Summer is here and it is a perfect time to go on that bike ride! Driving a car when there is no big reason to is rather selfish. On the other hand, getting a bus or a train ride can prevent you from social distancing. Getting a bike ride is the best thing you can do, both for the environment and your health. This is why it’s important to know what are the best single speed and fixed gear bikes currently on the market.
As the streets are getting crowded, people are using cycling as transport more often than ever. This way of traveling is cost-effective and in today’s world, it can even help you stay safe. If you are living in a big, flat city, you have probably considered biking as an ideal solution. And that’s without mentioning all the health benefits cycling has!
Choosing a bike, however, isn’t an as simple task as one might think. Especially if you don’t know which bike is best for you. This is why we made a list of best single speed and fixed gear bikes that you can find. Also, we included a guide to help you decide whether you need a single speed or a fixed gear bike.
Differences between Single Speed and Fixed Gear Bikes
On the surface, single speed and fixed gears bikes are not so different. They both essentially have one gear, or rather a single front chainring as well as a rear cog. However, this is where the similarities end.
Single speed bikes have a fitted freewheel, while this is not the case with fixed gear ones. Fixed gear bikes have a rear cog joined to the rear hub. While you are pedaling, the wheels are turning and the cog is turning as well. Also, when you stop pedaling on a single speed bike, the pedal arms will stop turning as well. Opposite of that, on a fixed gear bike the pedals will continue to turn. You can stop the fixed gear bike by hitting brakes, while the single seed one will stop by itself.
When it comes to the brakes, they are also different. Single speed bikes have brakes that you can find on most other bikes. Fixed gear ones can have various kinds of brakes. Some have a single brake on the front, others don’t have fitted brakes at all. Keep in mind that it is illegal in some countries to ride a fixed gear bike without a front brake!
Another way to differentiate between the two is that fixed gears usually won’t have any accessories on them. They will only have the necessities, such as the frame, wheels, fork, saddle, handlebar, and pedals.
And a fun fact – fixed gears can be ridden backward! This is possible because the rear cog is fixed to the rear hub. When you start pedaling backward – the rear wheel will spin backward as well. Single speed bikes can’t do this.
Which One Should I Choose?
Choosing between these two bikes depends on your preferences and expectations. For example, single speeds are better for casual riding as they are easier to maintain. On the other side, fixed gear bikes are usually used on the track. When you see a person speeding on the velodrome, they are most likely using a fixed gear without brakes. Today, more and more people use fixed gear bikes on the road as well. However, in the countryside, you will almost always see a single speed bike.
Things to Consider Before Buying
Both of these bike types don’t have many parts in order to maintain their lightweight. The essentials are what you need to look for when deciding on the best single speed and fixed gear bikes. Here is what you need to know.
The frame is the base of every bike. Fixed gear bikes commonly have step-over steel frames that have steel forks. This is also known as a ‘track frame’. The idea behind this is to make the bike as rugged and simple as possible. Still, you can find frames made from other materials, such as aluminum or carbon.
Single speed bikes can come with step-over frames, too, but these are mostly targeted towards women. Materials that are usually used are steel and aluminum.
This is perhaps the most important part of every bike. Most models come with either a fixed cog or freewheel, but there is also a flip-flop hub. A flip-flop hub is a mix between the two and it has a single cog on each side – a freewheel and a fixed cog. You can’t use both at the same, though.
Best fixed gear bikes usually have threaded axles instead of quick-release levers. This is because these bikes usually come with horizontal dropouts that help adjust the chain.
Wheels and Tires
Wheels are the most fragile and vulnerable part of both single speed and fixed gear bikes. It’s mostly common to see 700c wheels, but some single speed bikes come with 26ins wheels.
Wheels are vulnerable because of skidding. Fixed gear bikes are especially prone to this. This is why they tend to have deep-section wheels that are 40mm deep. These wheels also look cool, which is just another advantage.
Both bike models usually use tires that are styled for road cycling. These tires are between 23 and 28mm wide. The thinner the tire, the faster the bike, however thick tires add more comfort. Also, it’s important to find high-quality tires because of traction. You don’t want your tires to become flat too soon!
4 Best Single Speed Bikes
If you are a fan of single speed bikes that look classy, Fuji Feather bike is the right for you. This model has a steel frame and side pull brakes, which make for a great and safe road trip. This model was manufactured in 2017, and its design was inspired by old racing models.
It comes with Vittoria Zaffiro 700 x 25C tires as a standard, which is a brand that guarantees quality. The brakes are made of alloy, so you won’t have any problem stopping even at a higher speed.
This bike model is stylish and it can help you ride the streets in that old-school fashion. It’s available in various colors, so you can find one that goes with your personal style. The dropped handlebars and overall design make this a great bike for city rides. Keep in mind that this might not be the best choice on a rainy day.
State Bicycle Core-Line
The State Bicycle Core-Line has the steel frame and flip-flop hub, which make it great for freewheeling. It has a 44/16t gearing, so keep this in mind. If you plan on going on a bumpy ride, consider getting a longer chain and a bigger sprocket.
It comes in three color varieties: the Rigby, Wulf, and Pigeon. All of them have a saddle made from synthetic leather and steel frames. They are made to be durable while also having a unique design. In fact, this bike has a big following and it is one of the more popular models.
Another advantage of this bike is its affordable price. If you are on a budget, it might be the right model for you.
This flip-flop hub bike model can be adjusted to be either a 16T single speed or a fixed gear one. Still, people prefer riding it as a single speed due to its design and simplicity. It has an aluminum frameset that combines both comfort and aerodynamics while remaining lightweight. Actually, this model weighs only 9.45kg (20lbs) total, with the frameset of just 2.45kg (5.6lbs)! The wheels are 43mm, with 25mm Kenda tires as a standard.
FabricBike Light comes with the bullhorn handlebars that make this model great for aero and hills. However, this bike is a bit rough on frequent turns, so we recommend you ride it on long-distance trips. Riding around in a city can make it feel a bit unstable.
If you are a fan of single speed bikes but still prefer having a multi-purpose bike, this might be the model for you. The Pinnacle Monzonite is a bike that is made for both city rides and racing on tracks.
It has a CR-MO frame, which is made from strong, robust steel. You can fit both rear and front guards, as well as a rear rack. You can use it for any distance, long or short alike.
The 28mm tires are a standard, and the bike has deep-drop brakes that allow sudden stops. It has forward-facing dropouts that allow you to take the wheel off while resting. This is also a good option when you attach the guards.
4 Best Fixed Gear Bikes
The relatively new Throne Phantom series is considered to be one of the best-equipped bikes on the current market. It comes with a sturdy aluminum 6061-T6 frame, enriched with a fork made of carbon and alloy. This makes it lightweight enough to go racing or simply commuting.
The wheels are 30mm, and they come with Thick Slick 700c x 23C tires standard. The brakes are made of alloy and can make you stop in a second. The racing saddle enables you to have a smooth and comfortable ride.
In short, the Throne Phantom is one of the best bikes at that price range. It isn’t the cheapest, but it guarantees quality.
Retrospec Harper bike is a great affordable option for people who love the versatility. It comes with a flip-flop hub, which means you can also ride it with a freewheel.
Despite the low price range, Harper has everything you can look for in a fixed gear bike. Its wheel rims are 30mm and it comes with Kenda Kwest 700 x 28C tires. It has two sets of brakes, to provide safety and stability. This model is made to ensure you have a smooth and effortless ride. If you are looking for a city bike, this is a great option to consider.
And it’s nice to know it comes in six colors and five sizes. No matter your age, height, or weight, you will find a unit your size.
Pure Fix Original
If you are an artist or simply want a unique bike – look no further. This model comes in almost any color imaginable, and you can find it in seven sizes! Its trendiness and style will make everyone look at you while cruising around town.
Other than looks, this bike has great specifications. It has a flip-flop hub, so you can change the riding style when you feel like it. The wheels are 40mm, with Thick Slick 700 x 28C tires standard. This enables good contact with the road and great control. The saddle is comfortable and yet stylish at the same time. The Pure Fix Original is great both for calm city rides and racings, while remaining at the affordable price range.
Subrosa Rixa UTB
This is one of the few fixed gear bikes that isn’t made with fast rides in mind. The Rixa Urban Terrain Bicycle has a unique design that Subrosa put a lot of effort into creating. It is made to be a road bike and it’s great for those long-distance trips.
This bike has a steel frame, which is why it’s no surprise that it isn’t lightweight. However, it can take any terrain, and it’s even good for doing those down stair sets. It comes with a standard Kenda Kwest 700 x 32C tires that ensure a comfortable ride.
Although perhaps not the best for short rides to the office, this bike will make you feel like a kid once again.
Choosing among the best single speed and fixed gear bikes is a tough decision that depends on your preferences. Whether you wish to find a way to commute or something to race on, we hope this list helped you with your selection. Look at the specification of each bike before making a final choice and spending money. A good bike is like a long-term partner. Choose wisely.