You may have heard the terms male and female used when talking about computer cables, electronics or other trade products. The terms effectively mean the same thing in whichever category, though in BMX choosing one or the other will impact the setup of your bike and other setup options.
Below I will explain the difference between male and female BMX axles and hubs. I will then show you what I think is currently the best BMX hub for each category.
Differences Between Male and Female BMX Axles
So the male and female difference is to do with the axle. This is the part that connects the wheels to the dropouts on the frame or the forks.
When you purchase a new BMX hub you have to decide whether you want a male or female hub. Although the terms refer to the axle, the whole internal hub design is centred around which type of axle you're using.
Male axles always go through the hub and dropouts before two nuts are attached on either side. You can recognise a male axle when you see the two nuts and some threaded axle protruding from either side of the dropouts.
Female axles are hidden internally in the hub. When attaching a female hub to a bike you will screw two bolts through the dropouts and into the hub. This will give the hub a much cleaner look and in a lot of ways will make the connection stronger.
Other Differentiating Factors
There are a lot of factors that should dictate your decision on which type of BMX hub to choose. I will go through them here.
Most riders will argue that all-female axles are stronger than all-male axles. This simply isn't true 100% of the time.
Most male axles are 14mm in diameter. Most female axles are 10mm in diameter. In this size, the male axle will be stronger. The extra 4mm of thickness outweighs the advantage of having two individual bolts on the female axle. When riding with pegs it's better to use male hubs. The pegs are far easier to attach and the extra diameter helps out a lot with strength.
A lot of experienced riders use a female hub on the front and a male on the rear. While a large portion of this is just down to personal preference, there are a few reasons why this will help. Female hubs are generally lighter and have a cleaner look.
If you didn't already know, there are hollow axles and solid axles. Most axles are solid as it's easier for companies to machine. Hollow axles are less likely to bend but have a higher chance of snapping. Hollow axles will also remove a small amount of weight. If you're a BMX racer this might be something to consider.
Best Female BMX Hub - Profile Mini Female Rear Cassette Hub
Unsurprisingly, I believe Profile builds the best female rear cassette hub. You may have seen this in many of our other articles but Profile is easily the best bike hub manufacturer out there.
All these hubs are handmade in the US. The Profile mini is the product many companies aim for when developing a new product. Many don't come close. This was the first BMX cassette hub made. It's been refined over the years to feature a 6061 heat-treated aluminium shell and a precision-manufactured internal axle with sealed bearings.
Unlike many female hubs, you can purchase this hub with 10mm or 14mm female bolts. In my opinion, you have to go with the 14mm. With this extra diameter, you'll be safely stronger than all-male axles and you can trust your hub with a lot more abuse.
If you've ever seen or ridden a profile mini hub you'll have noticed their famously loud clicks. 4 pawls and improved bearings inside a solid Profile driver offer super smooth engagement and a loud click.
Profile also offers 10 different styles of female hub bolts. Once you checkout you'll be able to choose.Click Here to Check Best Price
Best Male BMX Hub - BSD Revolution Freecoaster Hub
Photo by @barrassthomas
It would be easy for me to say the male version of the Profile mini is the best male hub. I do think the BSD Revolution hub is a very good product. It's a male axle with two great hub guards on either side of the hub. A great BMX hub for riding with pegs.
The idea of this product was to create a freecoaster hub that felt as close to a cassette hub as possible. Freecoasters are a great idea but they have a few detrimental aspects. They often weigh a lot more, and the gap to engagement is hard to get used to and inconvenient for new riders. Of course, you miss out on the wonderful clicking sound when using a freecoaster.
BSD has worked on each of these aspects individually to create the best product out of the features from both. A Planetary clutch system, tested over 2 years, functions differently from any other bike hub.
The pedal gap has been revolutionised with this hub. Regular freecoasters normally take nearly a quarter of a crank turn before engaging. The planetary clutch works much more like a cassette hub. The hub uses pawls, like a cassette, but the pawls default to being closed instead of sprung open like normal. When the wheel moves backwards the pawls and clutch just spin next to each other without any engagement. When you start moving forwards the pawls are engaged by a plastic ramp on the Planetary clutch, thus giving you engagement.
A regular freecoaster needs the clutch bearing to move all the way into the closed position before engaging. On the other hand, the planetary clutch just needs to move a couple of millimetres until a pawl finds the plastic ramp at the top of the Planetary clutch.
A great feature is pedal pressure. When riding a cassette hub you can use a small amount of engagement while performing things like manuals. Normally this is impossible with a freecoaster. On this awesome product, you can coast backwards while still engaging the hub for better balance.
The video below is a great watch if you want to learn more about the BSD Revolution hub.Click Here to Check Best Price
How Does the Revolution Hub Work? - BSD BMX
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