A solid single speed wheelset can make all the difference. Opting for a wheelset that is light and easy to handle can turn an otherwise sluggish bike into a smooth rider. A sturdy set with a bit more weight behind it can handle everything you throw at it. It’s important to find the balance.
The best single speed wheelsets do exactly that. They provide a balance between form, function and cost. Personally, I think the Pure Fix 700C 30mm Machined Pro set provide the best mix. They’d be my recommendation for anyone looking to move away from their standard wheelset.
- 1 Best Single Speed Wheelsets
- 2 Pure Fix 700C 30mm Machined Pro
- 3 Retrospec Bicycles Mantra
- 4 Fixie Wheels Fixed Gear Flip-Flop
- 5 State Bicycle Fixed Gear Deep Profile
- 6 Single Speed Wheelset Buyer’s Guide
Best Single Speed Wheelsets
|Pure Fix 700C 30mm Machined Pro||30mm|
|Retrospec Bicycles Mantra||43mm|
|Fixie Wheels Fixed Gear Flip-Flop||45mm|
|State Bicycle Fixed Gear Deep Profile||43mm|
Remember to read the descriptions of each wheelset carefully before purchasing. To give you the best chance at picking up a quality set of fixie rims for cheap, I’ve reviewed my favorites.
A good wheelset can boost the quality of your ride substantially. There really is no bigger improvement you can make to a single speed bike than upgrading the wheelset. Below is a list of the best fixed gear wheelsets around, each providing a good balance of durability and handling.
Pure Fix 700C 30mm Machined Pro
I did a lot of research when I decided to replace the wheels on my bike. My old ones were really heavy and I wanted something lighter that wouldn’t break the bank.
My main need was a solid single speed wheelset that I could also use as fixie wheels.
These wheels are incredibly sturdy, despite being inexpensive. The machined sidewalls look amazing plus provide extra breaking friction when I am riding freewheel style.
Straight out of the box the wheels rode true and six months in they are still nice and smooth. They spin freely without needing adjustment, which is exactly what you want in a bike wheel.
I usually ride the traditional single speed way, but every once in a while I like to flip the back wheel and go fixed for a bit. The only reason I have hesitated is out of fear someone will steal them.
At the end of the day, I am incredibly pleased with this purchase. The amount of bang I got for my buck was outstanding.
Retrospec Bicycles Mantra
These wheels are good for casual riders or for someone building a commuter single speed bike. They are not the highest quality and are a little heavy for a lot of serious fixie bike riders.
I do find many things to be positive about these wheels. With the somewhat undesirable heaviness comes a lot of durability.
I have hit countless potholes and still haven’t had a flat. They ride smoothly and can get moving pretty quickly. They also have the flip-flop hub, which allows me the option of riding fixed or freewheel.
For the price, I was quite pleasantly surprised to find out they came with the tires. A lot of the time you pay more for just the rims than I paid for this setup.
These tires aren’t cheap tires either. Although I was expecting black ones, I ended up with blue tires. Not sure if that was a fluke but the blue looks kind of nice with my bike so I wasn’t too upset.
The most regrettable thing about these wheels is the loud noise they make.
I thought after riding on them for a while they would get broken in and stop squeaking so much. Six months and 300 plus miles later, they are still doing it.
For the price though, it’s hard to complain too much.
Fixie Wheels Fixed Gear Flip-Flop
I bought these incredibly slick looking wheels when someone stole my other ones. After getting over my anger, I decided that everything must happen for a reason because I love these new wheels.
I ordered them because I wanted a fixed gear wheelset. It was a nice surprise to find out the wheels have the flip-flop hub so that I can try freewheeling if I want to.
These wheels included both the rims and tires, which was awesome. The tires already had the tube in so it was super quick and easy to put them on my bike and be on my way.
All of the bolts I needed were included. I like that they are made of double-walled aluminum.
After having my previous tires stolen, I was actually relieved that these bolt on and don’t have the quick release lever.
As inexpensive as these wheels were, I do not want to have to keep replacing them. For the price, you would have a hard time finding better fixie wheels that include the tires and tubes.
State Bicycle Fixed Gear Deep Profile
I am working on building my first bike from scratch and was in the market for fixie wheels for cheap. Before buying these, I did my research but did not find much about them online. I decided to risk it, and I am so glad I did.
The color scheme for my bike is black and white so I was really excited to see that was an option on these wheels.
They are 700c track wheels, which was what I wanted. It features the flip-flop hub, which is nice, but only came with the fixed cog and lock ring. Since I only ride fixie anyway this didn’t bother me.
One of the best surprises was how true they rode straight out of the box.
My only complaint is that the paint is chipping off. I try to go easy on it, but most rides seem to end with just a little less paint on the wheels than they had to begin with. Not a big deal though, and I am still overall happy with my purchase.
Single Speed Wheelset Buyer’s Guide
Wheels are definitely one of the most important parts on your bike when it comes to performance as well as style. They have a huge impact on your speed, weight, and the handling of your bike.
With the growing popularity of fixie bikes and people wanting to build their own, you can now purchase a wide variety of wheelsets for them online. Be grateful – not that long ago people had to make their own from scratch!
Fixie bikes have exploded in popularity because of the novelty of the ride, as well as the price. You can buy the entire bike for much less than your average road bike.
Or, if you can find a good vintage frame, you can convert it yourself. If you are going to convert, the biggest decision you have to make is what wheels to put on it.
Parts of a Fixie Wheelset
There is a lot of variety in the quality of fixie wheels, but they are all made of basically the same parts. They are:
- Fixed Rear Hub: What sets fixie bikes apart is the fact that the rear cog is fixed to the wheel, hence the name. As a result, the pedals, drivetrain, and wheels all move as one. This means you won’t be able to coast while riding a fixie.
- Cog: Usually having 16 or 18 teeth, this is the ring that the bike chain runs through. A high-quality cog usually means a smoother ride.
- Lock Ring: This is the piece that keeps the cog chain firmly attached to the rear hub. You need wheels with a good lock ring. If yours fails, you will find yourself unable to pedal. Not a good situation to find yourself in halfway up a hill or miles from home.
Those are the standard pieces of a fixed wheelset. Many come with a feature known as a flip-flop hub. With this, you can flip your rear wheel around and gain the ability to coast.
This is called freewheeling. Anyone who may want to ride single speed and be able to coast should look for a flip-flop hub.
Things to Consider When Buying Fixie Wheelsets
When in the market for a new set of fixie wheels, there are some factors to look at to help make sure you get the right ones for you. The main ones are:
- Rim Material: For fixie wheelsets, you need to balance durability with being lightweight. Carbon fiber, aluminum, and stainless steel are all good options. Rims that are both light and long lasting are often the most expensive.
- Type of Wheels: There are three different types of bicycle wheels: shallow section, mid-section, and deep section. The shallow wheels are best designed for beginners, while the deep ones are more designed for racers looking to get the most speed out of the bikes.
- Braking Surface: This will be made of either aluminum or carbon. Essentially, carbon is cheaper but aluminum is smoother. Aluminum ones are much more common to find.
- Tire Type: When shopping for any type of wheelset, you may come across the following terms:
- Tubular Tire – This type of wheel has an advanced set-up that may be daunting for beginners. They are the lightest of the options. They are completely round and do not “clinch” to the wheel. There is no separate tube, it is sewn into the tire itself.
- Clincher Tire – You will more than likely end up with this type of tire. They blend optimum performance with price. They are the safest tire type and a good choice for beginners and most kid’s bikes use them. These tires have inner tubes.
- Tubeless Tire – These are a bit heavier than clinchers. They are lacking the inner tube and some people consider them more durable. Many popular tire manufacturers offer tubeless versions of their tires.
Fixie Wheelset vs. Single Speed Wheelset
The main difference between the two is that a single speed wheelset does not have a fixed rear hub. Instead, it has a freehub like a conventional bike.
Again, most wheelsets you buy that are fixies can also be flipped around and used as single speeds.
Fixie Wheelset vs. Track Wheelset
When you hear people talking about fixies, they sometimes use that word interchangeably with track wheelsets. They are almost identical with just a couple of key differences.
A legitimate track wheelset has no machine breaking surface.
That is because the only actual place track wheels are useful is in velodrome racing. Since they need to be as fast as possible, they do not have flip-flop hubs because they would just add unnecessary weight.
An actual track wheelset is much more expensive. You wouldn’t want to use it for regular road riding.
Do I Need to Buy a Set?
Technically, no. If you are converting a vintage bike into a single speed bike you only need to swap out the rear wheel. This will save you some money and time if you only have to remove and replace one wheel.
On the other hand, your bike will likely be a little funny looking. The wheels won’t match, and the front tire will likely be much older than the rear one. Uneven wear can lead to performance issues.
The wheelset is the single most expensive and important upgrade you can make to your fixie. No other change can impact your ride nearly as much. It can change even the most boring of bikes into a super fun bike.
Getting the right fixed gear wheelset may take some research, but it will ultimately be worth it. You are looking for a balance of reliability and strength in a lightweight package.
Make sure that you have a high-quality chain to go with your fancy new fixie wheelset.
Keep it tight, because the saggier it is, the less responsive it is. The responsiveness is where the fun is at when riding a fixie, so don’t lose it!
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