To help you choose between fixed-gear and a single-speed bike, we have created the ultimate guide to choosing which bike is best for you!
Table of Contents
# Fixie Bikes (fixed-gear bikes)
Below we will provide all the information on a fixed-gear bike, helping you choose if a fixed-gear bike is right for you.
1. What is a fixie bike?
A fixed-gear bike, (also known as a fixie) contains a drivetrain with no freewheel mechanism. A fixie bike is known for having a fixed-gear system. On the cog of a fixed-gear bike, there is no bearing attached in comparison to a single-speed bike – allowing the rider to pedal forwards and backward.
Freewheel means the wheel can turn on the bike, even whilst you are not pedaling. Fortunately, you cannot freewheel on a fixie bike.
3. What does a freewheel do?
A freewheel is a device on your bike which separates the driveshaft from the driven shaft when the driven shaft rotates faster than the driveshaft. A common mistake cyclists make is confusing a freewheel with an overdrive.
4. Can you freewheel on a fixie?
You cannot freewheel on a fixie, this is because the rear wheel cannot turn when you are pedaling.
5. What is the difference between a freewheel and a freehub?
A freehub is the center point at which the freewheel connects to, making it an interconnected mechanism. Based on Wikipedia, A freehub is a type of bicycle hub that incorporates a ratcheting mechanism, and the name freehub is a registered trademark of Shimano.
A freewheel mechanism allows a rider to stop pedaling whilst the cycle is still in forwarding motion. On a cycle without a freewheel mechanism, the rider has to keep pedalling whenever the cycle is moving.
6. Freewheel vs Cassette - What Are They? Can I Convert?
Freewheels usually have 5 – 7 cogs and screw on to the hub. Modern cassettes (like Shimano Hyperglide) usually have 7 – 11 cogs and are held onto a ratcheting freehub body with a lock ring. There was an older Shimano cassette called Uniglide that was held on the freehub body with the smallest cog acting as the lock ring. Uniglide cassettes are not very common anymore.
Here is the video to explain the difference between freewheel and cassette from RJ The Bike Guy.
7. Can you stop pedaling on a fixed-gear bike?
Riding a fixed-gear bike means that the motion of the pedals is directly connected to the motion of the rear wheel. Therefore, if you stop pedaling, but the rear wheel is still moving, the pedals will continue to move.
8. Is fixed-gear bad for your knees?
Using a fixed-gear bike allows for greater control over your gears, as there are so few in comparison to a single-speed bike. This, therefore, results in a much more controlled ride with less stress placed on the knees.
9. Are fixies dangerous?
As long as you have brakes, then a fixie is no more dangerous than a normal bike. But do remember, then if you are riding a fixie, you must be pedaling to keep the bike moving.
10. How fast is a fixie bike?
On a fixed-gear bike you are constantly pedaling, you can see this in two ways for speed. Without coasting you have less time for rest, therefore, requiring constant movement to move your bike. A single-speed bike, however, allows for coasting, allowing rest periods to help you go fast when you need to.
A fixed-gear goes exactly the same speed as a geared bike in the same gear ratio. Except for downhill, when your speed is limited by the cadence you can manage because you can’t coast.
# Single-Speed Bikes
Below we will provide all the information on a single-speed bike, helping you choose if a single-speed bike is right for you.
1. What is a single-speed bike?
A single-speed bike has a single gear ratio, meaning there are no shifters or derailleur hangers. Single-speed bikes include BMXs, track bikes, fixed road bikes, and single speed mountain bikes to name a few.
2. What gear is a single speed bike?
A single-speed bike has a single gear ratio, therefore, meaning you cannot click into a lower gear when the headwind kicks in.
3. Single-speed vs geared, what is better?
Deciding between a single-speed and fixed-gear bike can be difficult. A single-speed bike allows for coasting whereas a fixed-gear bike does not. If this is an issue for you, then we recommend choosing a single-speed bike.
Moreover, fixed-gear bikes are generally cheaper than their counterpart. This is because fixed-gear bikes contain fewer components and expensive materials. As well as this, fixed-gear bikes require much less maintenance than traditional single-speed bikes – perfect for those constantly riding.
4. Are single speed bikes fast?
Your top speed on a single-speed bike is limited due to your gear ratio. Similar as fixied gear bikes, the speed is decided by the gear ratio you have on the bike for the same person. If you want to get a higher speed, there are three ways
- Switch to a different gear ratio.
- Changed to a geared bike.
- Train to grow your power.
5. Single-speed conversion
It is possible to convert your bike to a variable speed, allowing less and effort and strength to be used on difficult courses and routes.
Here is a video from BikeRader, you can understand better about singe-speed conversion.
# Fixed-gear vs single speed
Fixed gear bike
· Higher top-end speed
· Less maintenance
· Does not freewheel/coast
· Cannot stop pedaling
· Can stop pedaling
· Greater control at low speeds
· Lower top-end speed
· Requires more maintenance
Now over to you
Which type of bike will you choose now?
Or are you riding on fixie bike or single-speed bike?
Or you want to switch to a geared bike?
Either way, let us know with your comment below.