When looking to buy a bike and you ask the opinion of a lot of your friends, chances are you’ll be left with two basic choices: fixed gear or not. If you have a few friends who own a fixie, you’ll find that some of them will have a lot of good things to say about it and a lot of nasty things to say about the geared bikes and vice-versa. Most times, though, the fixed-gear get a lot more hate than their geared counterparts, but this shouldn’t affect the decision of someone who is looking to get into biking.
The primary reasons why fixies are hated is because most of those who own them are hipsters. It’s a paradox: everybody hates hipsters because not hating them is too mainstream. On the other side of the spectrum, fixies are used in track racing. This is due to the fact that the rider kicking speed directly translates into the bike’s speed.
Those who understand how bikes are built know that the fixie is disadvantageous in a lot more ways. For instance, fixed gear bikes are not ideal for areas where there’s at least a 20-degree in all roads. An uphill climb is virtually impossible with a fixie unless every gym day of yours is leg day. Another thing about fixies is that some of them have no breaks, which is just plain dangerous.
The term fixie is a tricky term, too. Fixies are pretty much single-speed bikes, with the pedal needing to be constantly moving if the wheels are moving. There are single-speed bikes, however, that come with a flip-flop hub. This allows the user to switch to freewheel mode and coast – something that a traditional fixie can’t do.
With its disadvantages, the fixie also has a lot of advantages. For one, there are no complex mechanisms attached to the bike. This results to the bike being a little lighter and easier to maneuver for beginners. Stripped to its basic parts, the fixed-gear bike is also a lot easier to clean, repair, and maintain. Since its speed is directly up to its user, the fixie also makes for a harder exercise. Finally, fixies come quite cheaper than their geared cousins.
All in all, though, the choice will be up to you. Why would you choose a fixie over the other? Why not? For that, I’ll leave a childhood story of mine.
When I was a kid, I had no knowledge of bikes at all. My friends had them, and I borrowed theirs from time to time. I would just hop on one of their bikes and stroll around town. I didn’t care whether it was fixed-gear or not.
Now, not caring what bike I was using is an attitude I carry to this day. As long as I could ride a bike, I was happy. Why not try this for yourself as well? Instead of hearing people argue about which bikes are good, try to determine which one is good for you. Try out different types of bikes and see which ones you’re most comfortable with.
Lance Rand is an amateur biker with an eye on fixed gear and Italian-made bikes that can sometimes be seen on the streets of Sydney. His passion got him into a freelancing gig writing blogs for Chappelli – Australia’s premier online retailer of the fixie.