Beyond The Frame

19 Reasons Why Fixie Bikes Are Perfect For City Riding

19 Reasons Why Fixie Bikes Are Perfect For City Riding

19 Of The Most Popular Reasons Why Fixie Bikes Are Perfect For The City 

Before we talk fixie bikes in particular, it’s important that we talk words in general so that we’re all on the same page when it comes to terminology. It’ll be painless, I promise.

Single speed: Just as it sounds, a single-speed bike has only one gear ratio (one front chainring and one rear sprocket). Single-speed bikes can be either fixed-gear or freewheel. NOTE: Most of the time, when bike riders use the term “single-speed”, they are referring to the freewheel version.

Fixed gear: A fixed gear (or fixie) is a single-speed bike that has a drivetrain with no freewheel mechanism. The absence of a freewheel mechanism means that when the rear wheel is turning, the pedals are turning (forward or backwards!). At its most basic, that means no coasting.

Freewheel: Freewheel bikes allow the pedals to stop turning while the rear wheel continues to turn. Most modern bikes—single speed or multi gear—have a freewheel setup. Remember, “single speed” is often used to distinguish a single-speed freewheel bike (you can coast) from a single speed fixed gear bike (you can’t coast). 

There, that wasn’t so bad. Now on to the particulars. 

For the purposes of this article, we’ll be referring to fixed gear (or fixie) throughout but the same reasoning could be applied to single speed.

So what’s the big deal with fixed gear bikes? To put it simply, they’re perfect for the urban commute. Don’t believe me? Here are 19 reasons why fixie bikes are perfect for city riding. 

Less weight

A geared bike typically weighs 1 – 2 pounds more than the identical fixed-gear bike because the geared bike includes shift levers, derailleurs, and heavier cranksets and cassettes (the front and rear sprockets). Sure it’s only a matter of a couple pounds, but those extra pounds can really make a difference when you’re commuting home after a long day’s work.

Less likely to be stolen

bike theif fail

 You’ve heard the stories about thieves who failed to steal a car because they couldn’t work a manual transmission? Fixed-gear is the bike equivalent of the manual transmission. Learning to ride a fixed-gear bike does take some getting used to and the first time you hop on, it’s going to feel weird. Try it and you’ll understand why fixies are often left unmolested (even when unchained) in favor of the geared bike.


Cheaper is a relative term (and depends a lot on the components you use) but, for the most part, fixies are cheaper than comparable geared bikes. They’re cheaper because they have less hardware and because they’re typically made of less expensive materials (hi ten steel vs. carbon fiber). 

Easier and cheaper to repair

Broken bike

Fixed-gear bikes have less to repair. With regular maintenance (simple oiling and tightening), about the only things that will need to be replaced are the brake pads. And that regular maintenance we mentioned? It’s a lot easier because you don’t have to deal with complicated derailleurs.

Less to break

derailleur fell off cog

Speaking of derailleurs, these “moving parts” will wear out over time (as most moving parts do) and need to be repaired or replaced. This can get expensive real fast. Fixed-gear bikes don’t have that problem. Unless you really beat on your fixed-gear bike, the only things that might break are a spoke or the chain. These repairs are relatively simple and won’t break the bank like a derailleur. 

Better efficiency

A fixed-gear bike offers more efficient transfer of energy from the pedal to the wheel because of the short chain length, the straight chainline, and the absence of derailleur pulleys. And while efficiency might not be you first concern, it can make a difference on those longer rides.

You’re not really using those other gears

Most urban areas are relatively flat so you don’t need all those low gears (the ones that make it easier to climb hills). At most, you might need three. Choose a good gear ratio and you’ll only need one. Sure you might have to work a little harder when starting from a full stop, but you don’t ride your bike because it’s easy (do you?).

Less to think about

With a fixed-gear bike, you don’t have to think about which gear you need to be in (because you only have the one). You can just enjoy the ride. That’s not to say that you can’t enjoy the ride on a geared bike, but a small part of your brain will always be focused on deciding whether to shift gears or not. Free your mind.

Less to do

This one’s pretty simple. No shifting necessary? That’s one less thing you have to do. Just pedal, brake, and focus on traffic.


For those of you with fitness ambitions, fixed-gear bikes improve cadence (pedal speed measured by the number of revolutions your legs make during 60 seconds of riding).

According to Chelsey Magnes writing on Gear Junkie, “A high cadence (100-110) is more efficient and better than a slow cadence (70-80) because your muscles don’t take such a beating, your lungs and heart recover faster, there’s less torque on your knees, and it allows for faster acceleration with less effort.”

Ms. Magnes goes on to add that “the fixie helps [improve cadence] because it never lets you get lazy and coast. It makes you pedal, which forces your legs into a perfect drive ratio with the speed of your gearing.”

Easy low-speed maneuvering 

According to one Reddit contributor, “In the city, you’re often riding in slower traffic and have to modulate your speed to avoid lanesplitting cars and other obstacles. It’s much easier to do this with your legs [on a fixed-gear bike] than by constantly modulating the brake.”


Feel more connected to the bike


Many riders claim you’ll feel more connected to the bike and the biking experience on a fixed-gear because you don’t have all the modern “tech” getting in the way—it’s just you and the bike come hell or steep hills. I don’t know about all that, but I’ve ridden fixed-gear for so long that it might be something I take for granted. Give it a try and see how you feel.

Track stands

Sure track stands—stopping for a short time without putting a foot on the ground—can be done on a geared bike, but they are much easier on a fixed-gear bike because you can make both forward and back adjustments.

The track stand is especially useful in city riding because of all the stops and starts required (unless you’re going to run the reds). Yes, you can put your foot down, but it’s much easier (and quicker) to accelerate from a stop when both feet are already on the pedals.

Track stands are also fun so they’ve got that going for them. Whether you ride a fixed-gear or a geared bike, you’re better off knowing how to do a track stand. Give it a try.

Ride backwards

I’m not sure exactly what use this would have—or why it would be better for city riding—but it is still a pretty cool feature of the fixed-gear bike. Like the track stand, it will take a bit of practice but imagine the control you’ll have. Stuck in traffic with no way to turn around? Just ride backward until you find a way out. Cool!


While this isn’t a motivator for everyone, it was for me. I’d been riding a bike for so long, and through so many distances and situations, that when it came time to replace my geared bike, I was like, “Eh”. It wasn’t the thrill that it had been before. Contemplating a fixed-gear brought that feeling back in spades.

Develop new skills

As I mentioned in the Novelty section above, the thought of riding a fixed-gear made me excited about biking again. I was excited because of the new skills I was set to learn. I’m by no means an “expert” rider (whatever that may be), but I have been riding for longer than I care to admit and have pretty much seen and done it all. 

Learning to ride a fixed-gear opened up a new world of skills just waiting to be mastered and put to use. Suddenly, I wasn’t comfortable on my bike for a change and that was a good thing. Let the learning begin!

Streamlined aesthetic Myfix Cycles Fixie bike

There’s something to be said about the simplicity of a fixed-gear bike. It’s that streamlined aesthetic that appeals to many riders young and old. Combine that aesthetic with the other factors inherent in a fixed-gear bike and you’ve got a recipe that’s bound to please.

The aesthetics of the bike are also easier (and often cheaper) to customize on a fixed-gear bike. That brings us to the next reason.

Customization galore 

Custom Fixie

As fixed-gear bikes have increased in popularity, so too have the options for customization. Just type “fixed gear bike” or “fixie” into your favorite search engine, click on images, and you’ll see what I mean. You can tailor your ride however you see fit and express your true sense of style. Whether you like bullhorn handlebars or BMX. Whether you like a pink chain or a blue one. Whether you like colored tires or black, your fixed-gear bike can be modified to your heart’s content…often for cheap.


The optional cool dismount

 As bike god Sheldon Brown writes on his website, “Instead of getting off to the side of the bike, the fixed-gear rider can go straight off the back. As the bike slows to near walking speed, disengage your left foot [Mr. Brown is referring to clips and clipless pedals], then wait for the right pedal to get to the bottom of its circle. As the right pedal starts to rise, straighten your right leg and let the motion of the pedal lift you up. Let go of the handlebars, let the saddle move forward between your legs, and put your left foot on the ground. As the bike goes ahead, grab it by the saddle and walk if necessary.” Dismount complete. Pretty cool, huh?

It’s just fun

Love of Cycling

While your daily commute may not be what you would consider fun, riding a fixed-gear bike is and that’s often reason enough for many people. 

Is fixed-gear or single-speed riding for you?

No one can answer that question for you. My best advice is to find a friend or a store that will let you try a fixed-gear or single-speed bike for yourself. You’ll very quickly feel what is required of you if you choose to pursue this means of transportation. You’ll also love it or hate it (often very quickly as well). If you love it, make the leap and buy one. If you hate it, that’s okay too. There are plenty of other options out there.

If you’re not sure whether to get a fixed-gear or a single-speed, don’t fret. The wonderful thing about this type of bike is that you can purchase what’s called a flip-flop hub that allows the rear tire to be installed one way for fixed-gear and another way for single-speed (just flip it around). That way, if you find that you just HAVE to coast, you can switch back to single-speed while still enjoying everything we’ve talked about above. If you’re not convinced yet, talk to the experts at Myfix Cycles. They’ll be happy to help you decide. Now, enough writing. It’s time to go riding!


Oct 28, 2019

The line about “connecting w/ the bike” really resonates with me.

Oct 28, 2019

I currently run a 42/22 gearing ratio as I live in a crazy hilly place and I also have a freewheel setup. This is actually really fun as I can climb really steep hills, not work too hard on the flats and enjoy the simple experience a lot more.

Oct 28, 2019

Good article. I’m in the process of converting an 18-speed vintage bike to a fixie, just in time for Summer.
We’ll see how it goes…

Oct 28, 2019

Wife bought me a fixie for a birthday gift , am stocky muscular by nature , have been cycling for some years , discovered was on a learning curve with fixie named " Wild Thing " found it quite skittish at first definately a knack to it , love this bike have sorted my gears out , for flat and hills ride it anywhere l would ride a geared bike bike in fact prefer it , have found this forum informative , cheers

Ron Nettleton
Oct 28, 2019

I would say that you are incorrect for all the reasons you stated for Fixed Gear being perfect for daily riding or commuting. A single speed bike is a much better and safer tool for riding than a fixed gear. Sure you feel more connected, but for commuting? I’ve done it, for sure, and I get it. But freewheeling is better. For me, first and foremost is the ability to coast. Being hardcore aside l, having your speed limited going downhill is a big pain. Of course you could take your feet off the pedals and then have to do that near gymnastics feat if timing your feet to rotating pedals after you’ve slowed enough to get your feet back on…. But… most people aren’t going there. Second, freewheeling is the entryway to fixed gear. Fixed gear is intimidating to say the list in the beginning, to the point where most won’t try it. It’s different enough that there’s a different way of think involved to simply riding a bike. Single speed on the other hand gets you most of the positives and none of the negatives. Third, you still get the simplicity and effeciancy of the fixed gear, but you get to rest after that hard climb. That’s a big plus in the summer months while you’re trying to avoid sweating like you’ve just jumped in a pool. As well braking isn’t a cumbersome proposition. Hardcore riders of fixed gear eschew actual brakes for skidding, which is particularly dangerous and requires a good amount of skill, while having those brakes available is still cumbersome while your legs are still rotating on the cranks. Lastly, pedal strikes, toe picks and the like can catch you during the damnedest times and for a novice fixed gear rider commuting? Why that can be a recipe for disaster. My two cents. And yet, all I ever see is this hard ouch towards fixed gear riding. Single speed is much more close to “perfect” than fixed gear.

James W McClellan
Oct 28, 2019

Fixed gear bikes are meant for track racing and are best left on the track. The fixed gear keeps riders in a tight pack, forcing them to stay off the brakes, and remove some potential for wheel overlap crashes. On the road, these bikes can prove to be more dangerous because you have to lock up the rear wheel if you want to stop pedaling. This has been the cause of accidents where riders come in to an intersection “too hot” and end up sliding through red lights or stop signs due to the all or nothing braking system. Most tires out there will not last very long if they are used for skid stops and with today’s prices ranging from $20 for a low quality tire to $100+ for a high end tread, that’s hardly more affordable than keeping up with the regular maintenance of a bike with gears. Please don’t go and buy fixed gear bike until you really know what you are getting into.

Oct 28, 2019

Having gone from a multigeared 2×9 and down to 1×8 35x 11-32 and then realizing predominantly I was riding in one gear ratio, I contemplated a single speed. It never occurred to me to want to ride fixed even though even though through all the research I did, I found that just about every single speed came with a flip-flop hub. I never bought one then. What ended up happening is my derailer hook snapped throwing the derailer and wedging it between the chain stay the chain and the wheel. It was mangled as I was cooking at fairly high clip and the road being uneven with sort of of rolling warps in the road it just bounced right in. So I hopped off pulled my multitools out removed the derailer assembly (no broken spokes..miracle!), shortened the chain after choosing my favorite ratio and road home on my commute. I road that way day after day and found I had no desire to buy a new derailer. Then someone stole my bike. And then I literally the next day walking by a trash dump I saw a frame sticking out and it was a SE Draft single speed frame. All I needed was a chain wheels and petals. I road single speed and did so through 3 different bike purchases. The best decision I ever made in my cycling life of 20 years. Recently my freewheel exploded and I walked home (no fixed cog as I never used it). Exausted I went to sleep without changing wheels. When I woke up (late) I just put a single speed cog on not having time to go into the work shed and grab another bike. (Couldn’t find the key to the shed door). And rode that like that to this very day going on 2 months now. I ride 44-16 as ride in a hilly area of the DC metropolitan area. What I’ve found is I really need to go up to at least 46 as power transfer is a little more efficient with out the slight play you have with a freewheel even though I have over 80 points of engagement. Freewheels really do rob you of power efficiency, geared or otherwise. I do miss coasting downhill, though. My commute is faster with a freewheel and while I do power up hills faster fixed, it’s not so much faster that it offsets the speeds attained riding freewheel downhill. And No, even foot off pedals you are still faster downhill with a freewheel. Centrifugal force causes it’s own rolling resistance with those pedals spinning as they do, not counting the instability of not having your feet on the pedals. Very sketchy. Anyways, I do like riding fixed, but I have a White Industries coming to replace my dead freewheel and I’ll be returning to single speed. But what I will be doing is building a dedicated fixed gear. I do like it that much.

James McClellan
Dec 24, 2018

I’ve been curious about the benefits of a single-speed bike. Maybe alright for some but I like the options that multiple gears offers. Good write up though.

Burt Willey
Dec 24, 2018

Great article. Years ago I tried to ride a fixed gear and really found it tough. I bought a used bike with a one gear free-wheel and a fixed gear on the flip side. The free wheel recently broke so I flipped the wheel around to the fixed. After a few minutes I got used to it and I must say it makes the riding experience new again! I was not expecting that. Another thing I like, even with the single gear free-wheel, is how the whole bike feels like a simple extension of yourself and feels like a solid simple machine. I’m still getting used to it, I still find myself trying to coast and almost getting thrown off but that’s another cool thing, reacting to the bike’s behavior.

Dec 24, 2018

Now i know why my firends recommend me ride a fixie^^all this year i been riding gear and freewheel…i just started today….and what im thinking is this is more fun then riding straight line…it has other tricks to show and those trick its really usuable, thats what my opinion and also the way i look people who ride fixie is simple but heck no its hard then the way it looked…

KJ Seo

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