Buying your first fixed gear bike can be an exciting time but you need to consider a few elements before you commit to spending any money. It’s important to make sure you really know and understand the ramifications of riding a fixed gear bike so you don’t suffer an unfortunate collision on day one.
A flip-flop hub and brakes
If you are brand new to fixed gear bikes and have never ridden one before then your first one should include a flip-flop hub and brakes – yes, that’s right, traditional fixies don’t have brakes. If you didn’t
You need to decide on the budget for your first fixie bike. If it’s not something you have ever ridden before then go for a cheaper model to start with, in case you decide it’s not for you after all. If you search for fixie bikes you will find a whole variety of pricing options available so it’s best to set your budget first and search within those parameters.
Colour and style
Fixies come in every potential color under the rainbow and many people like to personalize their bike in their own style. However, it’s worth remembering that the more attractive the bike is, the more thief attention it might attract – particularly if you are going to be riding it regularly around the city.
Check the angles
Some fixed gear bikes have been styled from track bikes with tight, sharp angles and a short wheelbase – you don’t want to be catching your feet so look for one that is based on a street bike which will have much more relaxed angles and extra foot space. As a new fixed gear bike rider, you want to minimize all potential for accidents and this issue is one to look out for when it comes to safety.
Get the right size bike
It’s important to get the right size fixie bike for you – generally speaker you will need a size smaller than your regular road bike. However, the important thing is to sit on the bike and try it out to make sure you are comfortable riding it.
Never order a fixie bike without actually trying it first – you need to make sure it’s the right size and style and comfortable to ride before you make any kind of purchasing commitment.
Think about how you will be riding the bike
It’s important to get the right bike for your needs – if it’s a straightforward commuter bike then you will probably look for a different model than one which you might want to race or do tricks on in your spare time.
If you want one to ride around the city then go for a cheap one that you don’t mind getting bashed or stolen – if you want to race or do tricks you might need something more bespoke and higher quality.
Decide on the frame
There are a few choices to consider when it comes to what the frame should be made of – again it comes down to personal preference, style and how you are going to use the bike the most. You can choose from carbon fiber, aluminum, hi-ten steel or chrome alloy steel.
You can go for brand frames or non-brand frames – again, you need to look at what you need and how much it will cost. If it’s a city commuting bike you want a frame that will survive being bashed and chained up regularly, without getting easily dented, for example.
Check the wheels
One of the benefits of owning a fixie is there are fewer components and parts to replace, and when they do need changing it’s much easier. However, when buying your first fixed gear bike you need to make sure the wheels are in good order.
It’s important to make sure the hubs are well sealed and check if the hoops are the alloy or not – it’s simple to replace the saddle and pedals if need be but make sure the wheels are solid and good quality.
Consider the manufacturer
Most manufacturing is outsourced nowadays anyway so it’s not likely to matter too much, particularly when looking for your first fixed gear bike. However, if you do want to go for high-quality manufacturing heritage then do some research and you also need to face the fact that a heritage manufacturer will undoubtedly end up costing a lot more.
Try before you buy
Riding a fixie is a very different experience to any other kind of bike so before you head out to get your first one, you need to make sure it’s the right bike for you. Try riding a friend’s one, or hiring one for the day, to really appreciate the difference before you make the decision.