As the sun rises and the city starts to come alive, I can’t help but feel the exhilaration of being one with my bike, my trusty fixie. I’m a passionate cyclist, and there’s nothing quite like the feeling of riding a fixed gear bike – the ultimate connection between rider and machine.
With each pedal stroke, I push my limits and feel the adrenaline coursing through my veins. I know I’m not alone in this obsession, and that’s why I’ve made it my mission to help you find the perfect fixie without breaking the bank. That’s right, fellow fixie fanatics!
I’ve put together a list of the best fixie bikes under $500 for 2023, and trust me, you won’t want to miss out on these beauties. So grab your helmet, pump up those tires, and let’s dive into the world of affordable, stylish, and high-performance fixed gear bikes that will make your heart race just as fast as your wheels.
-Best for Most People-
- 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!
-Best Under $300-
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.
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.
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.
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.