Best single speed and fixed gear bikes 2023 – Cycling Weekly

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A single speed bike does exactly what it says on the can: it’s a bike with just one gear. It still has a front and a back brake like any other bike but just fewer gears. And by fewer we mean just one solitary gear.

Riding at its most simplified form is riding a bike with just one gear. That’s what the first Tour de France riders did in 1903 and what people still do today whether they are riding to work on a single speed bike or blitzing round a velodrome on a fixed gear bike.

Our guide will clarify what it means to ride a fixie or single speed and offer the best single speed and fixed gear bikes on the market.

Best single speed bikes

Not usually built for racing, these bikes sometimes house mudguard (fenders in the US) and pannier mounts making them ideal commuting bikes.

The lack of cassette, derailleur and cables means that the need for maintenance and cleaning is low. Turning one gear also helps you to learn to use your cadence to moderate your effort and speed – something that’s easy to forget when always riding a geared bike. For these reasons, some riders choose a single speed as a winter bike. (opens in new tab)

Some single speed bikes come with a ‘flip flop’ hub – that means the hub is double-sided. Swapping between the two allows the rider to choose between a freewheeled single speed, and a fixed gear (explained below).

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From the classic geometry to the powder-coated steel frame, the Steed Thoroughbred has a timeless, honest beauty about it.

The frame includes bosses for two bottle cages, mudguards and a rear rack. It’s a unisex frame which caters for heights from 5ft 0in to 6ft 5in across three sizes.

There are four colours to choose from and it comes as standard with a 44-tooth chainring paired with an 18-tooth rear sprocket, which is a fair choice for a bike meant for general town riding.

The Steed feels sturdy, planted and above all reliable. The ‘feel of steel’ needs no introduction to the majority of experienced riders. However, if this is to be your first steel-framed venture then we can assure you that the ride quality is both compliant and responsive.

It comes with everything the city-dwelling commuter needs straight out of the box and if you want to make spec changes such as swapping in drop handlebars/alternative rear sprocket etc then that can all be easily done.

A truly beautiful, comfortable and versatile frame which could last you a lifetime – and indeed it comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Read more: Steed Thoroughbred full review (opens in new tab)

There are three bikes in the Core-Line range, Rigby, Wulf (Matte Black) and Pigeon (high gloss ‘asphalt’ grey), all of which keep the same steel frame and flip-flop hub for either freewheel or fixed geared riding.

The range was developed to break down barriers to bike ownership, and has been built with a price point in mind. Standing out is the pretty big 44/16t gearing, which works out at nearly 73inch, so you might want to consider a bigger sprocket and longer chain if your rides contain hills.

That said, the range has a lot of fans and almost a cult-like following, which can make it tricky to get hold of at times, and with a five-year manufacturer warranty, it’s an impressive and attractive bike offering.

As an entry-level bike, Retrospec’s Mantra offers plenty of value for money. It features a durable steel frame with horizontal track dropouts complete with built-in chain tensioners. The frame also includes mounts for mudguards/fenders, a rear rack and two bottle cages, making it a commute-worthy option.

Elsewhere, this flat-bar bike comes with a flip-flop hub so you can switch between single-speed and fixed if you wish. As stock it comes with a 46t chainring and a 16t freewheel sprocket. Other specifications include caliper rim brakes and 28mm Kenda commuter tires. The Mantra comes in a range of colors include matte black and a matte olive drab.

Coming with a flip-flop hub, the FabricBike Light allows you to choose between at 16T single speed or fixed gear. The aluminum frameset has been designed to combine both aerodynamics and comfort with deep section 43mm wheels a 25c Kenda tires.

The lightweight aspect comes from its claimed frameset weight of just 2.45kg / 5.04lbs, and a total bike weight of just 9.45kg / 20.83lbs for a size medium, and is a few pounds lighter than other options on the market.

The bullhorn handlebars are a great option for getting low and aero, as well as having something to pull on for the climbs. On a route with frequent turns, though, these handlebars are less good. Thus, the FabricLight is ideal for longer distances, when you want to cover ground swiftly, but probably not one for inner-city riding.

Available in four colors, including a polished and clear lacquer version.

The Dutch brand has been designing city bikes for just over ten years, with the Vinyl Uno one of its single speed offerings.

A steel frame and fork is paired with rim brakes, a riser flat bar and a 46/17T flip flop gear. As with the State Bicycle Core-Line bike above, this is pretty big, so worth adding a bigger sprocket and longer chain to the shopping basket if you’re planning to ride somewhere with a few hills.

A lovely looking bike from Fuji, the Feather is available in black, as above, or white, with eye-catching hot pink decals, and a bike perfect for those pining for a blend of retro and modern. The Chromoly steel frame and fork means the bike should be hardy but also comfortable to ride.

With removable cable guides and a flip flop hub fitted with a 16T cog and freewheel at the rear you could even take it to the track for a fixed wheel spin, or keep it single speed with brakes for the road.

The dropped keirin-style handlebars and geometry make this a great option for nimble city riding, but with no fender mounts, it’s probably best for dry days only.