Thanks to its mechanical characteristics, this type of bike is ideal for making you more skilled and stronger as a cyclist, excellent as an option for improving your physical performance and sharpening your senses to improve your riding. The fixed pinion bike or fixie bike is a vehicle that you have fun with while you ride.
So forget all that bad reputation that is attributed to fixed-gear bikes within cycling, because it is nothing more than an unfounded prejudice. Not only are these bikes fun, but they can help you improve your condition and strength.
Reasons to Use a Fixed Sprocket Bike
It is not surprising that most people who ride a fixie bike for the first time are overcome with bewilderment and in some cases even fear. This may be due to the bewilderment of not being able to stop pedaling while the bike is in motion, or the fear of not knowing how to stop without brakes, or both. But learning to ride in a fixie has many advantages for the cyclist.
Fixie Riding is Fun
For many people, bikes with a fixed sprocket offer a unique and very different experience. Simply learning to ride a fixie is fun because it is something new. Another reason is that connection between the human and the machine, which we achieve between the movement of the bike and our legs, with a purity and simplicity that is fun from the first moment.
It is said that the experience of walking with a fixed sprocket is unparalleled
Because of that mystical connection between the cyclist and the bicycle, you develop complete control of your riding and a sixth sense to feel your way through your whole body.
This allows you to directly feel the traction of the rear wheel and the movement of the bike. Developing the ability to pedal more effectively in adverse weather conditions such as: rain, frozen roads or even mud.
Similarly, you develop a faster and more elastic pedal stroke or cadence, which will significantly help lay the foundation for developing better sprinting (running) ability.
You develop instincts and skills that facilitate a precise and fast ride, avoiding many bad moments that are so common on traditional bikes, especially when you share the road with cars.
Anyone who has ridden a fixie will have heard that curiosity disguised as concern from someone they know: “And how do you brake?” As well as an almost aggressive rejection of your sanity: “That’s simply dangerous and irresponsible!”
However, precisely the fact that you have no brakes, or only front brakes, and you have to stop it with only the strength of your legs, will make you more alert and anticipate your movements. By riding in a fixie you develop the ability to anticipate the movements of other road users, you are always alert, there is no room for distraction.
A fixie bike is very efficient
Beyond aesthetics, another attraction of these minimalist machines is the simplicity of their design, construction and mechanics. This makes them extremely efficient, since they only have what you need to move and nothing else.
In addition to generating very low maintenance costs, the fixed sprocket makes better use of the energy generated by the cyclist when pedaling. The bike feels lighter, faster and gives the rider a clear sense of belonging and style.
Style plays an important role. The conscious choice of colour composition, saddle, wheels, etc., are expressions of the personality, attitude and convictions of the individual who rides it. It is not about modesty, it is about efficiency by minimizing unnecessary elements for riding and achieving speed, increasing its authenticity and effectiveness when it comes to pedaling.
The fixed sprocket can help improve your physical condition
Due to its main feature, the fixed sprocket, the pedals will not stop moving and you will not be able to stop pedaling while the bike is in motion.
Unlike a freewheel or cassette bike, single speed or with gears, the first times you ride it, you will really have to make an effort to ride every kilometer. So if you want to develop your physical condition and leg strength, a fixed-gear bike can be an excellent alternative.
Types of fixed bicycles
A common mistake is to think that all bikes with a fixed sprocket are the same. As with all bikes, there are bikes for specific purposes. Each one has features that give it certain benefits.
Fixed-gear city bikes
Low weight and less maintenance:
Because of its low weight and simplicity in components, it is a very practical alternative for use as transport in the city. It can be easier to carry when you climb stairs; its maintenance is minimal. They are ideal for delivery service workers, bike messengers and those who do not have time to maintain their bike and are looking for reliable transportation.
- They present a frame with slight adjustments in its construction that correspond to the daily use of the bicycle in the city, that is to say, its geometry does not present a profile so aerodynamic as in a bicycle for track, responding this way to its necessity to have a more relaxed conduction, with better visibility of its surroundings and the users with whom it shares the routes.
- In addition, in many cases they have the necessary modifications to be able to attach luggage racks, mudguards, lights, etc.
- The toe puffs are straight and with the entrances facing backwards to take the sprocket fixed.
- The wheelbase is shorter than that of a road bike, but depends on the brand, size and design.
- They have a straight fork that gives you less trail, with all that that implies.
- Also their frames give some options of space in terms of the size of tires you can equip them with, making it possible to equip them with tires a little wider than 28 mm.
- Many of the city fixies are sold with flip-flop masses, which is nothing more than the possibility of turning the rear wheel to convert the bike into a freewheel bike with a simple operation.
- They’re also sold with brakes, or at least the front brake
Track fixie bikes
Its minimalist design is unbeatable for improving the cadence, because once you start, the fixed sprocket set forces you to generate a lot of cadence as you generate speed, and as they are very light and agile bikes, the speed is achieved quickly.
- The track bikes are also designed slightly differently to be more aerodynamic and more efficient in the race. They do not allow the implementation of any type of attachment.
- The more vertical angles of the track bike frames increase handling while maintaining rigidity.
- The distance between their axles is one of the shortest that a bicycle is made, being less than that of a road bike (980 mm to 1010 mm) which makes them very fast but also “nervous” (less stable) to ride. It also varies depending on the size.
- Their fork is straight.
- Track bikes have the tightest possible tyre space in the frame, so the choice of tyres on this bike is limited to the narrowest types available.
- They are only fixed sprocket.
- They do not have brakes -and generally- and there is no possibility of installing a system on them, because on a velodrome they all move in the same direction, so no brakes are needed. And even brakes are considered a safety hazard in velodrome races.
Road bikes with a fixed gear
Its particular transmission system makes it ideal for those who want to demand more from themselves when climbing or travelling long distances. Without a doubt, it is an option for training and exercising like a professional.
- In this case, the frame of a road bike is used in which the fixed sprocket is installed. So it will respect its classic geometry.
- The optimum wheelbase is between 980 mm and 1010 mm, depending on the make and model.
- Curved fork that increases the trail making the bike’s direction slower to respond but much more stable than its track or city counterpart
- Its toe puffs are also the traditional ones with the inputs -generally- in diagonal, which may not be the optimal thing to support the fixed sprocket, but it is not necessarily an impediment, since many of the lovers of the fixed sprocket have started with this type of bicycles to pedal in “fixed”.
- Allows wheel options: 23 to 28 mm.
- It can allow flip flop mass, depending on your tastes and needs.
- It admits brakes.
Fixie mountain bike
Precise driving and balance:
A fun option for cyclists who have a lot of control of their bike. The lack of freewheel makes it difficult to adjust the pedals to an ideal position to avoid hitting obstacles. So riding a fixie bike in the mountains is a fun feat that only a few people can master.
- Although it is not the most advisable to be able to control a fixed sprocket, the use of a mountain frame is possible as long as it does not have any suspension, neither in the frame nor in the fork. The classic frames will be the closest to what is suitable to turn it into a fixie.
- Allows for wider than 32 mm rims, but they are heavier (even with pavement pattern) which reduces speed and minimizes the spirit of the fixed sprocket.
- Allows flip flop mass
- Brakes are supported
Surrounded by a horde of both admirers and detractors. Today, the fixie bikes continue to beat to the rhythm of the city, making their way through night-time excursions, alley cats and, resurrected frames that generate attractive aesthetics with which they win over the taste of cyclists of all kinds.
And it couldn’t be any other way, because who can stop this passion without brakes, which takes you at full speed towards the experience of feeling that intimate connection between the cyclist and the bicycle?