A single gear bike is exactly what the name suggests it is: a bike that has one single gear ratio, which means that the bike is propelled with the help of a flywheel, but the rider has no choice in terms of alternative gears, making pedaling intensity directly related with speed.
Single speed bikes have a special sub-category: fixed-gear bikes, also called fixies, that are even more straightforward in construction and lighter as well – they use a simple cog instead of a flywheel and many lack brakes, too, further reducing weight (but requiring a fair amount of experience to be able to use the bike safely).
Various manufacturers have come up with designs that combine the best features of the above two types of bikes and they have created hybrid bikes that allow the rider to select between single speed and fixed gear modes with a few simple moves.
These bikes offer numerous benefits deriving from the simplicity of the construction – no wonder single speed bikes, fixies, as well as hybrid bikes are becoming more and more popular nowadays. Single speed/fixie bikes are versatile, too – they can be used not only for city rides, but for numerous other applications and for various terrain conditions from racing bikes to mountain bikes, road bikes and cross-city bikes. Read on to find out more about what makes single speed bikes so great and to learn about our top recommendations.
- 1 The Best Single Speed Bike For Under $300
- 2 1. Critical Cycles Harper Single-Speed Fixed Gear Urban Commuter Bike
- 3 2. Vilano Rampage Fixed Gear Fixie Single Speed Road Bike
- 4 3. Critical Cycles Fixed Gear Single Speed Fixie Urban Road Bike
- 5 4. Sole Bicycles Fixed Gear and Single Speed, Urban Road Bike
- 6 The Difference Between a Standard Bike and a Single Speed Bike
The Best Single Speed Bike For Under $300
1. Critical Cycles Harper Single-Speed Fixed Gear Urban Commuter Bike
The eye-catching and affordable Harper single speed/fixed gear comes with a reliable construction that features very few components, all of them sturdy and ingeniously engineered:
- The bike features a flip-flop hub that allows you to choose whether you want to use the bike in single speed mode, with the flywheel on, or as a fixed gear bike
- The riser-style handlebars provide maximum comfort, even during long rides
- The frame is made from high tensile strength steel, hand-built for suiting the requirements of city commuters
- The Harper is very safe as well – the dual braking system gives the rider perfect control over the braking process and the choice between front and rear breaking,
- The VP pedals and the KMC chain are state-of-the-art quality.
2. Vilano Rampage Fixed Gear Fixie Single Speed Road Bike
The Vilano Rampage is another stylish and affordable fixie equipped with a flip-flop hub that allows the rider to use the bike in single speed mode as well. This excellent urban fixie is made using the best materials – the 45mm Deep-V anodized wheels and the hub features matching looks and are sturdy and durable without being bulky. The bike comes with an urban saddle and the package of the bike includes free platform pedals as well. The Rampage is available in many different color combinations to suit your style and to let you ride in style.
3. Critical Cycles Fixed Gear Single Speed Fixie Urban Road Bike
This hand-built bike is affordable and of premium quality, manufactured using brand name components including Wanda tires, a KMC chain, Pro-Max brakes, a 3-piece crank from Protek and a lightweight chain wheel made from special alloy. The bike comes in three sizes – the Small variant is 49cm, the Medium is 53cm and the Large is 57cm. It is available in more than 10 color combinations, including spectacular black-and-white variations and versions that combine bright and pastel colors. When it arrives, the bike requires some assembly, but don’t worry: the package includes all the tools you need for the assembly as well as for the maintenance of the bike.
4. Sole Bicycles Fixed Gear and Single Speed, Urban Road Bike
Superb design, durable, high-performance materials, great looks and an affordable price tag – these are the features that distinguish this fixed gear/single speed urban road bike from Sole Bicycles. The bike can be used in two ride modes – the flip-flop hub allows for easy switch between single gear and fixed gear modes and the high-tensile steel frame is durable and lightweight at the same time. The brake on the bike is also the best – the radius front brake provides excellent stopping power.
This urban road bike is not only well-designed, but also comfortable. It is available in four different sizes – the 49cm version is suitable for riders that are 5'2 - 5'4 tall, the 52cm is for riders 5'4 - 5'8, the 55cm variant fit 5'8 - 6'0 tall riders, while the largest, 59cm model is perfect for really tall, 6'0+ riders. The Sole bike looks great, too – it comes in nine different color variations, from a sleek, all-white model to extravagant, black-hot pink, matte black-foam green and other stylish combos.
The above models are all top quality – whichever one you choose, you are guaranteed to enjoy your rides to the fullest.
The Difference Between a Standard Bike and a Single Speed Bike
Considering the special construction of single speed bikes and fixed-gear bikes, there are many differences between these versions and standard, multi-gear bikes:
- As single speed bikes lack the gear mechanism used by standard bikes, they are lighter than the latter, which makes them easier to pedal
- They are also considerably simpler, they have no cogs, shifters or derailleurs, and therefore they require much less maintenance and they also break down less frequently
- Single gear bikes don’t have ramps, chainrings and pins, so they are much more efficient than standard bikes – a very important advantage in city traffic
- Fewer components means not only lighter weight and easier maintenance, but also lower price and more durability,
- Getting a fixed gear bike or using your hybrid bike in fixie mode comes with extra health and fitness-related benefits – as fixies do not allow for freewheeling, the rider has to pedal all the time, even while descending from hills, so the training you get with fixies is much more intensive than with multi-gear bikes or even single speed bikes. If you have ever ridden on a spin bike you will probably have experienced this form of nonstop peddling.
However, you must also know that single speed bikes and fixies are really efficient only when used inside that single gear range. This means that they are more difficult to ride uphill and they also tend to be slower when pedaled downhill. Below you can see what we found to be the best single speed bikes for under $300 on the market.