Fixie bikes have proven they are more than a passing craze; here is why fixie bikes are here to stay, even 10 years after they made their come-back.
Image by James Jardine via Flickr
“Fixie bikes” (slang for fixed-gear bicycles) hit the scene in a really big way back around 2005 as an affordable and healthy choice for young commuters. The trend spread roots into every class and pay-grade, although the trend has its humble roots.
The idea behind fixies originally was formed around their value and utility; anyone could pick up a used beat up bike, toss the hardware (which was often all busted up anyway) and bam! Instant fixie.
There are a number of reasons why fixies are still top-drawer commuter bike options. Let's take a look.
1. Fixie Bikes are Affordable
Alright, I already alluded to this one but I wasn't about to leave it off the list. Just about any old beater of a bike can be converted into cheap fixie bikes by removing extraneous parts –not adding any. Fixing up a fixie usually means dressing down, to the relief of a buyer's wallet.
Today there are plenty of fixie bikes “out of the box”, but they're still free of expensive unnecessary parts.
2. Fixie Bikes are Healthy
As long as your wheels are turning, you're pedalling. Riding a fixed-gear bike allows the cyclist to feel the speed their going, while burning more calories in the process.
Fixie cyclists often refer to a greater sense of well-being and happier mood from riding around on fixed-gear bicycles. Exercise and endorphins go hand-in-hand, so it makes perfect sense. The treasure trail of prizes that go with getting more exercise are many.
3. Clean, Authentic Look
Fixie bikes have a distinctly simple yet elegant look about them; the lack of gears and clutter allow the viewer to focus on its design. Unlike the 1990's when cycling had a surge in popularity, bulky and excessively visible accessories are no longer the norm. The more invisible the accessory, the better. Bonus points for using solar or kinetic energy to power them.
From a style perspective, fixies are still the hottest bike form factor thought of as a canvas for big name designers and design firms. Think Converse in the 1980's and 1990's. Or VW Beetle in the 1960's. People are decking out their fixies, big time. Simply put: bulky accessories bad, retro or custom designs good. From Hipster to Steam punk, there's something for everyone.
4. Safe for All Levels of Experience
Gears often add a layer of complexity to novice cyclists, whose go-to was typically a mountain bike. For those that just want to ride, pick it up and go –then ride a fixie.
5. Easy to Clean, Maintain and Repair
I grew up on mountain bikes, and the only time I had to maintain my bicycle was when it needed air, or the derailer was all messed up. And the latter happened a whole lot more than the former. Cables needed tightening, derailers needed replacing from time to time, or the handle on the gear changer would snap –and it was a real pain when the chain would fall off and get jammed between the frame and the last gear.
Now I ride a fixie. Take that, people.
Why do you (or don't you) ride a fixie? Let everyone know in the comments.