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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: farley's Avatar
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    freehub w. spacers vs. thread-on freewheel?

    Sorry if this is something which has been covered without my knowing, but is there any advantage to using a threaded hub w. ss specific freewheel?

    For years I've run my singlespeeds with a regular Shimano freehub, a bunch of spacers and a novatec BMX cog.

    I've recently bought a Surly hub, but have yet to build it into a wheel. Part of me feels like I need to use this hub w. a freewheel to be "true" singlespeeder--even though I know deep down that's a silly idea.

    I like using the cassette hub, partially because it's easier to remove the lockring than it is a torqued-down freewheel, and this facilitates easier gearing changes.

    I'm starting to ponder the idea of using the Surly hub for a fixed gear project instead of on my SS.

    Is there some advantage to thread on and/or disadvantage to cassettes that I've just not thought of or run into?

  2. #2
    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
    Reputation: eSSq's Avatar
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    We the people ... i think it's probably a wash

    i've got a spot hub w/ a freewheel and an xt disc hub w/gusset spacers. a dedicated SS hub has less or no dish, which should make for a stronger wheel, but unless you shell out $80 for a white industries freewheel, you've got a crappy BMX setup, and i personally think it's harder to swap freewheels than change a cog on a cassette hub.

    with a cassette hub and spacers you can infinitely and easily adjust your chainline and easily swap cogs. these hubs are also generally cheaper and you can get pre-built wheels readily as well.

    if you're on the fence search for pics of the gusset spacer setup; it looks so nice and clean that if aesthetics are what is giving you a hang up, it might erase that for you.

    last point i suppose is bolt-on v. QR. ss hubs usually come bolt-on, whereas other hubs Q/R, but i'm told it's not a hard conversion. i am using an XT Q/R on my santa cruz chameleon w/ horizontal drops and it doesn't slip, but that's probably attributable to the built-in chain tensioner.
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  3. #3
    One gear to rule them all
    Reputation: 32seventeen's Avatar
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    Good job!

    Use that Surly for your fixie project.

    I can't think of any advantages to a freewheel. There is one advantage to your Surly hub. It will build up with even spoke tention, that makes for a stonger wheel.

    Cassettes are the way to go, IMHO. Now... you could get a SS cassette hub, if that would make you feel like a true singlespeeder.



    Quote Originally Posted by farley
    Sorry if this is something which has been covered without my knowing, but is there any advantage to using a threaded hub w. ss specific freewheel?

    For years I've run my singlespeeds with a regular Shimano freehub, a bunch of spacers and a novatec BMX cog.

    I've recently bought a Surly hub, but have yet to build it into a wheel. Part of me feels like I need to use this hub w. a freewheel to be "true" singlespeeder--even though I know deep down that's a silly idea.

    I like using the cassette hub, partially because it's easier to remove the lockring than it is a torqued-down freewheel, and this facilitates easier gearing changes.

    I'm starting to ponder the idea of using the Surly hub for a fixed gear project instead of on my SS.

    Is there some advantage to thread on and/or disadvantage to cassettes that I've just not thought of or run into?
    Todd............. If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague

  4. #4
    Jabberwocky Jockey
    Reputation: Darkwing Duck's Avatar
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    I've done both

    I had a XT cassette hub with spacers on my first singlespeed and bought a surly hub and built a "real" singlespeed wheel. One my second singlespeed, I had to have disc brakes so I used a XT hub with spacers again. That worked out fine until I got a killer deal on a Spot disc hub. I ran that for awhile and it worked fine too.

    On singlespeed #3, my first dedicated singlespeed, I have disc brakes, an EBB and XT wheels w/spacers. I have settled on this combo for a couple of reasons. First, the XT hubset I have has proven itself to be bombproof and is much less hassle than freewheels (unless you have a White Ind). Second, with quick releases, flat fixing is a breeze. Over time, bolt-on hubs became a pain in the butt.

    I cannot tell a difference between the singlespeed wheel and cassette wheel regarding strength.

    Hope this helps.
    Calling out from the Land of the Riding Hillbilly.


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  5. #5
    F@CK da dumb
    Reputation: joyride1x1's Avatar
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    cassette and spacers

    If you plan to swap out your gears alot, go with cassette and spacers. Changing freewheels is a major hassle. But, if you want the best of both worlds, get a Chris King SS hub.

  6. #6
    glyphic bacon
    Reputation: Ziggy-Stardust's Avatar
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    I second that...

    I've used both, and I think my converted Shimano XT wheel is much better than my dedicated (Spot) SS hub. Don't get me wrong the Spot hub works ok, but the BMX freewheels are unsealed and get gritty and bindy very quickly (I ride in mud alot). You can free them up by squirting oil in them etc, but still, unsealed freewheels just kinda suck...plus they usually give out in about a season. Sure you can buy those sweet Eno freewheels, but at $80 a pop? No thanks. Also, the removal of freewheels can be a real hassle...sometimes damned near impossible. Lastly, significantly tweaking the chainline on a dedicated SS freewheel hub is usually either not possible at all, or only very slight adjustments can be made.

    With my converted XT wheel, all these problems go away. The cassette freewheel is sealed and pretty much bulletproof. It is strong, quiet, reliable, doesn't get gritty or bindy and it doesn't need to be removed. You can buy a brand new XT disc hubset laced to Mavic 317's for under $200...many rear hubs cost that much just by themselves (or way more in the case of CK and a few others). If you need to tweak the chainline, no problem...you have a HUGE adjustability range, and all you need to tweak it is a few pieces of PVC piping. And its very easy to remove the cog, no horrifically stuck freewheel hassles. New cogs are only about $5 each. People always say that the wheel is weaker because the dish isn't quite as deep. So what? This is a total non-issue canard, regular wheels are plently strong. If you're a killer freerider, fine just get a heavier duty gearie wheelset. But if you're just a trail rider XC sorta guy, regular old cassette XC grade wheels are perfectly suitable. Plus, if you have a gearie bike in your collection, you can easily and quickly adapt these same wheels back to gearie use if desired...can't do that with dedicated SS wheels.

    About the only thing negative you can say about cassette freewheel hubs is that they look a little homebrewish. But as far as I'm concerned, I like it that way.


    Quote Originally Posted by Darkwing Duck
    I had a XT cassette hub with spacers on my first singlespeed and bought a surly hub and built a "real" singlespeed wheel. One my second singlespeed, I had to have disc brakes so I used a XT hub with spacers again. That worked out fine until I got a killer deal on a Spot disc hub. I ran that for awhile and it worked fine too.

    On singlespeed #3, my first dedicated singlespeed, I have disc brakes, an EBB and XT wheels w/spacers. I have settled on this combo for a couple of reasons. First, the XT hubset I have has proven itself to be bombproof and is much less hassle than freewheels (unless you have a White Ind). Second, with quick releases, flat fixing is a breeze. Over time, bolt-on hubs became a pain in the butt.

    I cannot tell a difference between the singlespeed wheel and cassette wheel regarding strength.

    Hope this helps.

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