Home > Bikes > Best Fixed Gear Bikes

Best Fixed Gear Bikes

Updated on:

Riding a fixed-gear or “fixie” is perhaps the purest form of cycling.

It is a bike that has been distilled right down to its fundamentals. No derailleurs, no complicated cranksets, no shifters, and in its purest form, not even brakes.

More than just a bike, a fixie is a way of life.

No longer a fringe activity, more and more riders are discovering the fun and simplicity of riding a fixed-gear bike.

If you want to understand the feeling of being truly connected to your bike, then read on. In this article, we take a look at some of the best fixed-gear bikes and what you need to know before joining the ranks of fixie riders.

Top Picks:

Top 11 Best Fixed Gear Bikes Reviewed

1. 6KU Urban Track (Best Overall)

CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 22 lbs

The sleek-looking 6KU Urban Track has some very clear track heritage but is streetwise enough to perform well in an urban environment.

The flattened tubes of the frame and the slight angle in the chainstay scream track bike but the addition of a separate front and rear brake, as well as an efficient 46-16 gear ratio, make it suitable for everyday riding around town.

It comes with a flip-flop hub so that freewheel riding is still an option.

Features:

  • Front and rear caliper brakes – the purists might rip them off immediately but they make the bike safer and more responsive when riding in traffic.
  • Low weight – the 6061 aluminum allow frame not only look great thanks to smooth welds but is lightweight and nimble.
  • Novatec hub – Prevent dirt and moisture from getting into the hub and is built to last.

2. Cinelli Tipo Pista (Best Drop Bar Road Fixie)

CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 17.20 lbs

At its heart, the Cinelli Tipo Pista is a track bike as you would expect from the renowned Milanese bike makers.

The riding position is aggressive but it is not so aggressive that it limits the bike only to the smooth boards of the velodrome. The fact that it comes with easy to mount front and rear brakes makes it just as competent on the busy, winding city streets.

The 48×17 ratio is great for city riding and most riders will comfortably pootle along at 20mph.

Features:

  • Great handling – the track heritage (shallow fork offset, steep head angle, short wheelbase, and lightweight frame) makes this bike extremely agile. 
  • Saddle – surprisingly for a track-ready bike, the saddle offers plenty of comfy cushioning. Ideal for cycling without padded shorts in an urban environment.
  • Short cranks – pedal strike when turning is not an issue.

3. Aventon Mataro (Best Track-Ready Bike)

Pin

CHECK PRICE AT AVENTON

  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 18.6 lbs

The Aventon Mataro is of outstanding value considering its medal-winning heritage on the unforgiving bards of the velodrome. Born out of a reaction to low-quality, mass-produced fixies, Averton has lovingly built a solid track-ready bike.

This bike is fast. The short wheelbase and cockpit low handlebars put the rider in an aggressive position and the aero seat post squeezes out a few extra watts. The higher stock 48×15 ratio is an indication that the Mataro is a racer at its core.

That is not to say that it won’t work carving up the streets. The bike comes with a front brake already installed and a user-friendly freewheel on the flip-flop hub for riders that like a bit of coasting.

Overall a great entry bike for anyone looking to experience the thrill of the velodrome.

Features:

  • Speed – the handling is responsive and the frame design makes for a fast ride.
  • Aventon Push Saddle – whilst saddle choice is very much a personal preference, the critical relief channel makes the Push saddle comfortable enough for the streets.
  • Understated styling – ironically this bike standout amongst the increasingly garish designs of fixies.

4. Throne Phantom (Best Flat Bar Fixie)

Pin

CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 15 lbs

The lightweight aluminum frame of the Throne Phantom is paired with carbon alloy forks. Somewhat unusual for a fixed-gear bike but the result is a lively frame that gives a smooth, comfortable ride.

Compared to a lot of the bikes on this list, the Phantom is a true fixie. There are no brakes and there is no flip-flop freewheel hub. If you are considering this bike make sure it is road legal where you are.

Features:

  • Lightweight – the aluminum frame and carbon forks make this bike lightweight, stiff and fast. This is no slouch on the track.
  • Racing saddle – performance saddle that is surprisingly comfortable for everyday riding.
  • Clean looks – eschewing the bold designs that are popular among fixies makes this bike stand out. It is clean and minimalist.

5. Max4out Track Bikes Single Speed Urban Fixie (Best Urban Fixie)

Pin

CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Frame Material: Steel
  • Weight: 39.6 lbs

As you would expect for a bike designed for bringing fun to cycling through the city, the Max4out Urban Fixie comes supplied with a flip-flop hub for a freewheel as well as front and rear brakes.

Although a little on the heavier side, what you get here is a durable bike that can take a beating in the urban jungle.

The riser handlebars put the rider in a comfortable and high position on the bike that is great for seeing what is happening around you as your ride through busy streets.

Features:

  • Urban ready – front and rear caliper brakes and a flip-flop freewheel hub make it ideal for wrestling with the busy city streets.
  • Durable – the steel frame might not be the lightest but it is strong and built to last.
  • Bottle mount – convenient bottle holder mount on the seat stay.

6. Retrospec Harper (Best Budget Fixie)

Pin

CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Frame Material: Steel
  • Weight: 30 lbs

If you want to see what all the fixie fuss is about, look no further than the Retrospec Harper

What it lacks in features it more than makes up for in outstanding value for money.

The focus here is on safe and comfortable city riding with a frame that puts the rider in an upright position. The 16t rear flip-flop hub comes with a freewheel cog and the bike comes with both front and rear dual caliper brakes.

Features:

  • Value for money – this bike won’t win any races but it won’t let you down on the streets and it certainly won’t break the bank.
  • Available in 11 bold colors – great selection of colors with a paint job that belies the price tag.
  • Dual brakes – inexperienced fixie riders will appreciate the decent dual caliper brakes.

7. Golden Cycles

Pin

CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Frame Material: Steel
  • Weight: 27 lbs

The Golden Cycles fixie is another great entry-level bike to give you a taste of the fixie experience. As you would expect on an entry-level bike there is a flip-flop hub to swap to a freewheel hub and front and rear caliper brakes for more control.

Although the well-constructed steel frame is a little on the heavy side, it never feels too much of a drag when paired with the 46×16 drivetrain gear ratio. The smooth welds look great and this is a frame that is designed to take a beating on the roads.

Features:

  • Value for money – it might not be the lightest bike but it comes with everything you need for a reliable and low maintenance city cruiser.
  • Deep allow rims – stylish looks with a selection of bold colors for the deep rims.
  • Water bottle mounts – there are mounts for two bottle cages which is a great touch and not always considered on fixies.

8. State Bicycle Co. Bernard Bike

Pin

CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Frame Material: Steel
  • Weight: 23lbs

If you like understated and classic bikes, then you will love the clean lines and traditional styling of the State Bicycle Co. Bernard available with a choice of bullhorn, drop bar, or riser bar handlebars.

For beginners dipping their toes into the fixie world, the bike also comes with a flip-flop hub and front and rear brakes. Add in the water bottle mounts on the down tube and you have a versatile, durable bike that would be a great commuter through town.

Features:

  • Choice of handlebars – depending on your performance and aesthetic preference you can select bullhorn, drop bar, or riser bar handlebars.
  • Great value – no-frills fixie that does its job.
  • Wellgo alloy platform pedals – for a change, the stock pedals that come with the bike look good and perform well. No cheap plastic here.

9. Schwinn Kedzie

Pin

CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Frame Material: Steel
  • Weight: 30 lbs

The Schwinn Kedzie is another great budget fixie for low maintenance riding. It comes with a 48x18t drivetrain and flip-flop hub that is great for city riding.

Getting used to braking with a fixie takes time and no small amount of skill so it is nice to see another entry-level bike that comes with front and rear caliper brakes.

A bottle cage holder on the down tube completes the usefulness of this bike.

Features:

  • Alloy rims – the rims look great, are lightweight, and make braking responsive.
  • Schwinn urban saddle – comfortable and grippy.
  • Front and rear caliper brakes – keeps the bike legal and is great for getting the hang of braking with a fixed-gear without compromising on safety.

10. 650C Wabi Classic

CHECK PRICE AT WABI

  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 17 lbs

Short riders have often been overlooked in the fixie trend so it is refreshing to see what the Wabi Classic achieves with its 650c wheels.

These are beautiful, hand-built bikes but it makes sense to start with the wheels. They are lightweight and fast. Where some bikes scrimp on wheels, the opposite is true here. Darting from traffic stop to traffic stop you notice the acceleration.

The frame is also lightweight but is great at ironing out the bumps of the city street. You can customize the geometry and gearing to get the perfect fixie without having to compromise on comfort.

Features:

  • 650c wheel – one of the few fixies that accommodate shorter riders without having to compromise on comfort.
  • Customizable geometry – complimenting the 650c wheels is the fact that you can customize the geometry to get the perfect bike fit makes these ideal fixies for female riders. Most fixies are designed by men for men.
  • Hand-built – since each bike is hand-built you can select everything from handlebars to saddles.

11. Pure Cycles Original

CHECK PRICE AT REI

  • Frame Material: Steel
  • Weight: 23 lbs

With the Pure Cycles Original Series, you get a solid, well-made fixie that is a great option for riders that value durability and, in this case, great looks.

For the price, it is relatively lightweight and fast around town and comes with a flip-flop hub so that you can line up the freewheel hub and take advantage of some coasting when your legs get tired of going around in circles.

This is the bike that started it all when two college kids wanted to address a sizeable gap in the campus cycling market. For low maintenance cycling from A to B, it has stood the test of time.

Features:

  • 40mm Deep-Dish rims – put simply, they look cool.
  • Steel frame – surprisingly lightweight and highly durable.
  • WTB Thickslick tires – great 28mm stock tires for all riding conditions.

Why Use A Fixed Gear Bike?

You will get some fairly philosophical answers to this question about the ultimate link between human and machine but the true answer is that fixed-gear bikes are fun.

Riding a fixed-gear represents that you are not bound by the dogma that you find in other cycling disciplines. You are free to customize your bike design and wear what you like on your bike.

Fixed-gear bikes also make great commuter bikes due to their inherent simplicity. It is no accident that their popularity surged when bike couriers ruled the busy streets.

For messengers time was money and they simply could not afford to stand at the side of the road fixing complicated components instead of getting paid to ride.

Read more: Guide to bike messenger bags

For commuting, you need a bike that is first and foremost reliable day-in and day-out.

Since you are connected directly to the rear wheel, riding a fixed-gear is a great way to improve your pedaling efficiency and make you a stronger rider.

Dead spots in your pedal stroke are ironed out and having only one gear means that a steep hill requires sheer effort to crest. You need to get used to grinding up at 20rpm.

On the other hand, keeping up with the pedals on a descent might mean turning over at 200rpm (for very short periods!). All of this is great training for your legs that can be carried forward to your regular rides with impressive results.

Video: How To Skid On A Fixie

Types Of Fixies

There are two main types of fixed-gear bikes; a Track Fixie and a Freestyle Fixie.

A track fixie is designed for high speed on a velodrome track. In true fixie fashion, it has no freewheel and no brakes and the rider is in a very aggressive position.

A freestyle fixie is more likely to be seen out on the streets and having been designed to take a beating.

Single Speed Vs. Fixed Gear Bikes

At first glance, a single-speed bike and fixed-gear bike look almost identical with a single front chainring and rear sprocket but under the bonnet, there are some not so subtle differences.

Freewheel

The biggest difference is in the rear hubs. A single-speed bike has a freewheel hub that allows the rear wheel to rotate even when you stop pedaling in much the same way as a standard road bike.

On a fixed-gear bike, the rear sprocket is attached to the hub meaning that if the bike is moving the pedals will always be turning.

In simple terms, there is no coasting on a true fixie.

Braking

The hub design on a fixie also means that you can lock the rear wheel by forcing the pedals to stop turning. For some riders, this will be all the brake they need. Others also like the option of at least a standard front brake.

Single-speed bikes have front and rear brakes just like you find on standard road bikes.

Read more: Road bikes under $2000

How To Choose A Fixie Single Speed Bike: Features To Considered

parts of a fixie single speed bicyclePin

Size

You should always try to get a proper bike fit from your local bike shop when looking at a new bike.

A good rule of thumb for fixies though is to go a size down from your regular road bike

Brakes

This is a sensitive issue when it comes to fixed-gear bikes and there is sometimes stark divergence between what the law says and what traditionalists say.

Any rider who prioritizes safety on the road should ride a fixie with an additional brake at the front. In general, you do not need a caliper brake at the rear since the wheel itself acts as a brake.

Getting the hang of safely braking using the rear wheel takes time, especially to do it effectively.

A front brake is the most effective way to stop a bike since most of your weight is over the front wheel. Just be careful with it though; feather the brake!

Gearing Ratios

Since you only have one sprocket size on your fixie at any one time (or two if you have a flip-flop hub), careful consideration needs to be given to the gear ratio.

This will depend on your riding style (do you like to grind or spin) and your usual cycling environment.

If you happen to live somewhere flat, a higher gear ratio is a good choice. As a general rule the higher the gear, the more fun the fixie will be to ride, as long as it is low enough to get over the most demanding hill on your route.

If you own a road bike already, a good idea is to spend some time riding in certain gears to gauge the optimal gear ratio you will need on a fixie.

Frame Material

Although carbon dominates the road bike scene, fixed-gear bikes tend to be constructed of something stronger, usually steel or aluminum.

In terms of durability, aluminum frames are better as they are more rust-resistant than steel. On the other hand, steel tends to be more compliant than aluminum and can therefore offer a more comfortable ride.

Hubs

Fixed-gear bike hubs can be either single-sided or a flip-flop hub where you have sprockets on each side. 

A flip-flop hub allows you to ride with different gearing ratios which can be utilized by flipping the wheel. This can be effective if most of your riding is flat but there happens to be a challenging hill on the route.

Another option is to run a freewheel sprocket on one side so that you can take advantage of some coasting at times.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Fixed-gear Bikes Come With Brakes?

The traditionalists will say that a proper fixed-gear bike should not be corrupted by brakes. This is an area where the law and traditionalists tend to disagree, however.

The law in the US is vague enough that a fixed wheel would be enough for braking but that is not to say that riders have not been charged.

In the UK, the law states that bikes must have two brakes, one at the front and one at the ear. A fixed wheel would pass for a rear brake but it would also require a front brake to be legal. 

Away from the law, adding a front brake is a good idea for inexperienced fixed-gear bike riders and provides more control.

Are Fixies Dangerous?

In the wrong hands, there is certainly an argument to be made that fixed-gear bikes can be dangerous. Backpedaling to brake is not intuitive to most riders and mastering the braking and modulation takes experience.

Riding on busy streets is no place to safely gain this experience.

Why Are Fixies So Popular?

It would be tempting to blame hipsters for the popularity of fixed-gear bikes but in truth, they have always had their cheerleaders.

There are many reasons for their popularity but perhaps the top of the list is their sheer simplicity makes them tough and extremely low maintenance.

That and the fact that riding one is fundamentally fun. Sure, gears and a freewheel can be great but there is a certain joy in having to pedal constantly. It is a hard sell on paper but riders who try it often fall in love with the experience.

Wrapping Up

Without getting too deep and exploring the symbiotic experience between man and machine, all you need to know is that riding a fixed-gear bike is fun. Lots of fun.

The only way to know if fixed-gear riding is for you is to get out there and try it. If you are looking for the best fixie then look no further than the 6KU Urban Track. It might have a track heritage but it has everything you would want in a city bike.

If fixed-gear bike riding gets under your skin then the next logical step for a lot of riders is to test their mettle on the steep boards on the velodrome. The Aventon Mataro is the bike for that. It is a medal winner and sitting on it is the best way to experience track riding.

Since a fixed-gear bike is a bike stripped down to its essential parts you can get some great value, no-nonsense bikes that are more than capable of getting you from A to B. If you are on a budget but still want to travel by bike, the Retrospec Harper offers a huge amount of bang for your buck.

Pinterest Pin for Best Fixed Gear BikesPin
Mark Whitley
Mark Whitley
I’m a cycling enthusiast, and the founder and chief editor of Bike Push. If I’m not working on this website, then I’m out on the bike clocking up the miles. I want to help others get the most out of cycling.

Leave a Comment