What You Will Get Here
- Single-Speed Bike vs. Fixed Gear Bikes
- How Did We Pick These Products?
- What to Consider When Buying Single Speed Bikes?
- Our Top 10 Product List
- Editor's Choice: 6ku Aluminum Fixed Gear Single Speed
- Top Cruiser Bike: Sixthreezeero Around the Block Men's Cruiser Bike
- Best value: Retrospec Harper Single-Speed Fixed Gear Urban Commuter Bike
- Great for Leisurely Rides: Pure Fix Original Fixie Bike
- Great for Heavy Riders: Retrospec Critical Cycles Classic Track Bike
- A List of 5 Other Products We Reviewed
- Other Tested Products
- Single Speed Bike Maintenance Tips
- Final Word
Single-Speed Bike vs. Fixed Gear Bikes
First, it's crucial to have a little idea of what a single-speed bike is.
As the name implies, a single-speed comes with a freewheel mechanism that allows it to run on one gear ratio. This bike doesn't have specialized gearing components like hubs, derailleur, and shifters for changing the speed.
You may have seen both single speed and fixed gear bikes, although they're very similar, yet, they differ. This difference is in the hub's makeup as well as the connection between the drivetrain and cog. A single-speed bicycle has a freewheel rear hub allowing you to rotate freely in only one direction. This component will enable you to still ride without engaging the pedals since the cranks don't turn.
In a fixed gear bike, the cog and the hub are together. It means when the pedal is turning, the cog will always turn. Here, the crank and rear wheel move at the same speed. Since there's no freewheel action, the bike can move backward when the pedal is rotating back. Another way to bring your bike to a halt is to stop pedaling in either direction.
Single-speed bikes are cheaper and lighter than the multi-gear types since they have less complicated parts. Also, they demand less maintenance making it ideal for riding in all weather conditions. Most importantly, you'll have the freedom to cruise the roads with either fixed or Freewheel rides. Surprisingly, they have better drivetrain efficiency because of the straight chain line.
How Did We Pick These Products?
We began by spending a lot of time online to check the models available. Then we selected 20 single speed bikes across various brands and prices. Since our interest was to pick the top 10 on sale, we recruited some volunteers to help us to determine the quality of these bikes. Of course, it would've been impossible for us to check all these products ourselves considering the limited time.
Then we analyzed each of these items by the build quality, features, ratings, reviews, users' riding style, etc. While categorizing all the features that'll interest every buyer, we compared their specifications and performance to see how they fared above another.
We also met with other experienced riders for their opinion about the products we've selected. As expected, they gave those items many positive ratings. Also, we checked Amazon to see the reviews of the buyers of the models on our list. These results were encouraging, which is indicative that we're on an excellent track to listing our top 10 best-rated products.
What to Consider When Buying Single Speed Bikes?
1. Style of Riding
Both single speed and fixies are ideal for commuting around the city on the bike pavements. But if you want to take some off-road courses or race with friends, get a model with studier frame and tires.
Many of the bikes on sale have either steel or aluminum frames. Steel frames are heavy but more durable while aluminum frames are light and comfortable for use on-road trails. It's essential to consider the frame's size and shape as it'll determine your comfortability when riding.
Single-speed bikes usually come with flat, bullhorn, riser, or drop handlebars. Note that each of these types will impact on your ease of riding. For example, flat handlebars are short in length, making it easy to turn in a corner. Bullhorn and riser handles are a bit curled to the back, allowing you to lean forward to get a good grip, especially when riding fast.
On the other hand, drop bars allow you to ride in a slightly lowered position which is perfect for racing. Also, your seat's length and distance relative to the handlebar will influence your riding posture.
Bike saddles are the same in terms of design, but most models have more padding, which gives you better comfort. If you are riding for hours each day, look for ones with springs since they provide better cushioning against road bumps.
5. Gear ratio
The gear ratio determines how fast you can go on the bike and it's given in 44:16 (2.75) or 46.16 (2.88). The 44.16 gearing system is suitable for leisure rides that need more acceleration but less speed. The 46.16 rating is more efficient and offers higher rates but less acceleration. It is excellent for racing, cruising, and commuting.
Many single speed bikes come with caliper brakes at the front which delivers superb stopping power. Although there are ones with disc brakes, they cost more. Most advanced users prefer models with coaster brakes since they bring you to a slow stop when pedaling backward.
The pedal is one of the most critical parts of the bike. It links your legs to the crankset, which in turn, moves the unit. Most buyers fail to pay attention to the pedals, although their performance depends on it. BMX types are simple and easier to use while clipless ones offer better control, yet tricky for beginners. Also, the pedals should be from high-quality and durable materials.
8. Depth of Rim
Single-speed bikes feature 700c tires on rims of 30mm – 40mm depth which is common in track and racing types.
As mentioned earlier, single-speed bikes have hubs with freewheel cog that allows you to coast or cruise with ease. Almost all the models on this buying guide feature flip-flop hubs, which you'll quickly switch between fixed gear or single speed cog by remounting the rear wheel in reverse.
Most riders prefer the swept and narrow seat design which is common in racing bikes. As we said earlier, seats with good padding reduce the feeling of numbness and pains in the butt muscles.