There are a lot of questions in the forums and unanswered questions on the internet about touring in fixed gear bikes.
Is it really a good idea to tour in a fixed gear or is it a waste of time and energy.
Touring in a fixed gear bike is totally possible but you need to build that leg power and overall body fitness, you should be riding fixed gear for the past couple of years at least because touring in fixed gear means you have only one gear option you need to ride with your luggage weight, bike weight, your body weight, and through winds, this can make you feel very sluggish, especially riding a fixie, buying flip hub wheel with single speed cog attached to another side will help you, if you are that person who likes hardcore riding then go for it, but it will not be easy and touring in fixed gear is not for everybody. (choosing the flat routes will make touring easy)
If you are wondering what is the difference between long-distance riding and touring
In simple words, long-distance is, riding for 70 to 100 miles a day is considered a long ride, and long-distance rides are typically about 1 or 2-day of riding.
Whereas touring is riding for more than 80 miles daily, touring usually last about 5 days to 1 month. (for some people more than 1 month)
In this article, I will discuss everything with you to give the whole information and suggestion if fixed gear bikes are really suitable for touring across a state or it’s not worth it for you.
Table of Contents
What type of luggage do you need and how much weight you can expect to carry while touring?
Carrying heavy weight can lead you to quit touring, carrying as lightweight luggage as possible is ideal for touring in fixed gear.
So first what are the necessary items you need to carry with you for touring in a fixed gear bike?
The weight of the luggage depends on the kinds of stuff and items that you are carrying like a sleeping bag, mat, tent, clothes, food, water, cooking utensils, medical care kit, and self-defense items.
Above mentioned items are the basic things you need if you are planning a week tour or month, these are must and should have items you must carry.
Carrying these many items means you are carrying some weight on your bike, more weight equals less fun.
Try to buy as lightweight items as possible, let’s say:
On average Sleeping bags weigh about 2.7 lbs (1.2 kg)
The mat weighs around 20oz (600g)
the average sleeping tent weighs about 2.5 pounds (1.2 kg)
I am assuming about 10 clothes weigh about 40 to 45 oz (1.1 to 1.22 kg)
Foods like canned beans weigh 450g, loaf bread 400g, fruits, and veggies might be 1kg total of 1.9 kg
Assume you carry 2 liters of water on your bike = 2 kg
Outdoor Cooking utensils weigh about 1 kg ( if you are carrying)
The medical health care kit weighs 300g
Self-defense items like a pocket knife weigh 100g
In total, your bike might carry between 18.5 to 20.7 pounds (8.5 to 9.5 kg) while touring.
An average fixed gear bike weighs about 9 to 11.5 kg,
In total, you might be riding with 38.5 to 46.2 pounds on the road (17.5 to 21 kg) (this includes the items that you carry and the bike weight you are riding)
You might be carrying less than the above-mentioned items or more, if you like to eat out and sleep in motels then your luggage weight will be less.
The above weight calculation is based on the average product weight, it depends on you how many things you carry and what are types of items you carry, you might be carrying less than 18 pounds or more, but my personal suggestion is that buy the lightest material as possible.
What is the best gear ratio for touring in fixed gear?
Touring in fixed gear bikes is hard if you have the wrong gear ratio for your bike you will make it worse, so make sure to choose a perfect gear ratio for your fixie before touring.
The best gear ratio for touring in fixed gear bike will be 44 tooth on the crankset and 18 tooth on the cog this gear helps you ride without feeling much weight and pressure on your legs, I suggest you keep an extra 19 and 20 tooth cog with you in case 18 th feels so heavy while on the tour.
Buying a flip hub rear wheel
Since you are going touring on fixed gear means you are a different bread of person, I mean really, nobody likes to tour on fixed gear bikes just because it is fixed gear and people think it is not possible to go touring on it.
Some terrain on your way might be a few km of descending roads when you have fixed gear it is hard to cruise, and you cannot rest your legs on your fixie frame, not for a long time you will be bored.
Imagine if you had a single-speed cog on another side of the wheel you can just remove the back wheel and turn it around the back wheel and install a single-speed cog where it allows you to cruise down the descend roads without a problem.
You can use a single-speed cog, even when you feel like not really pedaling all the time and you just need to cruise or rest your legs for a few hours you can install that single-speed cog flip around, and install it.
When you are going touring on a fixed gear you should have single speed cog with you so you don’t quit your tour just because an unexpected 8 thousand feet hill came in your way and there is no way on earth you can climb an 8 thousand feet hill with 19 pounds luggage strapped on to your bike, trust me you are making it hard for yourself carry single speed cog and you won’t regret it.
What type of fixed gear bike is ideal for touring?
The first thing to make sure is that your fixed gear bike is in mint condition, the worst thing that can happen on the tour is your fixed gear broken down, so make sure to use a durable fixed gear bike with quality components.
While going on a tour on your fixed gear makes your fixed gear bike is first priority to keep an eye on.
Always buy a quality fixed gear bike with high-quality components on the bike, make sure that your bike is good
Get a comfortable bike
Your choice of gearing will heavily affect how the tour would turn out. Too light and you’ll feel annoyingly slow, too heavy and a strong headwind could grind your day’s journey to a halt. Riding fixed gear is much less flexible than most other geared options. It is not easy to tour on a fixed gear bike so get a comfortable bike.
Buy a comfortable saddle for your preference
The saddle is where you will be sitting most of the time, there are different saddles like road saddle, mountain saddle, touring saddle, comfort saddle, and woman-specific saddle.
Chose which one is suitable for you and get the most comfort out of it, if you want an extra cover and comfort on your saddle buy a gel saddle cover it gives you a smooth riding experience and some cushioning on the saddle.
Buy a good quality fixed gear bike
When you are touring in a fixed-gear if your bike has some cheap components it might not hold up in the long run.
While touring, your bike is the most important thing, so touring in a cheap fixie is not a good idea, cheap fixie bike will not give you the desired ride you want.
The best reliable fixed gear bike starts from 500$, so don’t compromise on buying a good quality bike.
Install both front and back breaks on your fixed gear
When you switch to single speed cog both breaks will help you stop the bike safely, most of the time you won’t have to use the breaks but it is a good safety precaution to keep in mind.
Even if you are a professional rider you must have a break on your bike, especially when you are touring on a fixed gear bike.
Buy flip hub rear wheel
When you have to ride on adventurous terrain it will be hard to ride on a fixed-gear bike, when you find a hilly road or sharp corner descend roads switching to single-speed gear will help to cruise and take those comes comfortably.
Single-speed gear can help you so much in touring, you cannot ride fixed gear the whole time sometimes your legs are exhausted and your body needs rest flipping to single speed can help you a lot.
How many miles can you cover in a day with fixie?
On average cyclists can ride 56 to 65 miles (90 to 104 km) in a day, by considering all the weight you will be carrying on fixed gear you can cover up to 50 to 60 miles (80 to 96 km) in a day on the low-end side if you are a professional rider and you have touring experience in fixed gear bike you can cover around 60 to 75 miles (96 to 120 km) in a day.
There are people who can cover 70 to 90 miles in a day with fixed-gear bikes, and some just like to cruise and enjoy nature.
My personal suggestion is that don’t go hard on yourself when you don’t have much experience, your body might get fatigued and that can cause you to drop this whole touring in fixie thing.
While touring on a bike always remember to take care of your body first, ride as long as your body feels okay with it don’t push for another couple of miles, because on tour you will be burning a lot of calories, especially riding fixed gear, for that you need good nutrients food and proper good night sleep.
Touring in fixed gear is possible but it depends on you what you are looking to get out of the tour, like
Are you doing it for recreation?
Is it a hobby for you?
Do you like fixed gear so much that you decided to tour on it?
Are you an outdoor person?
You got to have a strong reason to tour on a fixed gear bike because it is not an easy ride down the block, it is not like touring in geared bikes you might regret your decision later, and touring in fixed gear bike is something that very tiny people prefer to do.
If you are an experienced fixie rider it might be easy for you to tour on a fixed gear bike but if you are new to riding fixed gear I suggest you ride your short distance, ride like 15 to 20 miles to fully grasp the experience of riding a fixed gear.
- Touring in fixed gear is more of a mental power than physical power
- If you have some experience riding a fixed-gear before, then consider taking a tour on a fixie, otherwise, go with geared bikes
- The best gear ratio to tour on a fixie is 44 th on crankset and 18 th on cog
- You can expect to carry about 8.5 to 9.5 kg of weight on your bike while touring
- Buy a flip hub wheel to switch to single speed cog when you feel tired
- Attach both breaks to your fixed gear while touring