Fixed gear (fixie) and road bikes have several essential characteristics in common regarding speed. They frequently share the same smooth, thin wheels to minimize road resistance and create a more aerodynamic profile. They can accelerate more easily since their frames are lightweight.
The road bike, however, keeps developing new accessories and functions after the fixie has reached its limit. Derailleurs, entire rear cassettes, and a stack of chainrings are all components of complex drivetrains.
The hubs are controlled by disc brakes or the rims by rim brakes.
The goal of everything is to make the bike perform better. Since the primary, affordable fixie lacks all of these extras, you may anticipate that it would perform far worse than the road bike.
Does it, however? Which of the two truly moves the fastest?
Although these are two different bike types, it is appropriate to compare them. Both are promoted as great options for commuting and what commuter isn’t interested in how quickly their vehicle can bring them to work?
So let’s mount up and begin cycling through this comparison, starting with the fixie (exactly how fast it can go) as the seeming underdog.
Fixie bikes have a maximum speed.
The bike’s design greatly influences your highest and average speed when riding a fixed-gear bike.
You may expect to accomplish a certain speed depending on the wheel diameter, chainring, rear sprocket, and crank size.
The chainring and sprocket dimensions determine your gear ratio.
You can calculate how many times the wheel will spin for every crank turn you make by dividing the chainring’s teeth by the sprocket’s teeth.
More incredible speeds are produced with a bigger, more “toothy” chainring. Let’s say our bike has a gear ratio of 50/11, or 4.55, a typical high gear setting for multi-speed cycles to determine the theoretical maximum of a fixie. Just from this, you can predict a top speed of 32.8 mph.
There are further factors. A higher gear will be needed to obtain the same peak speed with a smaller wheel diameter. You can maintain and increase your cadence more easily with shorter cranks.
Of course, riding in a rider’s draft or when traveling downhill allows you to travel at even faster speeds. On drops, riders frequently reach speeds of 40–45 mph. Although going much faster is conceivable, it might become risky.
Which One Is Faster: Fixed Gear vs. Road Bike?
The main components that control the speed of fixies and road bikes are the same. Road bikes have many gears, but a fixie might also have any of those gears.
The tires and cranks may be the same size.
A fixie may travel equally quickly as a road bike in the same gear if the gear ratios and other pertinent proportions are the same. In this case, the fixie has the edge.
Because the drive mechanism is so streamlined, the bikes are lighter. They can even outrun their rival road bike competitors as a result.
However, it is a best-case scenario. Let’s assume the fixed-gear bike has a 50/11 gear ratio again. On flat ground, that high gear is excellent for speed.
However, utilizing such demanding gear makes it considerably more challenging to bike up an incline. The rider on a road bike can always keep their cadence by quickly changing to a lower gear.
This implies that road bikes will be quicker overall and have an average speed that is more constant throughout various terrain. Even if you may pick a fixie with a more reasonable gear ratio, every gear is only perfect in some situations. Your fixie will perform poorly on straightaways if hills are not a hindrance.
However, fixed-gear bikes are preferred by bikers when they are suitable for the terrain. Fixies average the same 15–16 mph in these situations as other bikes.
Should You Purchase a Road Bike or a Fixie Bike for Daily Cycling?
Terrain and personal choice are the deciding factors when deciding between a fixie and a road bike.
A fixie-can bike is best if your daily commute is on relatively flat terrain. Its substantial weight advantage gives it the edge in speed in this situation and makes it generally manageable.
However, a road bike is better if you anticipate riding up hills daily. Riding a fixie in this situation is possible, but it is ineffective when bouncing between flat ground, inclines, and drops.
The most common option is a road bike. They contain more intricate elements, but as a trade-off, you can regulate how much effort you put into riding. Its most significant benefit is its versatility.
However, you could like a bike that demands more work from you.
Many people like the effort needed to propel a fixie up a hill or accelerate a lower-geared bike over a flat stretch. Limitations may also serve as selling features.
That also applies to other features. A fixie may appeal to your sense of aesthetics due to the absence of gears and wires that would clutter the frame. You desire a trick bike. Fixies have pedals for forward and reverse motion. Want to make a few pennies back? Fixies are often less expensive.
What Purpose Does a Fixie Bike Serve?
Benefits to Health
An active lifestyle is required to ride a fixed-gear bicycle. Every time your bike moves, you must pedal because if the back wheel is spinning, the cranks will too.
Although they can be adjusted to enable freewheeling, fixies don’t coast, so many riders leave them as-is for the workout.
Even while going downhill, having to pedal strains your stamina. Strengthening your legs, thighs, and glutes teaches your body the ideal cadence for cycling.
A fixie is also the best type of bike to use for a cardio workout. It forbids you from slowing down.
It will help if you put forth the effort to get there and do something other than coast along on momentum. To get the most out of this type of bike, the rider must get into shape.
Easy of Use
A bike with 30 or more gears might be daunting and perplexing to many individuals. Only some people like remembering which gear is optimal for each circumstance or becoming distracted while riding by tinkering with controls.
Such a rider will benefit from the fixie’s simplicity. You always know what to anticipate when you get on the horse. There are no knobs to turn or delicate components to take into account.
The majority of fixed-gear versions lack even brakes! To stop instead, you turn the pedals backward. It’s an intuitive method, although it might take some getting used to.
Additionally, these bikes fall under the featherweight category because so many components still need to be included. They are simple to manage while riding and can be easily lifted onto a bike rack or carried up a few stairs.
Lower Need for Maintenance
Reduced maintenance is another advantage of the fixie’s simplistic construction. A bike has fewer potential failure spots when the more intricate systems are removed.
There aren’t any shift or brake handles or trailing wires that can be difficult to fix or replace.
The chain isn’t continually moving through a derailleur or alternating between rings and sprockets. It guarantees less wear and makes it less prone to snag or fall out of position at any time.
Brake pads, discs, and calipers don’t need to be serviced or replaced. Rim brakes don’t clamp down on your rims, and a broken hydraulic fork suspension won’t ruin your ride.
With a fixie, you need to take care of the bare necessities, and even those are simple. Slipping the chain off and replacing the tire yourself is easy when changing the rear tire.
Not only is this practical, but it also costs less money.
These motorcycles’ aesthetics have something to recommend them. When other bikers see you riding a fixie, they can tell that you have mastered a demanding and challenging riding style.
This has an air of quiet confidence about it that commands respect. Additionally, the popularity of fixed-gear bikes is on the rise.
Its minimalist design blends well with the hipster style of simplicity and laid-backness. Due to its emphasis on minimalist design, it also appeals to environmentalists more than the ordinary bike.
Fixies are naturally less expensive; thus, spending much on a high-end one is noteworthy. There is a sense that the bike is a work of art and that you are more interested in quality.
The fixie appears to convey more than any other bike with the fewest parts because of its distinctive design.
How Do You Downhill Ride a Fixie?
Try riding your fixie downhill to experience the incredible speeds we previously recommended. You must understand how to accomplish this securely, however.
Make sure your gear ratio is suitable for slopes first. A 48/18 ratio is acceptable on flat pathways and suitable for uphill and downhill cycling.
Recall that the pedals and the back wheel both spin. If you descend a slope slowly, the spinning will soon become too much to handle.
If you’re not careful, you risk losing control of the bike and suffering severe injuries.
Make sure you are comfortable riding the bike before trying any challenging slopes. You should practice braking with the pedals if a front-wheel brake is not mounted.
You can ride up the slope after you’re confident handling your bike. Consider how in control you feel as you drop. You should be all right if you continuously alter your speed using brakes to keep a moderate cadence.
In the eyes of the majority of riders, road bikes are superior. A bike can meet the rider at their level of competence and adjust to the difficulties of the terrain thanks to their variety of gear.
Because of their more significant weight, they won’t accelerate as swiftly as a fixie. However, once they do, maintaining it as elevations and circumstances change is simpler for them.
Their increased average speed is a result of this.
But in the appropriate circumstances, the simpler, lighter fixie shines. When the road is flat, and the gear ratio is optimum, it might be the quicker of the two.
You, the rider, make up the last variable. By the strength of our effort, all motorcycles may be propelled to more significant accomplishments. But more than any other type of bicycle, the fixed-gear bike depends on us to realize its full potential.