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What is a fixed gear bike, anyway?

September 02, 2014

Tribe Bicycle Co. Fixed Gear Bike

A question we get thrown our way far too often - what is a fixed gear bike? And why do so many people love riding them? Let's start with the bicycle then we'll venture into the riding preference. 

A fixed gear bike, also affectionately known as a , is a bicycle with a drivetrain and no freewheel option. In simpler terms, the bike has and does not feature an exterior derailleur. Still not picking up what we're putting down? Imagine yourself riding, as you pedal forward the wheels moves forward, and vice versa - however as you ride you do not have the option to cruise (meaning your legs are constantly pedaling) and you do not have the option to change gears. Constant motion. With the drivetrain threaded or bolted directly to the back sprocket you can not stop pedaling.  Most fixed gears come stock with a front brake however some do not. Stopping without brakes on a fixed gear involves skidding to a stop and it takes a lot of time and practice to master the technique. Other methods are the skip stop and simply back-pedaling to absorb the force.

A fixed gear bike, also affectionately known as a fixie, is a bicycle with a drivetrain and no freewheel option. In simpler terms, the bike has one speed and does not feature an exterior derailleur. Still not picking up what we're putting down? Imagine yourself riding, as you pedal forward the wheels moves forward, and vice versa - however as you ride you do not have the option to cruise (meaning your legs are constantly pedaling) and you do not have the option to change gears. Constant motion. With the drivetrain threaded or bolted directly to the back sprocket you can not stop pedaling. This is one of the main attractions of the fixie to cyclists worldwide. You become one with the bicycle as your body actions are directly reflected by the bike. But what about stopping? Most fixed gears come stock with a front brake however some do not. Stopping without brakes on a fixed gear involves skidding to a stop and it takes a lot of time and practice to master the technique. Other methods are the skip stop and simply back-pedaling to absorb the force.

Though originally popularized through Japanese Track racing in the late 80s, in recent years fixed gear bicycles have become commonly used amongst urban cyclists. This is largely due to their simplistic nature, attractive designs, and overall affordable costs. By stripping the bike of the derailleur and gear shifters, manufacturers are able to significantly reduce the overall cost of the bicycle thus making fixed gears one of the most affordable bicycles on the market. The inclusion of the flip-flop hub has further added to the cause by making the fixed gear more attractive to more novice fixed gear riders. Brands are increasingly using this rear hub option, which allows you to ride fixed gear or free-wheel (meaning you can cruise), to bring the fixed gear bike to a more mainstream market. 

Learn more about fixed gear bikes and us here at Tribe Bicycle Co. by joining the Tribe

 

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