Fixie bikes vs. road bikes continue to be a subject of debate in riders’ communities. Here’s the thing – there is no definitive answer for which bike is better. Fixed gear bikes and road bikes have their differences, but they are also similar in a lot of ways. When it comes down to it, your choice of bike depends purely on personal preference.
If you’re into triathlons, the obvious choice is a road bike. If you are looking for a bike for your daily commute or simply as a means to get some physical exercise, we’re here to help you. The following article takes you through the similarities and differences between the two types of bikes. A glimpse of what each bike is best suited for will also help you find your ideal cycle.
Before we get to the juicy part where we put the two types of bikes against each other, let’s cover the basics first.
Fixie Bikes Vs Road Bikes Comparison
Overview of Fixie Bikes
The distinguishing feature of fixie bikes is that they do not have a freewheel mechanism. Their pedals move forwards and backward when their rear wheels are turning. Urban commuters generally prefer fixie bikes because they are convenient to ride. Plus, they don’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Taking up biking as a way to get some exercise? Fixie bikes are known to improve cadence. These bikes do not allow any room for laziness or coasting. If you want to go fast on these bikes, you are required to steady your rhythm. They are light, so your pedaling rhythm will even out as you continue riding.
Overview of Road Bikes
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that road bikes are the ‘sports cars of cycles.’ They may feel lightweight, but these bikes are up for heavy-duty use. Road bikes are eco-friendly and healthy alternatives to driving your car around the city. These bikes can also handle tours, triathlons, or races on any terrain.
The components and frames of these bikes facilitate speed. You can pedal hard on your road bike without dealing with too much resistance from the wind.
Now comes the fun part. What distinguishes fixed gear bikes from road bikes? And which bike is ideal for what kind of rider? Uncover the answers to these questions by reading through the following comparative analysis of the two bikes’ features.
Road Bikes vs Fixie – Feature Comparison
Fixie bikes are less complicated than road bikes in terms of their build. Naturally, you are likely to incur fewer maintenance costs for your fixie bike if you take good care of it. Because fixed gear bikes have fewer parts or gears than their road bike counterparts, you can have good quality replacements put into your fixed gear bike even on a budget.
Fixie bikes dominate rides on flatlands, which is why it comes as no surprise that they are the preferred mode of cycles in urban settings. Road bikes, on the other hand, are much more diverse in terms of riding possibilities. The latter comes with multiple gears that you can shift to ride smoothly across any terrain. Road bikes are also friendlier than fixie bikes for long rides.
You can customize both fixie and road bikes according to your preference; fixie bikes more so than road bikes. Fixed gear bikes also tend to be compatible with all kinds of handlebars.
When it comes to speed, road bikes are the more efficient ones. Their gears maximize a rider’s pedaling efficiency. You have the freedom to adjust the gears according to the environment you are cycling in. Road bikes are also known to prove themselves when it comes to high-gear sprinting.
You can ride fixie bikes fast too, just not as quickly as road bikes. However, riding up steep hills or on rocky terrains can prove to be challenging on fixed gear bikes.
Brakes and Handling
In fixie bikes, the riders’ legs typically become the brakes and accelerator. With these bikes, the rider has to move quickly to go fast. To stop or slow down, he/she must apply reverse pressure with his or her feet. If you think this is too much of a hassle, you can have brakes installed in your fixie bike.
In cities where traffic is a given, fixie bikes are great because they let you regulate the speed with your legs. This way, you can get around cars or other obstructions without constantly hitting your bike’s brakes.
Road bikes, on the other hand, come with brakes attached to them.
Controlling Their Gears
Road bikes come with multiple gears, which means you can easily shift your riding style depending on the terrain. Fixie bikes, on the other hand, lack shifters. With the latter, you have to figure out and master your bike’s gear ratios.
Because fixed gear bikes don’t have as many components as road bikes, they are easier on the pocket. Road bikes fall on the expensive side of cycles, especially if you want ones made of carbon fiber.
Pros of Fixie Bikes
- They have lesser parts and are easier/cheaper to maintain.
- They can be customized in many ways.
- They are affordable.
- They are great for commuting in urban cities.
Cons of Fixie Bikes
- They are not ideal for long-distance or rough-terrain rides.
- They don’t offer much room for baggage.
- You are required to pedal quite a bit.
Pros of Road Bikes
- They are ideal for long-distance or challenging-surface rides.
- They are versatile and are great for both urban and rough-terrain rides.
- They are faster than road bikes.
Cons of Road Bikes
- They cost more than fixie bikes in terms of maintenance.
The Similarities & Differences Between Fixie Bikes Vs. Road Bikes
Besides being eco-friendly alternatives to cars, both fixie and road bikes offer other mutual benefits. Both bike types allow adequately fast riding speeds (though road bikes are faster). In terms of comfort, both bikes can please. It all depends on the bike’s frame and components.
However, the seats in road bikes can be uncomfortable for some riders. To ease the pressure on your back while riding, look for bikes made of high-quality steel.
The Final Verdict
Fixie bikes are the right choice for you if you are looking for a simple, low-maintenance bike. They serve well on short- to moderate-length rides and are ideal for the daily commute. Most fixed-gear bikes come with a lock system so you can secure them from thieves.
You should opt for a road bike if you want a cycle that guarantees high performance for outdoor adventures. These bikes are especially ideal for long rides on surfaces like smooth asphalt. Road bikes feel light, but riding them helps you get a good physical workout. So, if you’re looking to get in shape, riding road bikes is likely to help.