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16 Benefits Of A Fixed Gear Bike (Updated 2022)

Image of a man riding fixed gear bike with a sunset backdrop.
Image of a man riding fixed gear bike with a sunset backdrop. Source: Jonny Kennaugh, Unsplash

Fixed gear cycling is some of the most fun you can have on two wheels. But if you’re new to the whole idea of riding with only one gear, you may have some reservations. Or you might want to know why people ride fixed in the first place. And, are there advantages of riding a fixed gear bike?

Riding a fixed-gear bike has several advantages, including:

  • Greater pedal efficiency
  • Better cardio workout
  • Fixed gear bikes are lightweight
  • They are heavily customizable
  • Less expensive than many other bikes
  • They require little maintenance
  • Passionate community
  • Allow you to do freestyle tricks

But there’s a lot more than that. So, in this article, you will learn what a fixed gear bike is, why people love them, and the distinct benefits they offer over other conventional bikes.

Editor’s note: This article was updated on January 17, 2022, to include additional information regarding the benefits of riding a fixie.

What is a fixed geared bike?

But, before we get into the perks, let’s define what a fixed gear bike is.

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A fixed-gear bike is a bike with only one gear. Fixed-gear bikes are also called fixies, and you will often hear the term used interchangeably.

A fixed-gear bike requires continuous pedaling. Unlike a typical bike, a fixed gear bike does not allow you to coast. Most bikes have a freewheel cog that allows the wheel to move independently of the pedals. With a fixed gear, you must pedal (even while riding downhill).

These characteristics make them popular and advantageous in congested metropolitan areas. As a result, the motion of the cog is directly related to that of the pedal. All of the energy you use when pedaling is delivered to the wheel.

Fixed-gear bikes are the most basic configuration of bicycles out there. And they are often revered for their visual simplicity and minimalist design. However, there’s an infinite amount of customization options out there for fixed gear bikes. These are some of the most customized bikes in the world, so much so that there’s a huge subculture of manufacturers who make parts specifically for people who want to fully customize their fixies.

If you want to learn all there is to know about fixed gear bikes, check our complete beginner’s guide to fixed gear bikes here.

The benefits of riding a fixie

Below are some notable benefits of riding fixed.

1. Greater pedal efficiency

Cycling on a fixed gear bike provides greater efficiency in terms of the energy transfer from the pedal to the rear wheel. This is due to the length of the chain being shorter and straighter and the fact that there is no gear pulley at the rear.

It might be a small factor for some cyclists, but those who spend enough hours on their bike daily or do long-distance commuting will feel the difference after a while.

To take full advantage of pedal efficiency, you will need to use pedal straps or toe clips. if you don’t have either, check out the options below.

2. Better cardio workout

There is no coasting on a fixed gear bike. You are always moving your legs along with the wheels. The lack of gears and the connection to the wheels require more work. This effort keeps your heart pounding and your cardiovascular system running at top speed. So, your legs work harder, and that work keeps you fit. This is one of the reasons why people love fixed gear bikes for exercise.

3. Fixed gear bikes are light weight

This is one of the most obvious benefits of a fixie. Due to the absence of a derailleur, levers, a cassette, and brake components, the bike drops a significant amount of weight.

A fixed-gear bike typically weighs less than its geared counterpart. The difference in weight is accounted for by the lack of gear levers, a lighter chainring and rear sprocket setup, and the lack of dérailleurs. It might seem like only a couple of pounds lighter, but less weight makes all the difference if you’re tired or, in the case of bike messengers and couriers, spending all day on your bike.

And of the parts a fixie does have, they are much lighter than other geared counterparts. On a fixie, you’ll likely find

  • Lighter sprockets
  • Lighter cranksets 
  • Lighter wheelsets
  • Lighter frames
  • Lighter fork

It’s not unusual to find fixed gear bikes weighing between 15 and 17 pounds, which not only makes the bike faster and more effective on the pedals but also helps while carrying it—making them very portable. 

Additionally, cities usually have multi-story buildings. Some buildings don’t have elevators. And even if they do, sometimes they don’t work. 

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You can pick up a fixie easily with one hand. So you don’t have to break your back just to go out for a ride. If you live in an apartment building without an elevator, a fixed gear bike is definitely the way to go. 

4. Fixies are very fast

Fixed gear bikes are derived from track bikes which are meant to be fast by nature. So it’s only natural that the manufacturing techniques used to craft some of the faster bikes on the planet would carry over to the fixie.

And of course, the reduced weight helps as well. And with a pair of pedal straps or toe clips, these bikes can accelerate even faster.

5. Ideal for racing

Fixed-gear bikes were developed for track racing. They are utilized in a majority of racing competitions. As a result, manufacturers have ensured that it is race-ready. While racing, you’ll become aware of their superiority. Additionally, the easy handling helps it avoid colliding with other riders on the circuit. 

So whether it’s in a circuit or racing in the street with friends, fixies are ideal when you want to have fun racing.

6. They are heavily customizable

Fixed gear bikes are sexy, sleek, and streamlined. The combination of their modern design and mechanical simplicity makes them visually appealing.

Fixed gear bikes have an identity of their own while also enabling the rider to further personalize the bike to their preference. Still, regardless of the color scheme and components, a fixie will always have that timeless minimalistic look.

Check out some of these colorfull customizabel parts.

7. Less expensive than many other bikes

Fewer components typically lead to a less expensive bike. The lack of a multi-gear transmission significantly reduces the cost of a fixed gear. Put simply, road and mountain bikes have a ton of additional components that make them very expensive. Fixies do not.

8. They require little maintenance

Fixed gear bikes eliminate many of the maintenance concerns associated with traditional bikes.

This relates to the reduced components. If you bike regularly, multi-gear drivetrains, disc brakes, and caliper brakes all need maintenance. You’ll eventually need to replace components as well. Additionally, multi-gear drivetrains place a greater strain on the chain, leading it to wear out prematurely.

Because they have fewer components, fixed-gear bikes are easier to maintain and are less expensive when it comes to repairs. You only need to worry about lubricating the chain drive and ensuring other fixtures are tightened and secure. Parts requiring replacement are limited to brake pads due to normal wear and tear.

Regular servicing, wheel removal, and cleaning, etc., is much simpler because a fixie doesn’t have the complex gear dérailleurs you need to deal with on a geared bike.

The dérailleurs on a road bike will suffer wear and tear easily from regular use. They are moving parts, after all, and replacement or repairs can end up being expensive. A fixed-gear bike doesn’t have any such problem. You’d need to seriously abuse it to break the rear drive sprocket or the front chainring.

Of course, the chain itself could break, or one of the spokes, but these are relatively simple to repair and not very expensive.

9. Less intimidating to learn bike mechanics on

Let’s face it. If you’ve never worked on a bike before, it can be scary. However, fixing your brakes is so simple that it allows you to easily and quickly learn all of the bike parts, components, and how they work together. If you decide to do your own maintenance on a fixie, you will find it much easier and simpler to do than on any other bike. You’ll have a greater understanding of how your bike works, and you will learn some skills in the process.

10. Passionate community

The fixed gear cycling community is one of the most passionate bicycle communities in the world. There is no shortage of Facebook groups and Instagram accounts dedicated to connecting cyclists worldwide.  The fixed gear Community is often putting on events, races and is filled with a bunch of all-around chill-ass people.

11. Fixed gear bikes are easier to store

Fixed gear bikes are easier to store in tight spaces than geared bikes. This is because it’s easy to remove the front and back wheels and even the handlebars. This gives you great flexibility when storing your bike for a long time. You can store your bike in the closet or even under your bed. This is much more difficult to do with a geared bike. And due to their lightweight, you can even hang a fixed gear on your wall.

Got a tiny apartment? Check out our post, where we offer five creative ways you can store your fixie in your apartment. And If you’re looking for a way to mount your bike to the wall, consider the options below.

12. They allow you to focus more on the road

It’s easier to ride when you never have to shift gears; you simply focus on pedaling, braking, and being aware of surrounding traffic—keyword being traffic. Of which there is no shortage. The city streets demand your attention at all times. There’s a lot of traffic laws you have to follow, and cars zooming by. A simpler bike allows you to focus more on the road and less on the bells and whistles of the bike. 

When you mount up on a fixed-gear bike, you never need to think about choosing which gear to use or which gear you stopped in. You just ride; Making riding simpler and more fun.

13. Riding fixed is a fun and unique experience

Most riders will tell you that a fixie is more engaging and fun to ride. The connection between rider and bike is more direct due to the lack of complex gearing mechanisms and, in some cases, brakes. It’s just the bike and you. 

Due to the constant rotation of your pedals, you are always engaged with the bike and can gradually acquire a greater feel for the road.

Try riding a fixed-gear bike once, and you’ll immediately notice the different feel of the road.

14. They offer greater control and maneuverability

There’s a reason why bike messengers in the city prefer fixed gear bikes. They offer a greater sense of control on the road. This is particularly beneficial if you’re in a tight urban environment.

15. Forces you to develop new skills

The design of fixed-gear bikes allows you to learn new skills. You can learn to ride backward or learn to do a track stand. You will also learn how to ride the bike with complete control. The new abilities you’ve mastered will help you become a better, stronger cyclist overall.

16. You can do freestyle tricks

Riding fixed allows you to do freestyle tricks like riding backward. Which is super fun. And if you have no front brake, you can even do bar spins. There are a ton of fixed gear tricks you can try out with your friends, almost like skateboarding or BMX.

If these benefits aren’t enough to convince you, check out this video from JRIFIXED on why some people love riding fixed.

A video called Why Ride Fixed Gear? And what is it from the JRIFIXED YouTube Channel.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a fixed gear bike and a single-speed bike?

All fixed gear bikes (fixie) are single-speed bikes. But not all single-speed bikes are fixed gear bikes. The main difference is that single-speed bikes are equipped with a freewheel cog, while fixed gear bikes are not. 

Are fixed gear bikes street legal?

Fixed gear bikes are 100% legal. However, riding brakeless is illegal in many cities and towns worldwide. This is why I always recommend attaching at least a front brake.

Are fixed gear bikes lighter than regular bikes?

Fixed gear bikes are some of the light bikes in the world. They derive from racing track bikes which have a strong emphasis on being as light as possible. They have few components, and from the ones they do have, they are still intended to be lighter weight.

Can fixed gear bikes be used for racing?

Fixed geared bikes are derived from racing bikes called track bikes. Fixies have many of the characteristics of track bikes, which allow them to be excellent for racing.

Can fixed gear bikes ride backward?

On a fixed gear bike, the fixed great wheel cog is directly attached to the pedals, meaning if you pedal backward, the bike will move backward, allowing fixies to be ridden backward. This is one of the characteristics that contribute to its popularity.


Conclusion

There’s no denying that fixed-gear cycling has many benefits, and while it may not be for everyone, I think we can all agree that it provides a unique riding experience.

In this article, we covered what a fixed gear bike is, why they are popular, and a few of the benefits that come from icing fixed. Here are some key takeaways:

Key takeaways

Fixed gear cycling has many benefits, including:

  • Greater pedal efficiency
  • Better cardio workout
  • Fixed gear bikes are lightweight
  • They are heavily customizable
  • Less expensive than many other bikes
  • They require little maintenance
  • Passionate community
  • Allow you to do freestyle tricks
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So, are there any benefits we didn’t cover? Let us know in the comments below (we read and reply to every comment). If you found this article helpful, check out our full blog for more tips and tricks on everything fixie. Thanks for reading, and stay fixed.

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