Urban Bikes

What is a Fixie?

We look at what sets a fixie apart from your average bike

Who needs a bike with no gears that you can’t stop pedalling because it has no freewheel to coast on?  Young urban hipsters? Hard nosed low maintenance couriers? Or the average person in the street looking for something different?

The unique selling point of the fixie is a single rear sprocket screwed directly on to the rear hub so when the wheel moves forwards or backwards the pedals do too. This allows the rider to slow and stop the bike without a brake using pedal pressure alone, even pedal it backwards.

But be warned, they take a little getting used to, especially when cornering as the cranks continue to spin as you turn and can hit the ground if you lean it over too far.

Here’s what sets the fixie apart from the rest:

1.Winter training machine

Roadies have often stripped the gears off an old treader and used it fixie as a winter training machine. Because you can’t stop pedalling it teaches you how to spin properly. It’s also easier to clean and maintain.

2. There’s less to go wrong

Couriers caught on to them a long time ago with the financial incentive of less to go wrong, service or wear out.

3. You can do more than just cycle 

The fashion has spun off a trick-riding niche, riders pulling stunts similar to BMXers.

4. It gives you a buzz

You have to be ultra aware of yourself, the bike and your surroundings to make it all work in the traffic without crashing.

5. Flip-Flop Hubs

Fixies usually have a sprocket each side of the rear wheel so you can change gear just by turning the wheel around in the frame. The most common style is fixed one side and freewheel the other. The freewheel hub is generally smaller than the fixed so that tired legs can push less hard up hills and coast down them on the way home. The alternative is a double fixed hub, allowing you to run two different gears sizes by simply flipping the wheel around.

6. No Brakes

Most off the peg fixies come with brakes. Some riders prefer just to use the power of their legs to slow them down or skid stop, which looks cool but is hard on the tyres. Most couriers go with a front brake because it’s the most powerful and in theory your legs act as a rear brake.

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