Fixed Speed Cycling, What's All The Hype?
In recent years, fixed speed bikes have boomed in popularity. For those unfamiliar with the differences in types of bikes, the fixed-gear is the minimalist, simplistic option for those who want a relatively low cost, no-hassle machine.
With a fixed-gear transmission, you don't have to think about anything besides pedaling, braking and paying attention to traffic. No need to shift or out any brain power into what gear you're in.
Are fixed gear bikes hard to ride?
Fixed gear bikes are definitely a bit of a challenge if you're planning on tackling steep hills at any point. But for the most part, fixed speed cycles make excellent commuting bikes for their reliability and ease of use. You'll find yourself working up a bit of a sweat to reach anything other than a strolling pace, mind.
They're fantastic bikes for those who are looking to get a base level of stamina established, as you'll have no choice but to pedal to get where you're going (or get back home!). Many find fixed-gear transmission to be hugely motivating in those last few stretched where you'd otherwise be inclined to free-wheel back to base.
So what's all the fuss about?
For starters, fixed-gear bikes are super easy to maintain. Fixed gears have so many fewer parts to maintain than other types of bikes. That's less stress on your wallet and fewer headaches to worry about down the line. Fewer parts mean there's less stuff to break, right?
Another upside to having a bike with fewer parts means your bike has fewer parts for thieves to hunt down and steal. Even if a particularly determined thief does try to steal your fixed-gear bike unless they've ridden one before they probably won't make it to far. Riding a fixed-gear can be a challenge to those without experience on them, so an unfamiliar thief is more likely to fall on their face than get away with your bike.
Fixed-gear bikes are insanely light due to their simplicity of design. If you, for example, live in an upstairs apartment and bike to and from work, fixed-gears are simple to throw over your shoulder and go.
They're way better for bike racks too. Less weight on that expensive equipment on the roof of your vehicle is never a bad idea, which reduces the chance of seeing your bike tumbling down the freeway in your rearview mirror.
Fixed-gear bikes are also really simple and easy to customize. If you get way into tricking out your fixed-gear, there's an entire subculture around customizing your ride. And let's be honest, a tricked-out, super colorful bike is always a pleasure to see rolling down the street looking stylish.
Contrary to what many believe, fixed-gear bikes can be outfitted with a front-wheel brake. Learning to ride a fixed-gear is a big undertaking, so to make things a little easier a brake can be put on. But if you prefer the security and assurance of having the handbrake there's no shame in leaving it on.
Ignore the small subset of purists who will insist that handbrakes don't belong on a fixed-speed bike. You can do whatever you want with your bike.