New Fixed Gear Bikes and Options – Submitted

by Alex on April 15, 2009

Submitted by Paul Scarsella

Usually when I talk about cycling with someone interested in getting started riding on the road, the inevitable question becomes how much will I need to spend on a decent road bike? The answer is you could spend as little as $700 to as much as $3k (or more). This is usually enough to make many people dismiss getting started in cycling as an option. In reality, you can get something nice in the $700 to $800 range but it will consist of a solid frame (usually aluminum) with some really lousy wheels and subpar components. Anyone who is slightly on the heavy side (which is most people) and does a lot of riding will inevitably wear this stuff out quickly and will need to replace wheels and parts. What’s left is usually the frame, just begging to be upgraded.

The other option is to put together a nice package of frame and components/wheels together yourself. This can be in one over the counter purchase or as I like to do it, which is to drool over many bicycle frames then finally buy one. Then within a year or so, pick out the parts I want and have it put together by a professional. This will cost much more, ($2k to $3K) but either way doing this will result in a nice bike you can ride for a while without replacing too much stuff (hopefully).

Then there is always plan B – get yourself a fix. I would recommend once again picking out a nice frame. Then have it built up with the parts you like. Either way you will be spending much less than you would on a road bike, complete with gears, brakes and all the bells and whistles.

Here you have the same options but you can probably find a complete bike that is road worthy for much less ($400 to $700) Or find a nice track frame and build it up for (about $800 to $1k). Of course you could spend much more on a real sweet track bike or fix. But for most people who just want to go for a ride this is unnecessary. I would strongly recommend the use of a front brake on your new fix. A rear brake is optional (but unnecessary for most people), unless you live in a very hilly area. Also pick a gear that is easy for you, remember this will be your one and only gear on this bike, so pick one you can handle as you learn to tame the beast;)

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

midtoad April 16, 2009 at 4:26 pm

About the gearing… many people recommend somewhere around 70 gear-inches. See Sheldon Brown’s gear calculator at to see what combinations of front and rear will give you that.

I built up a Surly Cross-Check with a double front chainring and a Surly Dingle on the back, giving me either 48×17 = 77 gear-inches, or 44×21 = 55. I soon found the higher gear to be too high, and changed out my bigger ring so now I have 46×17 = 74, which is better, but… I found the lower great for bike polo, for winter commuting and learning to descend hills (and get up them, too!).

I put on a front brake but told myself never to use it except for emergencies. After riding the fixie full-time all winter, I’m still touching that brake once in a while (like, once a month), so I’m glad I have it.

chad September 3, 2009 at 10:55 pm

dude. you all make this much to complicated, i been fixxing road bikes for awhile know and if you want a fix you can put one together personally with all the style you can dream up for just over 400 bucks. visit and those guys will give you all the advice and know how you need to build up a quick stronge relyable fix for a low cost.

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