The Fixed Bike – Pure, Simple & Magnificent
The fixed bike, or fixed gear bike, has regained popularity lately. But what is a fixed speed bike and what is in it for you as the rider. For a start let’s get it clear that a fixed bike is not a single speed bike. That is something very different and we will show you how as we go through this.
So the fixed bike is originally associated with the track bike that you see in the Olympics and at your local velodrome.
Its distinguishing feature is that it has a single fixed gearing and one cog on the drive wheel. Unlike a single speed bike, the fixie bike has no freewheel what so ever. You have to pedal all the time to keep moving and to control the speed as you slow down.
But the interest and enthusiasm for the fixed bike has gone beyond the track and many cyclists buy fixed bike builds for the thrill.
It is a strange thing to say, but many find that you and the bike become a lot closer when there is no freewheel to be ‘lazy’ with. Almost like a sports car without all the bells and whistles of power steering and modern suspension the fixed bike needs to be ridden to be controlled.
The fixed bike is also very good for building up strength and stamina.
There are no gears to go up hills. Therefore you have to raise your butt off that saddle and pedal hard. It is one of the reasons that road racing bikers use a fixed wheel in the off season to build up their strength and to work at time trialing skills. The ultimate though for that has to be the fixed mountain bike. No gear off road to get you through the terrain, soon teaches you poise, balance and proper technique.
The great thing about a fixed bike though is that you can do one of two things.
You can buy a fixed bike ready made or build one yourself. In the first case you can get a cheap fixed bike quite easily online. Online is a real plus as still many bike shops look down their noses at fixie addicts.
Or you can grab an old road bike dead cheap second hand and do it up. Butcher the parts that need to be replaced and source your fixed bike parts to complete you build. You can get loads of different parts on the internet both new and used, as well as fixed bike plans and help.
The fixed bike is not for everyone and does require a bit of practice to get used to the techniques required.
In the early days you might well pick up a few bruises. But it will be one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. You and your bike locked together in perfect synchronous harmony.
You move, it moves, and you pedal, it moves.
It is about as pure and simple as it gets.