SRAM Torpedo variable hub review
Ever fancied being able to switch a rear hub from ﬁxed to free at a turn – or seven – of a screw embedded in the axle? Well, the Torpedo is built to let you do just that.
It may not be essential on the ﬂat, but if the geography of your riding is more up and down, it’s certainly safer to face steep descents with a freewheel rather than a ﬁxed one.
The hub is well put together and performs its job admirably, but we do have some reservations. Firstly, the bearings aren’t fully sealed, they’re just shielded, which could lead to some longevity problems in the wet. Throughout our test it hasn’t been an issue, but then we’ve been more meticulous than usual in our maintenance since being armed with that knowledge.
Secondly, the hub weighs in at 480g, which is getting on for 180g more than the Halo track hub that usually lives in our test bike’s rear wheel. Thankfully, weight at the hub is not as crucial as it is at the rim, but the Torpedo won’t help you shed the pounds.
Finally, the OLD (Over Locknut Diameter) of the Torpedo is 130mm. That’s the standard for a road bike, so it’s ﬁne if your ﬁxie is a road convert, but not so useful if it’s a track bike. Again, this is a small quibble, especially since SRAM have announced that a 120mm version is imminent.
The Torpedo is a clever solution to an irritation rather than an actual problem. If you can live with the extra premium over a standard ﬂip-ﬂop, the Torpedo will save you some oily ﬁngers and a few minutes of changeover time. However, if budget is an issue, this is hard to justify.