Everything you need to know about Single Speed/Fixed Gear Bikes

We may be slightly biassed in saying that you should always look at getting single speed/fixed gear road bikes for a majority of reasons. In this blog we’d like to define what they are, what makes them different, and when you should be looking at purchasing one. 

What is a single speed road bike? 

A single speed bike has only one gear ratio – a single chain ring and only one rear sprocket. It’s important to note that not all single speed bikes are fixies; a true fixed gear doesn’t have a freewheel, so your legs are permanently engaged with the rear wheel – when you’re moving, you’re pedalling. A single speed bike gives you a single gear ratio with a freewheel. This means you can stop pedalling and coast as you ride, as you would with a regular geared bike.

What are the main advantages of riding a single speed bike?

With no gears to get bent or damaged your bike always runs smoothly, with little to no maintenance. A single speed bike is reliable, whether you need to use it daily or just occasionally, it is a great bike to own, with less mechanical things to worry about you can just get on with having fun riding it! Single speeds are naturally lightweight, for commuting that is great if you need to carry it anywhere, or lift it on and off trains. They also are perfect for people starting their cycling journey as for the most part you can just get up and ride. 

How would I ride differently on a single speed compared to a bike with several gears?

If you choose to ride your single speed as a fixed gear it can take a bit of getting used to, the first and golden rule is - do not stop pedalling! This can feel very unnatural at first, things like hopping up a kerb feel very different when you can’t free wheel a couple of pedal strokes leading up to it. Stopping and starting is also different but with a fixed wheel bike it is much easier to track stand, reducing the number of times on a ride that you have to put a foot down.

What is the difference between single speed and fixed gear?

Single speed bikes are fitted with a freewheel, whereas fixed gear bikes are not. On a fixie the rear cog is joined with the rear hub, so when the wheel turns, the cog will turn too.This means that when you stop pedalling on a single speed bike, the back wheel will continue to turn but the cranks (pedal arms) will not. On a fixie if you stop pedalling the cranks will continue to spin. This means that you are essentially always pedalling on a fixed gear bike with no way to coast. On a fixie you can actually brake by preventing the pedals from moving. This locks the rear wheel in the same way the brakes on a normal bike do

What’s a fixed-gear bike good for?

Usually, a fixie is commonly used for city riding as you’re always pedalling if you’re riding a fixed-wheel bike, so the theory is that you have to work all the time — no freewheeling means no slacking. Riding a fixie means you make the most of your limited riding time. Similarly to single speed they are usually made to be lightweight, meaning you can take this up stairs, through offices and public transport. 

In conclusion single speed/fixed gear bikes are the perfect city riders and beginners bike. If you are looking for the perfect bike for this have look on our website where you can find our range, including our ready to ride sets which not only include a handy bike cover and bottle, but include extras that you would normally have to fork out extra costs for such as front and rear lights/bottle holders and bells.