What is a Fixie?

A quick guide to defining the fixed-gear bicycle

Flickr/Phi Phi Hoang

A fixed-gear bicycle, otherwise known as a fixed-wheel bicycle or a fixie, is a very trendy bicycle right now. It is defined as a bicycle that has a drivetrain (the mechanism that transmits power) without a freewheel mechanism.

The freewheel mechanism is most simply what allows you to cruise on a bicycle. It allows you to keep the pedals stationary while the wheels still rotate. The fixed-gear bike does not have this capability, but instead the pedals are always moving when the bike is moving. The fixed-gear bike is also a single speed bike, without the capability of adding any speeds.

Related: What is a Hybrid Bike?

This concept has its advantages, as without the freewheel, the rider has the capability of riding backwards, a very important advantage in sports such as cycle polo and cycle ball. The largest appeal is that it is extremely light and very efficient because power transfers directly from rider to wheel.

Without a freewheel, you can also stop without brakes, as pedaling backwards will force the wheel to go in the opposite direction, therefore braking. But this way of braking is not nearly as safe, and often illegal. And if you are in the market for a fixed-gear bike, adding brakes and cables to the bike is highly recommended, especially if you plan on using the bike for road and commuting purposes.

These bikes have started to become very popular among urban cyclists. Many hip stores sell fixed-gear bikes at high prices with the options to customize them in crazy colors and designs with thick-framed wheels and stylish handlebars.

The minimalist style of the bike makes it an easy medium for self-expression. Popular all around the world, with different aesthetic appeals, the fixie is often seen with fluorescent colored frames, wheels, and handlebars. Some often have very classic looks, but overall, they all share the simplistic frame without any added shifters, cables, chain rings, and other common bike gear.

The greatest aspect of a fixie is its simple but creative beauty. Check out Amazon to see the wide array of colors and designs, and find a fixie that is truly unique to your style. 

Click here for how to clean your bike without breaking it.


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