I absolutely love riding fixed. There are many benefits of riding a fixed-gear bike. However, it’s not for everybody. In fact, some people straight-up hate fixies. So, What are some of the reasons why people don’t hate fixed gear bikes?
Some people dislike fixed-gear bikes because many fixie riders don’t do so for the reasons that people typically ride fixed-gear bikes (training, improving cadence, etc.). Instead, they ride them because they’re trendy or to project a counterculture persona.
But there’s a lot more to it than that. So, in this article, you will learn five reasons why people dislike fixed gear bikes, so you can find out if riding fixed is right for you.
Editor’s note: This article was updated on January 16, 2022, to include additional information regarding riding fixed.
Reasons why people don’t like fixies
As unbelievable as it sounds, there’s a lot of people that don’t like our beloved fixie. Here are some reasons why people think fixies are bad.
1. Negative asosiation with hispters
Some people hate the idea of fixed gear bikes because they have a negative association with hipsters who do ride them for the reasons that most people don’t (training, improving cadence, etc.). Instead, they ride them because they’re cool or to represent a rebellious attitude.
When you consider the mass-produced and well-advertised “counterculture” image that fixed gear bikes have developed, it’s easy to understand why some may look down on fixed-gear riding.
However, this negative stereotype is quickly evaporating because since riding fixed isn’t as cool as it used to be a few years ago, the hipsters and posers have started to fade away.
2. Can be dangerous to themselves and others
Some urban fixie riders can pose a danger to themselves and others. Many people (not all, but many) have no idea how to ride them correctly.
Because stopping requires either a competent track stand or completely unclipping your feet, you’ll see some fixie riders wobbling around all over the place when they’re doing anything other than moving forward in a straight line, and if you’re lucky, keeling over completely as the lights turn green because they can’t get out of the tracks and they’ve finally gotten themselves into. It’s unsettling for everyone and may be hazardous. And the lack of breaks is also considered a safety hazard.
However, if you know how to ride properly, this should not be an issue.
3. Descending is not very fun
Descending on a fixed-gear bike, whether you have brakes or not, usually is going to take a lot more energy than if you do it on a bike that can coast. While descending on a fixed gear, you have to keep scrubbing your speed so that you can maintain a comfortable cadence, meaning you’ll be going down mountains a lot slower than if you were just able to coast. And for a lot of people, descending is the most fun part of cycling.
4. No gears
As the fixed gear name implies, you’re stuck with one gear. A lot of fixed gear riders take pride in the fact that because we only have one gear, that forces us to become stronger riders if we want to go faster over different terrains. If you can climb a mountain on a fixed gear bike as opposed to a road bike or any other type of geared bike, that is a much bigger accomplishment, but for some people, that’s just too much pain.
At the end of the day, gears are useful. They allow you to ride over more terrains, they allow you to pedal at a more efficient cadence and allow you to ride faster, and fixed gears throw all of those advantages out the window.
5. Too minimalistic
A lot of people also hate fixed gears because they’re too bare-bones. A lot of the appeal of fixed-gear bikes is that they are aesthetically clean and minimalistic. They don’t include things like racks and fenders.
Most fixed-gear bikes were made for racing on the velodrome, so they’ve remained completely bare-bones, making it a bit of a problem if you ever want to carry stuff on your bike.
You can of course, just buy a rack if you really want one. Take a look at the options below.
6. Aggressive Geometry
Because they are meant to be used on the velodrome, there tend to be limited geometries with super steep and aggressive c-tube and head tube angles and a short wheelbase to make the bike feel responsive when putting power through the pedals. This can result in an uncomfortable riding position. It’s definitely not for everyone.
7. Slow to adopt cycling innovations
Fixed gear bikes are behind the times when it comes to any new cycling tech, which can be both a good and a bad thing.
It can be a good thing because fixed gear bikes stick to the standards and to the way things work, if you get a new fixed gear frameset, you don’t have to worry about swapping your components over. Everything just works together.
But that can be a bad thing because the fixed-gear world is extremely slow to adopt new tech, even tech that is better. In the cycling world, for those of you that like to be on the bleeding edge of cycling and of technology, looking at fixed-gears can feel like visiting an Amish country. Most fixed-gear bikes today look mostly the same as the fixed gear bikes that were ridden in the first tour de France in 1903.
So if you’re someone that is trying to get the most performance out of your bike possible or someone that’s excited to see the new innovations in the realm of tech and cycling fixed gear is the last place that you would want to be.
If you want to see an example of this in action, take a look at this video on reasons people hate fixed gears from Zach Gallardo’s YouTube Channel.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can you coast on a fixie?
You can’t coast on a fixed gear. Your legs must also be moving if the bike is moving. While you can’t coast, you can manage your speed by applying reverse pressure to the pedals (i.e. pedaling backward).
Can you ride up a hill on a fixie?
Yes. However, In order to ride a fixie uphill, you must possess the requisite physical endurance as well as mental fortitude. This is not something that will happen immediately.
How do you stop on a fixie?
To stop on a fixed gear bike, slow down your pedaling cadence and slowly apply pressure to your front brake. The front wheel can lock up if you apply too much pressure, resulting in a crash. If you don’t use brakes, you will need to slow your cadence or do a skid-stop to slow down.
There truly are many benefits to writing fixed gear bikes. However, it’s simply not for everyone. And hey, that’s fine too. So long as you’re on two wheels, we can be friends.
In this article, we covered seven reasons why people dislike fixed-gear bikes. Here are some key takeaways:
- They have a negative reputation
- Can be dangerous to themselves and others
- Descending is not very fun
- They don’t have gears
- Too minimalistic
- Aggressive geometry
- Low to adopt cycling innovations
So, are you a true fixie-foo who can’t imagine riding with gears? Or is this just not for you? Do you have another reason why people hate fixed gear bikes? Let us know in the comments below (we read and reply to every comment). If you found this article helpful, check out our full blog for more tips and tricks on everything fixie. Thanks for reading, and stay fixed.