Flip-hop hubs are rear hubs that are threaded to fit both fixed gear cogs and freewheel. Meaning you get to choose your riding preference. You can ride fixed gear, where your pedals will continue to rotate as your wheels move forward - OR - you can ride freewheel, where you have the option to cruise as you ride. So which one should you choose? That's up to you and your preference of riding of course. Let's break it down.
First of all, every fixed gear Tribe bike is outfitted with flip-flop hubs. We ship most with the freewheel option engaged meaning when you first assemble the bike you can coast freely as you ride. Ah, the comfort. To switch to a fixed gear style it's as simple as loosening your chain, removing your back wheel, and flipping it around to fit the fixed gear cog (then re-threading the chain). Voila your done!
The flip-flop hub has been around for a long time but recently has really become the gateway for cyclists unfamiliar with fixed gear or single speeds bikes to try their hand (or I suppose feet?) at them. For novice cyclists or riders who are looking to make the switch to a single speed bike we recommend you start out with the freewheel option engaged to get comfortable on a single speed bike. In that style the bike is essentially a cruiser bike, making the ride quite easy and comfortable. The only difference you'll find is that from a static position the start up push is a little tougher. That's because the gear ratio is much different (and a little harder) without a derailleur allowing you to change gears. While difficult at first, you'll get it down in no time and soon probably won't notice the difference.
After you become comfortable in the free wheel mode give fixed gear a shot. Now for beginners this will definitely be a shock. Tip: Keep your feet on the pedals. You may feel as if you have no control or that the pedal is pushing you but actually it's quite the opposite. People often say when you ride a fixed gear you "become one with the bike" and that is true in many ways. Riding fixed gear is simplicity at it's best. To go forward with the bike, you pedal forward. When you pedal backwards you go backwards. To slow down you push backwards against the pedals and absorb the forward momentum into your legs. To stop you either use a brake or one of the many nifty tricks fixed gear riders have developed (we'll save those for another day though). When you look at it like that it's easy, right? Sure, however we still advise you give it some practice and go for a few test rides in a secure location where you can learn to control the bike at high speeds. Afterwards take it to the streets and ride on!
Now you know what a flip-flop hub is, consider yourself learned. Give both a shot and let us know which one you prefer in the comments below. Happy riding and stay tuned to our blog for all things Tribe!
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