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Why Ride Fixed? How Fixed Gear Cycling Can Improve Performance

Updated on January 6, 2013
CyclingFitness profile image

Liam Hallam is a sports science graduate. A keen cyclist, runner, and obstacle racer who ran his first ultra-marathon in 2016.

Fixed gear cycling for fitness

Fixed gear cycling for imporved fitness and performance.
Fixed gear cycling for imporved fitness and performance. | Source

Fixie's have become popular...

...although their popularity in many cases has been through fashion. In many cases manufacturers have jumped onto the bandwagon and produced fixed gear bicycles which are simply a fashion statement. Whereas a true cyclist is looking for function as well as forme.

So why should you consider riding a fixed gear bicycle to improve your fitness?

Fixed Gears have been around since the bicycle began

I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five.
Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer?
We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!

Henri Desgrange, L'Équipe 1902

Low maintenance costs and fixed gear bikes

A singlespeed bike means that you have fewer working parts as part of your bike's drivechain. You don't have the worry of having to adjust your gearing.

All you simply need to do is keep your tyres inflated, chain lubed up and replace chains and sprokets as the wear over time.

This all saves your wallet in the long term versus the additional costs of a geared bike.

Fixed Gear- Fitness and Fashion

Fixed gear biking- fashion and fitness too!
Fixed gear biking- fashion and fitness too! | Source

Singlespeed bikes are great for winter cycling

In the winter you don't want anything to go wrong with your bike. The fewer working parts on a fixed wheel bike mean that you don't need to worry and can get one with riding.

Twice as fit in half the time- training on a fixed gear bike

When you train on a fixed gear bicycle your legs are constantly turning- you simply can't stop pedalling. Why you ride a geared bike you can coast when you wish to. Especially when going downhill. Riding a fixed wheel bike means you are forced to keep pedalling even when you go downhill.

This means that you do more work overall in a ride than the equivalent ride on a 'geared' bike with a freewheel. This can help give you a greater level of fitness.

Therefore a fixed wheel training ride is going to be great for your cycling endurance.

Improved pedalling smoothness- even when tired

Riding a fixed gear over longer rides helps you to maintain pedalling suppleness and smoothness. Fixed gear riding forces an improvement in your pedalling efficiency as you are forced to pedal throughout the whole pedal revolution. This means that even despite the onset of fatigue you can still learn to maintain a smooth pedal technique.

A smooth pedal technique leads to an improvement in pedalling efficiency. Every cyclist needs an efficient pedal technique to ensure as little energy is wasted throughout the pedal stroke.

Riding a fixed gear improves reactions in race situations

In a road race you can go from soft pedalling to completely 'balls out' in the space of just a few seconds. This can also involve going from a situation of low torque and power output to extremely high power output When riding a fixed gear bike you can go from 60 revs per minute to over 120 revs per minute in a matter of seconds while going over the tops of hills and flying down the other side.

Fixed gear riding trains the legs to react to such situations and your body to be able to improve it's ability to handle lactate.

Has fixed gear cycling worked for you?

Please leave your comments on how it's worked? Are you considering getting yourself a fixed wheel bike?

Why not tell others why they should ride fixed?

Happy riding



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    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 4 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks Jorge- I have to admit I'm not a fan of how fixes have become a fashion item but their use ability is immense for training and commuting. I have to leave my bike locked up outside my main place of work in all weathers- the Fixed means I have less to worry over.

    • profile image

      jorge garcia 4 years ago

      Wanted a fixed after seeing all the cool looking pics did some homework saw all the benefits in regards to simplicity, lack of maintenance and how quickly you build muscle. Same bike 2 yrs did a century ride on it a year ago. I don't like the pretty boy points I get for it anymore so going to paint it and make it simpler but best commuter bike in the world I track my speed and times and honestly at this point want a road bike but will never ditch this monstrosity I call my bike because I love the ride like no other.

    • capon profile image

      Tony Capon 5 years ago from Upminster, Essex, United Kingdom

      I love riding my "Fixed", the simplicity and purity strike the right cord in me. I also love riding my other, geared, road bikes, to include a Dolan time trial bike. However, the point I want to make is that riding a "Fixed" enhances my riding experience of other bikes. Its all win win!

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks shuck- it could help your running improve and strengthen your antagonist running muscles. This limits injury risk

    • shuck72 profile image

      shuck72 5 years ago from Seattle

      Thanks I was thinking of getting a fixed gear bike to give me a break from running. Useful article, I didn't know or think about the need to pedal even when going downhill. I suppose if the hill is very steep this could be a problem for some.