Choosing the Best Fixed-Gear Bikes for The Money
Fixed -gear bikes, also known as fixies, are some of the most fun, lightweight, and responsive bikes you can get. They also happen to be the simplest type of bicycle out there.
After all the many improvements and advances in bicycle technology, these bikes are again becoming increasingly popular all over the world for their simplicity, clean lines, and low maintenance cost. They are especially prevalent in urban areas.
Fixed-gear bikes were first made popular by bike messengers, who used them for their speed and simplicity in reaching their destinations. Their clean lines, low maintenance, and reasonable prices made them the perfect bikes for messengers rushing from one part of the city to the other.
In this article, we will be looking at ready-made fixed-gear bicycles, as opposed to converted fixie bikes. You can easily get a good entry-level fixed-gear bike for under $500 and one of reasonable quality for under $300.
There are always some good sales on fixed-gear bikes on Amazon. Savings can be anything from 10% to 50% at any given time.
What is a Fixed-Gear Bike?
- The fixed-gear bike is a type of single-speed bicycle, whose back wheel is "fixed," preventing the rider from coasting.
- The bikes are extremely lightweight and minimalist, without the extra rear brakes, derailleurs, shift levers, and extra sprockets you find in a freewheel bike. All you have is the frame, handlebars, a cog, and a chain ring.
- The Bike has fixed gears that only allow the wheels to move as long as the rider is pedaling. Since the pedal arm is locked into the back wheel, speed is controlled by the rider's leg power/action - slowing down by peddling slower or speeding up by pedaling faster.
To stop the bike all the rider needs to do is put resistance on the pedals.
- You will find that many fixie bikes come with a flip-flop hub making it easy to flip from a fixed-gear bike to a regular single speed freewheeled bike.
- Common used for Fixed-gear bikes are riding roads, tracks, or doing tricks.
For a beginner, you can start with a bike between $100 to $200, a relatively small overlay.
Fixed-Gear Bikes: A Quick Description
A Great Entry-Level Fixed-Gear Bike
Takara Kabuto Single Speed Road Bike
The Takara Kabuto Single Speed Road Bike is one of the best fixed-gear/single-speed bikes out there. It comes with some really good quality components for the price, including a flip-flop rear hub and a horizontal drop-out that lets you easily switch between single-speed and fixed-gear.
On the pro side: reviewers are very happy with the steel frame and wheels. They are sturdy, solid, and good for most riding.
On the con side: some reviewers found the brake system lacking, and the pedals are plastic, which is not ideal.
Overall most reviewers find this to be a a good buy for the price. I especially like its cool look—with the black steel frame and bright yellow tires.
It comes in two sizes: 54 cm and 57 cm.
What to look for in a Fixed-Gear Bike
Fixed wheel: the first thing to make sure is that the bike is indeed a fixed-wheel bike, as it is easy to mistake a regular single-speed bike for a fixed-gear bike.
A fixie has the cog threaded or bolted directly to the hub of the back wheel so that the rider cannot stop pedaling without stopping the bike.
Because of the way the cog and hub are joined, you can pedal a fixie either in a forward or backward direction. When you need to stop the bike, all you need to do is reverse the direction of his pedaling.
Brakes: though many fixie enthusiasts prefer their bikes without brakes, and it is easy to stop by changing the direction of your peddling.
If you are using yours on the road, you should have brakes for those "oh no!" situations. Also for safety reasons, brakes are required by law in many jurisdictions.
Flip-Flop Hub: a flip-flop hub allows you to flip from between fixed and freewheeling option quickly. There is a fixed-gear cog on one side of the wheel and a freewheel option on the other side.
You switch between the riding options by removing the rear wheel, flipping it around, and fixing it into place.
Horizontal Rear Wheel Dropouts: you need to have an easy way to adjust the tension of the chain since it lacks the derailleur and pulley mechanisms that handle that task on geared bikes.
Best Urban Fixed-Gear Bike under $500
Critical Cycles Fixed-Gear / Single Speed Fixie Urban Road Bike
The Critical Cycles Fixed-Gear / Single Speed Fixie Urban Road Bike is by far the most popular fixed-gear bike in this price range. It is a truly reliable bike for use in the city, it comes with a solid, lightweight frame as well as some pretty good quality components that you are unlikely to find at this price range.
Set up to be nimble and easy to ride, with BMX-style riser bars, it is suitable for both riding around and doing tricks. The color options are just great, as you can see from the picture above.
It is an easy bike to assembly, with just about everything you need, including tools, to set it up.
The Critical Cycles Fixed Gear Single Speed Fixie Urban Road Bike comes in three sizes: small, medium, and large. If you want more details on the sizing, check out CriticalCycles website and scroll to the bottom of the page.
Three Solid Fixies for Bikers on a Budget
1) Vilano Chromoly Fixed-Gear Single Speed Road Bike
The Vilano Chromoly Fixed-Gear Single Speed Road Bike is a very reasonably priced Chromoly bike. Though not a well-known brand, you're sure to get your money's worth with this bike.
On the pro side: the Chromoly frame gives the bike superior strength, rigidity, and dependability compared to a regular steel frame. It comes with solid brakes, something not always true when considering bikes at this price range, and a steady wheelset, with not much wobble.
On the con side: the pedals are plastic, so you will want to upgrade them quickly.
It comes in three sizes: small, medium, and large.
2) Track Fixed-Gear Bike Fixie Single Speed Road Bike
The Track Fixed-Gear Bike Fixie / Single Speed Road Bike is another solidly performing bike at a good price.
The pros: the flip-flop hub makes it easy to shift between fixed- and freewheel modes, and the frame is sturdy and solidly built.
The Cons: while the brakes are OK, they might need some tweaking. Or you may just want to buy a better set of brakes.
Overall this bike is well worth the price.
It comes with great drop handlebars, and you can select from four color combinations and four sizes.
3) Pure Fix Cycles Fixed-Gear Single Speed Urban Fixie Road Bike
The Pure Fix Cycles Fixed-Gear / Single Speed Urban Fixie Road Bike is one of the best fixed-gear bikes you can find.
The Pros: It comes with quality, brand name components (some of the best for this price). The frame is high-tensile steel that gives it both strength and rigidity, and the bike has an ideal geometry for urban riding.
The Cons: The quality of the brakes and wheelset can vary from one assembly to another. Sometimes the quality is good but sometimes the quality is lacking. If you do receive a bike with under par parts, it is good to know their support is excellent, and they will deal with any problems quickly.
I like the fact that there are so many color combinations to choose from, and each one comes in most of the most common bike sizes for adults - from small to extra large.
Four Fixies for Those With More to Spend
1) Pure Fix Cycles Glow in the Dark Fixed Gear Single Speed Urban Fixie Bike
This fixie glows in the dark. It comes with a solar activated paint finish that can glow for over an hour in the dark after an hour of daytime sun exposure.
This bike stands out at night and makes a great commuting, urban bike.
2) Vilano Edge Fixed Gear Single Speed Bike: A Very Good Fixed-Gear Bike For The Money
The Vilano Edge is a freestyle BMX-inspired 700c fixed-gear bike. For the price, you get a pretty rugged bike that works well for urban commuting.
It is an easy bike to extend for use in fixie sports such as fixed-gear bike polo without spending too much for the upgrades.
Note: Some people have complained about the tires, so you should be prepared to get better quality tires when you buy this bike.
3) Giordano Rapido
A solid flip-flop single speed bike
The Giordano Rapido is a reliable, yet lightweight bike. While it comes with an aluminum frame, the seat post, bars, pedal arms, and fork are made of steel with a very light frame.
The main pros of this bike are the light-weight frame, a relatively light wheelset, and the flip-flop hub.
Most of the components are pretty good for the price, but you might want to replace the brakes, and replace the steel seat post with a quality aluminum number such as the Avenir 200 Series 27.2 mm.
4) Retrospec Beta Series
For the price, the bike is excellent. It rides smoothly and is fast. The materials used are top notch, and its appearance is just magnificent.
Customers seem to either Love or hate the Retrospec Beta Series Bike. Based on reviews, if anything arrives in less than perfect condition, you should make sure to have those problems addressed by customer service before messing with the parts.
Best Fixed-Gear Bikes: The Rundown
|Bike||Size (cm)||Special Features|
Takara Kabuto Single Speed Bike
M (54) and L (57)
Alloy rims, hubs, and side pull brakes
Critical Cycles Fixed Gear Bike
XS (43)—XL (60)
High-quality, namebrand components, flip-flop hub
Vilano Edge Fixed Gear Bike
M (54) and L (58)
Free platform pedals; flip-flop rear hub
Vilano Fixed Gear Bike
M (54) and L (58)
Flip-flop rear hub, free pedals, unbranded
Pure Fix Cycles Fixed Gear Bike
XS (47 cm)—XL (61)
Flip-flop rear hub, tig-welded steel frame
Pure Fix Cycles Glow in the Dark Bike
XS (47)—L (58)
High-end components, glows in dark
Freestyle Chromoly Fixed Gear Bike
Free pedals, flip-flop hub
M (56) and L (61)
Lightweight, aluminum frame; flip-flop hub
Retrospec Beta Series
XXS (41)—M (53)
Steel frame, flip-flop hub
Sports Using Fixed-Gear Bikes
Besides fixie bikes helping you get around the city quickly and efficiently, they can give you a good workout and are very low maintenance.
Some of the other common uses are:
- Track Racing
- Cycle ball: football (soccer) played on bicycles.
- Bike polo: polo played using bikes instead of horses.
- Artistic cycling: tricks, a mix or gymnastics and acrobatics, performed on specialized fixed gear bikes.