The Beginner's Guide to Fixed Gear & Single Speed Bikes

If you're on this page chances are you've seen someone riding a fixed gear or single speed bike (sometimes called 'fixies' or 'fixie bike' by their owners) and wondering what makes these types of bicycles so popular.

Here at City Bicycle Co., we like to think that simplicity is the key to brilliance. In essence, riding fixed gear means stripping down the bicycle to its most essential elements -- no extra gears to maintain or parts that can be stolen. The fixed gear bike plays an important role in the lives of every member of our company from the owners to team riders.

"Bicycling saved my life." 

Ian Robinson (City Pro Rider / Outsiders Bicycle Club -- Virginia Beach, VA)

First and foremost, there are many different slang terms for fixed gear bikes including "fixie", "riding fixed", "fixies" and sometimes they're called "single-speed bikes". All these words are used to describe bicycles that only have one gear that is "fixed" to the rear wheel and follows the motion of the chain. To simplify this, imagine when you're pedaling forward, the chain is also moving forward which means that you must continue pedaling whenever the bike is moving. The same rules also apply when you are pedaling backwards on your fixed gear bike -- because the chain is moving backwards you will also be forced to pedal backwards.

This simple distinction of a fixed gear means that our fixed gear bicycles do not require extra parts such as shifters or derailleurs. By simplifying our fixie bikes to this unique blend of man and machine, we have created a unique ride that is sure to get you interested in riding again. This isn't the same bike that you used to ride when you were a kid but a completely different and enjoyable experience!

But do not fear if this all seems a little bit overwhelming to you! When we were first introduced to fixed gear riding, we were initially thrown off by the idea of constant motion and being connected to the bike. Luckily, all of our bikes are equipped with flip-flop hubs in the rear which means you can choose between fixed gear and single-speed. With single-speed, the rear hub is not "fixed" and allows the rider to coast so your feet aren't constantly pedaling. Use this as a stepping stone until you're comfortable enough to ride fixed!

How are fixies different from my old mountain bike?
You're probably asking why would people want to ride with only one gear? Doesn't that make riding fixed gear harder? Wouldn't I prefer to have multiple gears? 

We like to think that riding fixed gear is infinitely more fun and enjoyable than riding a mountain bike. Whether you're racing on the velodrome or dashing through the streets with your friends, the fixed gear bike provides the ultimate connection between rider and machine. The faster you move the faster the bike moves. 

We also like to customize our fixies with different parts to make the bicycle all our own. If you look to the streets, you can see that everyone's fixed gear bike is always an extension of their own character. We like to think of our fixed gear bikes as blank canvas that we can customize and tune to our liking. This is definitely one of our most favorite parts about riding fixed gear for the fixie culture definitely promotes adding your own touches to make your fixie bike unique all to you. Don't like the color of the hubs or wheelset? Want to make the change from riser bars to pista bars for a more aero look? The world is yours when it comes to customization.

Why buy complete from City Bicycle Company?

Our bicycles provide the best value when searching for your first fixed gear bicycle. With the Type One steel series we set out to make a complete starter fixie package for riders looking to get their first taste for riding fixed gear for under $300 shipped to your door. This is perfect for individuals looking for an affordable mode of transportation or for someone looking to get started right away with their fixed gear bike. 

For the most seasoned rider, we also offer the Type Two track series made out of 6061 aluminum resulting in a lighter overall weight for those looking for an affordable track machine that is ready to go right out of the box. We offer customizations from top to bottom at our web store and free shipping forever on all bikes!

Thanks for reading this fixed gear guide and hopefully it helps clarify some of your questions and gets you on your bike today!

Ready to ride? Check out our fixed gear & single speed bike collection here!