Flip Flop Hub
What is a flip flop hub?
One of the main differences is the fitting of a flip flop hub to the rear wheel.
Of course on your standard bike the rear wheel cog has multiple cogs, usually with a derailleur type gearing mechanism and also the ability to freewheel as you like. A fixed gear hub has a single cog.
You go at a single gear and speed is dictated by how fast you can turn those pedals.
If you want to change the gearing you have to replace the hub assembly entirely.
Now this is where the beauty of the flip flop hub comes into its own.
The flip flop rear wheel has two cogs on it.
So you have one on each side.
This flip flop wheelset can do several things, depending on the set up on your fixed gear bike.
First of all you can have two fixed gear cogs. Out comes the wheel, flip it over and hey presto you have a different gearing to suit the terrain or situation. Saves changing whole cogs in their entirety. Also saves carrying around all the tools and spare cogs to do with it as well. Secondly you can have a flip flop hub wheel with a gearing cog on the drive side and a freewheel on the opposite. Just flip it around and you have the freewheel.
If you are setting up a flip flop hub, then the most common way is with a fixed gear setting on one side of the hub and then a freewheel setting on the other. The freewheel gearing is usually bigger that the fixed gear. It is all personal preference of course, but that difference is often only by one to two teeth setting. That’s all you need really in most circumstances.
So what are the advantages of a flip flop hub?
Well it really comes into its own as part of a flip flop rim set up when taking longer rides that involve a lot of slopes or steep climbs with reciprocal down glides. This allows you to freewheel and turn those pedals as you want on the down ride. Very useful for purging the lactic acid build up. This really saves on the energy if you have a long way to go to home or to your next stop point for the night.
So if you buy a flip flop hub you want to think about which set up you will go for.
Double fixed gear has its advantages to some, especially over hilly terrain where a second larger gear makes those big climbs easier.
Or you can go for a freewheel/fixed gear flip flop wheelset. That means it helps with climbs but also you don’t have to pedal your life away downhill.
You may have had that lovely feeling of biking it so hard as you descend, that the coordination goes and your foot slips. Nothing focuses the mind like a steel pedal into the shins at a fast speed.