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How do single speed bikes work? And what are they?

Posted by Jamie on

How do single speed bikes work? And what are they? | Single Speed Cycles

Let’s start at the beginning—if you know the basics, feel free to read ahead!

Single speed bikes are exactly what they sound like: a bike with only one gear, so there’s no shifting. They’re sleek, lightweight, and affordable because, well, there is just less bike.

Got it? Let’s roll on.

What’s the difference between single speed bikes and fixie bikes?

A fixed gear (or “fixie” if are so inclined) has a fixed cog in place of the single speed’s freewheel. Basically, this means that you can coast on a single speed, but you need to pedal to move on a fixed gear bicycle (like your childhood tricycle, just cool).

Track racers use fixed gear because they need maximum power and connection to the bike without all the extra parts weighing them down.  You want to speed up? Crank it up. Slow down? Slow your legs. You’re in control.

It’s just a matter of personal preference--just consider the implications of no coasting if you’re going to be riding down lots of hills!

Still not sure? The best news is you don’t have to choose. All of our bikes come equipped with a Flip Flop Hub, so they can be ridden as either a single speed or fixie.

So why ride a single speed bike?

Aficionados of the fixie and single speed say that these bikes give a much better connection to the bike and the road that leads to a really enjoyable ride, different to anything they’ve ever experienced on a geared bike.

With great design, very simple specs, and no excess parts, single speed bikes have everything you need and nothing you don’t.

They are low maintenance and easy to clean. All you have to do is keep an eye on your chain, brakes, and your tyre pressure.

Single speed cycles are also extremely affordable, thanks again to their simplicity. They’re resistant to damage (having fewer parts to get damaged), and they’re also just really good-looking.  

What kind of styles do single speed bikes come in?

If you want a gorgeous, no-nonsense bike, you’re in the right place. We offer several different styles, all with the signature single speed simplicity.

If you’re after an absolute classic, check out the Berlin. Or if you prefer the vintage look, turn heads in a stylish, old-school-design beauty with our Copenhagen. If speed is your thing, you’ll want to take a look at the aerodynamic Osaka. You really can’t go wrong.

Are single speed bikes more efficient than geared bikes?

Yes and no. A single speed’s drivetrain efficiency actually can be better than some of the geared bikes on the market. This is due to lower chain drag and fewer parts. But without the option of switching into low gears, you can expect more work if you need to pedal uphill.

Are single speed bikes fast?

As with lots of things, you get out what you put in! So if you want to go fast, you’ve got to move those legs. If you really want some speed, go with a sleek, aerodynamic design like our Osaka.

You’ll build up those quads, hammies, and calves in no time. Plus you’ll turn some heads on the way.

Is a single speed bike right for me?

Single speed and fixed gear bikes are a great option for cyclists and commuters who aren’t going for long-distance and need a no-nonsense, low maintenance, reliable ride.

If you’re currently on a geared bike, a good test is to check how many gears you actually use—if it’s less than three, you’ll likely be fine.

Single speeds are ultra-reliable, resistant to accidental damage due to having fewer parts, and are very cost-effective. Plus they’re a lot of fun to ride. There’s a reason single speed riders say they’ll never go back!

Ready to experience the simplicity of cycling in its purest form?

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