When it comes to commuting on a bike most people consider using fixed gear bikes because of the simple components that make this bike simple to use and easy to maintain.
Fixed gear bikes are perfect for commuting due to their simple components that make fixies easy to maintain, installing brakes can be very helpful to stop the bike safely.
Fixed gear bikes also called hipster bikes, due to their riding style and breakless bike make fixie bike hipster.
In fact, fixed gear bikes look cool while riding them, there is no denying that.
Fixed gear bikes are not that simple when it comes to riding them, in order to stop a fixed gear you have to slow down your pedaling speed and apply front brakes to stop fixed gear, and another way is to completely stop pedaling forcing the back wheel of the bike to skid stop.
There is a lot more that goes into commuting in fixie, I will discuss everything you need to know about commuting in fixie, come let’s dive in.
- What is commuting?
- What is a fixed gear bike?
- Pros and cons of commuting in fixed gear?
- Fixie vs road bike which is best suitable for commuting?
- Fixie vs single speed bike which is best suitable for commuting?
- Is fixed gear bad for knees?
- Commuting on a cheap fixie is worth it?
- Can you coast on a fixie?
- Is a fixed gear bike good for long distances?
- Is fixed gear safe for commuting?
- Key takeaways
Table of Contents
What is commuting?
Commuting is a regular, daily activity that involves walking, cycling, or driving from work to home or home to work.
The majority of people happen to use fixed gear bikes as their main bikes for commuting.
Commuters often use fixed gear bikes (founded in the 1970s) to commute. A fixed gear bike is a type of bike that is designed to be used on smooth roads or paths where it is not necessary to be able to pedal, such as in a city.
What is a fixed gear bike?
Fixed gear is a bike, the back wheel is connected to cogs, meaning if you pedal forward the bike will go forward if you pedal backward the bike will go backward.
A fixed gear bike has no freewheel, which means you always have to keep on pedaling in order to go forward, if you try to stop pedaling on a fixed gear bike the back wheel of the bike will be forced to skid stop the bike.
Fixies have simple mechanisms, it is straightforward to use but hard to learn for beginners riders, fixed gear gives you that direct connection between you and roads like no other bikes can give.
Pros and cons of commuting in fixed gear?
Fixies are cheap
Commuting on a fixie is great for people who are looking for a cheap way to commute. Fixies are one of the cheapest ways to commute. They are cheaper than road bikes and single-speed bikes. However, fixies don’t last as long as the other two.
Fixed gear bike has health benefits
Commuting on a fixed gear bike is great for people who want to get some health benefits from commuting. Fixies are better than road bikes and single-speed bikes for your health.
Riding a fixed-gear bike is very good for your joints and bones because it requires less pedaling than a road bike. This helps you to maintain a good level of fitness and prevents you from developing knee problems. On the other hand, riding a fixed gear bike is also very good for your cardio, since you have to keep on pedaling in order to go forward.
Easy to maintain
Fixies are very easy to maintain, all you have to do is clean and lubricate the chain and cogs every once in a while with some chain lube.
Fixies are also very easy to repair if something breaks, all you have to do is replace the part and you are good to go. This makes fixies very beginner-friendly. Fixies are also very fun to ride, they have a very dynamic feel to them.
Fixies have simple components
Flexible, light and well-balanced components, so you can easily change your set-up and each time you ride you get a new set thanks to the low weight. No need to change your bike, just change the components.
Fun to ride
Of course, you can have fun riding a fixed gear bike. Fixies are one of the most fun types of bikes to ride. They give you a very dynamic and interactive feeling, you have to interact with the bike in order to go forward. This makes fixies a lot of fun to ride.
Difficult to ride uphill or downhill roads
Since it has one gear, it will be hard to climb hills with one gear, it is possible but it will be hard, when you are riding downhills you have to rest your foot on the frame of the bike because the pedals will be rotating fast, breaks are very helpful in downhill roads, especially in fixed gear bikes.
Only one gear option
Fixed gear has one gear, it depends on the rider to ride on all terrains, whether it is flat roads, descend or uphill roads, you have to ride in one gear which makes it a little difficult to ride on all types of roads.
Some people feel uncomfortable riding a fixed gear bike just because it doesn’t have breaks, and this makes people not feel very confident when it comes to riding fixed gear bikes.
But having breaks on fixed gear can be really helpful, when riding downhill the breaks come in very handy if you are a beginner.
If you are new to riding fixed gear bikes it might be hard to get used to riding fixies, you need to invest some time and energy to learn how to ride fixies, by having breaks on your fixie will make the learning process easy, with a couple of weeks practice anyone can learn to ride fixed gear bike.
Fixie vs road bike which is best suitable for commuting?
There is no doubt that a road bike is not suitable for commuting, road bike comes with multiple gears on cassette and 3 cranksets which make 27 gears to ride, this makes the road bike rideable in all terrains, with lots of options of gear to choose from.
Likewise, road bikes are way more expensive than fixed-gear bikes, the price you are paying goes to the bike frameset and all the other high components that comes with the bike that makes it lighter and durable in long run use.
If you are planning to use fixed gear for commuting, the advantages are more compared to road bikes, fixies bikes are cheap, low to zero maintenance, and simple to use, you don’t have to worry about gear shifting and gear-related problems.
The only problem you might face is to stop a fixed gear bike, since it is fixed gear either you learn how to stop with skidding of the back wheel or use brakes on the bike.
Fixed gear and road bikes make a good commuting bike but, if you are on a low budget go with fixed gear bikes, if you want good reliable all types of terrain use bikes go with road bikes just because they offer more gear to switch.
Fixie vs single speed bike which is best suitable for commuting?
You can use fixed gear and single speed in the same bike, just buy a flip hub wheel where one side comes with a fixed gear cog and another side has a single speed cog, depending on the terrain you ride on you can use any cog you want.
Most of the single-speed bikes on amazon and Walmart bikes come with both gear options, even cheap bikes have these options, so it is a good idea to buy a bike with two gear options.
If you are looking to ride just on single speed bikes you are missing out on the opportunity to test your cycle riding skills, having 2 gear option can be very helpful, you just need to remove the back tires and flip it to the other side, boom now you have a totally different gear bike.
Single-speed is good for commuting but when you can buy a flip hub back wheel you will have the option to ride on, depending on your terrain, distance, and your comfortability, in simple words flip hub back wheels are better than single speed bikes.
Is fixed gear bad for knees?
Riding any bicycle makes your knees work but pedaling too much with bad form can cause knee problems, but if you ride the bike with proper form with proper bike size you are less likely to have knee problems.
Commuting on a cheap fixie is worth it?
If you are commuting for short distances you can definitely use cheap fixies, but if you want to use the bike as your main transportation, cheap fixed gear are really not worth buying, you can use cheap fixies for up to 600 to 800 miles before you face any technical problems.
Can you coast on a fixie?
No, you cannot coast on fixed gear bikes, as the name itself says the fixed gear means the cog is attached to the back wheel of the bike, if you pedal forward the bike, it will go forward, and if you pedal backward the bike will go backward, In descend roads you can just rest your foot on the frame of the bike due to spinning pedals.
Is a fixed gear bike good for long distances?
yes, you can use fixed gear bikes for long distances also but it depends on the rider’s fitness level, experience, and bike conditions, there are a lot of cyclists who use fixed gear bikes for long distances but it is not easy as riding in single speed or road bikes, it takes more to ride fixies in long distances.
Is fixed gear safe for commuting?
If you attach brakes to your fixed-gear bikes, the bike will become safe as every other bike but the tricky part is slowing the bike with your pedaling cadence. It takes some practice and effort to learn some skill which is essential to ride a fixed gear bike, in simple words fixed gear are safe to use for commuting only when you install brakes on your fixie even if you are an experienced rider.
Fixed gear bikes are perfect for commuting due to their low maintenance, lightweight, cheap prices, and reliable use making fixies perfect for commuting.
And yes there are disadvantages too, like stopping your bike, one gear ratio, less durable compared to other bikes. But fixed gear bikes have more advantages than disadvantages.
If you are planning to commute on fixed gear bikes buy a flip hub back wheel, you will have the option to switch it single speed or fixed gear any time and it is much better than just having one gear option.
- Fixed gear is good for commuting
- Buying a flip hub back wheel comes with more option
- Cheap fixies are not worth commuting
- If you are on a small budget to invest in a bike, a cheap fixie is reliable for short term use