Fixies are simple bicycles that are characterized by using a fixed gear, hence their name. These types of bicycles are especially efficient in cities with few slopes and being simple machines require less maintenance than other bicycles.
The fixed sprocket is not something new, prior to the appearance of the derailleurs, all racing bikes were single speed and the fixed sprockets were the favorite for velodrome races. They were so popular that in 1876 Madison Square Garden was built to house a track of these.
In more recent years, these types of bicycles were the favorite choice of bicenters, mainly in the US, who preferred them for their convenience. Being so simple they did not require much maintenance and did not attract the attention of thieves.
Today the fixie bicycle has become a fundamental part of a subculture and one could say that it is one of the icons of urban cycling. Without losing its simplicity it is now accompanied by accessories, paint and other elements that really personalize and highlights the natural aesthetics of the bicycle .
Fixies bike features
In the beginning (and many still do) the fixies were armed using old route frames. Nowadays you can find specialized frames, made of steel, aluminum and even carbon fiber. In general they are light and minimalist paintings, since they do not have frames for changes. The vast majority only use front brake, although you can choose to have two or none. An important part of the fixies is the horizontal dropout (see previous photo) that allows the chain to be tensioned properly.
Handlebar / Handlebar
Fixies can be found with almost any type of handle you can imagine. The most common are straight, double height and dropbar handles. But there are also those who prefer riser bar (similar to BMX) or bullhorn. Depending on the type of handle, a more relaxed position can be achieved with the semi-erect torso or a more aggressive one with the torso fully tilted forward.
These bicycles are designed to be light and fast, therefore tend towards the wheels with large and narrow diameters, similar to road bikes. They are commonly equipped with 700 and 650 wheels for small frames.
One of the important parts of the fixies is its rear hub. Unlike conventional hubs, they have two threads in opposite directions. The first is used to screw the pinion and the second to screw a safety ring (lock-ring). The threads are opposite to prevent the pinion from loosening when applying force in the opposite direction when braking or slowing down.
There is another type of hub, known as fip-flop, which sometimes use the same double thread system on the left side that allows another fixed pinion. Others have a thread to place a freewheel on the left side. These hubs give you the ease of varying the speed ratio or selecting between fixed or freewheel simply by turning the wheel.
Fixed gear bicycles have only one speed. The chain transmits the energy directly to the pinion on the rear wheel, so the pedals are in motion whenever it is. It is not possible to roll without pedaling.
Having a single speed is important to take your time to select a suitable relationship, considering whether you will use it mainly on flat or sloping terrain. In general, it is recommended to try different relationships and select a slightly higher one that you feel more comfortable with. Don’t worry if you need to change the relationship, it is relatively inexpensive to change the pinion.
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Advantages and disadvantages of fixies bicycles
Fixie bike advantages
-Customization: For me the high customization capacity offered by these bicycles is the great attraction. One can spend hours dreaming of new designs, colors and finishes. Fixie bikes are usually unique and it is virtually impossible to find two identical bicycles. A true passion for what they enjoy more tuning the bikes than giving pedals.
-Less maintenance: They are simpler bicycles when it comes to mechanics. This translates into less maintenance and therefore a much lower expense when scratching our pocket in visits to the workshop.
-Lightness: The weight of a fixie will depend a lot on frame material but as a general rule they are lighter than classic road bikes. They do not have brake levers, they do not have a derailleur, change or double plate, so the starting ballast is already smaller.
-Price: this point is quite relative, since a good fixie can be around 2000-3000 euros. Tubular profile wheels are the dream of any cyclist. I say the price as an advantage since a simple but decent fixie can easily come out for less than 500 euros.
-Improves physical condition: Doing sports always translates into health, so pedaling on top of a fixie would not be the exception.
Disadvantages fixie bike
-Risk: There is no doubt that fixie bicycles are dangerous. Getting on one of them implies taking an extra risk than is usually assumed when riding with a conventional bicycle. The margin of error is minimal and any failure can cause a fall.
-They require a lot of practice: Don’t even think about starting to cross like a madman the first day you get on a fixie. These bicycles require a special technique and their domain is much more complicated than it seems at first glance.
– A minimum physical condition is necessary: To travel kilometers with a fixed one requires a minimum physical condition. The fixed pinion system forces you to have strength in the legs to push the bike especially in the first pedaling. In addition to not having marches to play with, it is likely that you will have to face the climbs more stuck than normal.
Fixie vs single speed bike
A lot of people wonder if a fixie or fixed bike is the same as a single speed bike . The answer is clear. No.
A single speed implies, as the name implies, that the bicycle has only one speed. But this does not imply that the wheel is fixed transmission. The wheel can be free.
However, a fixie, speaking in the purest concept, in addition to having a single speed has a fixed transmission system. That is to say that the connecting rods will continue moving along with the rear wheel. To move forward it is essential that the cranks turn.
A fashion trend
Yes it is true that they are fashionable. In a few years they have conquered a place of exception among true vehement of this type of bicycle .
So much that there are even competitions, countless videos of people at full speed through the city (in this we do not agree, since most do not even wear a helmet because of that trend that implies an aspect). There are fixers in all parts of the world.
Now that you are clear about what they are and how … do you feel like enjoying a fixie?