Debating for some time whether to play it safe and purchase a standard cycling bike or channel my inner creative self (read: hipster) with a fixed gear bike, I decided to take the plunge and try a fixie. And after riding around for a few days, I discovered a few things that I want to share: Riding a fixie is a lot harder than expected and yet more rewarding that I imagined.
It took me a few days to find the right combination of colors, size, and price that suited my needs but I eventually settled on Pure Fix Cycles because of their solid reviews and good reputation for excellent customer service. The bike came in a week about 80% already put together. I had to put on the front tire, handlebars, seat and peddles. Pure Fix suggest taking it to a bike shop for assembly (and to activate the warranty) but I put it together myself and took it to my local shop to give it a once over.
As someone who hasn't ridden a bike in years, hoping on a fixed gear bike was indeed a challenge. The bike comes out of the box on the single speed hub which means that it rides like a standard bike but I quickly realized that only having a front brake makes stopping on a dime quite difficult to execute. So I switched it to fixed gear and the first thing I noticed was that I couldn't coast because the pedal is always in motion. To make the bike stop, you have to stop peddling by putting back pressure on the peddles. It's actually easier to stop the bike using the peddles on the fixed gear than using only the front brake on the single speed gear. My national inclination to pedal backwards or not pedal at all when reaching the desired speed was the first barrier I had to overcome when riding the fixie.
Pure Fix has flip flop hubs which means it can go from single speed to fixed with a flip of the tire.
After trying the fixed side for a short bit, I changed it back to single speed because I found it so difficult. Switching the hub, the bike seemed to take off as I rode around the park on the single speed. I enjoyed the freedom of the freewheel peddles on the single speed but once again, I found trying to stop the bike counterintuitive with only the front brake so I eventually went back to the fixed gear.
I purchased a drop handlebar because I always loved the way they look aesthetically but this also took some time to get used to. However, the front brake that comes with the bike is only designed to fit a standard handlebar so I had to find a slightly longer screw that enabled the brake to fit securely around the bar. I'll probably buy a proper drop handlebar brake in the future but the interesting part is that I find myself barely using the front brake on the fixie because the back pressure on the peddle is so affective for stopping.
Overall, I love this bike. The challenge of continuous peddling is tough but my feeling of self satisfaction overshadows the difficulty when I arrive at my destination. If I eventually go for a 10 mile ride, I will know that I peddled exactly 10 miles (not coast for majority of it). My one complaint is that the standard seat is not the most comfortable in the world but I have nothing to compare it to since I was never a big bike rider growing up. I'll probably upgrade the seat in the near future.
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