Fixie vs Road bikes has always been a subject of debate in cyclist 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, then a fixie bike is the way to go. This comparison takes you through the similarities and differences between the two types of bikes. Throughout this comparison of fixed gear bike vs road bike, we'll go over all the main features of each so that by the end, you'll know which bike is better for you!
Before we get to the juicy part where we put the two types of bikes against each other, let's cover the basics first.
fixed gear bike Vs Road Bike Comparison
To start, here's a quick overview for those that aren't familiar with what each bike is and the pros and cons.
fixed gear bikes
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Are you taking up cycling as a way to get some exercise? Fixed gear bikes are known to be one of the best ways to get your daily workout requirements met. These bikes do not allow any room for laziness or coasting, as you have to keep pedaling.
The distinguishing feature of fixed gear 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.
Pros Of Fixie Bikes
Cons OF FIXIE BIKES
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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 for long-distance commutes around the city. These bikes can also handle tours, triathlons, or races on multiple terrains.
The components and frames of these bikes facilitate speed. You can pedal hard on your road bike and reach speeds that are similar to a car. Moreover, they offer multiple gears that will allow you to alternate the effort required to get to your destination.
Pros Of Road Bikes
Cons OF Road BIKES
Road Bike vs Fixie - Feature Comparison
Now comes the fun part. What distinguishes fixed gear bikes from road bikes? And which bike is ideal for what kind of rider? We'll uncover the answers to these questions below:
Fixie bikes are less complicated than road bikes in terms of their build. Naturally, you are likely to incur fewer maintenance costs for your fixed gear bike if you take good care of it. Moreover, since fixed gear bikes have fewer parts or gears than their road bike counterparts, most fixed gear riders will typically have excellent quality replacements put onto your fixed gear bike even on a budget.
So in regards to maintenance costs, you'll likely save much more by getting a Fixie or Single Speed bike.
Fixie bikes dominate rides on flatlands over short commutes, which is why it comes as no surprise that the singlespeed bike is the preferred mode of cycling in urban settings. Road bikes, on the other hand, are much more diverse in terms of riding possibilities. As such, they feature multiple gears that you can shift to ride smoothly across any terrain. This difference between Road bikes and Fixie bikes make the road bike the better option to choose when you plan to go for longer commutes.
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. There are also many customizable features available for road bikes; however, in most cases, the road bike you buy would already have all the features that you would consider adding to a fixie/single speed bike.
When it comes to speed, road bikes are the king of the class. Their gears maximize a rider's pedaling efficiency by allowing you to "gear up or down" and move faster or easier over different terrains.
As a result, you have complete freedom to adjust the gears according to the environment you are cycling in.
With that said, Fixies aren't all for show either as you can reach some decent speeds on a fixie bicycle. However, riding up steep hills or on rocky terrains can prove to be challenging on fixed gear bikes since it's a single-speed bike with no ability to allow you to pedal more freely.
Brakes and Handling
In fixie bikes, the riders' legs typically act as both the brakes and accelerator. With these bikes, the rider has to continually pedal to keep the bike moving as the pedals turn along with the wheel.
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To stop or slow down the bike requires the rider to apply reverse pressure with their feet. If you think this is too much of a hassle, you can have brakes installed in your fixie bike that will mitigate this inconvenience.
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. They are generally easy to handle and offer the option to pace your cycling better than on a fixie.
Controlling Their Gears
Road bikes come with multiple gears, which means you can easily shift your riding style depending on the terrain. A fixed gear bicycle, on the other hand, lack shifters. With the latter, you have to figure out and master your bike's gear ratios.
Because single speed bikes don't have as many components as road bikes, they are often less expensive on average. Road bikes, on the other hand, fall on the pricey side, especially if you want ones made of carbon fiber.
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The Similarities & Differences Between Fixie Bikes Vs. Road Bikes
Besides being eco-friendly alternatives to cars, both a fixed gear bike 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 just about any cyclist as it all depends on the bike's frame and components.
However, the seats in road bikes can be uncomfortable for some riders but can easily be replaced with more comfortable seats.. 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. Moreover, most single speed 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 also helps you get a good physical workout. So, if you're looking to get in shape, riding road bikes are likely to be the better choice for you.
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Is it difficult to ride a fixed gear bike?
At first, riding a fixed gear bike if you're familiar with geared bikes can be intimidating. However, after mastering the basics of pedaling and controlling speed fixed gear riding can be an enjoyable experience! To ensure a comfortable journey on your fixie, remember to keep track of its speed as well as pedal constantly in order to maintain that same speed.
Is it true that most riders prefer geared bikes over fixed gear bikes?
Contrary to popular belief, many riders are split on their preference of geared bikes versus fixed gear bikes. It really boils down to individual inclination and the kind of riding they will be engaging in. Some cyclists might appreciate the simple yet hardwearing nature of single speed bikes while others like the convenience that comes with having multiple gears in a geared bicycle. In either case, it's ultimately up to each rider’s particular interest and desired cycling experience!
Can fixed gear bikes be used for mountain biking?
Fixed gear bicycles are not suitable for mountain biking as they have a limited number of gears and their fixed drivetrain, making it more difficult to navigate steep or uneven terrain. As an alternative, mountain bikes which come with multiple speed settings and tougher components are far better equipped for these types of terrains.
Is it possible to ride a fixed gear bike in track racing?
Definitely, fixed gear bikes are ideal for track racing! They're made to be as swift and effective on a track as possible. To remain in motion at all times, riders must consistently pedal when riding these types of bicycles. Track racing is one of the prime disciplines where this type of bike excels- solely because it's designed with velocity and proficiency in mind.
What is the gear ratio on a fixed gear bike?
The gear ratio on a fixed gear bike refers to the relationship between the number of teeth on the chainring (located in the front of the bike) and the number of teeth on the cog (located in the rear wheel). A lower gear ratio, such as 46:16, will result in lower speeds but make it easier to climb hills.
Is a fixie faster than a road bike?
It's not always true that a fixed gear bike is faster than a road bike. Road bikes are designed to go fast and far. They have lightweight frames, drop handlebars, and multiple gears. These features make them good for long distance rides and racing. Fixies are simpler bikes with only one gear and no changes. They are good for efficiency and simplicity. While a fixed gear bike can be fast, they might not be as fast as a road bike across different terrains.
Last Updated on October 14, 2023 by Daniel White