The Distribution Of Braking Power On A Fixie Bike

Last Updated on April 9, 2021

What Is A ‘Fixie’ Bike?

Fixed-gear bikes, also simply known as fixies, are single-speed, fixed-gear bikes that can’t be brought to a standstill, so you must advance, brake, and go backward by using the pedals.

The rear wheel rotates when the pedals are turning so if you pedal forward, you move forward; if you stop the pedals, you brake, and if you pedal backward, you go backward. This requires additional training that the freewheel bike does not need. However, fixie bicycles have many advantages.

  • No maintenance – Having no gear shifter, they hardly require maintenance, that’s why they have been chosen by urban messengers in New York City, as well as the most important financial cities in the world.
  • Improved drivetrain – The chain is shorter than in conventional bikes, and completely straight, which helps the gears work smoother; this can actually be felt while pedaling. Also, they have no pulleys or any other transmission devices so everything is nice and simple.
  • Simple – The gear ratio won’t be a concern as they’re the perfect kind of bicycle to ride on flat ground and for short trips.
  • Handling – Your legs become your accelerator and brakes. So all you have to do is move quickly to go faster and put reverse pressure with your feet if you want to slow down or stop.
  • Improves cadence – Pedalling rhythm improves and gets more even. Fixie bikes require a very steady rhythm if you want to go faster. As they’re very light, you’ll speed up very quickly.
  • Your strength increases – Peak strength increases due to the absence of gear shifters, which demand a bigger effort when starting to pedal from a standstill or when riding on uneven ground.
  • Fluency – Your moves will become more fluid and faster, as you’ll have to sit as relaxed and as loose as possible, in order to be able to pedal constantly and evenly.
  • Muscles are exercised Many muscle groups work together, more than would be the case if you were riding a conventional bike.
  • Facility – If you want to go you pedal forward, and if you want to go back you pedal backward. Equally, the faster you pedal the faster the bike will move, if you want to slow down you’ll just have to pedal more slowly. It’s easy to understand and accommodates pretty much everyone.
  • Nerve response is enhanced – Nerve response to muscle contraction improves significantly, especially when pedaling.

Why Use A Fixed Gear?

The most common use of fixed gear bikes is on the track. Most of the bikes you see speeding around the velodromes are fixed gears with no brakes. On top of this, they have also become commonly used as city bikes, but are rarely seen out on country roads.

Fixed gear criteriums have become increasingly popular over the past few years, there cyclists compete in circuit races on fixies without any front brake.

Why Don’t Fixed Gears Use Brakes?

 Fixed gear bikes have been traditionally used for track racing, long after most other bikes had switched to using freewheels. In the high-speed velodrome environment as it would be dangerous if the rider in front of you could brake suddenly because you would crash into them at high speed, and likely most of the group behind you would join in the follow suit. So brakes have always been banned, and aren’t really needed on the track anyway.

But track bikes sometimes get retired to road use. And as fixed gear has gotten more popular, many frame makers are building similar bikes for the road. Some of them are closer to track bikes, others might include just a front brake or both front and rear.

How Does A Bike Brake Work?

All bicycle brakes are designed to push a friction-creating brake pad against a braking surface on the revolving wheel by way of a hand-operated lever. As the pressure is increased at the brake lever the friction is increased. This works in combination with a tire’s grip to slow the bicycle down.

The difference between rim and disc brakes is where and how the braking force is applied in relation to the wheel of a bicycle. Traditional rim brakes, as their name implies, base the braking force on the outer edge of the wheel. A disc brake focuses forces on a smaller rotor, situated towards the center of the wheel.

How Do You Maintain A Fixie Bike?

Maintaining A Good Chain Tension 

Maintaining a good chain tension will ensure that the chainstays secure without any slippage and reduces chain wear. Too tight a chain will create increased wear on the chain, front chainring, and freewheel.

We recommend half a centimeter of up/down movement in the chain for the perfect tension. If you’re riding a fixie, chain tension should be a fraction looser than a single speed with freewheel.

Clean Your Single Speed

For many people, their bike is their main form of transport but after a long day at work and a hard pedal home in the rain, this essential form of maintenance is easily neglected. Why not spend half an hour on a Saturday with an old rag and a bottle of much-off or gt85 and get the week’s grime and dirt off your pride and joy.

Avoid getting any chemicals, other than specific brake cleaners, on your brake pads and braking surfaces, and use an old toothbrush for the hard-to-reach areas. Also, remember to lubricate the chain after cleaning to avoid rust.

Regularly Lubricate And Clean Your Chain

Regular lubrication and cleaning of your chain will increase its lifespan and protect it from the elements. To clean the chain, use a generous spray of gt85 and an old rag to polish the grit and old lubricant from the chain.

Use dry lube for dry summer conditions and the thicker wet lube for wet weather and winter riding. We recommend between once and twice a fortnight for a rider to use the bike for an everyday commute.

Maintain Tyre Pressure

Tires leak air over time, especially when sitting for a long time between rides. Keeping the tire pressure at the recommended level will ensure you get the maximum efficiency out of your pedal strokes and eliminate pinch flats.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a fixie have brakes?

Fixies vary. Some do not have brakes fitted at all relying on road position, rider skill, and stopping the cranks to brake. While Some are fitted with a single brake, usually on the front as the back brake is the wheel itself.

Which side is the front brake on bike?

In the U.S., the law requires that all bikes are sold with the left hand controlling the front brake, and the right hand the rear brake. It’s the same in France. In Italy and Great Britain, it’s the other way around.

What is a fixie bike good for?

Fixed-gear bikes make great winter bikes, but they’re also excellent urban rides, provided you don’t have to tackle any long, steep hills. The lack of shifters means there’s one less distraction, and the ability to control your speed directly through the transmission gives you a useful extra degree of control

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