Fixed Gear Bikes
A fixed gear bike, or a ‘fixie’ as it is popularly known, is a bicycle where the motion of the pedals is directly tied to the cog. The cog is that small gear ‘thingy’ attached to the rear bike wheel. The small rounded metallic thing that has a ‘teeth’ all around it and moves with the wheel is what is referred to as a cog. For a fixed gear bike, the cog is not fitted with a bearing and this means that as long as the wheel is moving, the cog is moving with it.
The fact that the cog is fixed to the back wheel means that when you pedal forward, your bike will move forward, if you pedal backwards, the bike moves backwards. Since the cog is fixed to the wheel and is directly connected to the pedal, you can brake using the pedals by stopping them from rotating. This is what makes a fixed gear bike unique. In addition to having fewer parts, fixed gear bikes are lighter and have become quite popular in different settings. You should not confuse fixed gear bikes with single gear bikes which allow coasting.
Fixed Gear Bike Pros
You can expect to get different opinions on the advantages of a fixed gear bike depending on the cyclist. This is because different people have different cycling plans and this can affect the pros of the bike. The following are the general advantages of riding a fixie bike.
The fixed gear bike is portable
A fixed gear bike is made with fewer parts as compared to the typical 9 speed bike and this means that it is lighter. There are no brake levers and gear cable to add to the weight of the bike. When there are fewer parts, the bike has less weight and this makes it portable and one of the best options for people who are all about bike commuting. This also means that when you customize the bike, it will not be too heavy to ride.
A fixie will not have free wheel ratchets or idler pulleys, the two bike arts that make the most noise. The bikes are therefore silent when you ride them and this makes then quite different especially when you need to ride in serenity.
A fixed gear bike requires a different style to comfortably ride it. Because the pedals need to keep moving all the time, your control for the speed will greatly improve your workout and strengthen your leg muscles. If you are training for a normal bike riding race, you will be a stronger rider through the use of a fixed gear bike and you will have improved endurance. In addition to the exercise, you will learn a new cycling style which is great fun.
Riding a fixed bike will give you a great feel where you are connected to the road. When the bike moves, your legs move and you will feel all the bumps and dips on the road, and though it will feel weird at first, it is great fun when you are used to this ‘connection’.
Fixed gear bikes have been fashion items for many years, though this is slowly disappearing due to the extended popularity, the fixed gear bike still remains a fashionable item in most parts of the world.
Fixed gear bikes have fewer parts and this translates to a lower maintenance. Without the many moving gears, you only have the cog to take care of and since it is fixed to the wheel, you don’t have to do much to keep it in perfect working condition.
Since the fixed gear bike can be peddled backwards, it opens news doors to more possibilities and makes the bike more interesting. Fixie bikes are popularly used in circuses and related activities for this reason.
Fixed Gear Bike Cons
Bike gears are created to ensure that you do not have a difficult time when climbing and this is not the case of a fixie. You might not be in a position to ride the bike uphill without enough momentum.
The fact that the bike’s cog is permanently fixed to the wheel means that you will not have the free wheel. If you are going downhill, this bike will require you to keep on pedaling and it is during this time that you may start missing the free wheel.
Though the fixed gear bike will greatly help in making your legs and knee joints stronger, there is a possibility that the rate of normal wear and tear of the knee joint can be increased especially if you are not comfortable with the cycling technique involved.
Most fixed gear bikes do not have brakes and this means that you will need to stop the bike using the pedals. Since the weight might be distributed more to the front wheel, there are high chances that the bike will skid and this might be inconvenient. It can also be a difficult thing to brake immediately especially when you are at high speeds.
Fixed Gear Bike Buying Guide
Now that you know what a fixie bike is in relation to how it works, it is time to look at factors that you need to consider when buying one. Though all fixie bikes will have a cog fixed to the rear wheel and work the same, there are many other elements that will not be the same and this is the main reason why you need to check to ensure that you get the best bike.
Money is always an important factor because without it, buying is impossible. While it is easy to purchase a fixed bike for about $500, you can find some that cost a lot more. The question is always, how much you want to spend. There will be elements that will influence the cost of the bike and you need to pay attention to all these before settling on the final budget for your fixie.
From a single color to multi-color bikes, fixies are available in different looks. The use of the bike can be a major part of deciding the appearance of the fixie you are interested in. A fixe bike that is all black might not be the best option when you want your bike to reflect your preferences and personality but it will sure not attract people with unlawful intentions.
Fixed gear bikes are available in different sizes and this means that you need to be sure of the size that works best for you. Since it is possible to buy a fixed gear bike online today, you might want to be aware of the different sizes available and how the size affects your cycling experience. It is a good idea to size down for a fixie. This means if you ride a size 56 for a normal bike, a 55 will be the best size for a fixie. If you have no idea what the numbers mean, then you need to research a little bit about bike sizes.
Use Of The Bike
The purpose of the bike is an important factor when you are buying a fixed gear bike. A fixie is much more than just a commuter bike because it can be used in racing, used as a messenger bike, tricks for circus purposes, stunts or everything in this list.
A good frame will last you forever buy since there are different materials used in making bike frames, it is important that you understand their advantages and disadvantages. You can choose the aluminum, carbon fiber, or steel depending on your needs. These frames are made by different companies and your choice will influence the cost of the bike.
Though the parts of the bike are important, the frameset remains the most important factor when you are purchasing a fixed gear bike. Pay attention to the wheel set, the hubs and hops. Others that require attention include the pedals and the saddle. All of these parts need to be made of durable materials and the saddle needs to be as comfortable as possible for your riding plans.
There are many brands in the market and while some will come from reputable names, some are from less known companies. The popular brands will obviously be more expensive. If you are on a bud get, it is important to consider the little known companies but pay attention to all the factors that will ensure that the bike lasts long. If you are not on a budget, you can go for the big brand names because they come with their own advantages.
Before you go out and buy a fixed gear bike, it is important to first try someone else’s fixie if you have never tried one. This will give you a feel of the bike and tell you if you want to buy this bike. You do not want to invest in a bike that will only serve as a weird looking coat rack. If you already know how a fixie bike feels, just go through all the important factors and choose a bike that reflects your character and meets your cycling needs.