Sunday, 12 October 2014

[Review] Flip Flop Wheel Set

Looking for a flip flop wheelset for your fixed gear/single speed bike on a budget? Read our review below to see what we thought of the "SSC Premium Flip Flop Wheelset" from after a 12 month test period covering rain, sun, road salt, potholes and everything else a city commute can throw.

When I was doing my vintage Raleigh singlespeed conversion, cost was a big factor, it was my first single speed bike and I wasn't sure if I would like it so I wanted to keep the whole thing as cheap as possible whilst maintaining the vintage look of the bike.

Finding a single speed flipflop wheelset which was both in budget and suited to a bike from the 1980's proved to be tricky but after a few evenings on the internet I came across single speed components. I couldn't find many reviews of their products/service online but decided to take the plunge anyway.

Description from SSC website as of Oct 2014:
"Understated look - all silver, with high walled hubs, stainless spokes and a lovely, single eyelet, subtle chamfered brushed rim. Silky smooth sealed bearing Quando flip flop hubs with high wall. Can accommodate a fixed gear sprocket or freewheel on one side and a single speed freewheel on the other. Rims single eyelet, shallow 20mm depth, chamfered, 700c with CNC braking surface, in a brushed finish Can take 18-28mm wide tyres. Rear wheel weighs 1,050g, wheelset 2,100g."

The service was good and the wheels arrived safely a few days after ordering, well packaged in a specially designed cardboard box.

The hardest thing I found when searching for a new single speed wheelset was making sure it matched the age of my bike (1980's Raleigh Team Panasonic) - no deep section, no aero, no black, no neon rave colours.

In the end I was really impressed with how these wheels look, the high flange hubs compliment the look of a vintage road bike perfectly as does the all silver understated look. The hubs have a very subtle Quando logo on them which you wouldn't notice unless you looked hard and there is a small single speed components logo on the rim (pictured below) which is also nice and subtle.

How they ride
At 2100g they are a long way off being lightweight, if this is an issue then these wheels probably are not for you. As the old saying goes - durability, cost, weight - pick two. At £100 you can expect durability at the expense of some weight.

The hubs roll smooth and I can't notice any flex under acceleration. Cornering is noticeably more responsive than the original 25 year old wheels which were still going strong.

 Despite having tiny Specialized Turbo S 700x25c tyres from the 1980's (which look more like a modern 700x23 tyre) the ride is reasonably compliant.

The rear wheel has a flip flop hub which enables you to fit a single speed freewheel on one side and a fixed cog on the other, meaning you can easily switch between fixed and singles peed simply by removing the wheel and flipping it round.

I must admit I have not had a chance to ride fixed yet but I don't think that should be an issue with the review as a whole.

I must have ridden these wheels for about 1,000 miles so far through rain, potholes and everything else a typical commute in the UK can throw.... and then left outside all day at work and ridden home again.

So far I have not had a single issue with them - they have stayed true, the bearings are still tight and smooth and there has been no other general signs of degradation. Very impressive for the price.

An important thing to note is the bearings are sealed cartridge type which may or may not be a good thing depending on your preference.

Final Verdict
If you are looking for a budget single speed/fixed flip flop wheelset to suit an older bike then the "Premium Flipflop" wheelset by should be on the list. They offer good value for money and many users will not notice the high weight. Indeed, I would argue that due to the look of these wheels many will find their way onto steel framed city bikes where weight/high performance is not so much of an issue anyway.

high flange front hub

flip flop rear hub

singlespeedcomponents rim

singlespeedcomponents wheels on raleigh

Do you have these wheels? Let us know what you think in the comments below or tweet us @VeloCorner.

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