Fixie frames, just like others, will perform differently and have different properties, depending on their construction, intended purpose and material.
Whatever you are doing with them, at the end of the day fixie bikes are bikes plain and simple.
As a result they are no different when it comes to picking bike frames.
Let’s have a look at the different types of fixie frames and what these single speed frames do.
Track Fixie Frames
Fixed gear frames for track bikes are very specialized.
- Track frames are designed to fulfill one single minded purpose only. They are there to keep the rider upright and in as stable a position as possible. Any sideways movement immediately will reduce speed and aerodynamics.
- They are stiff, and inflexible by their very nature. There is no forgiveness in track fixie frames.
- The other big thing you need to know here about track fixie frames is that they are not designed for brakes and have no mountings for them. You can attempt to change that with a set of short reach calipers, but it is a big risk.
- The frames designed for track bikes are extremely light Chromalloy tubing or even carbon fiber. This makes them fragile and also expensive.
Road Bike Fixie Frames
Rough and tough and yet light and flexible, is the best way to describe the frames on road fixed gear bikes.
- They have to withstand the pounding of the concrete jungle, plus maybe some tricks and bumps and bashes on the way.
- Generally road bike fixie frames are a lot sloppier and more flexible than your track bike. You need to be able to react quick and corner and weave quickly.
- On the whole you should be able to pick up a good reliable road bike with a steel frame for under $200. If you are building your own then have a look in the local classifieds for an old ten speeder which you can gut. It will be comfortable and a good ride across those pot holes and drains.
Mountain Bike Fixie Frames
For your fixed gear mountain bike a good fixie frame will be pretty stiff, not too heavy and very strong. Depending on how hard core you want to go, it should be able to take quite a pounding. Unfortunately salvaging a frame from an old bike is tricky as you need ground clearance on the front socket to survive the terrain.
What you have to try and avoid though on these frames if you’re building, is vertical dropouts. This is the shape on the frame where the wheels slide in. A vertical dropout is going to be a real problem for wheel movement and damage to you and the bike. So look for horizontal or slanted drop outs ideally.
Of course besides getting the right fixie frames, you have to make sure you get the right size as well. If not, then it is going to turn into a big mess very quickly.