You’ve probably overheard the word fixie bike among friends, family or even coworkers. Or you might even had one when you were a kid. Remember those bikes where you can’t freewheel, change gears and so on? If you used to have one or know someone who did, that is the fixie bike we are hearing about today.
A fixie or fixed gear bicycle is a type of bike that was designed for track racing during the early days. A fixed gear bike lacks a drivetrain that comes with freewheel mechanism so you can expect endless pedaling when you are on a bike like this. Compared to a road bike, a fixed gear bike is more challenging to use due to the constant pedaling. Today however, fixie bikes are becoming more and more popular because of its subculture.
Where Fixed Gear Bikes are Commonly Seen
In the United States, in almost every city you will see a group of cyclists and fixed gear bikers aren’t hard to spot. If you see a group of teenagers on their bicycles wearing sophisticated clothing instead of the traditional cyclist’s outfit, you can safely say that they are on fixed gear bikes. Nowadays, when you say fixed gear bikes, the word “hipster” comes to mind in some people especially on the internet.
Regardless of the name-calling and negative comments you can pretty much see online, a fixed gear bike has its audience and it is here to stay. In fact, just go outside and look around. There’s always a 30% chance that the biker you see pedaling home is using a fixed gear bike. While mountainous areas are not really ideal for fixed gear bikers, you will still occasionally see these bikers trying to conquer a mountain by descending at high speeds without brakes.
Should You Own A Fixie Bike?
A fixed gear bike is very ideal for city cruising. If you are the type of person who always wished you had a bike with you to roam around New York, you can finally do it. Since these bikes weigh significantly less than of the traditional bikes that are locked and loaded, you can pretty much carry the bike around with you in places where they don’t permit biking.
If you live in the suburbs, you will definitely enjoy a fixie bike even more. As long as you live in a flat area, you will have a great time using a fixed gear bike. However, if you live in areas with high traffic and there are no reliable bike lanes, you’re better off using a different bike. Another example of places that are not practical for fixie bikes is mountainous places as you will have a hard time pedaling in these areas. Sure, visiting a mountain to descend to sounds fun. But doing it on a day to day basis? That’s torture unless you want to have super-developed lower body muscles.
The Pros and Cons of Fixed Gear Bikes
As like any bicycles, they come with advantages and disadvantages; the fixed gear bikes are one of the most hated as well as most loved when it comes to this. Because of its lightweight frame and a relatively longer bike chain lifespan as well as the ability to have more control of your speed bursts, fixed gear bikes are making a solid comeback over the past several years.
If you live in a city and you consider yourself a good biker, fixed gear bikes can really play an important role as far as transportation and convenience goes. However, not everything about the fixed gear is really great as there are some downsides to owning one as well. We have listed some notable advantages and disadvantages of owning or using a fixed gear bike.
- Easy to setup
- More Mechanically Efficient
- More Control
- Improves Cycling Endurance
- Improves Pedaling
- Brakeless (most bikes)
- Huge Risk of Losing Control in Rainy Conditions
- Physically Taxing for Down Hill Rides
- No Freewheeling
- Brakeless Systems are Illegal in Several States
Brake vs Brakeless
While there is a growing cult of fixie bikers claiming that brakes are unaesthetically pleasing as well as irrelevant for a fixed gear bike, we can’t shake the fact that brakes are added to bicycles for a reason. Not everyone has the capability of learning how to skid and it might cause injury if you skid the wrong way.
However, if you are really into mastering how to ride a fixed gear bicycle, you will probably try to learn everything you need to know before you put yourself at risk. At the end of the day, it pretty much boils down to your preferences. If you are unsure about going brakeless then don’t. Besides, you will decide on your own if you are ready to go brakeless or not. Don’t rush it.
Recommended Entry-Level Fixie Bikes on Amazon
If you are curious as to what fixie bikes has to offer, you should probably get an affordable yet reliable one and give it a go. With that being said, we have come up with 3 of the bestselling entry-level fixie bikes that will give you ample time to learn the craft.
Takara Sugiyama Flat Bar Fixie Bike
The Takara Sugiyama Flat Bar Fixie Bike is one of the most affordable and durable fixed gear bike you can get on Amazon. For the starting price of $184.99, you will get a custom-made handcrafted steel frame for the flat-bar fixie bike. Another interesting feature to include is the flip-flop hub which gives you the option to freewheel or go fixed gear. For the price alone, it is a great purchase considering that it can take you from one place to another a lot faster. The Takara Sugiyama Flat Bar Fixie Bike comes in different sizes to accommodate your frame.
Critical Cycles Fixed Gear Single Speed Fixie Urban Bike
The Critical Cycles Fixed Gear Single Speed Fixie Urban Road Bike is another viable option for people who would like to enjoy the best of both worlds with style. This premium hand-built steel fixed gear single-speed bike comes with high-grade materials to ensure longevity. For the starting price of $209.99, you will also get a fixie bike that has a flip fop hub for freewheeling while still having the features of a road bike. Available in different sizes, the Critical Cycles Fixed Gear Single Speed Fixie Urban Road Bike is another great buy.
Retrospec Fixie Saint Urban Fixed Gear Single Speed Urban Road Bike
If you are looking for a true fixie bike that is stripped of most of the convenience of a traditional bike, the Retrospec Fixie Saint Urban Fixed Gear Single Seed Urban Road Bike is the one you are looking for. For the starting price of $218.04, you will get a classic, streamlined fixie bike that is simple yet versatile. For this price point, this is the only fixie bike on our list that has the basic components – expect for the brakes – which you will see in a traditional fixed gear bike. If you are looking for the best bang-for-the-buck as far as these bikes go, the Retrospec Fixie Saint Urban Fixed Gear bike is the way to go.