Let’s be honest. Stock parts kind of suck. Most new fixed gear and single-speed bikes come with pretty shabby everything. That’s why we believe you should upgrade as soon as possible.
Upgrades aren’t just for enhancing your bike’s performance and safety; they are also for customization and expressing your individuality. So, whether you’re upgrading for comfort, style, or safety, we are going to show you five parts you need to upgrade.
Editor’s note: This article was updated on February 5, 2021, to include additional information regarding bikes parts.
1. Upgrade your saddle
You’re going to spend most of your time seated. So, why not make sure it’s a comfortable ride. Saddles are some of the most “swapped “parts of any bike. This is because a saddle is, by nature, extremely intimate and personal.
Most off-the-shelf fixie bikes come with a boring plastic black saddle. The color, material, and style of your saddle play an important part in the overall look and feel of your bike. This is another reason riders swap out their saddles; to match the style of the bike.
You don’t need to get the best, most expensive saddle out there. Brooks Brothers’ saddles might look amazing, but they are ridiculously expensive. Make sure to try out many different saddles, not just the most reputable or expensive ones you find. Who knows, you might end up loving the cheapest one they got.
This is one of the most important upgrades you can make, so be sure to check out our guide on how to choose the perfect bike saddle.
Make sure to try the saddle out first. Here’s a tip. Buy a few on amazon, keep the one you like best, and return the others. That way, you have endless options to choose from. Below are a few popular options.
2. Grab a wheelset that fits your style
Whether it’s for performance or style, odds are you are going to want to grab a better wheelset. Your wheelset is one of the most expensive upgrades you’re going to make on the bike, other than perhaps the frame. But you will find that it will be well worth the investment. Not to mention it’s a great way to get some color in your ride. Some of these wheels look amazing.
I grabbed a pair of Deep-Vs’ and completely fell in love with them. Whenever I take my bike in the subway, I get tons of looks, and I know it’s because of my white deep-v rims—definitely an eye turner. Deep-V rims look amazing, are often double-walled, and are super thick for durability. However, they come with some drawbacks. Deep-V rims require a longer valve stem and are harder to true when they get out of whack.
When you’re ready to upgrade your fixie’s wheelset, look for something that is both lightweight and will match the style of your bike. Take a look at some of the wheelsets below.
3. Try out different fixie handlebars
Almost all off-the-shelf fixed gear bikes will come with riser bars, but that doesn’t mean you have to stick with them.
There are many different types of bike handlebars out there, including riser bars, pursuit bars, bull horn bars, and drop bars. When you’re ready to upgrade your fixie, consider swapping out your stock handlebars with something new. There’s nothing wrong with switching it up, and you may find that you have a more enjoyable experience with a different handlebar.
This will make your bike feel new, and it’s a great way to change up the style of your bike, allowing you to grab some brand new grips and colors for your bike!
Additionally, you can liven up an old bike by getting a totally different style of handlebars. This will make your old bike feel like new. So, if your bike came with riser bars, give drop bars a chance. Or a pursuit bar if you’re feeling extra adventurous.
Be advised. Most bars will not come with Handlebar tape. You will want to pick up some while you are at it. Bar tape comes in many colors and is yet another great way to add some individuality to your ride. Below are a few bar tape options to consider when you upgrade your fixie.
4. Upgrade your fixie’s pedals
Why are pedals so important? A few years ago, I was biking down a steep hill when suddenly my pedals came loose, I lost complete control and tumbled to the ground like a rag doll, and I still have the scars to prove it. You need a good strong pedal, which is why the price is often justifiable. After my unfortunate incident, I have stayed away from the cheap stuff.
When it comes to fixie pedals, you have many options to choose from, like toe clips, pedal straps, and clipless pedals. Your riding style should dictate what kind of pedals are right for you, but don’t be afraid to try something new. Much like new handlebars, adopting a clipless pedal set upright to make that old bike feel brand new, making it a great way to upgrade your fixie.
Like saddles, pedals are a matter of preference, not just for how they feel but for how they look. Shopping for a pair of pedals is a great opportunity to add some color and character to your fixie. Below are a few pedals that might fit your needs when you’re ready to upgrade your fixie.
5. Switch out your brakes
When you upgrade your fixie, don’t overlook the brakes. Even if you’ve been riding track bikes for years and know how to stop dead in your tracks using nothing but the power of your legs, you are still going to want a powerful front brake. Some states even required you to have brakes for your bike to be considered street legal.
A bad brake pad will make it easier for tiny metal shards to get trapped inside. These shards will scratch your rims with every squeeze of the lever. This can be especially bad if you have a wheel with colored rims, as the shards on the brake pad will scratch and eventually wear out the paint entirely.
When it comes to fixie brakes, there are a few different types to choose from. The simplest and most common by far are the caliper brakes.
SRAM makes some of the best caliper brakes on the market. They are as sturdy as all hell and very well-reviewed. Take a look at the SRAM rival 22 caliper brakes. If the SRAMs are a bit outside of your budget, below are a few other options to check out.
What parts shoudl I upgrade if I’m on a tight budget?
On a budget? No problem. Take a look at this video from Zach Gallardo as he goes over the Top 9 Budget-friendly options to consider when you upgrade your fixie. We’re talking $20 or less! Definitely a must-watch.
To be fair, not all stock bike parts are crap. Custom builds don’t require you to upgrade your fixie at all. And there are some manufacturers that use top-quality components in their builds. So, if you like the way your bike was set up, then more power to you. But you will eventually have to replace some of the parts on your bike. When you do, we hope you remember some of these tips.
In this article, we covered the top five things you should upgrade on your new bike. Here are some key takeaways:
- Swap out your fixed gear Saddle.
- Buy higher quality fixie pedals Pedals.
- Grab a fixed gear Wheelsets that fits your style.
- Try out different Fixie Handlebars.
- Upgrade your fixies stock brakes.
Are you thinking about new parts to upgrade your fixie? 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.