For thousands of years bike frames have been produced in one of two different ways; either using fixed or tapered forks. A fixed gear bicycle is one that has a fixed gear that is moved up and down as opposed to one that has fixed speeds.
Tapered forks have often been a step down from fixed gear bicycles because of their width which helps facilitate rider stability as well as reduce vibrations from the wheels.
Fixed gear bicycles have historically had big, wide tires, and many of today’s fixed gear bicycles, or more commonly known as triples or cruiser triples, still have these wide tires.
I have found that most of the discussion of fixed gear bike frames seem to have gravitated towards only a few important matters: frame construction, cable routing, fit and fitment of the stem and handlebars, and chain tension.
The material of the frame. One common mistake with fixie frames is to choose a grade of carbon that has absolutely nothing to do with the intended frame weight and strength. It’s common to see frames with truss, threaded or plastic – in other words very expensive materials – and these add thousands of dollars to the price of the frame.
In addition, most fixed gear bikes use huge steel tubes that weigh a lot and are generally difficult to weld. Only by using tubing that is constructed from less expensive, stronger, and more absorbent material such as titanium or plywood can fixed gear frames become an efficient, safe, and lightweight form of transport. The world of homebuilt frames is a wonderfully rewarding one.
How do I choose a fixie bike?
There is not much to choose from! Many fixies have one point to help pedal and it’s just a matter of getting on it and riding. Many choose to ride fixies just because they like the look. Some don’t have gears because their roads are flat, and they don’t have other options for cycling. Some are on fixed-gear bikes for aesthetic reasons. Some use fixed-gear bicycles as a stress release for our brains when we are stress-ridden.
It’s not uncommon for a fixie to be brought back to life on a 7-gear mountain bike! When choosing a bike for your first fixie, or for any bike for that matter, it’s best to learn the basics before purchasing a complete bike. It’s difficult for a novice to pick up a bike and ride it on your own. We do our best to explain the bike well and provide an assembly video that walks you through putting your new fixie together and getting started riding.
If you have a choice of fixies, then go for a drivetrain like an SRAM or chainset like an SRAM but also check the torque requirements to ensure you don’t need to be training at 100% for a half hour. It’s also good to ask friends or your local bike shop for recommendations. I know that people get stressed about the actual bike, so what I’d suggest is to start with a ‘beginner’ (non-fixie) bike.
Is it hard to ride a fixed gear bike?
Not at all, and I like it a lot more than road bikes. People are putting a lot of effort into developing a strong endurance-oriented bike, and the fixed gear bikes are far more realistic as an option. The downside is that the inner workings are more complicated, but it is also true that you have to be more focused, and train very hard for them.
Some fixed gear bikes are perfect for training, but it is hard to ride one at a leisurely pace when you aren’t training, and you have to keep your speed under control, and always know what’s going on with the rear brake. They’re even harder when you have to pedal regularly, which is what all your training might involve.
Or you just want to see how fast you can really go.
So, there are a couple of types of fixed gear bikes that are popular with beginners, which are very sturdy, light, and easy to use.
The best one is the Brompton, and if you think it sounds like a stroller, it isn’t. It is a fully-featured multi-purpose commuter bike that rides like a road bike and handles like a cargo bike, yet still has the convenience of a road bike. If you have never owned a Brompton, here is your chance to do so and buy one for yourself.
Is a fixed gear bike good for exercise?
All of them are. You don’t have to do the all-out spinning and cranking to get a nice workout out of them. But all of them require exercise that you’re not thinking about or enjoying. So consider the psychological value of the exercise. A fixed gear bike is going to put a lot of mental stress on you. Here’s an example of someone who is getting angry at riding a fixed gear. That person is going to resist riding a fixed gear because they aren’t engaged in the activity they are doing.
A fork-type bike and a freewheel bike both have instant engagement. If you put your body under enough mental stress, you’ll put all of your mental resources into the bike and not the activity. In addition, the fork-type bike has a self-traction mechanism. It’s the same for any type of gear you are putting under your body. You don’t want to do this, so don’t.
Whenever I’ve ever heard you mention the word ‘exercise’ people usually think of crunches, sit-ups, and a great yoga class. But one of the benefits of using a fixed gear bike is that you can work out in an indoor or outdoor environment and also do some interval training, such as the occasional ride at 20kmph (12mph). I did a short indoor workout with my new bike in my indoor gym when it was brand new, and the fixie improved my physical condition!
There’s still plenty of room in the riding and handling envelope for errors, but you should still enjoy the way your bike rides! As soon as you can remember every new route you will. You will become more experienced and more patient as you memorize all your back roads, gravel roads, and dirt roads. There’s no need to do the work. It’ll come naturally as you adjust. After about six months of racing, I found that I was actually faster than when I was behind the wheel; this was in my mind, but I was fairly certain I had been a little over-cautious with my riding. The ride was over when I stopped to eat.
The geometry of a fixed gear bike frame
The geometric parameters of a fixed gear bike frame follow a simple pattern that happens to be reasonably well understood. The ideal fixed gear geometry has two cogs that have identical, 90-degree crank angle and the same smallest bearing hole.
When you are pedaling, the chain and wheels spin on the same axis in the same direction. This means that there is a small cork pin on each side of the smallest bearing hole, and the cork is supposed to engage the chain and not the wheels. If the cork pin can move out of engagement with the chain the front wheel will eventually strike the ground.
What makes a good fixed gear bike frame?
In a nutshell, the answer to this question is a straightforward, but not very technical answer. To simply answer the question, a bike frame is an adjustable part that conforms to the suspension geometry and the rider.
Fixed gear bike frames are long, steep, and usually have relatively narrow. They are typically either long wide, wide, and tall. If they are narrow, they need to be tall. The more vertical the better.
For the reasons above, you will want the frame to be as vertical as possible. This will help improve your stability and control over bumps and hairpins. This is especially important if you are riding in the dark at night. Most fixed gear bikes are hard to see at night when riding through the woods or rocks. It helps to have the geometry be as vertical as possible.
The ability to use a fixed gear bike as an all-round cruiser, either on the road or the trail. Many trail bikes are designed for commuting and are best for riders with a narrow tire. If you are a female, a small tire is an absolute must. The ability to ride a fixed-gear bike on a regular basis (not on cross country ski or snowmobile trips).
Good fixed gear bike frames have a heavy-duty and durable fixed gear and/or single speed design (gear reduction and a low gear), as well as a good drivetrain consisting of a large-diameter steel chain and the transmission, may include a type of steering clutch, bell or automatic shift.