Many road bike cyclists came from using fixed-gear bikes. The appearance of fixed-gear bikes and road bikes are almost the same. The only difference between them is that fixed-gears or fixies have no brakes on the handlebar and have one gear, while road bikes have many gears and brakes.
Fixed gears are great for people that want to look stylish while cycling. However, fixies are not great for complete beginners in biking. Some people said that fixies are dangerous. That is why it is not great for beginners that do not know bikes. However, is it really dangerous?
Are fixed gear bikes dangerous? Yes! Fixed gear bikes can be dangerous, especially for beginners. But if you know how to skid or hop skid on a fixie, you will be fine. However, skid and hop skid takes time to learn. That is why complete beginners should install a brake on their fixies.
There are other things you might want to know before buying a fixed-gear bike. This article is for you if you are a beginner and have no knowledge about fixies. We will look at the pros and cons of buying a fixed-gear bike and answer various questions related to our subject. If you are ready, let us go!
First, let us know what fixed-gear bikes or fixies are for you to understand the things we will talk about throughout the topic.
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What Are Fixed Gear Bikes?
Fixed-gear bikes are commonly known as fixies. These bikes are single-speed and cannot be brought to a standstill. The rider should pedal backward using his/her pedals to slow down unless the rider has an emergency brake.
The rear wheel of fixies rotates when pedals are turning. If the cyclist pedal forward, he/she will move forward, but if the cyclist pedal backward, he/she will go back. Fixies are like stationary bikes in gyms.
The difference between fixed-gears to single speed bikes is that single-speed bikes are fitted with a freewheel, while fixed-gear bikes are not. Like I have mentioned, the cog of a fixie is joined with its rear hub. That is why when the wheel turns the cog will too.
To be able to use fixed-gear bikes safely and chill, you need proper training. For beginners, I highly required you to have emergency brakes in case they get too fast and never know how to do a skid or hop skid.
Let me tell you next how dangerous fixed gear bikes are. Yep, it is indeed dangerous, especially if you are a beginner and have no emergency brakes.
So stay reading to know how hazardous fixed gear bikes are!
How Dangerous Fixed Gear Bikes Are?
Fixed gears can be dangerous if you are a complete beginner and have no idea how to use the brakes. However, if you have emergency brakes or are experienced already, then a fixie is no more dangerous.
Learning how to skid or hop skid on a fixie takes time. You need to train consistently to learn. During that time frame, you need an emergency brake. Why? So that in case you get too fast, you can slow down without the use of skid or hop skid. These skids and hop skids are the only way for fixie users to slow down their bikes without using hand brakes.
Strong legs are needed to skid or break the fixie properly. If you are a complete beginner, your legs are not that strong enough to make the fixie stop. Never attempt to go fast without any emergency brakes while you are still an apprentice. You might fall from your bike or get bumped by another vehicle if you never know how to skid or hop skid.
If you are an apprentice and encounter a very steep downhill, this could be dangerous if you have no emergency brakes. You will go down very quickly! And if you do not know how to use a skid to slow down your fixie, you might get hit by an approaching car.
Fixies are more dangerous than other bikes, like mountain bikes and road bikes. MTB and road bikes have brakes, while fixies do not have. For complete beginners in cycling, I suggest you ride an MTB or road bike first before getting into fixed-gear bikes.
Now that you know that fixies are not that dangerous as long as you have brakes or an adept already. Let us move on to the pros and cons of getting a fixed gear bike. Let us go!
Pros And Cons Of Getting A Fixed Gear Bike
Below are the pros and cons of getting and riding a fixed-gear bike. Let us check them out below!
Let us start with the pros first.
Fixed Gear Bikes Makes You Strong
Fixed gears will make you stronger, and here is why:
Fixed gear bikes have one gear only. That is why you cannot change gears if you get tired of pedaling. If you need to deal with a steep hill, you need to pedal and endure the burden or walk.
Riding a fixie will force you to exert more effort than on a geared bike, like mountain bikes. Because of this, you will get more power than other cyclists that use geared bikes.
If you get used to your current gears on your fixie bike, you need to change it. The bigger the crank and the smaller the cog, the harder it is to pedal the bike.
Fixies will make you a strong cyclist. You will be able to pedal the bike much easier when you switch to geared bikes.
Fixed Gear Bikes Teaches You New Things
Like I have said above, fixies are not simple bikes. You have to learn how to skid and hop skid to slow down your fixie without using a hand brake. Also, you have to learn to deal with steep hills because you cannot change gears. Using a fixie will challenge and teach you new things about cycling!
Fixed Gear Bikes Are Low Maintenance
Another thing I loved about fixed gear bikes is that they are low-maintenance bikes. Fixies are perfect for people who have a low budget and hate to look after their bikes. However, you still need to do some necessary maintenance, like lubing your chains.
When you use a fixed gear bike, you do not have to worry about gear cables and derailleurs getting gunked or going out of adjustment. All you need to worry about is lubing your chains.
The parts of fixed gear bikes are not easy to wear out. That is why you do not have to worry about upgrading or changing the components of a fixie. The money you need to build a fixed gear bike is low! Fixie bikes are cheap! You can have a fixie without putting a hole in your pocket!
Fixed Gear Bikes Are Stylish
Fixed gears have a stylish appearance. They are great for cyclists that want to look stylish while cycling on the road. There are no things on a fixie, like wires, that will make it less cool.
Fixed Gear Bikes Have No Brakes
The first thing I don’t like about fixies is that they have no built-in hand brakes. Fixies are not great for beginners that are just starting in cycling. Fixed gear bikes have brakes but not hand brakes. The brakes of a fixie are on the pedals! You have to learn how to skid or hop skid to slow or stop your fixie.
If you are a complete beginner and planning to get a fixed gear bike, I suggest you put a front brake. This brake is also called an emergency brake. You need this emergency brake to slow down your fixie even if you do not know how to skid or hop skid.
Fixed Gear Bikes Have No Shifter
This is what I am talking about earlier. Fixed gear bikes have no multiple gears, which is why shifter is useless. If you are a complete beginner, you may get tired immediately on a fixie bike, especially if you need to go uphill.
In fixie, you cannot switch gears if you get tired climbing an uphill. But you can do two things. One is to keep pedaling and endure the pain. The second is to walk. Fixed gear bikes are great for amateur cyclists to make them stronger, but it is not great for complete beginners in cycling.
Fixed Gear Bikes Requires Strong Legs
If you are an apprentice in cycling, it means your legs are not strong unless you have done squat exercises before. To enjoy using a fixed gear bike, you need to have strong legs. Why?
Because if you do not have strong legs, you will get tired immediately when you encounter a steep uphill and won’t enjoy the ride. If you do not have strong legs, riding a fixie will be a nightmare for you!
Can I Put Brakes On My Fixie?
Yes! You can put brakes on your fixed gear bikes. You can install the brakes on your front and rear wheels. The majority of newbies in fixie tend to use the front brake the most. If you are a complete beginner, you will essentially need this.
It’s not just beginners who install brakes on their fixed gears, but also the experienced ones. Bike messengers are widespread in Europe. These messengers need to drive fast to get to their destination on time.
Because fixie bikes are dangerous when you get too fast on a busy road, these messengers tend to install brakes on their fixies for emergencies. That is why it is called emergency brakes.
Are Fixed Gear Bikes Good For Beginners?
Fixed gear bikes can be great for beginners if they will install emergency brakes. Remember that fixed gear bikes have only a single gear and have no freewheel. You can’t coast down a hill without pedaling your bike. It is very dangerous to coast downhill without knowing how to skid, which is why beginners need to have emergency brakes if they want to use a fixie.
Fixed gear bikes can be dangerous if you do not know how to do a skid or hop skid, and if you are a complete beginner and have no front brakes. But if you know how to do a skid or hop skid, and have front brakes, then fixie is not that dangerous.