 sprockets on the freewheel. (A half link may be very useful here. I assume but do not know if they can be found for 3/32" chain. I've only used them with 1/8" chain.
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Old 04-10-21, 10:55 AM
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Ok, I’m clearly overthinking this. Sorry about making this confusing.

I’ll unbolt it and flip it around, and see what happens.
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Old 04-10-21, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
He's got a derailleur. To make that work he had to take the derailleur off and shorten the chain. Then it is only a maybe that he can use all of the 4 sprockets on the freewheel. (A half link may be very useful here. I assume but do not know if they can be found for 3/32" chain. I've only used them with 1/8" chain.
What do you mean? Why would you take off the derailleur? The derailleur picks up the chain slack. It is no different if there were a 5-speed on the rear. Except in this case you have to go through the pain in the ass of flopping the wheel.

And there are plenty of fixed cogs that will work with a 3/32 chain.
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Old 04-10-21, 12:44 PM
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Presumably, you run the risk of stretching/breaking the RD if you try to slow the bike with cranks while riding fixed? or even if you simply "fail to keep up", so to speak? Unlike a simple tensioner, I would guess most RDs can't fully get out of the way of a chain that wants to be very straight...

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Old 04-10-21, 01:00 PM
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So why did they feel the need to have this dual purpose hub? In the old days other than on the track why would someone use a bike like this as a fixie? I must be missing something.
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Old 04-10-21, 02:52 PM
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You've got the bike in hand. Old fashioned chains are cheap. (You want one with the pins protruding past the outer plates. Those chains can be broken and re-riveted. Break it and take off the derailleur (or just leave it hanging and unused). Push the wheel all the way back in the dropout. Now shorten the chain just short of that. See if the chain can wrap around the biggest sprocket and if you can still properly tighten the hub nut. If yes - cool!! The best of old school - 4 available FW cogs and on the flip, a fix gear cog. You can ride to your hearts content on the fixed cog and if you decide to wander into the hills (or just want a break, flip back - for choices that 100 years ago you didn't have.

You may well find this so much fun that you take off the derailleur. You will also have trouble explaining this fun to others. They simply will not get it. (I have never done the fix-FW double hub but I have done a lot of riding with a fix-fix hub on one bike and fix-fix on another using a double fixed cog on one side and three chainrings for three very different gears. On both bikes I have to stop and change gears "the old way" but I have them and can ride the fix gear I love into real hills as a 60 yo. I carry a Pedros Trixie hub/spanner wrench under my toolbag on both bikes.)

I'm guessing this bike was made at a time where there was a very narrow window where this setup was fast and racing feasible or maybe this bike was ridden as a geared bike to races, the derailleur taken off (and brakes), the wheel flipped and then raced as a fix gear. (Sounds like a very English concept and actually the more probable origin.)

Edit: Don't even think about running the fix hub and derailleur. That's like pouring gasoline and giving the baby a lighter.
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Old 04-10-21, 04:01 PM
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Peter Kohler's "Retro Raleighs" article on Lentons (hosted by sheldonbrown.com)
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/retrora...on-kohler.html
There's a cycle museum on Bainbridge Island that has a 1957 Lenton Grand Prix; they might have some info about this
1957 Raleigh Lenton Gran Prix at Classic Cycle Bainbridge | Classic Cycle Bainbridge Island Kitsap County
Here's an extensive "On the Drops" article on the Raleigh Lentons, with fairly exhaustive coverage of the Grand Prix model (starting about 5/6 down the page -- search for Grand Prix No. 7)
https://on-the-drops.blogspot.com/20...1948-1960.html
Here's a BF thread about an eBay sale of a 1958 Grand Prix
1958 Raleigh Lenton Grand Prix
What I don't see is any mention of a fixed-freewheel cluster configuration in any of these, or any photograph of such. Perhaps, given English club riders' obdurate penchant for fixed, the hub was generally threaded for a "flop" fixed gear as a matter of course, a transitional thing -- I just don't see it employed on any of the examples above.
I couldn't find anything in a quick search on classiclightweights.co.uk, though there might be something there. You might also try forum(s?) on the other side of the pond: https://www.retrobike.co.uk/forums/r...assic-road.12/ or one I may not be aware of.

Whether one could use the crankset as a rear brake seems dubious to me, unless one carried two chains for the purpose of true "fixed" (itself dubious in the days before master links). And it's unnecessary anyway, since the bike was equipped with a rear brake too.
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Old 04-10-21, 04:38 PM
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I just bought one of these rear hubs as I foolishly felt compelled to return my Fleur de Lys to factory specs. Although you can use it fixed cog, I would assume that bikes built with multi cog freewheels would just not have a fixed cog installed.

edit: I tried to link above to Resilion Continental hubs on Velobase. Link doesn't seem to work?
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Old 04-10-21, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by b dub View Post
So why did they feel the need to have this dual purpose hub? In the old days other than on the track why would someone use a bike like this as a fixie? I must be missing something.
Brits were particularly fond of dual purpose bikes, road and track or sometimes referred to path bikes. You'd ride a freewheel to a race event, possibly with a detachable mudguard . Remove the mudguard, flip the wheel to fixed and race. Back to the original configuration for a ride home.
Sometimes you'd hang a pair of race wheels off of the front wheel, negating the need for a flip flop.
Brits came a little later to the derailleur club imo. Most road racing was on fixed wheels but a flip flop gave you the option of coasting if you wanted. It was just a choice.
CCM sold Road Racers for decades and they all came with a flip flop hub, a 50 tooth chainwheel, a 16 tooth freewheel and I believe an 18 tooth fixed cog. Add on the really crappy rear Philco clamp on brake and you've got trouble anytime you get out in traffic. This is a '37 with a front brake that was still ineffective.


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Old 04-10-21, 07:18 PM
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NEVER TRY TO RUN A FIXED GEAR THROUGH A DERAILER.

I don't care if it's a normal one or a chainstay-mounted one, the backlash will destroy it.

As I understand it, if the bike is set up correctly there is enough length in the dropouts to run the fixed side of the wheel. Setting one up correctly requires a tightly spaced cluster and the right wheel position when cutting the chain to length.
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Old 04-10-21, 07:54 PM
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Raleigh was still offering fixed/free mid quality club bikes in the late 50's while the premium RRA's were getting 4 speed blocks.
You wondered why people would use these bikes fixed. You have get accustomed to it to get it. Cyclist often embrace fixed wheel on the road, I know I did and still dabble. I never felt safer because I was always in my ride and not watching it go by.
Courtesy Mark Bulgier again.



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Old 04-10-21, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Dylansbob View Post
As I understand it, if the bike is set up correctly there is enough length in the dropouts to run the fixed side of the wheel. Setting one up correctly requires a tightly spaced cluster and the right wheel position when cutting the chain to length.
I'm having trouble getting my head around this. Are you saying that one can use a single chain of a given length to shift (through the derailleur) "a 14T, 16T, 18T and 20T block and a Williams double 46T/49T chainring" and also (not through the derailleur) the fixed cog on the opposite side of the wheel, with one of those chainrings? Simply by moving the axle position through the dropout?
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Old 04-11-21, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Charles Wahl View Post
I'm having trouble getting my head around this. Are you saying that one can use a single chain of a given length to shift (through the derailleur) "a 14T, 16T, 18T and 20T block and a Williams double 46T/49T chainring" and also (not through the derailleur) the fixed cog on the opposite side of the wheel, with one of those chainrings? Simply by moving the axle position through the dropout?
The only one I've seen in person had a single ring, are you sure the double is original?
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Old 04-11-21, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Dylansbob View Post
The only one I've seen in person had a single ring, are you sure the double is original?
If you look through the "On the Drops" blog page for the Lenton series (about 5/6 down the page, search for "Grand Prix No. 7" I think you'll find that in all of the years of production, the Grand Prix came with the same drivetrain description as 8-speed, including the Williams 46/49 crankset.
https://on-the-drops.blogspot.com/20...1948-1960.html
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Old 04-11-21, 04:03 PM
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I pulled the rear wheel. See this thread for more info.
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Old 04-12-21, 08:39 AM
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These 1970s hubs with a multi-speed freewheel on one side and 'track' threading on the other were intended for use with early disc brakes. The rotors threaded onto the hub in the same way as a fixed cog. More info in this thread.
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Old 04-16-21, 06:30 AM
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Great to have noticed your posting as I have recently acquired an old BSA bike that I am restoring and it has this exact hub configuration (4 speed freewheel on one side and fixed cog on the other) and was wondering about it myself. I will post a few pics shortly.
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Old 04-16-21, 06:33 AM
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Is that a picture of your CCM? Any idea the year? Thanks
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Old 04-16-21, 06:37 AM
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Agree this seems to have been a very English concept and as you suggest "the probable origin". Thinking this also might explain the use of wingnuts on these hubs?
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Old 04-16-21, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Oslerblue View Post
Is that a picture of your CCM? Any idea the year? Thanks
It's mine and it's a '37.
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Old 04-16-21, 10:27 AM
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Beautiful bike! I just picked up a 1950 CCM Club Racer ... will post a few pictures
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Old 04-16-21, 06:53 PM
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Here's a 51 that has been boxed since I moved from TO to NS 14 years ago. NEVER disassemble and pack 30 bikes away and move 1000 kms.
You looking for CCM stuff?


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Old 04-16-21, 08:16 PM
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I love how @clubman has been here for so many years - and I've known him for a fair bit of those years too - and he can still pull gems like this '51 Club Racer out of his hat...without my ever knowing he's had one all this time

-Kurt
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