The Best Single Speed Bikes

Single speed bikes are taking over. If you're looking to make your first dive into fixed gear riding, we've got you covered. Our favorite, the Pure Cycles Pure Fix Original is just one of many great budget options.

Single Speed Wheelset

@dallaskwok / Unsplash

Single speed bikes are becoming increasingly fashionable and sought after. There are some amazing deals to be had out there. Your first venture into single speed biking needn’t cost you a fortune.

My own personal experience with riding fixies has been so positive that I’ve put together a list of the best single speed bikes around. At the top of the list, we’ve put the Pure Cycles Pure Fix Original for it’s incredible value for money. There are plenty of other amazing single speed options though.

Here’s a table with our final picks and the frame material of each. We’ll look at each bike in more depth afterwards.

It’s hard to judge a bike just by looking at it. Much like judging a book by it’s cover, there’s really no way to tell if the ride is going to be as you expect. The best I can offer you is my personal experience with these bikes. The following single speed bike reviews should help you get a rough idea of what to expect from each of the bikes.

It’s worth mentioning up front that every single one of these bikes is a completely viable option.

I’ve ordered them in a fashion that I believe offers the most value for money for people looking for their first single speed bike.

Because of their simplistic nature, a cheap fixie bike can be modified to the point where it’s unrecognizable for a couple of hundred dollars. You aren’t limited for choice once you buy. Here’s a list of the best single speed bikes for those looking for a good bargain and a sturdy ride.

Pure Cycles Pure Fix Original

I was looking for a good fixie at a reasonable price. This bike definitely did not disappoint!

With all the different color variations to choose from, I was able to find the one that fit my personal style. Jack Matte Green with Black is the one I ended up buying and I just love looking at this bike!

The fact that it came with a small container of paint to touch up any bumps and bruises it got along the way was just amazing.

My friends are all jealous of how awesome my bike looks. With the right amount of features, this fixie has everything you need and nothing that you don’t.

The bike arrived in pieces, so needless to say, assembly is required. Instead of written instructions, you give a YouTube video to watch on how to do it.

Although I figured it out relatively quickly, I do wish there were written instructions too.

I’d rather read than watch any day. For a single speed bike that cost less than $500, I could not have asked for much more.

In a few years, I may invest more and try to find the perfect bike, but for now this fixie is getting the job done.

6KU Aluminum Single-Speed Urban

I purchased this bike because I had heard great things about BKU. After riding it for a few months, I would say the good reputation is well deserved.

I ride this bike every day to and from work. So far, I have had no issues with it. The gear ratio is perfect, especially for me since where I live is pretty flat.

The bike looks great. It is also nice and light. So light that I can actually lift it with just two fingers. I live on the third story, so I really appreciate that.

It would be nice if it came with a kickstand, but I plan on ordering one to attach to it.

There are two main concerns I have with this bike. The first is the seat; I just can’t get comfortable on it. The second is the pedals.

They seem overly big and bulky to me and sometimes it feels awkward to pedal. Overall, this doesn’t take away from it being a great, cheap single speed road bike.

After reading reviews, I know I will have to keep an eye on the brakes. So far, I am stopping without a problem but I think I will take it in for a professional to evaluate the brake pads in a month or two.

Critical Cycles Harper Single-Speed Urban

This really is the perfect starter bike. It has a super smooth ride and comes with the tools you need to put it together and keep in maintained.

I like the fact that there is almost nothing on it made of plastic. The riser handlebars mean I don’t have to slouch over to ride, which my back appreciates.

Being my first bike since I was a kid, I was nervous about getting it. Assembling the bike was super easy, even for someone like me with no experience.

I had a friend look it over before riding it, just to make sure I was road ready. He also had a pump for the tires, something I didn’t realize I would need.

One thing he did do was add some grease to the chain and in the hubs. He was impressed by the quality of the frame and surprised when I told him that it wasn’t very expensive.

The bike is very pretty to look at and is perfect for being my daily commuter. My only issue is there is no mud-guard, so on rainy days I get some mud and water on my back. On a sunny day, it is the perfect way to get to work!

Critical Cycles Classic Single-Speed With Pista Bars

This is hands down one of the best fixie bikes I have ever had. I could ride it every day, all year long.

The handling, even when the roads are icy, has been amazing. For being so lightweight, it is also amazingly sturdy. I needed a daily rider, and with this I got everything I needed.

One of the best things about this bike is it came almost completely assembled. I just had to attach a few items (the seat, pedals, and front tire,) and then pump up the tires. I was relieved to not see a box of parts come in the mail.

The look of this bike is amazing and it is obvious people think I spent a lot more on it than I actually did.

The only thing I feel I need to replace is the tires. They are pretty low quality, honestly. At this low price though, it is hardly something to be terribly upset about.

The frame allowed me to put on slightly bigger tires. The saddle on this bike is really comfortable.

This is the first bike I have ever bought that I didn’t immediately have to replace the seat on.

Overall, I highly recommend this bike to someone wanting a fixie.

Critical Cycles Classic Single-Speed With Bullhorn Bars

I was looking for an efficient and inexpensive bike when I bought the Critical Cycles Classic Single Speed and I was not disappointed. I opted for the version with Bullhorn Bars because I thought they looked really cool.

I’m glad I did because I find I can sit in a few different positions and still feel comfortable. The whole bike is very visually pleasing.

They advertise that the bike comes 85% put together and I would agree with that statement. It took very little time to get mine operational.

There is nothing fancy about this bike, but that isn’t a bad thing. With fewer parts, there are fewer things that can break. It is an excellent commuter for me.

I ride it to school and then around campus. I can carry it up a few flights of stairs without breaking a sweat.

When I started riding it, I quickly realized that I wanted to add a front brake. The back break causes me to slide at times, which is scary when biking near heavy traffic.

Other than that, this bike came perfectly made for me and my situation.

This bike is a great buy that gets me where I need to go smoothly and stylishly. I highly recommend it!

A Guide To Buying Your First Single Speed Bike

Buying A Single Speed Bike

Single speed bikes are growing in popularity among bicycling enthusiasts. They boil bike riding down to its simplest, purest form. Most children’s bike are single speed and riding one as an adult can help you recapture that early joy of pedaling full speed down the sidewalk.

Fixies are a type of single speed bike that have been growing in popularity.

What is a Fixie?

Most bikes are designed in a way that allows the wheel and cog to spin independently from each other. In a fixie, your moving the pedals is what controls the cog.

Essentially, however fast you pedal your bike is how fast it is going to go. Exciting, right?

Another cool feature of this system is you can actually move backward, something that multi-speed bikes generally won’t do.

Advantages of a Fixie

Due to the simplicity of these bikes, they are easy to assemble, maintain, and ride. They do not have a lot of extra parts so they are very lightweight.

Anyone who regularly needs to take their bike upstairs will appreciate their lightweight design. Being lightweight, they are easy to maneuver around a busy city. Also, they are relatively cheap due to the lack of complicated parts.

If you are looking for a commuter bike, a fixie is a great option. They are not built for speed, but rather simplicity.

A fixie is likely to last you a long time with very little maintenance. Commuters find they can ride these bikes year round. The rider is in control of his or her speed so they can easily handle winter conditions. The set-up of these bikes make them easy to ride in the city, especially if the commute is decently flat.

Fixed gear bikes have a very efficient drive train, so almost all of the energy used when pedaling is transferred into motion.

Things to Consider When Buying a Fixie

Even these simple bicycles have some different options available. The following is a list of things to consider when buying your first fixie:

  • Where you want to ride your bike. A fixie is ideal for city riding on pavement. If you plan on using your bike on trails or other off-road environments, you will need to find a fixie with wider wheels. You may also want to consider getting a hybrid.
  • How much you are willing to spend. Even though the bikes are generally cheaper than others, there is still a wide range of prices. The more expensive bikes tend to have better seats, pedals, and tires. They also usually weigh less. That said, you can find good quality bikes at the lower end of the price scale.
  • What it is made of. You can find fixies made of either steel or aluminum. While the steel is sturdier and may stand up to time better, the aluminum is much lighter.
  • How comfortable it is. The style and material of the seat, or “saddle,” can greatly impact how often you want to ride it. The height and style of the handlebars can also affect how long you can ride the bike comfortably.
  • The size you need. When buying your fixie, be sure you know exactly how tall you are. This is especially true if you are shopping online and cannot sit on the bike before you buy it. There are a lot of size options for fixies and you want to get the right one so that you can ride safely and comfortably.

Are Fixies and Single Speed Bikes the Same Thing?

Basically, a single speed bike is exactly what it sounds like. It has a single gear ratio. That means no hub gearing or derailleur gears.

In many ways, they are the same as a fixie. The main difference is you can coast while riding a single speed bike.

This is impossible on a fixie. So, while almost all fixies are single speed, not all single speeds are fixies.

What allows a single speed to coast is the freewheel mechanism. Many bikes on the market today can convert back and forth between fixed wheel and freewheel. To do this, you’ll usually need to buy a specialized single speed wheelset.

If you have never had either type of bike, you may be relieved to know that you simply have to remove the back wheel and turn it around.

The braking styles are often different between these two styles of bikes. It is considered trendy for fixed wheel bikes to have no brakes or very limited ones. Instead, the rider must stop the pedals from turning suddenly to cause the bike to stop moving.

This can be as tricky as it sounds. Freewheel single speed bicycles have traditional braking systems.

For many reasons, a beginner may prefer a freewheel single speed bike over a fixie. This is because they are easier to learn how to ride.
The ride is often smoother and having full braking capabilities is a big perk when you are learning anything new.

BMX and cruiser bikes are single speed. If you are shopping for a BMX bike, you need the freewheel capability in order to perform tricks. Cruising without the freewheel wouldn’t really be cruising.

Advantages of a Freewheel Single Speed

Freewheel single speed bikes are so similar to fixies that they have almost identical advantages. The main advantage a freewheel bike has over a fixed wheel one is that you can relax while riding it.

A fixed wheel bike takes a lot of planning and you have to maintain focus. For people looking for a more leisurely ride, a freewheeling bike is a better option.

Cruising downhill is a big part of a bike ride for people, and it is something a fixed wheel bike simply can’t give you. Riding a freewheel bike allows you to enjoy the scenery and the day.

What To Take Away From This

At the end of the day, a single speed bike is a good option for anyone looking for a daily commuter.

Whether you decide to ride fixed or free really boils down to personal preference. Luckily, most bikes will allow you to ride either way.

The inexpensive price, lightweight design, and simplicity of these bikes are just some of the things these bikes have to offer.

Finding the right single speed bike for you can add exercise, mobility, and joy to your daily life.