Fixed-gear bikes, also simply known as fixies, are single-speed, fixed-gear bikes that can’t be brought to a standstill, so you must advance, brake and go backwards by using the pedals. The rear wheel rotates when the pedals are turning. If you pedal forward, you move forward; if you stop the pedals, you brake, and if you pedal backwards, you go backwards. This requires additional training that the freewheel bike does not need. However, fixie bicycles have many advantages.
What are the benefits of fixie bicycles?
We’ve recently worked together with the Spanish SportTraining magazine for an article about using fixie bikes as a training aid for sports. If you train, run or cycle long distances with your bike, you should take a look at this magazine’s 71st issue, which can be found in Spain’s newsstands.
The article highlights 20 benefits of riding a fixed-gear bike which we would like to share with you today:
1. No maintenance is required
Having no gear shifter, they hardly require maintenance, that’s why they have been chosen by urban messengers in New York City, as well as the most important financial cities in the world. Here in Spain, these kind of messenger services are active in cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Soria or Seville, amongst others.
2. Improved drivetrain efficiency
The chain is shorter than in conventional bikes, and completely straight, which helps the gears work smoother; this can actually be felt while pedalling. Also, they have no pulleys or any other transmission devices – everything is kept simple.
The gear ratio will no longer be a concern – they are the perfect kind of bicycle to ride on flat ground and for short trips.
A total, almost mystical connection binds the cyclist with their bike. It’s the simplest way to ride – if you want to go you pedal forward, and if you want to go back you pedal backwards. Equally, the faster you pedal the faster the bike will move, if you want to slow down you’ll just have to pedal more slowly.
Your legs become your accelerator and brakes. You’ll just have to move quicker to go faster and put reverse pressure with your feet if you want to slow down or stop.
6. Improves cadence
Pedalling rhythm improves and gets more even. Fixie bikes require a very steady rhythm if you want to go faster. As they’re very light, you’ll speed up very quickly.
Your moves will become more fluid and faster, as you’ll have to sit as relaxed and as loose as possible, in order to be able to pedal constantly and evenly.
8. More muscles get exercised
Many muscle groups work together, more than would be the case if you were riding a conventional bike.
9. Nerve response is enhanced
Nerve response to muscle contraction improves significantly, especially when pedalling rhythm becomes fast, such as when you’re riding down a slope
10. Your strength increases
Peak strength increases due to the absence of gear shifters, which demand a bigger effort when starting to pedal from a standstill or when riding on uneven ground.
11. It improves resistance
Endurance improves also, as you may have to pedal up slopes at an even rhythm.
12. It improves strength
Not only lower limbs get stronger, but also upper ones. As fixie bikes have no gears, high peak strengths are achieved not only in both legs but also thanks to the gripping and dynamic traction that comes from the torso and arms.
13. Muscles develop more quickly
They can also be used as a way to strengthen all muscles after competitions, intense training sessions or after having hurt yourself, as they encourage blood circulation and constant flexibility of the muscle fibres that work while pedalling.
14. Constant muscular work
Physical work is constant while riding a fixie bike, the same kind of work you do when running – once you start pedalling, you can’t stop like you would do on a conventional bike, which allow you to relax and stop pedalling when going downhill or on very flat ground.
15. It favours muscle building
It’s a perfect eccentric exercise for leg muscles, compensating for the concentric work they do while pedalling circularly and repetitively. The effort is actually quite similar to that of track runners, whose muscles contract eccentrically.
You’ll benefit from the whole time you spend on the bike – half an hour of cycling on a fixie is equal, in terms of effort, to a whole hour on a conventional bike.
17. Instincts and skills are improved
Riding a fixie bike will improve your instincts, anticipation and concentration abilities.
18. Riding gets easier
Your riding technique will also get better. Once you are riding you are forced to become more stable. Your reaction capacity, reflexes, instincts and other innate abilities. You’ll have to coordinate everything while you pedal, and at first, you’ll need high concentration to ride.
19. Ideal for the city
They’re ideal for moving around the city, and since they have no gear shifter they are usually less attractive to thieves.
20. Affordable prices
They’re really affordable due to their economic price – you can find models from €200 to €1,000. We have more than 150 different fixie bike models at SantaFixie, for all budgets and quality requirements.
* Source: Miguel Ángel Rabanal San Román / Magazine: SporTraining 71,