As commuters, we are a bit spoiled when it comes to choosing a bike to get to work on. What type of bike is best for you will depend on a few things but I’m sure fixies have come up as an option so are fixies good for commuting?
Yes, fixed gear bikes are good for commuting. If your commute doesn’t have lots of hills then a fixie is worth considering. They’re cheaper to buy than other types of bikes and easier to maintain. However if your commute features lots of hills, you may want to think again.
I cover these factors in more detail below and help you weigh up the options so I’d recommend you keep reading. 😁
Can You Commute On A Fixie?
You absolutely can use a fixie to commute, in fact, fixies are becoming the bike to commute on.
Fixed gear bikes don’t have a freewheel, which means if you want the wheels to move, you need to make the pedals spin – in other words, you don’t get a break. So for riders looking to improve their physical fitness as part of the commute, fixies are fantastic.
Of course, for some people, a fixie isn’t going to be ideal to commute on due to hilly terrains. If you are looking to ride where there are lots of hills, then a road bike or mountain bike could be a better option.
Fun is also a big factor. If you’re starting out or considering commuting to work by bike then you need to be able to enjoy it. You’re much more likely to stick to it this way. The great thing about fixies is that they provide the most enjoyable ride so they make a great option as a commuter bike.
You’re in sync with your bike and many riders will say it’s like the bike almost becomes part of their body – not one to usually make bold statements, but I do agree with this!
Whilst this does increase your fun factor and therefore makes the commute more fun, it does have safety benefits too. If you’re getting better feedback from the road, you are able to respond better and more quickly, therefore reducing your risks.
Overall, a fixed gear bike makes a great commuter bike because it simplifies the whole process of getting to work on a bike!
Related article – Does Cycling To Work Get Easier?
Is It Hard To Ride A Fixie?
If you’ve never ridden a fixie, then you could find it a bit tricky to get used to at first, I’m not going to lie!
This is down to numerous different factors. Firstly, you have to keep pedaling. You stop pedaling, you stop moving, it’s as simple as that. If you’re like me and used to coasting down hills, then you’ve got some adjustments to make!
Secondly, most fixies tend not to have brakes and you have to get used to using your pedals as the braking system.
How does that work in practice?
Well, you have to get used to slowing your pedaling down gradually when you want to stop. If you suddenly stop pedaling, you’re going to get into difficulties.
As you get more used to riding a fixed gear bike, you will find yourself getting increasingly confident and can come to a stop with a skid (yes, it looks as cool as it sounds).
Want to develop your skid skills?
Related article – Tips & Tricks For Commuting To Work By Bike
Once you have those two lessons mastered, you’re pretty much there! There isn’t much to learn about riding a fixie as there aren’t many components to them!
I should mention that you can buy fixies that do come with some form of braking system, usually a front caliper brake so if you really don’t want to be without a traditional type of brake, you don’t need to!
Want some tips on how to get used to riding a fixie? Check out this video.
Looking for something a bit easier to ride to work? Check out the Best Hybrid Bikes Under $500.
Why Are Fixies So Popular?
Fixies continue to rise in popularity and to be honest, I don’t see that trend stopping anytime soon but why?
Let’s look at a few reasons why fixies are (probably!) here to stay.
They’re trendy and cool. There’s no getting away from that.
There’s something about fixed gear bikes that people love (I’m guilty of this too). They’re simple. They’re as classic as it gets.
Yep. Fixies have style.
Related article – 5 Of The Best Cycling Headphones
Fixed gear bikes also increase your fitness in a way that other bikes can’t. You simply have no choice in the matter. Your legs are going round whether you like it or not.
Some super high cadence at times and this helps to develop your leg muscles. As you can’t coast, your legs don’t have the opportunity to stiffen up either. It’s a new rhythm to get used to but once you do…it’s a very special feeling.
Why not track some basic fitness metrics with a budget bike computer?
Fixies have very little in the way of components so this makes your average fixie fairly lightweight.
It’s one reason why they make good bikes for commuters as if you need to carry your bike anywhere then it’s easier if the bike weighs less.
With a fixie, you can forget shifters, cables, freewheel hubs, shocks, and anything else. There’s none of that going on! All those extra components can really make a difference to the overall weight and ultimately your performance on the bike.
Without all the extra components, the cost of your average fixed-speed gear bike is cheaper than your average road or mountain bike.
A fixie is a stripped-back bike in a sense and as such, doesn’t demand the high price tag that a Dura-Ace Di2 carbon road bike would for example.
Easy To Maintain
When you’re a commuter you want minimal maintenance for your bike. This is one of the fixie’s true strengths. Other types of bikes simply can’t compete.
Check the tires. Check that the chain is tight and you’re good to go.
That’s it. Seriously.
Once in a blue moon, you may find that you have to replace your chain but one chain could last you the lifetime of the bike.
The chain on a fixie isn’t subject to the same amount of stress with geared bikes. They don’t have to move sideways – chains were never designed to move sideways! This is why a chain on a fixie will last a lot longer than that on a geared bike.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Fixies Bad For Your Knees?
Exercise is going to put wear and strain on your joints, whether that’s with a fixie or any other type of bike – especially your knees.
As your legs have to be in constant motion, obviously you’re using your joints a bit more but riding a fixie shouldn’t be damaging your knees unless you have a pre-existing condition, you’re overworking yourself or your position isn’t quite right.
If your riding position is poor and you’re kept in constant motion as you are with a fixie then your knee doesn’t get time to rest. Any underlying problem is naturally going to become exacerbated by bad technique.
Related article – Is Running Or Cycling Worse For Your Knees?
Are Fixies Good For Long Distance?
That sort of depends on what you consider to be long-distance but generally, a fixie isn’t the ideal bike for long-distance rides.
Sure, some serious fixie fans can do it, no problem, but for most cyclists, you’re going to want another bike to cover longer distances.
I’m not saying you can’t do it, because you can go as far as you want but there are better options out there than using a fixie.
For commuting, a fixed gear bike works really well, and for racking up a few miles here and there, there isn’t a more fun bike to do it on but if you’re wanting to cover some serious ground, I’d suggest at least going for a single speed.
A single speed bike will give you a break from pedaling – you can coast!
When you’re covering longer distances, just having that option to have a breather can make all the difference to the overall enjoyment of your ride and frankly, whether you get to where you want to go!
Want the full low down on the difference? Here you go.
Can You Coast On A Fixie?
No, there’s no coasting on a fixed gear bike. If your bike is moving, your legs need to be moving.
The pedals are directly connected to the rear wheel so when one spins, the other spins.
A huge upside to this is that you will learn to control your cadence more effectively. If you switch to a geared bike at the weekends, you will notice the benefits quite quickly.
There are plenty of good things to say about fixies, they are unique in their offerings and certainly tick a lot of commuter boxes – whether it ticks yours is for you to decide!
Fixies are the low-cost, low-maintenance commuter bike option, with a dash of charm and cool.
Worth considering if your commute isn’t too hilly and you want to increase your overall fitness.
Speaking of which, how do you track your fitness?