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Best Fixie Bikes Under $500 in 2021

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KEY
POINTS

  • You can’t coast with a fixed-gear bike. If your bike is fitted with a flip-flop hub, you can switch between fixed gear and single speed.
  • Drop bars can give any fixie a “race bike” look.
  • Expect to spend at least $300 for a decent fixed gear bike.
  • Some manufacturers use low-quality saddles and pedals to increase profit margin.

We absolutely love fixed gear bikes for the simplicity, clean look, and amazing ride. We’ve spent more than 30 hours researching, reading product pages, and speaking to customers to find the very best fixie bike under $500. Our recommendation for most people is Pure Cycles Original Series Bike – an affordable, steel-framed fixie bike with a flip-flop hub and great fast-rolling slick tires. But we also have recommendations from Throne, Retrospec, and Schwinn.


Pure Cycles Original Series Bike

-Best Overall Fixie-


  • 700 x 28C WTB Thickslick x Pure Cycles Tires
  • High-tensile steel frame
  • Flip-flop rear wheel hub
  • Standard with a front brake

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

-Zippy and Comfortable-


  • Sturdy aluminum 6061-T6 frame
  • Throne Cycles 48T track crank-set
  • Riser bars for streets
  • Slick 700cx23c tires

You should shortlist this fixie as one of the best cheap fixie bikes for this year.

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

-Jack of All Trades-


  • Premium hand-built high-tensile strength steel frame
  • Flip-flop hub
  • Kenda Kwest 700 x 28C tires
  • Ready for urban riding

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

-Lightweight, Cheap Maintenance-


  • Full aluminum frame and fork
  • Flip-flop hub
  • Front and rear brakes
  • 30mm deep v double-walled alloy wheels

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.

The 6KU Aluminum Fixed Gear Track Bike is definitely one of the best cheap fixie bikes in 2020.


Schwinn Kedzie

-Best Value For The Money-


  • Schwinn steel racing frame and fork
  • 46T by 18T single-speed drivetrain with flip-flop hub
  • 700C wheels with 32H alloy rims
  • Ready for city riding

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

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.”

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.

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 the 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.

Related: Best Bikes For College Students

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.

perks for fixed gear bike owners
Benefits of riding a fixed-gear bike

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.

Read more: How Much Should You Spend on Your First Bike

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).”

“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.

What is the best fixed gear bike under $500?

Our recommendation for most people is Pure Cycles Original Series Bike – an affordable, steel-framed fixie bike with a flip-flop hub and great fast-rolling slick tires.

About Alek Asaduryan

Alek Asaduryan is the founder of YesCycling and has been riding bikes and in the cycling industry since 1991. Since then, his mission is to make cycling more accessible to everyone. And each year, he continues to help more people to achieve that. When he's not out riding his beloved fitness bike, Alek reports on news, gear, guides, and all things cycling related.