If you’re an avid cyclist then you’re familiar with the difference between fixed and freewheel bikes. You also probably know how useful fixie wheels are for handling cold-weather conditions and intense short rides. Ideal for exercise and travel, fixie wheels are designed to help you pedal rhythmically and powerfully. While they may take a bit of practice, the value of fixed-wheel bikes is high. Designed with a drivetrain without a freewheel component, a fixie wheel bike is great for those who want simple and straightforward rides.
Instead of struggling with gears and adjustments, fixed wheel bikes let you race efficiently and offer a lot of road travel advantages. Of course, reaping these benefits relies on choosing high-quality wheels for your ride. To help you find the best fixie wheels available, we’ve curated a list of the leading selections.
Benefits of Fixie Wheels
- Allows you to pedal quickly and steadily. A fixie wheel bike relies on you constantly pedaling. Since there are no gears to adjust, it results in even pedaling. Thanks to this, you can pedal quickly without slipping gears and without losing your pace.
- Increases your energy efficiency. Since you are constantly in motion, you don’t waste riding time or energy dealing with gear changes. The resistance is set, leaving the pace of your pedaling as the sole commander of the cadence of the bike ride.
- Increased safety. Given the lack of gear adjustments and the fixed nature of the drivetrain, there won’t be issues with changing terrain. Instead of struggling with gear adjustments, you can brake more easily and don’t have to coast to make turns.
- Optimize exercise. When you are continuously pedaling the bike, you are naturally going to burn more calories (even if you travel the same distance). It makes tracking the calories you burned easier and lets you exercise more in a shorter period.
- Work well on slippery roads. The nature of fixie wheel bikes is that you are always pedaling, optimizing traction on all types of surfaces. Since you aren’t coasting when you ride, it will enable you to reduce the risk of injuries when traveling on slick roads.
Types of Fixie Wheels
Ideal for those using fixie wheels for racing, the deep section type of fixed-wheels is meant to be used on smooth surfaces. Meant to enhance the aerodynamics of the wheel itself, the depth also enables these wheels to be used on more rugged terrain and hilly areas. Featuring shallow rims, these wheels let the bike reach higher speeds while requiring the same amount of effort.
Though not hugely prevalent on the market, mid-section wheels are still noteworthy for the value they offer. The lightweight design is meant for use on smooth areas like pavement and asphalt. Fairly versatile by design, these wheels can be used on all types of bikes. Able to reach medium speeds, these fixie wheels are geared towards those using the bike for both exercise and short distance travel.
Meant for use by those focused on exercise and resistance, these wheels balance aerodynamics with traction and drag. Common on the market, shallow section wheels are ideal for gripping difficult surfaces. This makes the shallow section wheel better for slippery areas. Since they result in a lot of friction, this type of wheel isn’t ideal for mountain riding or racing.
Dedicated to designing and crafting a wide range of high-quality biking products, Solomone Cavalli (a subsidiary of Penson) is a well-reputed name in the bicycle industry. This brand, with roots in Massachusetts, continues to expand its list of products. One of its leading offerings is the Solomone Cavalli Fixed Gear Wheel.
After opening its doors in 2013, Superteam Wheels grew into a popular biking brand for its high-grade products and detailed designs. Originating in the United States, this company retails products internationally. Focusing mainly on carbon fiber materials, it continues to manufacture high-end bikes and accessories. Among its top selections is the Superteam Carbon Fiber Road Bike Wheels.
Fixie Wheels Pricing
- Under $150: In this range, you can find fixie wheels made of either carbon fiber or metal alloy. Generally, models in this price range will come as a single wheel instead of a set.
- $150 and up: Most fixie wheels fall within this price range. Usually, the wheels come as a set of two. Made of various materials, you can find fixie wheels of all three types in this category.
RIM STRUCTURE & MATERIAL
Perhaps the most important feature of any fixie wheels is the rim since this is the main structure of the wheel itself. Usually, it will either be made of a metal alloy (usually aluminum) or out of carbon fiber. The size of the rim varies in terms of width, though modern wheels tend to feature a wider rim to add stability and mitigate the risk of flat tires. The rim also plays directly into the aerodynamics of the ride. Look for lightweight yet structurally sound designs for the best results.
Not all tires are compatible with all wheels, making this a really important feature. Either the wheel will fit with a tubular, tubeless, or a clincher tire. If the rim has beading, then it won’t require a tube. Tubular models tend to be more durable (though harder to set up). Tubeless wheels are usually heavier than a clincher, with either option requiring an inner tube to function. This design feature will make it either easier or more difficult to set up the bike and also plays into how much drag you get while pedaling
When investigating your bike wheels, it is important to look at the braking mechanism. This key feature will directly impact the smoothness of your stops. It will either use an aluminum or carbon part. The former is better for those seeking a smooth stop while the carbon fiber material tends to favor quick stops. Depending on the type of fixie wheels you want, you will see more benefit from either carbon or aluminum.
- Size. Probably the most important consideration to lend when looking into new bike wheels is the size of the wheel itself. It is about more than getting a tire to fit onto the wheel; it’s a matter of finding wheels that are compatible with your bike. Look to the axle of your ride and ensure that the wheel will fit the bike without requiring any hefty adjustments.
- Style. Though the key to fixie wheels is the function, there is still an aesthetic value to them. Take a look at the different options available and opt for something that matches your preferences. There are selections with muted tones and those which are designed to add flair to your ride. Depending on your personality (and your bike), you will need a different look.
- Durability. When you get a new part for your bike, you want it to last over the long term. Resultantly, it is important to opt for something durable enough to resist damage. While aluminum is lightweight, it is more vulnerable to warping due to impact. Carbon fiber is heavier, though tends to withstand pressure well. Both materials are resistant to corrosion.
- Installation. Ultimately, the wheels need to get from the packaging to your bike and it never hurts to have an easy install. If you are newer to the world of fixed-wheel bikes, it can be helpful to get a shallow-section wheel. More experienced riders can work with deep-section wheels that tend to be harder to install.
- Maintenance. All things require a certain amount of upkeep and wheels are no exception. Look at the spokes on the wheels and check if any added features can complicate maintenance. The key is to keep them dry and clean; so, by choosing a wheelset that makes this easier, you can save yourself a lot of time and energy.
- Be sure to pedal constantly when riding a fixed-wheel bike since this is required to propel you forward.
- Practice handling corners before going on longer excursions since you need to continue pedaling when turning.
- Ensure that your brakes are properly equipped and functional since this will let you stop more efficiently than if you merely ceased your pedaling efforts.
- Aim for front brakes instead of rear ones since, in most cases, putting your legs down works in the place of a rear brake.
- Practice accelerating from a full stop to improve your skill at gaining momentum.
- Learn to pedal while going downhill since it is easier than getting your footing on rapidly-spinning pedals.
- Plan your route ahead of time, especially when you are just starting. This will help you gain the skills needed for longer excursions.
Q: WHAT IS A FIXIE BIKE GOOD FOR?
A fixie bike is good for a lot of purposes, namely racing and short commutes. It is good at handling slippery roads since the bike won’t coast. The continual need for pedaling to move forward also makes it ideal as a speed-focused road bike.
Q: IS A FIXIE BIKE DANGEROUS?
So long as the bike is equipped with functioning brakes (especially front brakes), it is just as safe as any other bike. Like other rides, there is a bit of a learning curve. The need to always pedal takes some getting used to, though it shouldn’t compromise safety.
Q: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU STOP PEDALING ON A FIXIE?
When you stop pedaling, the cranks will keep spinning. If the wheels are moving, so are the pedals. While it can be hard to regain your footing when the pedals keep spinning, with a bit of practice it gets much easier.