Bike riding enthusiasts may differ in style, speed, and want their desire as accessories, but all of them agree that the most comfortable bikes to ride are single speed bikes.
Whether you are a pro aiming to top Lance Armstrong’s medal hurl or just a fresh freshman teenager looking for a bike to ride to college, you can never get it wrong with single speed bikes.
While many may assume that a single speed and a fixed gear (or “fixie”) bike are the same things, they may be shocked to learn that they are very different.
It all boils down to choices – the individual desires of those who crave distinctive features in their riding preferences.
So, what is the difference between single speed bikes and fixies?
Single Speed Bikes
Single speed bikes are what they sound like – one-speed-gear bikes exactly. For commuters and novice riders, this is good news.
A single speed bike holds a notable difference over fixed gear bikes in their ability to coast or cruise, which can be helpful when going downhill or on longer rides – when your legs need a break from pedaling!
Single speed bikes are easy to use since there is no confusing gear shifting to deal with.
They have fewer components, too, and are lighter in weight and easier to repair and maintain. Housewives, seniors, and virtually anybody can ride them easily.
Fixed Gear Bikes
Fixed gear bikes, or fixies, on the other hand, are for 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 riders and sports cyclist.
In a fixed gear bike, the cranks never stop turning, and that’s the main difference when compared with single speed bikes.
This means, in effect, that 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 how to ride initially.
As a result, many fixie riders choose to remove their hand brakes and control the bike with their legs and pedals completely instead.
Best Fixed Gear Bikes and Cheap Single Speed Bikes
After extensive reviews of the 10 highly-rated and reviewed fixie and single speed bikes presently in the market, the Pure Fix Original Fixed Gear Single Speed Fixie Bike looks like the best pick given its many sizes and color options.
It is also lightweight but comes with a sturdy steel frame. Also, the warranties offered by Pure Cycles makes it quite attractive to riders.
It’s an affordable but well-made bike that can efficiently serve as both a single speed and as a fixie bike.
Best Single Speed Bikes
1. Pure Fix Original Fixed Gear Single Speed Fixie Bike
Voted as one of the best fixed gear bikes, the Pure Fix Original is beautiful to behold and ride on. Available in seven sizes and 16 unique colors, it stands out from the crowd in the best ways possible.
It features a sturdy steel frame and weighs in at 22-24 25lbs., 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.
Its lightweight nature makes it compatible with women’s lightweight bikes and also makes it very ideal for moms when running errands around the city.
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 effortless to put together and as well praised Pure Cycles’ responsive customer service.
Others noted, however, that the brakes were not very effective, feeling somewhat unsafe to some.
- The seven sizes and 16 colors offer a good fit and choice for everyone.
- The bike frame is lightweight but durable.
- The front brakes can be removed for the full fixie experience, a more streamlined look, and even lighter weight.
- The flip-flop hub allows the user to determine whether the bike is single speed or fixed gear.
- The warranties offered will cover many repairs in the first year.
- Some noted that the brakes were cheap and needed a lot of work or even replacement.
- The bike must be assembled by professionals to qualify for the warranty.
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
Sharp looking and impressively reviewed, the 6KU Fixed Gear Single-Speed Fixie is another excellent 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 this lightweight bike at 21 lbs, which features 700cc x 25mm tires.
The front and rear brakes are easily removed for the real fixie experience, and the flip-flop hub offers freewheel option to those riders who want to coast or give their legs a break from pedaling on their rides.
Reviewers shared their experiences, noting that the bike arrived in excellent condition – some even noticed that the brakes were well-calibrated after travel – and it was easy to finish assembling.
The bike features huge 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.
- The flip-flop hub offers flexibility to the rider to have a fixed gear or single speed bike.
- The aluminum frame makes the bike lightweight.
- The bike arrived in great condition for many buyers—ready to go from the box after a little assembly.
- The brakes are easy to remove.
- Some users didn’t like the plastic, large pedals included with the bike, and needed to replace them.
- There are no mounting points to attach things like 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 single speed bike, the 6KU Fixed Gear Single-Speed Fixie would be the right choice.
Big fan of the 6KU brand? Check out the top 6KU bikes review here!
3. Critical Cycles Harper Single-Speed
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 change between a single speed and fixed gear bike with the freewheeling design. It offers two brakes for stopping power, riser handlebars, and 700cc x 23mm road-friendly tires.
This bike is made of durable and robust 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 an excellent frame.
Several negative reviews 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.
The bike comes in 12 colors and 6 sizes—a choice to please everyone!
The freewheel design allows the bike to be ridden as an easy-to-use single speed or a more involved fixie.
It has a solid steel frame but is lightweight because of the minimal gears and drivetrain.
Many reviewers noted it was easy to assemble and maintain.
- Some of the bike’s components are not name-brand and cheaply made, breaking easily.
- The wheels on the bike were troublesome for many owners and needed to be replaced.
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.
That said, it is also essential to keep these crucial beginners’ tips in mind if you are riding a fixie for the very first time.
4. Pure Fix Premium Fixed Gear Single Speed Bicycle
Pure Fix model is made of triple-butted aluminum that makes it a very lightweight bike – around 19 lbs, depending on the size.
A lighter bike is going to offer better speed and momentum, so this is an excellent choice for those who want to ride on the open roads and long road distances. Though not as ideal as a mountain bike for long distances, it is undoubtedly a great bike for the outdoors, nonetheless.
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.
Still, bikes from Pure Cycles are mostly famous for their versatile design with high-quality materials.
- The aluminum frame makes the bike light and quick.
- The flip-flop rear wheel hub offers the flexibility of fixed gear and freewheel riding to users.
- The company offers warranties on the frame and components as long as they are assembled by a professional.
- The company also offers an online setup guide, and even includes touch-up paint in the package.
- The bike must be assembled by a local bike shop to qualify for the warranty.
- Several users found the frame was flimsy — probably because of the aluminum content rather than the steel used to by many.
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
A new name on the list, Golden Cycles manufactures its version of the single speed fixed gear bike – a real “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, making it weigh 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 including except for more common tools, 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.
- This is an extremely well-priced, but good quality, fixed gear bike for casual riders and commuters.
- The bike comes in great size options for a variety of user builds, and lots of fun color choices for personalization.
- The special tools needed for assembly were included.
- The customer service department was helpful.
- The components were high quality for the price of the bike.
This bike cannot be used to coast or cruise.
Golden Cycles doesn’t offer a warranty on their bikes.
Some reviewers noted that the brakes will need some work before they are ready for use out of the box.
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 – an excellent choice for those who want a cheap fixie bike to ride for transportation or looking for beach cruiser bikes for leisure.
6. SXL Expressway Aluminum Urban Single Speed Fixie Bike
The SXL Expressway Aluminum is a single-speed bike that is well-constructed, durable, and functional for your daily commute or fun weekend racing.
While the colors available are Matte Grey, Pearl White, and Matte Black, you have options of choosing the small, medium, or large size depending on your body size.
The bike has a Lightweight 6061 Aluminum Frame and fork that sturdily supports the Chao Yang 700x25c performance tire on it.
It features a 46T alloy crankset coupled with a 16T cog and Joytech Flip Flop hub, where the single fixed speed is hinged.
With the clean internal cable routing, front and rear eyelets for fenders, Deep V 30mm wheels, 31.8 riser handlers with Radius brake in the front and rear, it transforms into a masterpiece to maneuver without putting pressure on your shoulder.
Reviewers commented on the excellent quality of the bike and speedy response of customer service in the event of any complaints.
But there were few concerns about some components such as the brakes, gears, etc. but they got a replacement for them.
- The aluminum frame used makes it lightweight and easy to maintain.
- It has two mounting points for a bottle cage.
- Lifetime warranty on frame and fork.
- One-year warranty on components.
- Adjustable seat and handlebar to suit your comfort level.
- Available at a pocket-friendly price.
- Lack of pre-installed water bottle holder.
- Lack of a user manual in the package.
- Plastic pedals are not sturdy, will need an upgrade.
Undoubtedly, the SXL Expressway Aluminum Urban Single Speed – Fixie Bike is well-built and will serve you on all terrains.
7. State Bicycle Fixed Gear Fixie Single Speed Bike
State Bicycle Company is based in Arizona and prides itself as a ‘user-developed’ company creating bike models as many as five handlebar styles, six frame sizes, and the option to build a completely custom bike.
Unlike other mountain bike or hybrid bike makers, this company is a specialist in the area of making fixies.
The Fixed Gear Fixie State Single Speed Bike comes in 18 colors with a steel frame and bullhorn handlebars. 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.
If you need more accessories like standard bicycle bell or bike baskets for carrying essentials, and a bike water bottle, you might need to look elsewhere or buy them separately – this product offers none of the above.
- State Bicycle Company offers a lot of size and color options on this bike.
- They offer a one-year warranty.
- Flip-flop hub allows for fixie riding or single speed.
- The tires are a great width for commuting and road riding.
- Reviewers mentioned that the bike’s box arrived in bad condition and that some parts were damaged or missing.
- The customization that the company offers is not available through Amazon.
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 retailer.
8. Retrospec Harper Coaster Fixie Style Single-Speed Commuter Bike
Specially crafted with high-tensile strength steel that is reliable and durable, Restropec Harper Coaster Fixie is tig-welded, hand-built, and comes in a sleek style.
This premium single speed commuter bike is available in 5 sizes and weighs 220 lbs despite all the quality components attached that enable you to have a smooth ride.
It features a front and rear Promax brake that is responsive, quick and allows for safe stopping, no matter the weather condition and terrain.
With top-quality components such as KMC 1/8” chain, no toe overlap, VP freestyle pedals, and 25.4mm riser handlebars, you will have a superb control of your ride as you cruise around.
Having a 30mm Deep V rims with thick, sturdy tires gives you the freedom to enjoy your ride, knowing you have a firm grip on the road.
According to reviews, it is a good quality bike at a low price and is well-packaged from source with instructions to simplify the coupling process.
The primary fear of most reviewers is the width of the tires, which is unlike a mountain bike, but with constant riding, they get accustomed to it.
- The 700x28c tire is puncture-resistant and shock-absorbent.
- Riser handlebars promote upright riding position.
- Use of in-built coaster brake for smooth slowing and stopping.
- Presence of a bar-spin clearance and a flat top tube.
- Poor quality pedals and chainrings may need a replacement for safety reasons.
- Feels heavy because of the steel frame.
Retrospec Harper Coaster Fixie Style Single-Speed Commuter Bike may feel heavy due to the steel frame, but it boasts of impressive features such as the foot brake that makes it safe and easy to ride.
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 the right 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 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 for this bike as with some others, but many users seem pleased with it and recommend it for commuting.
Most of the bikes from Raleigh 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.
- The flip-flop hub on the bike allows for flexibility for the rider.
- The large wheels can handle the road and provide great traction in the elements.
- Raleigh Bikes offers warranties on their frame and components.
- The bike isn’t offered in as many sizes and colors as some other choices.
- The large wheels and steel frame will add weight to the bike.
For a simple, clean-looking commuter bike that can be used as a fixed wheel or freewheel, the Raleigh Bikes Back Alley looks like fun but a 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.
More from Raleigh: Raleigh Venture 3.0 Women’s Bike Review
10. Schwinn Kedzie Single-Speed Fixie Bike
Kedzie is a durable and sturdy single-speed Fixie Bike from Schwinn made with a responsive and steel racing style frame and fork.
Inasmuch as the fixed cog gets sold separately, the pre-attached 46T by 18T single-speed drivetrain with flip-flop hub helps move the bike in a fixed-gear or free-wheel manner.
You can also remove the rear wheel and flip it around to get a fixed gear setup.
With the 32H alloy rims and 700c wheels, you will perform optimally as you move from one point to another.
Possession of alloy front and rear caliper brakes makes it ideal for racing for the fact that you can quickly come to a stop without missing your target.
For people with experience in assembling bikes, it was smooth sailing; however, if you want to get the best out of your Kedzie, it is advisable to take it to a professional, so it gets fixed properly.
- Flip flop hub allows you to choose between fixie or single-speed riding.
- Use of Schwinn Urban seat and grip for superior comfort.
- The single-speed setup makes it look trim and clean.
- Available in Blue or matte Red color.
- Presence of a chainguard for protection purposes.
- Limited lifetime warranty.
- Hard and uncomfortable seat.
- The frame feels heavy at 30 lbs.
- It is not suitable for people taller than 5’8”.
- Poor quality control.
Schwinn Kedzie Single-Speed Fixie Bike is excellent for city riding and urban commuting, and that’s thanks to the responsive brake keeping you safe as you navigate about without worrying.
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-’80s.
Steel may be a great option for mountain bikes since they are required to hold their own in the most rugged of terrains, but for merely city cruising, one may find them too heavy.
A cheap alternative to steel is aluminum. It has the advantages of not rusting in the elements and being lightweight, too – great options for a commuter.
Aluminum is not as heavy-duty as steel, so it may not be best for heavier riders or those who will be riding the bike in rough conditions.
This is especially important to note if you are a big guy who loves riding bikes.
Carbon fiber is for serious road bikers and comes with a hefty 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 much issue with single speed and fixie bikes.
Forks come in the same metal types as the frames, but they don’t always need to match the frames.
Forks like steel are going for absorbing more road vibrations in rougher conditions, but will also add weight to the bike, and 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 without 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 keep as long as the bike is moving.
On a single speed bike, however, 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 spare parts and components that come with multiple speed bikes – like modern electric 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 on the road, and easy to get around on – they can be used for traveling, for pleasure, or fitness needs.
Riding a bike is a great way to get out and explore your city and roads – earning you better health and happiness, all on a two-wheeled bundle!