Best Fixie Bikes Under $500

by | Last Updated:
YesCycling is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.. Learn more

After riding more than ten fixie bikes in 2020, we think that the best one in terms of ride, affordability, and look is the Pure Cycles Original Series Bike. If you are not a fan of the black matte everything bikes, you should consider the Throne Phantom. It’s a sleek, beautiful red fixie bike.


If you’re investigating fixed gear bikes for the first time, you’ve come late to the party. These bikes have been around since Giovanni de la Fontana was said to have created the one in 1418, “calling it a human-powered, four-wheel invention with a loop of rope connected to gears.”

Four hundred years later, a German aristocrat named Drais came up with his version. Thanks to his influence, modern fixies evolved.

The U.S. finally got in on the act in the 19th century after the fixie had already been adopted as the ride of choice for European mail couriers. Today, couriers aren’t the only riders who have fallen in love with fixies.

Commuters are smitten, too. You may be one of them if you’re trying to decide which will make you happiest by reading our reviews.


Pure Cycles Original Series Bike – OUR PICK!


PROS:

  • Get a silky smooth ride
  • Stylish and sleek
  • Comes with a super-quiet chain
  • Low-rolling resistance
  • Partially assembled but easy to finish the job

CONS:

  • Won’t perform on steep hills
  • Expect a bumpy ride on uneven surfaces
  • Company’s customer service response isn’t great
  • Tires not designed for commutes in winter weather
  • Riders can’t weigh more than 275 pounds.

This lightweight, speedy, single-speed bike comes with what Pure Cycles call “deep-dish” 40mm (700c) wheels, so if you love the reference to Chicago pizza, you may already be predisposed to favor this relatively affordable fixie.

Available in 4 sizes to fit men and women between 5-feet 2-inches and 6-feet 2-inches tall, you get a custom fit and a high-tensile, fully tungsten inert steel frame that wins hearts and butts because it’s built to last. It’s comfortable, too.

Having decided that one gear is exactly what you need, you’ll find the standard front and rear brakes equally responsive once those fast, grippy thick slick tires are engaged.

While this model comes with rack and fender mounts, it has no suspension, but the riser handlebar and signature Pure Cycles Drome saddle could compensate.

Engage the slim nylon pedals if you decide to purchase what we consider the best pick of this bunch, but you may not be able to figure out what the company means when it gives you color choices referenced as Juliet and Oscar!


Throne Phantom – ALSO GREAT!


PROS:

  • Comes with front radius forged brakes
  • Pedals are made of alloy not plastic
  • Arrives 85-percent assembled
  • Light, fast and responsive
  • Sleek, beautiful, and the epitome of sexy.

CONS:

  • Only available with 50cm frame
  • Sells out fast; if you see it, buy it
  • May have to change front wheel to mag
  • Handlebar alignment could be off
  • Pedals are small; you may want to replace

A little pricier than the aforementioned Pure Cycle Original fixie, you won’t have trouble identifying the color of this highly-rated gem: It’s red.

Promoted as a limited series of Throne bikes, the Phantom doesn’t come in myriad sizes; if you can’t ride a 50cm rig, you may as well skip this review and get on with the next one.

Called “the most-well-equipped complete bikes on today’s market,” this limited edition is the brainchild of a team of riders in collaboration with engineers who call themselves “Team Throne.”

Starting with this fixie’s sturdy, rugged aluminum 6061-T6 frame and signature carbon/alloy fork, this street machine is built to go the distance courtesy of the standard Throne Cycles 48T track crank-set, and Novatec sealed bearing wheel-set with bladed spokes.

No detail has been left to chance: riser bars manufactured just for streets and a racing saddle give you cred, even if you have no intention of racing your fixie. The Throne rides on 30mm wheels and slick 700c tires.

Could you feel like royalty if you ride a Throne fixie? Find out for yourself.


Retrospec Harper


PROS:

  • Lots of size options to suit cyclists
  • Flip-flop hub gives you a fixed or freewheel ride
  • Premium, hand-built high-tensile strength steel frame
  • Manufactured with two sets of brakes
  • Includes tools for bicycle maintenance tasks.

CONS:

  • Won’t accommodate riders weighing over 220 pounds
  • Available only through select retailers
  • X-long pedal cranks may hit tires and cause an accident
  • Wheel/frame contact could also be hazardous
  • You may have to tighten nuts/bolts frequently.

This single-speed fixed gear urban commuter bike comes in so many sizes; you are bound to find one that suits your body from these choices: 43cm, 49cm, 53cm, 57cm, and 60cm.

Retrospec calls the Harper “the next generation of commuter bikes,” and lavishes praise on the benefits cyclists receive if they choose this affordably-priced ride over competitor models. This ride is eye-catching, low-maintenance, and has been described as the “two-for-one sidekick.” Translation: this is one versatile ride.

All it takes is a quick flip of the back wheel for you to turn the Harper from a single-speed cruise to a fixed-gear ride. That maintenance bit may seem redundant since fixed-gear bikes are traditionally fabricated of fewer parts.

Still, this feature could be the reason you choose this model over others, and Harper is no slouch when it comes to accessories. You get VP freestyle pedals, 25.4mm riser handlebars, front and rear Promax brakes plus 30mm Deep V rims, and thick, stable tires.

Sound good?

Confirm your suspicions by taking a test drive at your earliest opportunity!


6KU Aluminum Fixed Gear Track Bike


PROS:

  • Easy to assemble and fun to ride
  • Well lubricated bolts and chains plus high-quality welds
  • Stylish color that stands out
  • Straightforward design with guide markings for set-up
  • Brakes calibrated for equal, solid pressure out of the box.

CONS:

  • No longer manufactured with bullhorns
  • There’s no place to mount a front reflector
  • Oversize pedals aren’t the highest quality.
  • Inexpensive brake pads may disappoint
  • Plan to replace the drivetrain down the line.

Experienced safety issues because your last fixie turned out to be a lemon? There’s no chance you’ll be missed during your commute if you spend an affordable amount of cash (nearly half the price of products in the $500 and under category) on this hot seller.

Okay.

So the color may not thrill you, but you’ll spend less green on this tennis ball yellow ride that comes in two sizes: 47cm and 55cm. Crafted of lightweight aluminum and featuring 0mm Deep V Double-Walled Alloy Wheels, this ride also converts from a fixed gear bike to freewheel via the flip-flop hub.

This 6KU fixie has caliper brakes, it’s relatively easy to maintain and upkeep won’t wind up cleaning out your bank account. Just in case you can’t resist and find yourself with a yellow bike that has made you the joke of your posse, you have 30-days to return it and the company promises a hassle-free return experience.

That stated, there is a huge debate going on amongst owners of this bike about how comfortable the saddle feels. Ride this fixie and feel free to jump in if you have an opinion.


Schwinn Kedzie


PROS:

  • Weighs 31 pounds which adds to sturdiness
  • Reliable, stable and stylish
  • Stands alone in the “affordable price” arena
  • Schwinn fans won’t be disappointed
  • Excellent choice for dudes who are 6-feet tall.

CONS:

  • Won’t arrive in fixed gear mode; you’ll have to flip the rear wheel
  • Best put together by a bike mechanic if you want a safe ride
  • Don’t look for a kickstand; there isn’t one
  • Too heavy to carry comfortably
  • Can loosen up without warning; carry an adjustable wrench.

As the most affordable bike in this review (you could buy 2 and ½ bikes with your $500 budget), this iconic brand and iconic colors (red or blue) are a marriage made in Schwinn heaven.

Developed exclusively for city riding, price and styling makes this bike hard to find, so if you find that it’s temporarily out of stock, no worries. Schwinn has been around forever (since 1895), so you can count on proprietary fixed-gear cycling excellence if you take a chance on this 700c fixie product.

The steel racing frame and fork are solid and streamlined for reliability, and the company notes that “In true fixed-gear fashion, a 46T by 18T single-speed drivetrain with flip-flop hub propels this bike.”

Commutes are a breeze thanks to the alloy front and rear caliper brakes, a Schwinn urban seat and handlebar grips that are comfortable and stylish. Marketed as a “guys-only” bike, the Kedzie ships ready to be assembled and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.


7 Things to consider when buying a fixie

1. Fixed Gear v. Single Gear: A matter of personal preference

Single gear or single speed bikes are known for their ability to coast along effortlessly, especially if part (or all) of your commute happens to be downhill.

Riders retain control, feel comfortable, and these bikes are known to be loved by the safety-conscious rider.

Got a long ride to work? Choose a single gear model, and your legs will benefit. What’s the most significant advantage?

Ease of riding. You can be as impromptu as you like; hop on and off on a whim.

Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

Fixed gear bikes feel decidedly different, especially if you’ve stuck to a fixed gear model in the past.

Don’t try to coast or you’ll be disappointed—-though as Jeremy Crimson of JoeMamaCycles.com explains, “this lack of coasting ability is also a fixie’s greatest advantage.” Cranks turn perpetually in synch with rear wheels; they stop in unison too.

Who needs brakes when you’ve got legs capable of stopping you reliably?

2. Braking: What brakes, you ask?

If you take the idea of a fixie bike back to its origins, you won’t have to work hard to understand that this style of bike is all about simplicity—not just a lack of accessories, but really, really simple.

That’s why so many fixie owners remove their braking system before their first ride. Besides, brakeless fixies look cooler and who doesn’t want to look cool?

With no brakes, one stops by mastering the technique of pedal resistance or make a spectacle of yourself by skid-stopping. If you’re more concerned about safety than grabbing attention, select a bike with a flip-flop hub so it arrives with the freewheel engaged.

Want a rear brake? You’ll have to have one installed at an extra cost.

3. The Flip-Flop Hub.

You’ve probably already figured out that the aforementioned flip-flop hub gives a cyclist the wherewithal to switch back and forth between single speed and fixed gear riding.

Even if all you want to do is commute on your fixie and you’ve no interest in things mechanical, you should still know what function this performs so you sound somewhat knowledgeable.

According to the blog associated with UnknownBikes.eu, flip-flop hubs are rear wheel fixtures that allow a rider to opt for a fixed or freewheel ride. Having one means you enjoy versatility, switching when terrain changes.

You need speed on flat areas and don’t require as many teeth to keep you moving (13-to-14 do the job), but once you approach hilly areas, a higher tooth cog (15- to-17) will be the only thing standing between you and hobbling around! This little gadget does big things.

4. Comfort – Upgrade your seat if necessary

Like so many of the features profiled here, the most high-priced fixie bike on the market doesn’t necessarily come with a guarantee of comfort. Remember that these are manufactured to be sold as bare-bone cycles that are beloved simply because they are no frills rides.

Plenty of fixies arrive with adequate saddles, but if you’re trolling for a ride that runs under $500, you won’t necessarily get a saddle that pampers your derriere. It’s worth the upgrade if you find that the fixie that attracts you could stand a more comfortable saddle.

Your work buddies will thank you if you replace the one that came standard. They might even help pay for a new saddle if it means you stop complaining.

5. Handlebars—Get a grip, fixie bike fan

Having just told you that fixies are designed for simplicity, that doesn’t mean you won’t get variety when it comes to handlebars. Consider these three when you shop. Read more about fixie handlebars here.

Drop bars can give any fixie a “race bike” look, but that means they don’t have hooded brake levers. As a result, you could experience hand discomfort.

Find drop bars with hooded brake levers, and you can brag about a comfortable setup no matter where or how you ride. That this handlebar type is a star when it comes to hills and sprints, and your body assumes a more aerodynamic position thanks to this handlebar.

Riser bars were the fixie bike’s original handlebar back when cyclists modified old mountain bikes and needed a smaller size.

Still popular, riser bars allow you to perch atop your saddle in an upright position, at which point riders enjoy more responsive handling as a result of body position and handlebar width.

These handlebars are fantastic if you like to weave in and out of traffic, but you risk hand injury if your commute is long since there’s only one way to position your hands.

Bullhorn bars could have their fan clubs thanks to this design. No hand fatigue, thanks very much. You switch out your hand position on the fly to adjust from hill climbing to flat terrain. Bullhorn bars come in a distinct “Pursuit Bullhorn” design engineered for bike time trials.

The style encourages one to assume the body position ideally suited for sprinting and fast rides. Narrow to the point of annoyance, you’ll have to search for places to position your hands, but that can be solved if your fixie offers more space around the stem clamp.

6. Why $500 is enough for a good fixie

Given the fact that fixie bikes are all about simplicity, it’s no wonder the rides we’ve previewed here–and a plethora of other brands and styles—can be found that cost much less than $500, yet their quality and construction standards are every bit as good as pricier bikes outfitted with myriad features.

Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash

Designed especially for folks who commute to work and play, purchasers tend to travel shorter distances to get where they’re going, so the need for features that are necessary for long, arduous and difficult trips doesn’t usually exist.

For shoppers who need more power and performance, investing in a fixie bike doesn’t make much sense.

7. Is it easy to ride a fixie?

Learning to ride a fixie takes getting used to, and it could feel weird. But, according to Neil Bezdek, writing for Bicycling.com, “With some practice, it’s surprisingly easy to scrub speed or even force the rear wheel into a skid.

A fixed-gear has at least as much stopping power as a beach cruiser with a coaster brake. Direct feedback from the pedals allows for quick and precise speed adjustments, which are crucial for riding in heavy traffic (especially if you don’t always keep both hands on the bars).”

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

“It’s impossible to lock up the rear wheel inadvertently since that would require stopping the pedals, so it’s easier to gauge traction on wet streets,” he adds. Bezdek’s testimonial has nothing to do with observation; he rides one.

Other fans are equally enthusiastic so you can expect an easy adjustment once you get the hang of it.

Additional perks for fixie owners

  • Fixies tend to be lightweight, so you can lift them when necessary without breaking your back.
  • Fixies are less likely to be stolen! Thieves look for tricked-out bikes. Fixies don’t come close.
  • Repairs won’t drain your wallet. There are no derailleurs to circumvent and fewer parts.
  • Fixie riders say they feel more “connected” to their bikes since tech features don’t interfere with their ride.
  • Because fixies are streamlined, there’s less to break. Most often, fixes are spokes or the chain.
  • You can ride backward if you like. We don’t need an explanation as to why you would want to do this.
  • Fixies are more efficient. Energy transfer from pedal to the wheel can make a big difference on long rides.
  • You can up your CQ (cadence quotient). This means muscles don’t suffer, there’s less torque on your knees, and heart and lungs recover faster.
  • Low-speed maneuvering is a breeze, especially if you commute in traffic jams.
  • Yes, you can customize a fixie, so it suits your lifestyle and ride style.
  • There’s far less to think about. Riding is a simple process. Gear freedom has its perks.
  • It’s pure fun because there’s less to do on a fixie. Pedal. Brake. Focus. Repeat. There you have it!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.