Single speed specific wheels vs. non specific - pros and cons?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    beautiful jackass
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    Single speed specific wheels vs. non specific - pros and cons?

    I'm building up a Jabberwocky and spending a lot of time looking for the right wheels.

    I have a budget of 500-600 bucks. A lot of the wheels I'm looking at online (both pre-built and custom) are predominantly non-single speed specific.

    Can someone tell me some pros and cons between the two hub types?

  2. #2
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    A pro with the non specific wheels are easier to set a chain line.
    Con weaker rear wheel.

    Tim

  3. #3
    beautiful jackass
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    What do you mean by "weaker rear wheel"? Weaker performance or weaker structurally?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by one incredible donkey
    What do you mean by "weaker rear wheel"? Weaker performance or weaker structurally?
    Weaker structurally because of increased dish.

    I own both types of wheels, have for years, in practice I've found that a "geared wheel" may be weaker on paper but is still plenty strong enough in practice. While I prefer the "rightness" of a purpose-built SS rear wheel, there's not enough benefit to justify spending more to get one, IMO.

    FWIW my King freehub SS wheel affords plenty of chainline adjustability. And perhaps this statement brings up an even more germane option -- freehub or screw-on freewheel. You'll find this camp divided. Personally, I'm on the freehub side of the fence because I like the ability to fine tune my chainline back there. Plus I find it easier to change gears with a freehub. Plus I've sheared a FW hub completely in half, not that this is a common experience. Anyway, come to your own conclusions & best of luck in doing so.

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  5. #5
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    Sparticus is right. Though there is a difference on paper between a single speed specific hub and a geared hub converted for single speed use it is negligable. Even Sheldon Brown says it and he was a single speed guru.
    His second point on freewheel vs freehub is a more interesting question. If chain line isn't your issue (a multispeed chain will solve this) then much of the difference comes down to the actual freewheel mechanism. If the freehub uses two, three or four prawls (most do) then there is little difference between a freewheel and a freehub in terms of engagement and strength. Hubs like DT or King use a set of toothed plates which have many times as much surface area in their engagement and result in a stronger system.
    BBI certified, 12+ years as mechanic

  6. #6
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    I will say it on basic level as these gents have already said more eloquently... It doesn't really matter.

  7. #7
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    Agree with all the others. One pros for the non-specific wheelset is that if SS isn't your thing then you still have a usable wheelset. A Con for the SS hub is that in most cases, it costs more....

  8. #8
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    i think that if you are building a single speed, use single speed wheels.


    you get the extra strength out of the single speed rear wheel. while some say it doesnt matter, it is still stronger than a geared rear wheel. if you have the opportunity to run a stronger rear wheel, why not?

    for a lot of people this doesnt matter, but when i see a single speed with a ton of spacers on the rear hub and a single cog, it looks like some backyard mechanic single speed hack-job bike.

    i also like having a rear hub with a BMX freewheel. if the freewheeling mechanism craps out on you, you can go to the LBS and buy a new freewheel for less than $20 vs. rebuilding a hub or replacing a hub.

  9. #9
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    I ride a Jabberwocky and run a WTB Single Duty hub. My other SS has a set of wheels built up with Paul hubs, using a WI freewheel. In both cases, getting a really good deal on the wheels played a major factor in me using SS specific hubs and I will admit that since I was building up SS frames, I wanted SS wheels and also bought into the SS specific rear hubs being stronger. On that note, one of the top local Cat 1 racers I know, spends most of his time racing with one gear. Has done Leadville. He also works at a local shop, builds his own wheels, could use anything and he runs standard Chris King hubs. He can also do some amazing things on bikes as far as handling skills. To say he can be hard on equipment, is far from an understatement. Definately has made me re-think my next set of SS hubs.

    As far as looks, you really have to know what you are looking at and then look close to tell the difference between a standard freehub and SS freehub.

    Owning both a SS hub that requires a freewheel and one with a freehub, my next SS wheels will have a freehub. Like several others posted, I like being able to adjust my chainline with cheap spacers vice playing with several BBs to fine tune the chainline with my Paul hubs and WI freewheel. I can also buy a new Chris King stainless cog for 30 bones. While I love my Paul hubs, WI freewheels are pricey. I bought a new cog and bearing, to rebuild my WI last year, and it still cost me $55. Sure you can run $20 BMX freewheels, but show me anyone that has ever mounted one and then run the hell out it for 2 years reliably in all conditions without giving it another thought. Pulling freewheels to clean and soak in oil on a regular basis kind of defeats one of the primary reasons for me to ride a SS.

    Now probably the one down side to be aware of, most freehub bodies for running a standard geared cassette, are aluminum. I have heard of certain SS cogs cutting into the freehub body. I know the CK cogs I use have a wide base, so I do not know if this would be a problem. And there is always the option with say Hope, of running a steel freehub body.

    Lastly, something that I never considered when I originally bought my Jabberwocky....running gears. My kids are getting big enough now, that the boss here on the homefront has started to come onboard with the idea of me doing road trips once in awhile with the guys. As much as I like SSing, riding with others can leave you sucking if you are the only one running 34/19 gears for the 2 miles from the campsite to a trail head. I have heard good things about 1X9 setups on the Jabber using Vassago's gearplug. If this might be something you could see happening, swapping spacers and a cog for a cassette sounds better than having to buy a second rear wheel.

  10. #10
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    Well, Sparty and the rest of the gang have it covered.

    If money were no object, I would build around a singlespeed hub that uses a cog. I ran a set of handbuilt Surly hubs (spin on freewheel) for many years on my Inbred. I don't know that they were any stronger due to a SS specific hub but they lasted many mnay years without incident. I sold them with the bike.

    I only ride SS but if you don't, you might want the ability to add gears. I don't mind the spacers personally but I can see how they would bother some.

    My Karate Monkey uses a standard 9 speed hub and my wheels for my new bike are arriving this week with a standard 9 speed hub. I do prefer a cog with a wider base. I run Surly's for this reason.

    My decisions are due to cost and availability. I also don't weigh much and I'm easy on equipment.

    Good luck.

  11. #11
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    Better engagement

    For cassette hubs, the SS version may have better engagement. Ive been riding Hope hubs, and the SS speed one has double the engagement, which I notice, and like.

  12. #12
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    The engagement is important to me, too - I certainly notice it now if I ever ride something that doesn't have hubs with fast engagement.
    Whether this is important to you depends on your riding style, I suppose, but I tend to do quite a lot of ratcheting and pedal stroke timing in slow, technical stuff so it makes a big difference to me.

    I can recommend the Hope SS hub, by the way.

  13. #13
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    So I'm just getting ready to buy my wheelset and I'm paranoid about making a mistake so I want to make sure everything is kosher.

    I decided on the freehub design and I'm getting a Flow rim with ZTR hubs.

    Now - is this rear ZTR hub ready to have spacers and a cog put on? No trickery is needed, right?

  14. #14
    nothing to see here
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    No trickery, just spacers, cog and lockring.
    I see hills.

    I want to climb them.

  15. #15
    beautiful jackass
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    Awesome - thanks!

  16. #16
    4 Niners
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    I was going to recommend ZTR and Flow. I have that exact setup on one of my SS's. These hubs have very fast engagement, very little friction and are not too noisy. The Flow or Crest would be the rim of choice depending on your weight and riding style and how durable you want. I would go with Flow on the rear if I was building a set today, but consider Crest on the front.

    As far as the overall argument between SS specific hubs I agree with the rest of the group and want to add one additional benefit. On the wheelset in question I have both a 19 and a 17 cog and in the front I have a 32 and 34. I use the 32 19 in the woods and if I want to take a run into town, in about 30 seconds, I can change the chain from the 32 19 to the 34 17 and go from 49 gear inches to 58 gear inches which is perfect for street duty. The chainline is perfect on both setups and I actually lost a few grams because both the cogs are Niner and very light and the 34 up front only weighs 35 grams and the bash guard I took off weighed way more-I forget. This works if you set up the chain tension for the large front ring. The small front ring will run the chain just a little loose but still fine (if you look real close, you see a smidge of sag, but I have never had anybody notice and say "your chain is loose" because it is so small.

  17. #17
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    A Single Speed Hub will give a zero dish wheel and a perfect chainline. I you have the cash
    go this route. A zero dish wheel is stronger.

  18. #18
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    Thanks for all the advice and opinions. I ordered a pair of white Flow / ZTR wheels last night with the freehub option. I like the overall versatility of the freehub with the ability to run gears if desired, and the use of spacers.

  19. #19
    4 Niners
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    You will want to get something like this since most lockrings made for cassetts are not tall enough.
    http://spicercycles.com/product/surl...w9999-qc37.htm

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by yourdaguy
    You will want to get something like this since most lockrings made for cassetts are not tall enough.
    http://spicercycles.com/product/surl...w9999-qc37.htm
    That's exactly what I plan on purchasing. I don't understand why they're so expensive but I can accept it.

    I was also considering a Chris King cog to prevent potential damage to the freehub body but then I saw that Crupi makes a similar looking one for half the cost. I'm fairly certain I'll be happy with an 18 tooth cog.

    Is there any reason to choose Chris King over Crupi?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by one incredible donkey
    Is there any reason to choose Chris King over Crupi?
    Steel vs Aluminum. The Chris King cog will last longer.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by notnormal
    Steel vs Aluminum. The Chris King cog will last longer.

    If he's looking at the steel Chris King Cog, then yes.

    I'd get a Surly, Endless, or one from ISAR myself.
    "I ride to clear my head, my head is clearer when I'm riding SS. Therefore, I choose to ride SS."~ Fullrange Drew

  23. #23
    4 Niners
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    I have a Chris King 18 aluminum cog. It has visible distortion/dents of the teeth from 1 hour and a half ride. They are not strong enough. If you want aluminum get Niner or list member: ISuckatRiding. If you want steel, Surley are cheap and strong and both Niner and Surley have offset for fine chainline adjustment.

    I just grabbed that link, I think there are cheaper places to buy the kit and there is a kit on ebay for around $25 that has carbon spacers. I have that and the Surley kit and the Surley kit is a little more fine tunable and sturdier, the ebay kit is great too and light.

  24. #24
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    i agree 100% with Sparty, i specificly buy geared wheelsets. There is no "real life" advantages for a ss hub, IMHO, so i figure why limit yourself to only one type of bike?

  25. #25
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    and thanks for the plug on my cogs, guys!

  26. #26
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    Thanks for all the words. ISAR - your cogs are super nice but a little out of the range I was looking for spend on a cog.

    I found chromoly Crupi 18t cogs for $29. Is there still an overwhelming advantage to the Chris King cog?

    Don't get me wrong - I understand the value of the Chris King cog. But as I understand it, the spline width is really what sells the cog. The Crupi appears to have a similar spline design but I'm not finding reviews online.

  27. #27
    4 Niners
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    All true single speed cogs have the wider splines.

  28. #28
    30-ton War Machine
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    SS wheels show a higher level of commitment to pain and suffering.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by one incredible donkey
    ...
    I found chromoly Crupi 18t cogs for $29. Is there still an overwhelming advantage to the Chris King cog?
    ...
    The Crupi looks like a good cog (okay, sprocket) to me. Only one problem... the link you provided leads to a photo of an aluminum cog (okay, sprocket).


    Personally, I won't purchase another aluminum cog (okay, sprocket)... they wear out too fast IME.

    --sParty
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    We get old because we quit riding.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by one incredible donkey
    Thanks for all the words. ISAR - your cogs are super nice but a little out of the range I was looking for spend on a cog.

    I found chromoly Crupi 18t cogs for $29. Is there still an overwhelming advantage to the Chris King cog?
    Ah... ISAR's aluminum cogs start at like $20. How is that too much compared to a $29 Crupi?

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wish I Were Riding
    Ah... ISAR's aluminum cogs start at like $20. How is that too much compared to a $29 Crupi?
    Without intending to answer for the OP, my personal response would be because they're aluminum.

    According to the OP, the Crupi is chromoly (although as I said above, the photo is of an aluminum cog, er sprocket).

    --sParty
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wish I Were Riding
    Ah... ISAR's aluminum cogs start at like $20. How is that too much compared to a $29 Crupi?
    The person above me is correct. I wanted to go with steel.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by one incredible donkey
    The person above me is correct. I wanted to go with steel.
    Fair enough.

    But ISAR's stuff is pretty sweet, and he's just a guy helping us out with sweet gear and not some big faceless company.

    I hope whatever you get works great, and is just the right gear.

  34. #34
    4 Niners
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    I believe ISAR's cogs are Stainless Steel as opposed to Steel.

    Aluminum=light around $30 wears out fast
    Steel=heavy around $20 lasts a long time
    Stainless Steel=between alum and steel in weight around $40 lasts a longer time like 1.5x steel
    Titanium=light but not as light as aluminum around $100 wears out faster than steel and slower than aluminum.

    Realistically, the stainless steel ones are probably the best long term lowest cost of ownership and the ones from ISAR are not that heavy either.

  35. #35
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    That Spicer Cycles website is AWESOME dude...all kinds of color to trick your ride

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