The 10 Best Single Speed Bikes of 2018 (You Probably Haven’t Seen Before)
For both the commuter looking for an easy-to-use bike and the enthusiast looking for the next cycling challenge, single speed and fixed gear bikes are a category that can provide both, depending on what you’re looking for.
While many may assume that a single speed and a fixed gear (or “fixie”) bike are the same things, they are actually very different and are ridden by those wanting distinctive features in their bike of choice.
Single Speed Bikes
Single speed bikes are exactly what they sound like— one-speed bikes. For commuters and novice riders, this is good news. Single speed bikes are easy to use as there is no confusing gear shifting to deal with. They have less components, too, and are lighter in weight and easier to repair and maintain.
A single speed bike holds a distinctive difference over fixed gear bikes in their ability to coast or cruise, which can be helpful when going downhills or on longer rides—when your legs need a break from pedaling!
Fixed Gear Bikes
Fixed gear bikes, or fixies, are for those riders who want more of a connection with their bike and engagement on the road. While a big learning curve for beginners, fixies can become the bike of choice for many commuters and sports riders.
In a fixed gear bike, the main difference is that the cranks never stop turning, which means the pedals must always keep going. When the pedaling stops, the wheels stop—much like the first children’s bike a rider may have learned on. Because of this, many fixie riders choose to remove their hand brakes and control the bike completely with their legs and the pedals.
Best Fixed Gear Bikes and Cheap Single Speed Bikes
Looking at 10 highly-rated and reviewed fixie and single speed bikes on the internet, the Pure Fix Original Fixed Gear Single Speed Fixie Bike looks like the best pick for its many size and color options, lightweight but sturdy steel frame, and the warranties offered by Pure Cycles. It’s an affordable but well-made bike that can easily serve as both a single speed and as a fixie bike.
Best Single Speed Bikes - Comparisons
Pure Fix Original Fixed Gear Single Speed Fixie Bike
6KU Fixed Gear Fixie Urban Track Bike
Front & Rear
Critical Cycles Harper Fixed Gear Urban Commuter Bike
Front & Rear
Pure Fix Premium Fixed Gear Single Speed Bicycle
Golden Cycles Single Speed Fixed Gear Bike
Front & Rear
Vilano Rampage Fixed Gear Fixie Single Speed Road Bike
Front & Rear
State Bicycle Fixed Gear Fixie Single Speed Bike
Front & Rear
Fortified City Commuter Theft-Resistant Single Speed Bike
Front & Rear
Raleigh Bikes Back Alley Fixed Gear Steel City Bike
Front & Rear
SE Bikes Draft Lite Single Speed Bike
Front & Rear
1. Pure Fix Original Fixed Gear Single Speed Fixie Bike
Voted one of the best-fixed gear bikes, the Pure Fix Original is beautiful to behold and ride. Coming in seven sizes and 16 unique colors, it stands out in the crowd in the best way possible.
It features a sturdy steel frame and weighs in at 22-24 lbs., depending on the size. It has 700cc x 28mm wheels, which offers some great traction on varying terrain. The front brakes are removable for the full fixie experience, with the option of rear brakes.
The flip-flop hub allows the bike to be switched from fixed gear to freewheel, allowing for coasting if desired by the owner.
Pure Cycles stands behind their product, and offers a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty on the frame and a one-year manufacturer’s warranty on the components, as long as it’s assembled by a professional.
Reviewers noted that the bike was very easy to put together, and praised Pure Cycles’ responsive customer service. Others noted, however, that the brakes were not very effective, feeling somewhat unsafe to some.
Thanks to all its high ratings and the warranties offered by Pure Cycles, this bike looks like a great choice for those interested in learning the “fixie” way of life and riding.
2. 6KU Aluminum Fixed Gear Single-Speed Fixie Urban Track Bike
Sharp looking and impressively reviewed, the 6KU Fixed Gear Single-Speed Fixie is another great choice for leisure riders and commuters. It comes in six sizes and five colors, with riser handlebars (some reviewers purchased previous models with bullhorn bars, but the company has since changed to risers).
This aluminum frame offers a lightweight bike at 21 lbs. and features 700cc x 25mm tires. The front and rear brakes are easily removed for the true fixie experience. The flip-flop hub offers a freewheel option to those riders who want to coast or give their legs a break from pedaling on their rides.
Reviewers shared that the bike arrived in great condition—some even noticed that the brakes were well calibrated after travel—and it was easy to finish assembling.
The bike features very large pedals, which were a plus to some, although others didn’t like them. Some reviewers also wished there were mounting points on the bike for a water bottle holder or storage basket.
For an easy to assemble a bike that offers flexibility to be used either as a fixed gear or a single speed bike, the 6KU Fixed Gear Single-Speed Fixie would be a good choice.
3. Critical Cycles Harper Single-Speed Fixed Gear Urban Commuter Bike
The Critical Cycles Harper single-speed bike is a stylish choice for the serious commuter or leisure rider looking for a well-made but inexpensive single speed bike. It comes in 12 beautiful color choices, with six sizes to fit any rider.
The bike features a flip-flop hub, which can be changed between a single speed or fixed gear bike with the freewheel design. It offers two brakes for stopping power, riser handlebars, and 700cc x 23mm road-friendly tires.
This bike is made of durable and strong steel, and around 25 lbs. in weight, depending on the size ordered. Many reviewers noted that the bike was easy to put together, sharp looking, and had a very solid frame.
There are a number of negative reviews that mentioned that the bike arrived damaged, with chipped paint and sometimes rust. Others had trouble with missing parts. The wheels on the bike were troublesome for many reviewers, too, going flat within the first few rides on the bike.
For the new rider who is interested in a single speed bike, but wants the flexibility of exploring a fixed gear ride later, this bike looks like a great meeting point between the two worlds.
4. Pure Fix Premium Fixed Gear Single Speed Bicycle
Another Pure Cycles bicycle, the Premium Fixed Gear Single Speed bicycle’s main defining characteristic in comparison to the previously discussed Pure Cycles fixie is its material—it’s made of triple-butted aluminum for a very lightweight bike, around 19 lbs. depending on the size. Obviously, a lighter bike is going to offer better speed and momentum, so this is a great choice for those who want to ride on the open roads and long road distances.
The flip-flop rear wheel hub offers the flexibility of single speed or fixed gear to riders, and the drop handlebars and 700cc x 28mm tires can handle the road and any rough terrain.
The bike comes in four colors and seven sizes, and it features brand name components for tubes, pedals, the chain, and front brake. Pure Cycles offers a limited manufacturer’s warranty on the frame, too, as well as a one-year warranty on the components as long as it’s professionally assembled.
Is a Premium worth the higher cost than the Original? That depends—the few extra pounds it loses when switching to aluminum from steel may not seem like a lot, but for those who cycle over flat terrain often, it could make a huge difference.
5. Golden Cycles Single Speed Fixed Gear Bike with Front & Rear Brakes
A new name on the list, Golden Cycles manufactures the single speed fixed gear bike—a true “fixie” bike, for anyone who wants to ride a fixed gear without pouring a lot of money into a bike.
For an extremely reasonable price, this bike comes in seven sizes, which offers a good fit for those who are shorter or taller than average. It also comes in 19 fun and unique color combinations.
The bike frame and fork are high-quality steel, and the bike weighs in at about 23 lbs. (depending on the size). The bike has front and rear brakes for attaching if needed.
Reviewers shared that the packaging from the distributor was in good condition when they received it, that the tools needed were included except for a more common tool, and that the bike was easy to assemble. They were surprised at the quality of the components—how good they were for the price.
Others mentioned as well that the customer service department was helpful and went above and beyond in taking care of them.
Overall, for the person interested in learning to ride a fixed gear, or who prefer this type of bike for commuting, the Golden Cycles Fixed Gear bike looks like a great choice. It’s stylish, well-made, and lightweight—a great choice for those who want a cheap fixie bike to ride for transportation or leisure.
6. Vilano Rampage Fixed Gear Fixie Single Speed Road Bike
The Vilano Rampage Fixed Gear Bike is another bike with the option of being a fixed gear or freewheel with the flip-flop hub. It arrives shipped on the single speed side, so coasting is possible.
It comes in three sizes and five colors are made of steel and offers the riser handlebars. This Vilano bike weighs about 22 lbs. depending on the size. It has 700cc x 28mm tires, has optional front and rear brakes, and it includes free platform pedals, too.
Some users mentioned that the handlebar grips were slippery and would probably need to be replaced after a lot of use. Others noted that the assembly process went well, but that the bike needed lots of little adjustment, and they suggested letting a professional do those.
While the Vilano has satisfied customers, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of features that make this bike stand out from the rest. Others have warranties, name brand components, and lighter weights, making this a fine bike, but maybe not the best choice for the fixie and single speed riders.
7. State Bicycle Fixed Gear Fixie Single Speed Bike
State Bicycle Company is based out of Arizona and prides themselves on their user-developed models with five handlebar styles, six frame sizes, and the option to build a completely custom bike.
The Fixed Gear Fixie Single Speed Bike comes in 18 colors, with a steel frame and bullhorn handle bars. It has a flip flop hub for both fixed gear and freewheel riding and has 700cc x 23mm road-worthy tires. It comes with pedals, and the manufacturer also offers a one-year warranty against any defects on their bikes.
Many reviewers noted that the box holding the bike came in pretty rough condition, and some of those buyers also received damaged or missing parts.
The warranty offered by State Bicycle Company makes it worth trying out, as a company that prides itself on making bikes to help people fall in love with biking. There was a fair number of reviews that mentioned the state of the bike when it arrived, which could also be a reoccurring problem with the company, or with the retailer.
8. Fortified City Commuter Theft-Resistant Single Speed Bike
In a league of its own, the Fortified City Commuter bike is just that—a bike for serious commuters who don’t want to have to worry about their bike being stolen.
It comes with custom security bolts to make it theft-resistant, and a free u-lock from the company. It has puncture resistant, 700cc x 32mm tires, too, that can handle all sorts of terrain and any obstacles in their path.
The aluminum frame and chain are lightweight and rust-resistant, to handle the elements of the commuter life. It weighs 23 lbs.
The company offers an insurance option, which many reviewers said was a good idea because the bike does turn heads and attract attention with its design. Reviewers also mentioned that many of the more complicated components came pre-assembled, and the bike was easy to put together.
A real eye-catcher, the Fortified City Commuter bike seems like a great choice for commuters in urban areas who want some peace of mind when locking up their bikes and braving the elements. This is obviously not the choice for someone looking to take leisurely, long distance rides, as the added strengthening components also add extra weight to the bike.
9. Raleigh Bikes Back Alley Fixed Gear Steel City Bike
Inspired and designed in collaboration with a New York City bike messenger turned Olympic medalist cyclist, the Raleigh Bikes Back Alley bike is a true city bike for the commuter.
It is offered in two colors, a bright red and a minimalistic gray, and comes in four different sizes. It features flat handlebars and the frame is made of steel.
This bike has a flip-flop rear wheel hub to allow for fixed gear or freewheel riding. The 700cc x 32mm wheels are big and sturdy, able to handle the road, curbs, and any debris in their way.
There aren’t as many reviews on this bike as on some others, but many users seem pleased with it and recommend it for commuting.
Raleigh Bikes offers some generous warranties on their products, ranging from one year on some components, to five on others, and a lifetime warranty on their frame.
For a simple, clean-looking commuter bike that can be used as a fixed wheel or freewheel, the Raleigh Bikes Back Alley looks like a fun but practical choice. The warranties make it a great deal in comparison to some other choices, but because of its wheel size and frame, this won’t make a great open road bike.
10. SE Bikes Draft Lite Single Speed Bike
A new brand on the list, the SE Bikes Draft Lite is a fun commuter bike that comes in five sizes and four colors. It also includes a bottle opener on the back of the seat for all your post-ride beverage needs.
The bike has a flip-flop rear wheel hub, for riding both as a fixie and as a single speed bike. It has flat handlebars, optional front and rear brakes, and road-friendly 700cc x 28mm tires that can also handle some elements or rougher terrain.
Reviewers noted that the bike was easy to set up and assemble. Some others recommended to go a size up after measuring and comparing to the chart.
This bike looks like a fine choice for commuting or a beginner flip-flop hub design, but it lacks some of the color choices, sizes, and warranties of other models and brands.
Single Speed (Fixie) Bikes Buying Guide
Steel is the most traditional material for bike frames—it is sturdy and offers a smooth ride, but it will also add more weight to the bike. Many trendy, original fixie bikes are nostalgic and older, and they will be lugged steel bikes from the 70-80’s.
A cheap alternative to steel is aluminum. It has the advantages of not rusting in the elements and being lightweight—great options for a commuter. Aluminum is not as heavy-duty as steel, though, so it may not be best for heavier riders or those who will be riding the bike in rough conditions.
Carbon fiber is for serious road bikers and comes with a serious price tag. This material is for those who need as much weight as possible lifted from their bikes to increase their speed and aerodynamics—not as much of an issue with single speed and fixie bikes.
Forks come in the same types of metals as the frames, but they don’t always have to match the frames.
Forks like steel are going to absorb more road vibrations in rougher conditions, but will also add weight to the bike that may slow a rider down.
Aluminum and carbon fiber forks will be much lighter in weight, a better choice for those who are most concerned about endurance and speed.
The stem is similar to the frame and fork, coming in different types of metals, depending on the needs and budget of the rider.
On single speed bikes, most will have flat handlebars which are a great choice for those commuting and who need to be upright to see their surroundings while riding.
On the other hand, many vintage fixie bikes will have drop handlebars, in the style of road bikes, and newer models copy this same look.
Single speed and fixie bikes will usually feature front and back brakes, and if the bike has a flip-flop hub, the brakes will be removable.
Many fixed gear riders prefer to remove the brakes for aesthetics, lighter weight, and the feeling of control in using their legs for both pedaling and braking.
Many single speed bikes and fixed gear bikes offer sizing charts and various sizes (usually in centimeters) for each rider to determine the right fit for them.
Measuring from your foot on the floor to your inseam is the best way to determine which size is right for you.
Many of the saddles on the more affordable single speed and fixie bikes will be cheaper and lower quality, allowing for the rider to upgrade to a seat that they prefer.
Fixies will normally feature a more aesthetic, vintage look to their saddles—leather is a popular choice. Single speed bikes, on the other hand, will use a more performance-style saddle.
Keeping in line with the trendy look that many fixie riders are going for, their grips will be cloth covered in shellac for a vintage look, or leather.
Single speed grips will most likely be rubber.
The size of the tire can vary between a fixie and single speed bikes. Most fixies will be on the thinner end of tires, appealing more to the road biking crowd.
Single speed bikes can offer a lot of variety in tire widths, with many people preferring a wider tire to take on a rougher terrain while riding.
There are a variety of pedals available to bikers, from the typical flat pedals and clips and cages, to clipless and the various varieties based on those styles.
Flat pedals are most common among single speed and fixie bikes and is what will be included on most purchases of these styles.
What is a single speed bike?
A single speed bike is a bike with one gear option. This type of bikes will be easier to maintain with the derailleurs common on multiple gear bikes. It will have a cleaner and more streamlined look, and will usually be lighter because of the lack of extra components.
What is a fixed gear vs. single speed?
A fixed gear bike has a fixed hub to the wheel, therefore every time the wheel is turning, the pedals must also be going. On a fixed gear bike, the rider must continue pedaling or let the pedals continue as long as the bike is moving. On a single speed bike, the hub is not fixed to the wheel, so the rider can coast or glide on the bike, which can be helpful when going downhill and when they’ve reached the intended speed and momentum.
Can single speed bikes coast?
Yes, single speed bikes can coast because the hub is not fixed to the wheel as in a fixed gear bike.
What are the advantages of single speed bikes?
Single speed bikes tend to be easier to maintain because of the lack of extra parts and components that come with multiple speed bikes. They are lighter in weight without all those extra components, tend to be cheaper and don’t take as much of a learning process as more intense road bikes with many gear options.
What are some of the disadvantages of a single speed bike?
A single speed bike will be harder to ride than other bikes, depending on the terrain and topography of the rider’s route. Single speed bikes are great for stop-and-go commuting and places without too many steep inclines, but also without too many long, flat stretches of road.
Can you pedal backwards on a fixie?
No, if you try to pedal backwards, you will end up stopping the bike.
What size bike should I order?
Every company is different, so don’t depend on being a small in one brand just because you were a small with another. Measure your inseam, and then compare that measurement to each bike manufacturer’s sizing chart.
What is a flip-flop hub design?
A flip-flop hub simply means that the bike can be used in both a fixed gear and as a single speed, with the ability to coast, depending on which side the chain is installed on. Not all fixed and single speed bikes are flip-flop hub, but if the bike has the ability to be either, it has a flip-flop hub.
Single-speed and fixed gear bikes are great for beginners and experienced riders, commuters and leisure lovers, and everyone in between. There are many affordable options available in these two categories, and most of these options offer the ability to be either, depending on what the rider wants.
These bikes will be easy to maintain, fast to ride, and easy to get around on—they can be used for traveling, for pleasure, or for fitness needs. A bike is a great way to get out and explore your city and roads—giving you health and happiness all on a two-wheeled bundle!