So fixed gear bikes are everywhere nowadays! And a fair few people are now starting to switch their geared road bikes for a fixie! This is mainly due to the low maintenance of fixie bikes but also they offer a great workout! But really, what is better? A road bike or a fixed gear bike?
Well, that’s why you clicked on this blog so let’s find out! Throughout this blog, we are going to take a look at the pros and cons of both to try to help you decide whether you want to ride fixed gear or road bike… so let’s get straight to it!
Ok so let us start with road bikes...compared to a fixed gear bike, road bikes can be pretty complicated machines. Road bikes are designed to go the distance… and then some! Because of this, they tend to have a lot of creature comforts that fixed gear bikes don’t offer… so let's first talk about the pros of riding a road bike.
Of course, the first thing we have to mention is g-e-a-r-s! Having gears on a bike means to cover all types of terrain, quickly and all with ease. Because of the gear systems on road bikes and the reason they have been designed, they are without a doubt the fastest bikes on the market to date. With that in mind, road bikes have been designed for efficient sprinting in high gears as well.
Road bikes are designed for long ride dominant cycles and come with a ton of features and options like carbon fibre wireless systems and you know, brakes… they're pretty important on a road bike.
Now to talk about the cons of a road bike.
Now, most bikes are expensive but road bikes really are on another level of cost! Because road bikes are designed for distance and to streamline, comfort has gone out the window and if you ride road bikes for too long you will end up having back problems. As soon as you hit a rough road or pavement it can be game over for you and your bike.
Also, road bikes love to be stolen! Thieves know that even the basics of road bikes are worth a lot of money to the right person, so they end up getting stolen a lot more than other types of bikes. And lastly, maintenance can be an issue for them especially if you do have a wireless system!
Fixed Gear Bikes
Fixes are mainly used to ride around the city and are designed around commuters rather than long-distance cyclists. But it's because of their framework, how light they are and how easy they are to maintain that road cyclists are now using them for long-distance cycling anyway. So let’s break down the pros and cons of fixed gear bikes.
As I said, fixies have super low maintenance costs. As long as you take care of your fixie you shouldn’t run into too many problems, hell even if you do they will be super easy to fix. If your cycle route is in the main flatland then you WILL go faster on a fixed gear bike over a road bike. If you get tired of riding fixie you can always swap over to a freewheel which will be the same cog size, it just enables you to take the pressure off a little bit.
Fixies are probably the most customizable bike on the market. If you want to change up your settings on a fixie you can and the great thing about it is if you have parts from a road bike, a mountain bike or even a jump bike, these parts will work on a fixie making them super diverse.
Ok so let’s take a look at the cons.
You can’t just jump onto a fixed gear bike and go ride! It takes time and patience to get your feel for the fixie life. Hills SUCK! You only have one gear so yeah, the bigger the hill the more pain you will be in when you reach the top. Going up a hill on a fixie will slow traffic down and you will be taken over by a road bike, that’s pretty much guaranteed! Fixie bikes come with no brakes and have been designed never to have brakes so look out for that one...fun!
And lastly, some of the customizations of fixie bikes can be super complicated and do require some skill set and knowledge!
Ok so who wins?... Neither! Both are amazing bikes and each has key features and weaknesses that the others don’t. So what should you go for? Well if your long-distance riding is filled with hills then we would say get a road bike, but if you’re cycling mainly flatland the fixed gear is for the win....no matter the distance!
What I will say though, is if you really want to up your overall strength when riding on the road then fixed gear really is the way for you! It WILL suck at first, but your fitness will get better and before long you’ll be laughing off those hill climbs! So what do you ride? Fixed gear or road bike? Let us know in the comments below and why!
Author: Shaun Johnson
Edited by: Gemma Johnson