A fixed-gear bicycle, or a fixie, as it is known to many biking enthusiasts is a single-geared bike with the minimal set of components needed to deliver. This minimal set results in a highly efficient ride. It is this basic, minimal design setup that has attracted many bicycle riders to this type of bike. For many years, this efficient, lightweight design was the choice for bike racers. The single gear drive, lightweight frame, and the shortest possible chain drive are all part of a design intended for speed. There are no brakes on a true fixie. A flat track surface is used in bicycle speed racing and this is perfect for an efficient single-gear bike.
This is not the type of bike used in long haul bike races, nor the type of bike that can easily take on hills or mountains. This bike is used for the most efficient form of biking on a flat surface, such as a city street. Efficient here means the acceleration and speed achieved relative
to the pedal energy expended by the rider. An efficient biking system with
only the essential parts for speed and control. The parts of a fixed-gear bike are well-designed to work together with the rider’s pedaling to achieve the best possible ride.
Efficient Drive Design
The parts that make up the minimalist design of a fixie must work efficiently and reliably. With only one gear and no brakes, simple efficiency is critical. The parts of a fixed-gear bike start with the single gear. The single gear is driven by the pedal motion of the rider. This single gear uses a bike chain that is directly affixed to the rear wheel. The rear wheel has a cog that drives the rear wheel.
The driving motion is the result of the energy the rider applies to the pedals. The single gear drive mechanism is the most efficient method of putting the rear wheel in motion. The fixed-gear, rear cog design means when the wheels are in motion, so are the pedals. This design does not include the components for multiple gears, nor the components for braking or coasting. This results in fewer parts and lighter weight as compared to a conventional bike.
The limited part design of the drive and control system includes the pedals, single gear, rear-wheel cog, and bike chain. These parts propel the bike in either a forward or backward motion with the energy supplied by the rider. Bike energy is supplied by the various muscle groups of the rider in churning the pedals. The pedals are a key component since when riding or skid stopping a fixie, your feet should never leave the pedals.
Efficient Motion and Control
A bike needs more than a drive mechanism to glide through city traffic. A bicycle means a two-wheeled vehicle. The wheels of fixie are of course essential components. Bike wheels are comprised of an outer rim, spokes, and a hub. The wheel components should be made of high-quality aluminum to ensure lightweight durability.
A fixed-gear is designed for lightweight, highly efficient motion. The bike’s frame is an essential part to integrate the biking system by connecting the rider to the gears, wheel, and pedals. The frame of a fixie requires a durable and lightweight material to ensure the most efficient operation. A heavy frame means more rider pedal energy to propel. You are most likely using your fixie for urban transportation versus racing around a velodrome, but the weight is always an important consideration. You want to use your pedal energy efficiently and you may need to carry or store your fixed-gear bike.
The bike’s fork is a sub-component of the frame. The frame connects the rider to the wheels, but the fork is necessary for steering the front wheel. The fork is attached to the frame and should be made from a very durable material. The fork should provide an effective front-wheel connector to allow for quick front wheel removal when needed for repair or storage.
The process of steering starts with a fork connected to the frame. To connect the rider to the fork, a set of handlebars is required. There is a wide variety of handlebar configurations that allow the comfort and full maneuverability needed for control. The handlebars are simply a bar in various shapes. An important part that connects the fork to the handlebars is the headset. The headset is a separate subcomponent that connects the fork to the handlebars.
Riding Comfort and Accessories
The bicycle seat or saddle, as it is known in cycling is an important part of your fixed-gear bike. The bike saddle is not part of the efficient pedal to the gear mechanism. The seat is not essential for stopping or full control of the bike. The bike seat is important for ride comfort and your riding posture. Comfort and the correct riding posture are important for the efficient function of the muscle groups that drive the pedals. You need a bike saddle that is both comfortable and properly aligned with the handlebars. This alignment is to provide you with a good bike “fit” that allows you to keep the pedals moving.
These are the basic components of a fixed-gear bike. The essential parts that deliver the most efficient form of bicycle function. There are accessories to improve your fixed-gear experience. These accessories include fenders, lights, and special handlebar grips.
Pedal straps are an important additional part, given the need to always have your feet on the pedals. You can almost put pedal straps in the essential category since the loss of pedal control means loss of the ability to stop the bike.
You can add accessories to the basic set for additional safety, but try to stick to the fixie simplicity design. The minimal part set described above results in a highly efficient ride. The basic lightweight design of a fixed-gear bike provides many riders a great way to get around the city.