Using your fixie
The track bike is the best known type of fixie. However they are also used in tricks and free riding. Since the beginning of the 21st century there are more and more bicycles like this on the public road; this trend probably has its heritage from the bike messengers sub culture. Some of them do not have any brakes installed at all: the biker brakes or loses speed by giving back pressure on the crank or completely blocking it, after which the rear wheel slips. Because the front wheel can deliver the best braking power it is advised to install a front brake on a fixie which is intended to be driven on the road. Most of these bikes come from New York. This trend came after a couple of guys did not like their road bikes anymore and thought it would be fun to ride without brakes. This trend then came to Europe and spread throughout the world after.
Pros and cons of a fixie
The simplicity and the low weight makes it very attractive for many bike messengers. There are no gears and only two chain rings, there is no need for a back brake, and the chain is short. The chain line is perfect in line with the length of the bike. All of this makes the fixie efficient and the maintenance easy. Because of the fixed gear the rider can feel the bike much better, for example a smooth road is easy to notice which can definitely benefit when riding through the city. A rider cannot stop pedalling to rest. That is what makes a Fixed Gear a perfect bike to train on.
Because of the absence of gears the rider has to really go to work when facing strong winds or when climbing a steep mountain. But on the other hand when going down a hill he has to spin his legs rather fast. Cornering asks for larger angles since the cranks keep turning with the pedals as long as the rear wheel moves. There is a risk that the pedal hits the ground inside the corner which in turn makes the rider fall on the ground. A lot of fixies have short cranks for this simple purpose (165 mm instead of 170 mm). The fixed gear with the rear wheel do bring a lot of danger with them when for instance your pants come in between the chain and the chain ring; you cannot just turn the pedals backwards to untie it making it difficult to fix when you screw up. When you have to do maintenance on your chain it can be dangerous for your fingers when the rear wheel is spinning. If the chain runs off the chain ring of brakes it can snap in between the frame and the rear sprocket with falling down as a consequence. Toe clips, click pedals or straps are important with fixies because they prevent the feet of the rider to detach when encountering a big hump in the road or when trying to brake/skid.
Fixies without a braking system are in many countries (under which Belgium and the Netherlands) forbidden to be driven on the open road.
Fixies can be bought as a complete bike; mainly made for the track, but sometimes also for the road. Most fixies on the road however are made from older race and road bikes. The most important aspect is that the frame of the bike has (semi-) horizontal dropouts, so the chain can be tightened by moving the rear wheel forwards and backwards. With a conversion to a fixed gear the gears, back brake, and one of the front chain rings are to be removed. The rear hub gets replaced by a track hub. The chain line is an aspect not to be taken lightly: it needs to be straight. It is important to keep your singlespeed nice and clean and have proper maintenance.
Why a Fixie?
A Fixed Gear has the special setup compared to a regular bike. We make sure you are going very fast, and that you do not have to stop pedalling ever. A fixie consists of many different setups, such as flip flop hubs and the absence or non-absence of brakes. It is very important to make this setup as complete as possible and make it all fit together, to avoid accidents and be sure of a proper bike. Remember a singlespeed is not the safest way to travel around but it sure is really cool. With a fixie you never know when you are coming to a stop or when your journey is interrupted by falling to the ground or a little accident. The art of riding, the art of stopping and the art of riding like a maniac through the streets showing everyone that riding a fixie is the only way.
We offer an extensive assortment of fixie bikes, frames and components. This way you can find many different types of brakes in our store but also the newest and coolest wheel sets and sales which are going to surprise you. For instance we also have a lot of pedals, straps, crank sets but also backpacks and other gear. The extensive assortment of our bike messenger bags guarantees the most exclusive backpacks to wear when riding your brand new fixie.
Let us surprise you through our assortment of bikes and frames, configure your own bike. Go to the store and enjoy! Below you can find a video which shows you just how awesome it is to ride a fixie.