Surly Flip Flop Hub Question

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  • Oh god I think I've just discovered yet another mistake made by the LBS who built my bike. I'm beginning to think I should just strip it and start again.

    They told me when I collected the bike that they had adjusted the Surly flip flop from 130mm to 126mm to fit my dropouts "by removing a 4mm spacer from the hub". Looking at the threads on each side and measuring from dropout to hub flange it would seem that this spacer has been removed from only one side.

    Surely this can't be right?! If the hub isn't centred on the axle then wouldn't the wheel be at an angle when the front of the wheel is centred in the frame? And also, when I flip the wheel round from fixed to singlespeed I'll have two totally different chainlines.

    Any thoughts?



  • Flip the wheel and check..

  • it does sound like they've bodged it. should really remove the spacers from both sides and then replace them both with smaller ones. or at least that seems the logical approach. then it will be central in the dropouts.

    is this the shop you were telling me about when i bought your frame?? sounds like you need to find another LBS mate.

  • I don't have a fixed sprocket on there at the moment unfortunately, so I can't check using a chainline measurement.

    Comparing with diagrams on the Surly website I can see what they've done. On each side there's a spacer between the cone and the locknut: 2mm on the fixed side and 4mm on the freewheel side. They've simply removed the 4mm one. I'm sure that can't be right...

  • Yes Elvis, the very same LBS. I've given them the benefit of the doubt one too many times now I think!

    I've been back now four times since they did they work and - cross though I am to have wasted so much time and money - I think it's time to cut my losses and take it somewhere else/ sort it myself.

    Am totally gutted. At this rate the bike won't see any sunshine this year!

  • Cheers Scott. Some 5- and 6-speed road bikes had 126mm dropouts in the 80's/90's. Mine is one of those.

    Best bet I recokon is to put the spacer back in and take the frame (to a different LBS!) to have the dropouts cold set to 130mm.


  • Whats the frame made of? If it's steel you might find you can squeeze the dropouts apart a bit, since it's only moving 2mm on either side and steel is springy.

    That LBS sounds terrible. They should have taken 2mm off both sides of the hub, not 4mm off one... Totally incompetent. Name and shame!

  • It's a steel (531 Competition) frame and yeah I've had 130mm wheels in it no problem. Might as well get it properly set to 130mm though as I don't think it's a very expensive job.

  • Any chance you might name and shame the LBS?

  • You should, out of duty towards your fellow london-fixed-gear-singlespeed-ers!

    I bet it's an Evans.

  • I'm based down in Sussex so it's probably not one you guys would risk stumbling into anyway...

    I'll name and shame once they've given me my spacer back. Just in case they read this forum! ;-)

  • D'oh!

  • cogs and frewheels are likely to have different chainlines if fitted on the same thread, possibly making the odd spacing worse or maybe even better. until you try a cog you wont know.

  • Can't you just put the 2mm spacer on the side that the 4mm spacer has been removed from? That would effectively have taken 2mm off each side.

  • 'Good thinking batman..'

    Buy that man ( nv55 ) a drink!
    < ..and I thought I was good at lateral thinking.... >

  • It seems Scott gave us the correct answer while I was driving back to the LBS :-)

    Turns out that what they had done was to remove the spacer from one side and then redish the wheel to correct. This would be fine on a multi-speed bike of course, but on a flipflop it's no good at all, because I'd have ended up with different chainlines on fixed and freewheel.

    Luckily the spacer was still sitting on top of his tool box so I got it back and refitted it (myself!). The hub spacings are now perfect again as per Surly's website, so all I need to do now is change it from 130mm to 126mm.

    nv55's suggestion would have been perfect except that the 2mm 'spacer' is integral to the locknut, so instead I intend to get a local machine shop to take 2mm off both spacers in a lathe, resulting in a perfect 126mm hub. If this works I'll post details and photos as it'll be a useful mod for people with 126mm dropouts.

    And yes, Scott is right, I'll have to have it dished again once this is all done (by a different LBS!) as it's now 4mm off to one side.

    Phew. We'll get there in the end...


  • good luck simon

  • well done for getting to the bottom of it all. bit of a sage but you're nearly there!

  • Thanks Scott. Good point. Duly checked and there's enough space :-)

  • is it worth it to lathe them down? sounds like a lot of work.

    now makes me wonder how much time and money you really spent going back and forth!

  • Four times the bike went back, each time a one hour 16 mile round trip to take it and another to collect it. That's a lot of diesel/ time.

    I cut my losses yesterday and took everything off they've fitted to start again. Will be replacing the cheap Taiwanese freewheel (I asked for Shimano) and the 1/8th chain made up from at least two lengths of different make cheap BMX chains.

    All in all it means the bike will have cost me £100+ more than it should have done, plus a month or so less to ride it. On the plus side, I've finally learnt how to do all this stuff myself, and bought some decent tools!


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Surly Flip Flop Hub Question

Posted by Avatar for Simon @Simon