Before you learn some of the advantages and disadvantages of a fixed gear cycle, it’s important to know what a fixed gear bike is. Fixed gear bikes don’t have the freewheel. This means that when the rear wheels turn, the pedals also must turn. For instance, that means that you cannot coast without moving your feet; you’re forced to turn the pedals at the same rate as the rear wheel because it is constantly turning. The difference between a fixed gear bike and a standard bike is large, so it’s worth examining it out before you buy to see whether or not it’s comfortable for you.
You need to consider the pros and cons of a fixie before you buy it because they are many.
The most obvious benefit of a fixed gear bike is the weight – these bicycles are relatively light due to their mechanical simplicity which in turn makes them low maintenance. However, there are other less obvious benefits from riding a fixed gear bicycle. For instance, they are incredibly useful in slippery conditions – you may feel uneasy about riding a bike during icy weather conditions, but the good news about a fixed gear bicycle is that it’s much easier to ride in such conditions than a standard bicycle would be. This is because your foot pedals are connected directly to the rear wheel which provides the rider with more traction. The lack of a freewheel is also said to encourage a more effective pedaling style, which over time, increases endurance and thus improves general fitness and stamina levels.
There are of course some disadvantages to consider too: fixed gear bikes are not suitable for all riding conditions. If you enjoy riding around hills, you may find that you miss your gears and freewheel as it can be a lot more difficult without them. While fixed gear bikes help to build stronger legs and knees, they have a great impact on the rider’s knees which over time can develop into a painful knee injury.
It’s important to remember that if you’re braking with the rear wheel, you won’t get maximum braking power because, during deceleration, weight is transferred to the front wheel. It’s, therefore, important to have brakes on a fixed gear bike.
The best way to discover whether a fixed gear bike is right for you is to try one out. However, ensure you practice riding your fixed gear cycle in a secure environment – it’s not advisable to ride in traffic the first time you try a fixed gear bike as you need to get used to the way if handles.