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Fixed Gear 101 (The Basics)

Fixed Gear 101 (The Basics)

If you are thinking about getting into fixed gear cycling, two of the biggest questions you might have are; what is a fixie and how is it different from a regular bike?

A fixed gear bicycle has only one gear, so you can’t shift up or down. These bikes are much like road bikes but they have no freewheel, that’s why the pedals are always turning when the bike is moving. The chain is directly connected to the rear wheel so if you peddle forward you will go forward, and if you peddle in reverse then you will go backward. This is called direct drive. Fixed gear bicycles are stripped down to their bare essentials making them light and fast. Fixed gears are sometimes called, (though improperly) track bikes because they were initially intended to be used in race tracks. Because of this, they usually don’t have any brakes although you should consider braked if you are riding the streets. There are no cables or gears, so maintenance on a fixed gear is super easy. You can do most of the repairs and tune-ups by yourself. The bike is so simple that it’s easy to switch the parts and fully customize your bike any way you want.

Fixed gear bikes are sometimes called, (improperly) track bikes because they were initially intended to be used in race tracks. Because of this, they usually don’t have any brakes although you should be considering the braked if you are riding the streets. There are no cables or gears, so maintenance on a fixed gear is super easy. You can do most of the repairs and tune-ups by yourself. The bike is so simple that it’s easy to switch the parts and fully customize your bike any way you want. You can pick the color, the handlebars, the wheels, the pedals and much, much more! Check out some of our colorful parts here. Once you start riding the fixie you will never want to go back to your regular bikes.

Here's an awesome video of a guy who built his fixie totally from scratch from parts he bought on the internet! and you can do this too, check it out!

 Fixed Gear Tips

  1. Always wear a helmet! When you start riding, even at very low speed the bike can grab enough momentum to lift you up entirely on one peddle and carry on riding. It’s can be a little dangerous and it can catch you off guard.
  2. It's very important to keep the chain well-oiled and all the moving parts lubricated. Also, keep the chain tension at a decent level. Don’t give it too much tension or it would be hard to peddle and will add resistance to your motion.
  3. Riding a fixed gear bike is quite different from riding an ordinary bike. If you are a beginner, don't go too fast. Going down hills is especially dangerous. It is best to install brakes to ensure that you can stop in the event of an emergency. You can always take the brakes off when you get used to the bike (but do wear a helmet)
  4. Reduce speed by putting your center of mass on your rear foot and simultaneously hook up with your forward foot. Toe clips are often used for better control.

One size does not fit all.

Getting the right size is one of the most important aspects in choosing a fixed gear bicycle. Comfort, handling, aerodynamics and efficiency all rely on the right fit. Fixie frames come in different sizes while seats and handlebars can be changed or adjusted for fit.

Types of handles bars

Generally, there are three types of handlebars, and there are multiple variations of each. 

  1. Risers bars
  2. Bullhorns bars
  3. Drop bars

Risers Bars

These are made to keep you in the upright position. It also gives you the ability to hold wider, giving you more control and leverage. That is why these handles are frequently used in free-style cycling.

Bullhorns Bars

These will give you two positions to ride on your fixie. You can ride on the front of your bars or if you want to be a little bit more aggressive, you can come up to the front of the bars. It’s the really good position for riding aggressively in the streets.

Drop Bars

These bars give you three grip positions, on the top of the bars, on the front of the bars, and to the bottom of the bars. You can choose any position. Riding in the drops or from the bottom of the handles can give you an aerodynamic advantage. By lowering your torso, you can reduce drag to cut through the wind and increase speed. 

If you are interested in purchasing, or just check out a new handlebar, you can check out any of our handlebars right here.

If we still have not convinced you how awesome riding fixed is, check this video out. This video really breaks down some of the key features and benefits of fixed gear riding.

 Let's recap some of the main points:

 

  1. Fixed gear bikes are very lightweight, so it's great for anyone who lives up several flights of stairs, something which is commonplace here in New York City. 
  2. With no gears to maintain, there are fewer parts to look after making it easier to own.
  3. Fixed gear bikes ride fine at very low speeds so you can stay upright while waiting for your chance to jump through traffic or simply balance at the lights without putting your foot down.
  4. Fixed gears bikes are extremely customizable. Check out our full selection of colorful accessories for fixed gears right here.
  5. Riding fixed is a great way to exercise as you never stop pedaling and you have to work hard on hills, both up and down.
  6. You have better control in bumpy conditions or on difficult corners because you are more solidly connected and grounded to your bike.
  7. They look cool – the very essence of a bicycle with no superfluous

    stuff you don't need.

 

So what do you think? Are you ready to hit the road? We would love to know your thoughts. Leave a comment below, or drop us a line on Facebook, Twitter, or Google plus.

And as always, never stop riding and as always, get your fix.

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