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How to Sprint on a Fixed Gear Bike (9 Speed Boosting Tips)

This article teaches you how to sprint on a fixed gear or track bike in nine easy steps to improve your sprinting skill. So you can ride faster than ever.

Three high performance cyclists in a track race competition with a fixed gear bike. Source: Yomex Owo, Unsplash
Three high performance cyclists in a track race competition with a fixed gear bike. Source: Yomex Owo, Unsplash

Going fast is super fun, and it might even get you out of trouble now and then. It’s also another line of protection against annoying dogs that like to chase you. Most dogs will abandon the hunt as soon as you leave their zone, so it’s a good idea to learn how to sprint to get away as quickly as possible.

A forceful sprint is more than just a burst of speed. We’ll examine tactics for maximizing power and sprinting quickly on the bike. But how do you sprint effectively on a fixed gear bike?

To sprint on a fixed gear or track bike, 

  1. Make sure you know how to ride off the saddle, but don’t lean too far forward
  2. Start on your strong foot and allow your bike to move side to side.
  3. Always look forward and use your arms to pull up on the handlebars for extra power. 
  4. Use drop bars for the best results.

But there’s a lot more to it than that. So, if you’re new to sprinting or want to improve your general technique, this article discusses the fundamentals of body posture, technique, and nine tips for learning how to sprint on a fixed gear to ride faster than ever.

Editor’s note: This article was updated on June 9, 2022, to include additional information regarding cycling performance.

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Before we learn how to sprint, we first need to understand what sprinting is and why it’s beneficial for cyclists.

What does it mean to sprint on a bike?

Sprinting essentially means going really fast on a bike in a short burst. When you sprint on a bike, you use all of your muscles—your legs, glutes, lungs, and even your heart. This intense workout helps to improve your overall fitness level and can also help improve your endurance when it comes to biking.

Sprinting is a great way to increase your speed and stamina when cycling and can also help to improve your strength and flexibility. However, it is essential to be aware of the risks associated with sprinting—namely, the risk of injury. So be sure to start slow and gradually increase your speed over time as you get more comfortable with the exercise.

Do I need to learn how to sprint on a bike?

You do need to. But learning how to spring is highly encouraged. Sprinting may help you improve your balance, strength, and bike control and make you a better all-around cyclist. 

Also, If you are serious about cycling for fitness or ride a road bike, sprinting is probably the best exercise you can do. Nothing will shock your body and force you to burn those calories more than sprinting. In addition, sprinting is a common technique seen in track bike velodrome racing, where speed is critical.

If you’re the kind of person who takes cycling performance seriously, and if you’re reading this, you probably are, then you will want the gear that will improve speed. Take a look at some of the cycling jerseys below that can help you reach peak performance (this cycling jersey* is my personal favorite).

How long should I sprint for? 

Sprint attempts should last between 5 and 30 seconds. These brief bursts of high energy might be challenging if you ride mainly in an aerobic training zone. If you want to become better at sprinting, you’ll need to focus on your technique and your general strength.

An outdoor track bike crit race. Source: Jonny Kennaugh, Unsplash
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An outdoor track bike crit race. Source: Jonny Kennaugh, Unsplash

How to sprint on a fixie

Sprinting involves more than simply physical power and acceleration; it is also about employing proper form. Unfortunately, the technique is sometimes disregarded, even though it requires as much attention as strength and acceleration.

  1. Learn how to ride off the saddle

    Standing on the bike pedals might sound like a no-brainer, but not everybody feels comfortable standing on the bike pedals while moving. However, if this is your concern, you will have to just get over it because sprinting requires you to stand up on the pedals. This is the only way to transfer maximum power. So practice periodically rising from the saddle.

  2. Don’t lean too far forward

    Don’t go too far forward when you lift from the saddle. Instead, maintain a vertical line from the front axle to your shoulders. Too much weight on the front wheel makes the bike difficult to manage and reduces speed.

  3. Start on your strong foot

    Begin the sprint by bringing your strongest foot up and over the top of the pedaling circle.

  4. Keep your body stable

    Maintain a somewhat calm upper body. Sure, it’ll move a little during the chaos of a sprint, but don’t overdo it.

  5. Allow your bike to move side to side

    Maintain a forward-facing front wheel while allowing your bike to sway back and forth. This rocking is natural and necessary to transfer power fast. So don’t be afraid of tipping the bike right and left aggressively.

  6. Look forward

    Keep your head up and your eyes ahead at all times. You don’t want to look away from where you are going, especially at these speeds.

  7. Pull up on the handlebars for extra power

    Pushing down with your left foot causes your bike to move to the right, causing you to pull up on the handlebars with your left hand. As your right foot drives down, pull up with your right hand (and left hand for the left foot). Use the handlers to transfer maximum power from side to side. Make sure to keep your elbow bent. 

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  8. Try using drop bars

    If you don’t have drop bars, you might want to consider getting them. You can sprint with riser bars, but if you’re serious, use drop bars, where you’ll be most aerodynamic. However, note that drop bars are the most challenging position to manage the bike in when traveling fast, so practice your handling methods.

  9. Don’t forget to practice

    They say practice makes perfect, and this is no exception. So whenever you have a chance, don’t be afraid to make a sudden sprint here and there.

Are you looking for more advice? Take a look at this video called Pure Fix Training Tips: Track Sprints from the Pure Cycles YouTube channel.

A video called Pure Fix Training Tips: Track Sprints from the Pure Cycles YouTube channel.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Below are some commonly asked questions regarding sprinting on a fixed gear bike.

Does sprinting make your legs bigger?

The quick answer is no. Riding will not make your legs bigger all by itself. Cycling is an aerobic workout that stimulates your endurance muscle fibers, making them more resistant to exhaustion during training without bulking them up. But if you ride long distances. You might see some muscle gain.

How do you ride a fixed gear bike faster?

Make sure you know how to ride off the saddle before sprinting on a fixed gear or track bike. Don’t lean too far forward. Begin by allowing your bicycle to move from side to side. Always look ahead and use your arms to raise the handlebars for added strength. Use drop bars.

How can I improve my bike sprinting?

If you’re looking to increase your leg speed for sprinting, one of the best ways to do so is by incorporating interval training into your routine. This type of training alternates between short, high-intensity bursts of exercise and shorter, less-intense rest periods.

Conclusion

Sprinting is a skill that every cyclist should know how to do. And now that you’ve read this article, you’re ready to go faster than you ever have before.

This article covered the fundamentals of body posture, technique, and nine tips for learning how to sprint on a fixie. Here are some key takeaways:

Key takeaways

  • Learn how to ride off the saddle
  • Don’t lean too far forward
  • Start on your strong foot
  • Keep your body stable
  • Allow your bike to move side to side
  • Look forward
  • Pull up on the handlebars for extra power
  • Try using drop bars
  • Practice often
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So, are you a master sprinter? Let me know in the comments below (I read and reply to every comment). If you found this article helpful, check out my full blog for more tips and tricks on everything fixie. Thanks for reading, and stay fixed.

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Written by Bradly Knight

As a native New Yorker, Bradley is no stranger to the fixed gear scene. He’s been riding fixed for over ten years. When he’s not on the bike, you can find him practicing his many hobbies including playing guitar, video production, and photography.

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