The threaded track sprocket has done the job perfectly well for decades but now we are pushing our fixed gear parts to the limit. The threads on our hubs are one of the most vulnerable yet important areas of our bikes and brands are looking at ways of making it more reliable; some have gone for a bolt on cog but Halo’s new HG spline system is even better.
The traditional threaded system works, of course it does, but when it fails it really fails. Some brands have gone down the bolt on route but it didn’t really catch on, fixed gear freestyle is where it’s at now and the smallest bolt on cog option is a 16t which is a no-go for compact gearing. Halo’s HG spline system is so obvious and brilliant that other brands must be kicking themselves for not thinking of it first: it can’t slip or thread; it’s way easier to fit/swap and will take down to 12t cogs, it’s genius.
I know for a fact that I am not the only one that has experienced a stripped thread on a hub, it’s a royal pain in the arse. One second you are changing your gearing and the next you are swearing and trying to kick the last breath out of your formally fine back wheel, not just because it has broken but because of the inconvenience of having to buy a new hub and (more than likely) pay for your LBS to re-build it onto your rim. That will never happen with a Fix-G, there is nothing that can go wrong, in theory the groves could wear and the cog loosen over time but the tolerances are so tight that I really can’t see that happening and even if it did you would still be able to use it and it would be perfectly safe. There is also no settling in period when you fit the cog, sometimes a newly fitted threaded cog will slip a few times before it’s possible to tighten it right up and make it solid, I very nearly ended up sprawled across the front of a BMW because of that once.
I can see this hub making waves in the fixed gear freestyle community, not only does it take cogs right down to 12t for compact gearing but it will also run just as reliably for people that want to run a left hand drive. People are Loctite-ing their cogs onto their hubs as a precautionary measure because on the left the cog is, technically, loosening with every pedal stroke. There are no rotational forces being applied to a thread in any way with the Fix-G so forwards, backwards, left, right, it’s all the same.
Another great thing about this system is the ease with which you can fine tune your chainline, it uses spacers on either side of the cog so you can shift your cog left or right in 1mm increments, my bike is quieter than ever, the only real sound is from the tyres. You can also run two cogs next to each other which means that when using a Double Fix-G hub you can run four cogs on one hub!
The bearings in these puppies are badass, they go like the clappers. I noticed a huge difference compared to the ones in the Formula / System Ex which I was using before these. The all over finish on the Fix-G hubs is very nice, it looks and feels like a premium product as well as performing like one.
You’ll need a Shimano freewheel tool to fit your cog onto the hub, I bought my one for about £3 on eBay so that’s no hassle and it’s much cheaper than buying a decent wide lockring for a traditional hub.
I’m finding it really hard to come up with a negative point to balance this review out. I suppose having to buy a special cog for it could be seen as a bad thing if you have a good supply of normal ones but there is a Fix-G/Threaded option so you could use your normal sprocket on the other side if you wanted to.
These hubs are amazing, your life will not be complete until you get one! For the spec check out the Ison Distribution website. They have an RRP of £69.99 for Fix-G/Free or Fix-G/threaded and £79.99 for the Double Fix-G featured in this review.
If you have any questions pop them in the comments and I’ll get back to you asap…