What is the Difference Between Single Speed and Fixed Gear?

Biking has become an increasingly popular mode of transportation, exercise and recreation for people around the world. With this surge in interest has come an explosion of different bike types and styles designed for specific purposes or preferences. Recently, two types of bikes that have gained considerable attention are single speed and fixed gear models.

At first glance, single speed and fixed gear bikes may appear similar – they both lack complicated gears and shifters found on more traditional bicycles. However, there are some significant distinctions between them that make for a distinct riding experience, control, and maintenance needs.

Single speed bikes give riders a single gear ratio that can be altered by swapping out either the rear cog or front chainring. This means riders have the freedom to select an appropriate gear for their intended route, but cannot switch between gears while riding. In contrast, fixed gear bikes have fixed ratios: the rear cog is attached directly to the wheel, so riders cannot coast without exerting effort.

This article will explain the differences between single speed and fixed gear bikes in more depth, outlining both their advantages and drawbacks.

What sets fixed-speed bikes apart from single-speed ones?

Single-speed bikes only have one gear ratio, meaning there is only one set of single-speed bikes available. Riders can adjust this by replacing either the front or rear chainring, making the bike either easier or harder to pedal depending on where they go. Because riders cannot switch between gears while riding, it must be decided which gear works best for them before leaving. Fixed gear bikes have a fixed ratio which means the rear cog remains attached at the back wheel making stopping easier but also more challenging.

difference between single speed and fixed gear

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There is a distinction between single speed and fixed gear.

Single-speed bicycles use a single drivetrain system. This consists of one sprocket at the rear wheel hub connected to a crank arm that turns the pedals forward when pressed. Coasting is not possible as there’s no freewheel mechanism present – you must pedal backwards. Your gearing ratio may make this difficult.

Due to its absence of shifters or derailleurs that require replacing due to wear and tear, this type of bike requires minimal upkeep. Furthermore, you cannot alter the gears like multi-speed bikes (e.g. when going uphill) do.

Fixed-gear bikes work the same way, only with two sprockets at the rear wheel hub instead of one. On one side, power from pedaling turns both wheels simultaneously via chain tensioner (or cog), and on the other it exits through ground contact points like tires or wheel sets.

Going uphill at double speeds is easier due to the extra torque provided by multiple cogs working together simultaneously, yet you still have full control of your vehicle downhill.

Single-speed bikes can be great for casual riding in the city or on trails. Fixed gear bikes, however, are for those with more ambition who want to do tricks and stunts.
What is Fixed Gear Single Speed?

Yes, fixed gear bikes are single-speed. This means you must pedal forward in order to move the bike; coasting or pedaling backwards could prove hazardous.

What Are Single-Speed Bikes?

Single-speed bikes feature a single gear ratio, meaning that regardless of road conditions or terrain, the rider must maintain the same speed. They’re perfect for those who want a relaxed riding experience but don’t need to worry about changing gears.

Single-speed bikes require less upkeep than their multi-speed counterparts due to fewer moving parts that need adjustment or servicing regularly.

Due to their single gear, single-speed bikes enable riders to pedal uphill more efficiently than traditional models with gears. This helps save energy and accelerate commute times in urban areas.

One major benefit of single-speed bikes is that you only need one hand to adjust gears or none at all. This makes them ideal for novice or casual riders alike.
What are Fixed Gear Bikes and How Do They Work?

Fixed-gear bicycles (known as fixies) lack a freewheel mechanism and must be pedaled when going downhill or on flat terrain. Without this feature, riders must rely solely on their pedal power to move the bike forward.

Fixed-gear bikes require more effort than other types of bicycles and may prove challenging for novice riders.

Fixie cyclists often point out the increased challenge of Fixie cycling as one of the reasons they enjoy it so much. There’s nothing quite like conquering challenging terrain on two wheels powered solely by your efforts!

Why are fixed-gear bikes better?

Get more out of your cycling experience.

Fixed-gear bikes offer riders a unique experience. Without a freewheel, pedals must always remain in motion while the bike is moving. This promotes efficiency as less energy is wasted with each pedal stroke and more forward momentum is generated.

Helps maintain balance.
Fixed-gear bikes can also improve your pedaling technique, as you must use both legs during each revolution. This strengthens muscles and enhances balance when going up or downhill.
What makes single-speed bikes better?
Simple Maintenance
Single-speed bikes have the advantage of being simpler to maintain and repair than other bicycle types with multiple parts, as there are fewer moving pieces and therefore fewer potential issues. This reduces your chances of something going awry significantly.
Light in Weight
These designs combine the timeless appeal of a single-sprocket design with modern materials like lightweight aluminum frames to offer both style and practical advantages, as well as visual interest, when compared to heavier steel-framed alternatives available elsewhere on the market.

Simplicity, ease of upkeep and versatility all combine for optimal convenience and value.

Bikes offer an efficient and straightforward form of transportation. There are no gears on this bike – only one ratio that can be used for any kind of riding.

This bike is popular with commuters due to its ease of upkeep compared to multi-speed models that require multiple gears and require more frequent adjustments.

Single-speed bikes are lightweight and more cost-effective than other bicycle types, making them a great option for those on a tight budget or who don’t want to deal with the complexity of maintaining an intricate bicycle system.

A single speed bike offers several advantages, the primary being its versatility – perfect for leisure rides or commuting around campus. Plus, at an attractive price point, it makes an ideal choice for those interested in cycling.


Fixed-gear and single-speed bicycles offer distinct advantages depending on the terrain you plan to ride most frequently while cycling.

Single-speed bikes require less upkeep than fixed gear bikes since they only require one cog that doesn’t need adjustment.

Personal preference should always be your guide when selecting a type of carpet. Take some time to research each option thoroughly before determining which is best suited for you.

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