Best Fixed Gear Bikes of 2021
When it comes to enjoying cycling in its pure form, nothing can beat fixed gear bikes. Also known as fixies, fixed-gear bikes are single-speed cycles with no gears, no brakes, and no freewheeling to keep the rider and the bicycle in complete sync with each other. The simple 19th Century design to enjoy cycling without any complications- Just pedal forward to move forwards and vice versa. Over time, the fixies have gained a lot of attention from the youth due to their simple and vintage design. Though there are many advantages of fixed gear bikes, riding one requires additional training.
Thanks to their efficiency, fixies are a great quad-burning training alternative. Even if you are not a pro cyclist, you can enjoy it as a normal road bike. But just like any other bike in the market, there are various types and styles of fixed gear bikes are available in the market for different needs. Therefore it is important to understand what are the best-fixed gear bikes available to buy as per your requirements. If you are a newbie to fixed gear bikes, this article is for you. With our detailed gear bike buying guide, you will be able to pick the best one for you. Let’s begin.
Fixed Gear Bike vs. Single Speed Bike
Both Fixed Gear Bike and Single speed bike use one speed and thus it is easy to get confused between the two. Both have a single front chainring and rear cog along with a single gear. But there are some significant differences between the two which will help you to distinguish between them. Here is how Fixed Gear Bike is different from Single Speed Bike:
- There is a fixed fitted freewheel in single-speed bikes while in fixed gear there is not. There is a rear cog fixed with a rear hub, so when the wheel turns, the cog also turns.
- When you stop pedaling on a single-speed bike, the back will continue to turn but not pedal arms. But in a fixed bike, if you stop pedaling, the paddle arm continues to spin.
- In a fixed bike you can apply the brake to prevent the pedals from moving, locking the rear wheel in the same way the normal bike brakes do.
- In single-speed bikes there are brakes, but in fixie that is not essential. Some have brakes while some have not.
Fixed Gear Bike vs. Track Bike
When you plan to buy a fixie, it is important to understand the difference between a Track bike and a fixed bike. There are some significant differences between them, like:
- A track bike is best for racing purposes, while a fixed gear bike is good for enjoyment and regular cycling.
- Track bikes come with no brakes while in Fixies brakes are optional. This is because track bikes are for racing so the person can stop it without brakes at the same rate and same point.
- There is a lot of difference in the engineering of both bikes. Track bikes have better aerodynamics and more efficient during hard sprinting, which lacks in fixed bikes.
- The fork blades of fixed gear are oval while in track bikes they are circular, making them more rigid against the roads.
- Fixie’s design can handle more bumps and hurdles on the roads while the upright angle of track bikes is designed to maintain the stiffness.
- Track bikes have tight tire clearance while in fixies there are several types of tires. There are no fenders in the track bikes while the fenders in fixie prevent it from backsplash.
Fixie is safer to ride on roads due to more safety features but track bikes are for professionals and racing tracks so you won’t find many safety features in it for the irregular roads.
Why there are no brakes in Fixed Gear Bikes?
Fixed bikes are generally brakeless due to multiple aesthetics reasons. Fixies are primarily used for regular cycling purposes and to ensure safety, there are no brakes in them so you don’t end up crashing into someone who could break suddenly. Fixed bikes have a simplistic design and removing a brake assembly creates a neat and clean look. Although the fixies have no brakes, still you can apply them using a technique:
If you are riding a fixie and want to apply a brake, you can apply resistance against pedals as they are trying to cycle forward. There are four ways to stop fixie and these are:
- Skid Stop: In this technique, you need to lift a little from the saddle bending forward while locking pedals to their position. As the pedals will lock, rear wheels will skid and stop and finally, the front ones will too.
- Slip Slop Technique: For this technique, you must have a little experience with fixies. To apply this technique, raise a little from your seat bending forward, and then lift the rear wheel in the air. Once the rear wheel rises above in the air for a bit, apply a quick backpedal and your bike will stop.
- Back Paddle Technique: In this technique, you have to apply a little back pressure to restrict the wheel motion. To apply pressure, you have to use your legs against the forward momentum of the paddle and bike.
- Rear Hand Brake Technique: This is one of the simplest techniques to stop a fixie. You just need to pull on your hand brake until the bike slows and then put your foot down on the ground to completely stop the bike.
Anatomy of Fixed Gear Bicycles
Fixies are known for their simple yet fairly standard build which you must understand before buying one. Here is the detailed anatomy of fixed gear bicycle for your understanding:
Fixed gear bicycles have a road bike frame. The material of the bike frame varies from steel & aluminum to carbon fiber, depending upon the quality and brand. The road bike frame has a standard road bike design with top and bottom tube in a diamond shape along with rear chainstays and front fork. But this is not the only type of frame available in the fixies, some have a similar frame like mountain build bikes depending upon the user’s preference. But this is not common and available in many rare fixies.
Just like the frame, the fork of a fixed-gear bicycle is also similar to the road bike. The fork of the fixie works by sweeping slightly forward to help to place the front wheel in a more ideal position. Also, it supports a quick-release latch to help the rider to take the tire and wheel off in a hurry. If you are a professional cyclist, you can upgrade the fork design and color according to your preference. Just like Frame material, fixie’s fork also comes in generally steel or aluminum material.
The purpose of handlebars in a fixie is to control and steer the bike. Handlebars differ in various bike models according to the rider’s preferences. Some prefer to use a straight handlebar with custom taping on each side along with aftermarket grips. While others prefer to use a drop-down-style handlebar that helps to retain a more road bike-like feel and look.
If you want a more standout look, you can opt for shortened handlebar and apply BMX style rubber grips on each side for better performance. There are various ranges of handlebars available in fixed gear bicycles which you can narrow down according to your preference and style.
The stem in the fixie acts as a metal component that connects the handlebar to the headset. The angle and length of a stem determine the efficiency of bike steering and the angle at which you sit while riding. Most fixies have similar stem length and angle as that of non-competitive road bikes to provide smooth performance on roads.
5. Rear Hub:
The rear hub is one of the most crucial parts of any fixie. It incorporates two opposing sets of threads on the right side, one for the lock ring and the other for the fixed cog. The lockring threads on in the opposite direction, flush against the cog so that backpedaling forces don’t cause the cog to come off.
Also, there are double-sided hubs in some fixies, known as Flip Flop Rear Hub. The flip flop hub has threads on both sides (either two fixed gear cogs on both sides or fixed-gear cog on one side & freewheel on the other side). If you want versatility, you can ride the fixie with two fixed gear cogs and change them according to the road conditions. But if you want to take benefit of both a single-speed bike and a fixie in one, you can choose the flip flop rear hub with one freewheel and one fixed gear cog to switch whenever you want.
A headset is used to connect the fork and step to the handlebar and determines the overall height of the handlebars in conjunction with the stem. The headset allows the assembly-free rotation of the handlebar. The headset extends out from the bike frame’s bottom (where the fork is connected) to the stem where it connects.
Saddle refers to the bike seat in the fixies and it can vary according to the look the rider wants. The material and comfort of the saddle matter a lot as the rider spends most of their time sitting on the saddle during the ride when not standing. In most of the fixies, the saddle material and look is similar to road bikes, made from the light cushion to provide minimal seat coverage. Those who want more comfort can upgrade or enhance the coverage area as per their requirements.
The Seatpost connects the saddle to the bike’s frame along with providing support to the saddle. The Seatpost allows adjustment in both angle and height of the saddle for a comfortable ride. The most common material of the Seatpost is steel and aluminum alloy. The most popular Seatpost in fixies is road bike-oriented seatposts.
9. Rear Cog:
Also known as Crankset, the rear cog refers to the assembly attached to the pedals. In fixies, there is a large cog that holds the chain while the rear cog holds the rear wheel hub together. The size of the rear cog determines the gearing ratio of the fixed bike, affecting its feel and riding experience in terms of both maintaining and accelerating speed.
Last but not least, Pedals plays an important role in a fixie that drives the crankset. The most common pedal style in fixie is the Flat-platform style due to its simplistic design. Apart from it, there are clipless pedals and holster versions that give the bike more control when it comes to applying brakes.
Advantages of Fixed Gear Bicycles
There are indeed some noticeable benefits of fixed-gear bicycles which make them more popular among the generation than the freewheel bikes. These are:
- Lightweight: Since the fixed bike lacks brake assemblies, cassette, derailleur, and levers, it sheds a good portion of weight and thus extremely lightweight to ride with comfort.
- Low Cost: As there are fewer components available in the fixed bikes than a road bike, it costs less. The absence of a multi-gear drivetrain saves huge money in fixed-gear bicycles, providing you a great alternative in your budget.
- Low Maintenance: More components demand more maintenance, especially Multi-gear drivetrains, disc brakes, and caliper brakes, which all lack in the fixie, making it easy to maintain at low cost.
- Pedal Efficiency: In a fixed gear bike, you need both physical and momentum pedaling to maintain the speed. You have to constantly engage with the rear hub to create a more efficient pedaling motion for smooth bike movement. Also, the drivetrain keeps your leg engaged all the time that enhances the pedal efficiency.
- Different Riding Experience: This is the best thing about a fixie. Since the pedals never stop turning, you can engage with your bike all the time without any distractions and enjoy a different riding experience without much pressure. The lack of brakes alters your riding style so you can stop and slow whenever you want and give you a natural feel during the ride.
- Energy Efficient: Due to its fixed-wheel structure, the energy a cyclist puts into the pedals directly goes to rotate the wheel, making it a more energy-efficient option.
- Easily Customizable: You can customize the fixed gear bike from saddle material to the handlebars as per your convenience and need as these bikes are easy to customize because of their simple design.
- Improves Resistance & Strength: Since you have to pedal up slopes at an even rhythm, it improves both your core strength and resistance. Not only your lower limbs but also the upper ones get strong after a continuous cycling session.
Disadvantages of Fixed Gear Bicycles
Along with advantages, there are some disadvantages as well of fixed bikes which you must consider before going for the one. Here are some noticeable disadvantages:
- Lacks of Gear Options: While there are certain advantages of a fixed drivetrain, you can experience a lack of speed in certain situations due to a lack of gear options.
- Requires a little practice: Fixed gear bikes are not like normal bikes and you cannot master just within few hours after hop on. It requires a different approach and feels to ride such bikes and with a little practice, you can enjoy the seamless ride on a fixie.
- Lack of Brakes: Since the fixies have no brakes, you need to learn how to stop and slow down the bike in certain situations by applying pressure on the pedals. Also, riding a brakeless bike can be illegal in some areas, so you must take care of it before buying a fixie.
Best Fixed Gear Bikes in 2021
Ultimate Buying Guide: Things to Consider while buying Gear Bike
Choosing the right fixed gear bike according to your need and budget could be challenging, but with the right buying guide, you can select the appropriate one. Here are some crucial things you must consider while buying a fixed bike for you:
1. Skill Level:
As we have mentioned above, Fixed gear bikes are a little different from normal road bikes and thus you need the practice to ride them smoothly. If you don’t have any experience in riding a fixie, you might find it difficult to ride. So it is always important to consider your skill level before going for fixed bikes. If you think you will be able to ride a brakeless bike with a little practice, only then go for it, otherwise, it is not your cup of tea.
One of the crucial things before buying a fixie is to determine the purpose for which you want a bike. Do you want it for a racing purpose? Or to show some stunts? If you need a bike for any such purpose, then a fixed gear bike is not the right option for it and you must go for a track race bike. If you want to normally enjoy the racing and the natural feel of a bicycle without putting much stress or effort, then the fixie is the ideal option for you.
If you are a beginner and want to enjoy both single-speed bike and fixie experience in one, then consider Vilano Rampage Fixed Gear Single Speed Road bike a perfect choice, to begin with. Its classy look, low maintenance, and urban geometry make it a perfect choice for daily commuting.
Although you can customize or upgrade the fixed bike as per your needs, if you are looking for a simple fixie as a starter, you can begin with Retrospec Harper Singlespeed. It is a great choice for a short commute under the budget.
It is important to know how much you are willing to spend on a fixed gear bike as there are various ranges of fixies available online depending upon your budget and requirements. One of the best value fixies that come under the range of $350 with excellent features is 6KU Fixed Aluminum Bike. The material of this bike not only saves money but also the overall weight of the bicycle, making it smooth to ride. It weighs 18-22 pounds depending upon the size and brings a retro vibe during the ride.
If you want to go for a more expensive and upgraded one, then Schwinn Kedzie Fixie is also a great alternative, costs around $900. Its look and feel make it look more expensive than its actual price.
Sizing is an important aspect to consider while buying a fixie or any other bike because if your bike is too big, you will feel extremely stretched out. On the other hand, if your bike size is too small, you will feel cramped and may not be able to raise the saddle high. To choose the right size of the fixie, take care of the following things:
- Measure your inner seam: To determine the correct size of the bike, you must have to measure your inner seam which is taken from your crotch area where the saddle would be all the way down to the floor. Measure the size in centimeters and multiply it by 0.67 to get an accurate measurement.
- Measure your height: Your height also plays a crucial role in determining the right size of the fixie for you. Always measure your height by standing straight against the wall without the shoes and mark with the pencil at the top of your head.
- Use this bike size chart: Once you have the accurate measurement of your height and inner seam, refer to this bike size chart to choose the right bike size for you.
5. Frame Material:
Frame material determines the build quality and performance of a fixed bike. The top three frame materials that you can go for are:
- High-Quality Steel Frame: A premium-quality steel frame provides a classic feel that is both relentless and forgiving in nature. But it adds a little more weight to your bike, so consider that before buying.
- Aluminum: It is a more modern frame material that is both rigid and lightweight, which makes it efficient to transfer the power but slightly rough for the rider.
- Carbon Fiber: Though carbon fiber comes at a steep cost, it is the most space-aged frame material which is both lightweight and efficient in absorbing vibrations. So if you don’t have a budget issue, you can go for the one which has a high-quality carbon fiber frame.
Talking about the frame material, if you want a great fixie with an excellent sturdy design at an affordable price, then Golden Cycles Fixie is one of the ideal options you can consider with reliable performance & brand trust.
Geometry is a different attribute than sizing but equally important to pick the right-size fixie for yourself. Knowing a fixie’s geometry will help you understand its feel, comfort, and performance. Geometry charts of various manufacturers vary a little but most of them include size, head and seat tube lengths, top tube length, wheelbase, and chainstay length to help you pick the right size for yourself.
One of the best budget Fixie with excellent geometry and wide tires that we love most is the Fyxation Pixel Fixed Bike. With a pleasingly retro vibe, the bike offers high-climbing power and speed without compromising the rider’s comfort.
Along with the frameset, the components of the fixed bike are equally important. Although you can upgrade or add more component in the fixie as per your convenience and requirements, some of the essential components that you must look for in a fixie are:
One of the best single-speed bikes in terms of its components and durability that we would like to suggest to you is Takara Yuugen Flat Bar Fixie Road Bike. Its durable double-wall alloy rims and bolt-on hubs provide a smooth rolling experience on roads along with additional security against theft.
Maintenance of Fixed Gear Bike
One of the best thing about the fixie bike is its low cost and easy maintenance. Fixies largely avoid many of the maintenance issues and replacement parts. You can do maintenance of fixie bike by following these simple steps:
- Proper Tire Inflation: To maintain the proper balance on a fixie, you must inflate the tire properly as per the appropriate PSI. Always check your tires to make sure they should not be underinflated before hitting the road. Also, tires must not be overinflated as well, otherwise, it may result in impact punctures and rough ride. Always check for the sharp objects or tread for punctures.
- Regularly clean the chain: For effortless pedaling, keep the chain of your fixie appropriately oiled and clean. If there is a dirt accumulating, use only a clean rag to wipe off the excess dirt and regularly oil the chain to avoid it getting dry.
- Maintain Cables in Good Condition: To use brakes, make sure the cables are in a good condition otherwise you will feel mushy while trying to brake. Also, keep replacing the pads time to time if you notice a rough break or hear a squeak.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) What are fixed gear bikes good for?
Fixie bikes are kind of best single-speed bikes to use for urban rides, messenger purposes and as a winter cycle, due to its simple structure and less components assembly. With a fixie bike, you keep pedaling during the whole ride, which generates good amount of heat in your body (the thing you need the most in winters). Also, since there is no shifters, the fixie offers less distraction and you can easily use it as a messenger bike or for long urban rides.
2) How to choose a fixie bike?
To choose the right fixie bike for yourself, look for the following aspects:
- Frame Size & Shape: It is important to choose the right frame size according to your height and inner seam to pedal comfortably during the ride. Talking about the frame shape, a compact frame is easier to handle the bike with a shorter wheelbase. Also, there should be less gap between the saddle and the steering tubes for the comfortable ride. For easy and comfortable pedaling, choose the higher pedal case.
- Frame Material: Always go for the material which is solid yet affordable & lightweight. Although steel frame is solid but not good in humid conditions and can be rusty quickly. Aluminum is more lighter and reactive than steel in humid conditions but is slightly expensive, so is the carbon fiber. So choose accordingly.
- Wheel Type: You can either go for conventional spokes or choose the one with less spokes to lighten the weight according to your body size and preference.
3) Is a Fixie Bike faster than a road bike?
Both Fixie bike and a road bike has many relevant features in common like smooth & skinny wheels with less road resistance, more aerodynamic structure and lightweight frame. The maximum and average speed of a fixie bike depends upon its design and gear ratio (furnished by the measurement of chainring and the sprocket). Both a road bike and a fixie bike has similar gear ratios with same sized tires and cranks, which means a fixie bike can travel as fast as a road bike.
Fixie Bikes have become an ongoing trend amongst the normal cyclists due to its simple design, low maintenance, and retro vibe. If you want a different riding experience, you must try fixie after checking all of its good and bad aspects which we have mentioned in this article. We hope that our fixie buying guide will help you to buy the appropriate one for yourself. Before buying one, don’t forget to check its ratings and review. For any more bike-related queries, get in touch with us in the comments section. Happy Riding!