What is a Fixed Gear Bike?
A fixed gear bike, also known as a “fixie,” is any bicycle with only one fixed gear attached directly to the hub of the back wheel. More specifically, a fixed gear bike has a single sprocket connected to the right side crank, which is directly in line with one gear that is threaded or bolted to the hub of the back wheel. When the back wheel moves either forward or backward, the pedals move in the same direction.
You might initially be freaked out or even just completely confused and wondering about freewheeling or coasting? No such luck! When riding a “fixie” you're working the pedals the entire time because fixed gear bikes don't freewheel or coast. In addition, most fixed gear bikes don't even have brakes, and the ones that do only have a front brake!
Here at Sole Bicycles we offer a bike with a flip-flop hub which means it can be ridden fixed gear or single speed. Also all of our bikes come with a front brake, making it the perfect solution for trying out a fixed gear bike.
At this point you might be thinking, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, how do you stop with no brakes, that's nuts!” The rider of a “fixie” can resist the rotation of the cranks, thereby applying a slight braking force on the back tire. Don't fret, you can also use the 'ole foot on the ground technique to stop, but we all know what happened to our sneakers as kids doing that silly sort of stuff.
Riding a fixed gear bike is a very natural ride, putting the full feel of the riding surface back into the bike and leaving all control of speed up to the rider's footwork. Curious yet on where these fixed gear bikes came from? Bike messengers in metropolitan cities are the infamous pioneers of catapulting “fixies” into the mainstream vibe.
A fixed gear bike is a simple bike that is low maintenance and lighter weight due to having no derailleurs, shifters, cables or cable carriers. In addition, the “fixie” is not exactly eye candy for the would be thief looking for a quick hit.
All this adds up to the perfect bike for a bike messenger needing quick transitions from stopping points, while also navigating through cars, buses, taxis and pedestrians to make their drop. Don't kid yourself, these folks are highly skilled and courageous riders using all the hottest tricks to peak the performance of their “fixie.”
As the “fixie” culture grows, so does the merchandise, media and dialogue that goes with it. The “fixie” is a reasonably priced bike, easily able to be made into any style or color to give it that clean look. This dovetails nicely into that new wave of frugal living that has become such the rage. And for the thrill seeker, the “fixie” can push the envelope if need be with speed and agility with it's slim design.
Stoked yet? If you are still hesitant about jumping into the “fixie” craze, all of our bikes come with a “flip-flop” hub to easily turn your “fixie” into a conventional single speed bike. For more details about the “flip-flop” hub and fixed gear bikes, go to the fixed gear bike vs. conventional single speed bike comparison page.