Why ride a single-speed bike?

  • A question came up recently about why people ride fixed-gear bikes. I think you can't reasonably answer that question without first understanding why people ride single-speed bikes.

    So, why do they do it?

    I'm assuming we'll talk about leg strength, simplicity, memories of bikes from childhood, etc., but I'll let someone else write a good answer & get the rep.

    I've been wondering the same thing! I have been reading fatty's blog http://www.fatcyclist.com/ and it appears that he rides a single speed most of the time.

    Great answers so far but I am hoping we also get an answer from someone who rides single speeds in races and endurance rides.

    @Mike I'd ride a single speed in a race or endurance ride for the same reason I ride one the rest of the time. The achievement value, simplicity, and fun.

    I'm going to be a jerk and give the "true" two valid reasons. One, you care more about style than functionality. In other words, you're a hipster. Two, you are legitimately involved in track cycling. That means you're not a doofus riding a brakeless track bike around NYC streets.

    @Apreche - Why are you profiling fixed/single riders? I am all about functionality over style and ride a fixie. Just because that would be your motivation (and is quite possibly the motivation for others) don't assume that it's the case for everyone.

    I appreciate both sides of this argument, This is why I need three geared bikes and two single speed bikes. If the weather is perfect and I am riding a distance of 50km or more, I will take my sweetest bike , a full carbon / ultegra bike kept in my basement. If the wheather is less than perfect my plan B bike is a aluminuim with carbon fork / campy groupset bike for those distances. In the snow I use heavy mountain bike, I have a very "nice" Single Speed for use around my neighborhood, and to occasionaly train on local hills, and my "beater" single speed is a utility bike for anything else (an

    I would say if you have a fine and straight line path throughout your region, a fixie is good. Having gear is a plus when you go uphill. I have used both and saying this from my experience.

  • alesplin

    alesplin Correct answer

    10 years ago

    I ride a single-speed (as opposed to fixed gear) because I like to be able to coast down a hill without worrying about spinning out, or hitting a pot-hole while frantically trying to keep up with my pedals. Don't get me wrong, I love riding fixed-gear, but for where I live it's just a little impractical to not be able to coast.

    I ride a single-speed (as opposed to a geared bike) for multiple reasons.

    A: It's all I could afford. If you only have $600, you'll get a lot more bike with a single-speed than a geared bike. Or rather, you'll get a lighter bike with better hubs/wheels/etc than for a $600 geared bike. Someday I'll have the money for a decent road bike (105/Rival or better) and will buy one. But for now, my single-speed is much lighter and sturdier than any $600 geared road bike I could have gotten.

    B: I enjoy the simplicity. Want to go faster? Pedal faster.

    C: I enjoy the workout. I live in Utah, where there are some pretty big hills/mountains. The only way to get to the top is to (as my dad used to say) hunker down and gut it out. There's something quite invigorating about knowing you conquered that hill with the power in your legs instead of the mechanical advantage of your gear ratio.

    D: Even on the freewheel side of my hub, my single-speed is quiet. No gears means that unless I'm coasting, my bike is nearly silent.

    I like the loud pawl click of a cassette hub.

    Me too. I also like that while I'm pedaling I'm in stealth mode, and then when I start to coast the load clack-clack of my freewheel surprises people. (although I try to be polite most of the time)

    Reminds me of the Schwinn Stingray I got in '78 for my birthday. A fine bike, that one. Banana seat, red/yellow paint scheme.

    A is a quite good reason, I also ride a single speed and that's mainly because everything is easier: cheaper and easier maintenance (most of the time you don't to go to a bikeshops) and better bike for a smaller price. Also D is great, I still amaze myself by how silent my bike is when I'm riding alone.

    The question is not why one chooses to ride single speed over a fixed gear bicycle but why one chooses to ride a single speed (presumably over a geared bicycle).

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM