Fixed gear bicycles

fixie

History

Fixed gear bicycle is single speed bicycle type. Similar as bmx bikes, cruiser bikes and other, fixed gear bicycle has got only one speed. Fixed gear is one of the oldest type of bicycles, because first bikes did not have freewheel or speed gear. All those bicycle had fixed gear system. Fixed gear were also being used not only on everyday bicycles, but also on racing bikes. First road and trek bicycles were using fixed gear system. Later, when freewheel and speed gear were invented, fixed gear bicycles lost their popularity, because it was much easier to ride a freewheel bicycle or bike with multiple speeds than riding a fixed gear bike.

Today, fixed gear bikes returned some of the popularity they had at the beginning of bicycles. Firstly, fixed gear bikes or fixies were used mostly by bike messengers and couriers, and by subculture called hipsters. When vintage style became popular again, fixed gear bicycles were one of the main fashion things as they have simple and old look. Now many people are riding fixed gear bicycles because of their simplicity and attractive looks. Bicycle companies are making fixed gear bikes in attractive color sets, so each bicycle is notecable and stands outs.

Manufacturers

Fixed gear bikes are made by different manufacturers. Some of the most known bicycle companies like specialized ,gt ,scott, giant and others that are known for making mountain bikes and sports bikes are also making fixed gear bicycles. There are also some fixed gear bicycle companies that are producing only fixies and fixie parts. Some of these companies are State bicycle, big shot bikes, pure fix cycles. Vilano bikes are also making good value fixed gear bicycles. Vilano bikes have some of the best value fixed gear bicycles on the market. Their bicycles not only have affordable price, but also provides decent quality and nice looks.

Fixed gear bicycle parts

Fixed gear bikes have some different parts from other types of bicycles. First of all, fixie has got special fixed gear cog. This means that you cannot turn cranks other way around, as that will only slow down the bicycle. Fixies back wheel is turning hubs sprocket and chain, which is turning cranks, while bicycle is ridden. Fixed gear bikes also have larger frame and wheels than, for example, mountain bike. Frame and wheels are more similar to road bicycle. Frame and fork are usually made from durable chromoly metal alloys. Fixed gear bicycle have no brakes, only front or both rim brakes. Some riders have practiced skidding or skipping braking with fixed gear bicycle by locking and sliding the back wheel of the bicycle. This braking method is very effective, but it wears out back tire fast. Handlebar and stem used on fixed gear bicycle can differ based on the needs of the rider. Some fixed gear bicycles have regular riser bar, others have bullhorns or drop bars like road and racing bicycles. As mentioned before, fixies do not have speeds, so the look of the bicycle is simple and clean. Fixies are mostly used on the roads in the cities, because they are fast, it is quite easy to maneuver with a fixie and single gear is good on roads without higher hills, as rider can maintain a fast pace with the bicycle. Fixed gear bikes are also used by road bicycle racers for training and there are also fixed gear bicycle contests.

What is a mountain bike?

Bicycle is one of the oldest means of transportation. In many years, when first bicycle was made, many different types of bicycles have evolved, suited for different riding styles. Currently, there are more than 10 different bicycle types. The most popular ones are mountain bike, road bike, bmx bike, fixed gear bike, cruiser bike, womens bike and hybrid bike. In this article I will describe what is mountain bike and list mountain bike parts.

mountain bike

 

Mountain bike is one of the newest type of bicycles. Mountain bike is type of bicycle that is used mainly for off road riding. Mountain bike significantly differs from other types of bicycles with its special parts that are suited for mountain areas and off road riding. Two main parts that describes mountain bike and differs it from other types of bikes are suspension fork and multiple speed gear. Both of these parts are crucial for mountain bikes.

Suspension fork

Suspension fork is necessary for off road riding, when hitting a bump, rock or another smaller obstacle on the road, suspension fork absorbs the impact, so rider doesn’t have such a large force on the handlebar and wrists. Suspension fork also helps to absorb impacts when jumping on a jump or dropping off a drop. There are many types of suspension forks used on mountain bikes for different riding styles. The most popular types of suspensions forks are cross country fork, two crown fork, all mountain fork and dirt jumping fork. Cross country fork is the most common of these and you can find cross country forks on practically all cheaper bicycles and bicycles used for cross country racing. Cheap cross country forks differ from medium, good quality, pro and race forks by their manufacturer, material, travel, durability and adjustments. Suspension forks have got different travels. Forks used for dirt jumping and street riding have from 60 – 100mm travel. Forks used for cross country usually have from 80 – 120mm travel. All mountain suspension forks have approximately from 140 – 180mm travel, and two crown forks have above 160mm travel. Two crown forks are used on full suspension mountain bikes that are especially made for downhill racing. Dirt forks are used on mountain bikes that are made for dirt jumping and street riding. All mountain forks are used on bicycles that are suitable for different riding styles, similar to cross country or downhill. Cross country forks are made for bikes that are used for regular riding on trails, woods, off roads and cities and for cross country racing.

Speed gear

Mountain bikes have multiple speed gear. Usually mountain bike has from 18 to 27 speeds based on the type of mountain bike. Speed gear system consists of gear shifters, derailleurs, gear cables, cassette and chainrings. Mountain bikes that are used for racing may also have a chain guide for extra chain tension and protection. Some bicycles may have only rear speed gear, while others may have both front and rear. For example, cross country bikes usually have both front and rear systems, because cross country tracks usually consists from uphills and downhills and lot of gear changing is needed. Dirt and street mountain bikes do not need front gear, because dirt bike needs to be as simple and durable as possible, so many dirt bikes comes only with a rear speed system or with a single speed system.

What to choose

These are the main parts that differs mountain bikes from other types of bikes. Today, we can see that even new types of mixed bikes are produced, so it gets harder to separate for which type of category the bicycle belongs. If you want to a good quality mountain bike, first choose what type of riding you prefer and then look at the main parts of a mountain bike like frame, fork, wheels and speeds, and based on that, choose the mountain bike that you like and that is best suitable for your needs.

Types of sports bikes

bike types
There are multiple types of bicycles for different riding styles or cycling sports. As bicycle technologies advances, also new types of bicycles are invented. Bicycle has become one of the most popular way of travel around, as it is faster and then feet and much cheaper than a car. There is a bicycle type practically for any riding area, starting with mountain bikes for trails and dirt, to city, hybrid or road bikes for cities, bmx bikes for bmx tracks and skate parks, cruiser bicycles for cruising in the city, and universal bicycles for riding in all areas. Each type of bicycle have different parts, that are suited for different riding styles. Lets see, what are the most popular bicycle types and how they differ one from another.

Mountain bike

Mountain bike is one of the most popular type of bicycle that is used on all kind of surfaces. Mountain bikes have different subtypes, there are mountain bikes for sports like cross country and downhill, mountain bikes for riding in woods, trails, tracks and dirt. There are also bicycles used in all kind of areas, from cities to forests to mountains. Besides these mountain bike types there are also other more specific types of bicycles. For example hybrid bikes are used both in city and on trails. Also there are specific mountain bikes that are used for jumping and tricks. There mountain bikes have smaller frames and sometimes also wheels and they look more similar to large bmx bikes.

Road bike

Road bicycles are used only on road and rider can accelerate and maintain higher speed with road bike. Road bike has got specific parts that makes it faster and more easier to ride on hard surface than other types of bikes. Road bicycle has got larger and much thinner wheels, more speeds and different geometry frame, which all makes it a faster bicycle. Road bikes are used for training and cycling competitions.

Fixed gear bike

Fixed gear bike is little bit similar to road bike in its look. It also has  got high frame and thin wheels. The main thing that differs fixed gear bicycle are the fixed gear cog. Fixed gear means that movement of bicycle back pedal will also move cranks and pedals. So rider cannot coast as with bicycles with freecoaster hub. Fixed gear bicycles are often made a lot more colorful, because they have become a bicycle trend in past years and are ridden by more people now.

Special sports bicycles

There are specific types of bicycles used only for sports. There are different cycling sports, some are more popular and others require more specific bicycles. The most popular type of sports bicycle is cross country mountain bike. These bikes are used for riding both on road and dirt tracks in forest. Other types of sports bicycle used for riding in dirt are downhill bikes. Downhill bikes are much more massive with front and rear shocks to absorb impacts. These bikes are used for riding on different tracks down a hill or slope. There are also a lot of competitions for this sport in many countries. Another popular sports bicycle type is road bike. Road bikes are used to ride long distances and are used for many famous competitions like Tour The France. Some popular types of bicycles for younger riders are bmx and trick mountain bikes. These types of bikes are designed specifically for jumping and tricks. Also there are famous competitions for these types of riders. The last type of sports bicycle is trials bike. Trials bike has got small frame, durable and wide tyres, large handlebar and small or no seat. Trials bikes are used on trial competition, where rider needs to get over different obstacles. Each of these bicycle types have much different parts, for example road bikes will have large and thin wheels, thile bmx bikes will have small and wide wheels. Trial bike have rigid fork but mountain bike will have front suspension fork. And we are seeing more durable and lighter sports bicycles produced each year, which allows the progression of cycling sports.

Bicycle strucure

bicycle

Bicycle consists of multiple part groups – frame, that holds everything together, fork that absorbs impacts on the front wheel, drivetrain, wheel set, seat and seat post, stem and handlebar. Each part of bicycle holds an important role in bicycle structure and how the ride on the bike feels. Bicycle parts can cost from under dollar for smaller bolts to couple of hundred or even thousand dollars for large and expensive parts like frame and fork.

Each type of bicycle has different parts. For example bmx bikes have smaller frame and wheels, rigid fork, high rise bar, strong and heavy stem, only one speed, stronger cranks and rim brakes. In opposite, a mountain bike will have different type parts. Mountain bikes have larger frames, often made from aluminum alloy, suspension fork to absorb impacts on the front wheel, aluminum handlebar and stem, multiple speed gear with shifters, derailleurs and special chain guards. Mountain bikes usually have disc brakes instead of rim brakes, but also rim brakes are used on mountain bikes. Disc brakes are used more often, because they do not lose braking power in rain and mud. All bicycles, except special trail bikes used in sports, have seat and seatpost. Seat is chosen in matter of comfort level rider want. For cruising rider will choose softer and larger seat, for longer distances a more lighter and comfortable seat. For sports the lightest and durable seat possible, as there is no need for comfort. Handlebar and stem are also different for each bicycle type. Main type of handlebars used on most mountain bikes are aluminum alloy bars with little or no rase. Road bikes have special handlebars types called bull horns. On bmx bike you will see a high riser bar that is durable and made specially for racing and tricks. On bicycles used for downhill you may also see chromoy and carbon handlebars.

Frame and Fork

Bicycle frame is made from aluminum or chromoly. You will find aluminum frames on many mountain bikes and chromoly frames on bmx bikes. Frames comes in many different sizes, the size of frames is measured in inches. Bicycle frame manufacturers are making frames from size XS to XXL similar as with clothes. So if you are an average height person, you will need a M size frame. Forks are also made for different bicycle types. Some bicycles like bmx, roads, fixed gear and some mountain bikes will have rigid forks. Rigid fork do not absorb impact on front wheel, but allows rider to accelerate faster and do not waste so much energy while pedalling. Suspension fork is much more comfortable, but also more heavier. This means that suspension forks are not used in cycling sports, where bike weight plays an important role. Suspension forks comes with different travel lengths. Forks used for riding in city will have 60 – 80 mm travel and forks used on tracks, in woods or on mountain will have fork travel from 100 – 180 mm and more.

Brakes

There are also multiple types of brakes. The most popular brakes on bmx and fixed gear bicycles are rim brakes. Rim brakes are braking bicycles rim with special rim brake pads. Mountain bikes mostly uses disc brakes. There are two types of disc brakes – mechanic and hydraulic. Mechanic disc brakes are the most basic version of disc brakes and are used on mountain bikes that do not need that much braking power. Hydraulic disc brakes works with oil pressure, similar as car brakes. Hydraulic disc brakes are used on high end mountain bikes. Hydraulic disc brakes can be found on most xc and downhill racing bicycles.

Wheels

Wheels used on bicycle mainly differs in size. Smaller bicycles will have smaller wheels, as bmx, and larger bicycle will have larger wheels, as road and fixed gear bikes. Average wheel size for mountain bike is 26 inches, for bmx 18 inches and for road and fixed gear bikes up to 29 inches. There are also 29 inch mountain bikes or 29ers that are becoming more popular in past few years. Most types of bicycles used freewheel hub, but fixed gear bicycles uses fixed gear hub. Freewheel means that bicycle movement does not move cranks and pedals. Fixed gear hub means that movement of bicycles back wheel is also moving the cranks and pedals.

How Cycling can improve your life

It is no secret that cycling is not only fun and fast way to travel around but also helps you keep your body in shape. Cycling has got many advantages that makes it so popular and loved type of sports. No matter have advanced bicycle rider you are – beginner, regular rider or professional athlete, everyone can benefit from riding a bicycle. I will point out some ways that your life can improve, if you regularly ride a bicycle.

cycling

Save your time

In todays busy world it is important to save as much time as possible. Cycling can save you lots of time, which you can later spend on your important work duties or just spend your time with family. You can connect two activities in one with cycling – getting from one point to another and staying fit. In the city, there is practically no need for a car, except if you work is connected with driving, or if weather outside just do not allow cycling. If you use bicycle to get to work in the morning and getting back home at evening, you will not only do it faster than walking on foot, but also will lose some calories by exercising with your bicycle. In rush hours, bicycle will be much more faster mean of transport than cars. You will get from work to home in much less time than with a car. And what is important, you will feel much better while riding a bike, then sitting in a traffic jam in you car.

Take you from one point to other

Bicycle is pretty fast transport that can take you practically anywhere. Bicycle is definitely much faster than walking. If you are not a person that enjoys walking, you can try out cycling and you will soon realize that cycling is one of the best ways you can get around the city, countryside and any other place. One alternative for cycling would be motorbiking, but riding a motorbike can be much more dangerous. And it gets more dangerous in bad weather conditions. Motorbiking is also a lot more expensive than cycling, and can get even more expensive than driving a car. Of course, if you want the cheapest way to get from point A to point B you can walk, but entry level bicycle will cost you just couple times more than your running or walking shoes. Entry level bike will cost from 100 to 300 dollars, and they are more than enough for people new to cycling. After you have progressed and want to improve you ride, you can get good road bicycle or mountain bike for 500 and more dollars. If you want to take a part in some sort of cycling competitions, you will have to spend up to 1000 dollars and more for a racing bicycle.

Good for training and sports

Cycling is not just good way to travel around the city fastly, but also will get you in shape. Cycling each day will definitely be much more better for you health than riding a car. Many people do not exercise, because they hate running and think that running is the only cardio training that can help to lose weight and get in shape. That is completely wrong, because there are many ways you can train and actually have fun while doing it. And bicycle probably the most popular way to have fun and lose those extra pounds. Cycling couple of miles each day will help you stay in shape. Cycling is a great way to pump out extra energy you have after work, or you can cycle before you go to work in the morning, and feel the freshness, energy and power to your brains for all work day. So leave your car at home, when you go to work, get yourself a nice and comfortable bicycle and start riding, you will shortly find out, how much fun and good it is for your body, overall feeling and health.

 

Little bit about bicycle history

Beginning of bicycles

Bicycle was invented before more than 100 years and since then has evolved into one of the most used means of transportation. Bicycle is simple, yet quite fast way to get from one place to other. First bicycle did not have any pedals, they were made from wood, and you couldn’t go fast with wooden bicycle. After some years first metal bicycle were built. These bicycles had metal wheels, but did not have pedals, so they were not a huge improvement over wooden bicycles. After some time pedals were invented. Pedals where attached to front wheel and rider did not reach high speeds with that kind of bicycle. Next bicycle type was with large front wheel and small back wheel called Penny Farthing. As fun as it sounded, it was actually pretty dangerous bicycle, and it was pretty easy to crash with this bicycle. These types of bicycles were faster than previous bicycles and also looked nice, so many people rode with them, despite the danger of falling of the high bicycle and hurting themselves. Next bicycle type obviously had similar front and back wheel, so riding it was much more easier and safer. Before this bicycle type was invented, one huge invention was made, that changed all bicycle industry – pneumatic tyre. This way bicycle riding was proved significantly, allowing bike rides to feel more comfortable on bicycle and reach higher speeds with a bike.

first bicycle

In next 30 – 50 years bicycle manufacturers just improved their bicycle technologies. Bikes were made a lot more stronger and faster. With first types of bicycles rider could no go much faster than walking, but after 50 years of bicycle manufacturing, bicycles were one of the most popular means of transportation. Many people that did not have cars, or could not afford them, used bicycles as their main transport to get from one place to other. Bicycle was perfect for cities, as it was easy to ride to any place in the cities. Bicycles were also used in war. They were useful, because soldiers could go faster with bicycles than they could walk or run, and also go further distances. And bicycles allowed to carry more bags or ammunition with them. War bicycles were really tough and heavy and soldier could ride many hundred miles with those bicycles and they did not break and were usable for many years. Also speeds were invented at that time. Before that, bicycles has only one speeds. These types of bicycles are called single speed bicycles. First speed bicycles had 2 or 3 gears. This allowed rider to ride faster uphill. Old bicycle speeds were not like our bicycles today. Their speed shifters were located somewhere on the frame and shifted front gear, not rear. Old bicycles did not have v-brakes or disc brakes. Instead they braked by locking their feet and blocking rear wheel. Those older bikes did have fixed gear cogs, so braking was similar as today with fixed gear bikes. Women bicycles were also a hit, when they were invented. Women bikes were made for comfort and beauty more than for riding further distances.

40s bicycle

In 70s, 80s and 90s new bicycle types were invented. Mountain bicycle is the most popular bicycle now. In those years first suspension forks were used on bicycles. This also changed bicycle manufacturing and riding a lot, and now bicycles could be ridden off road with lot more comfort. New sports disciplines like cross country and downhill begin. Also different bicycles for tricks and jumping were invented like bmx and trial bicycles. As popularity of extreme sports grew pretty rapidly, these types of bicycles also progressed fastly and pushed all the industry to make lighter, stronger and faster bicycles. New materials were used for bicycle part building like chromoly, aluminum and carbon. New materials were first used for sports bicycles like racing, bmx and trek bikes. After some time materials used to built race bike parts were also used on mainstream bicycles. In 21 century bicycle manufacturing did not progress as fast as before, but racing and contest bicycle were improved year by year. They were made a lot more lighter, parts were stronger and price for bicycle with good and strong parts also got more appealing to regular people that wanted to ride with durable and good quality bicycle.

first bmx

Today progression of bicycle manufacturing is much more slower, and companies are inventing new bicycle technologies much less than it was before. However, each year newer and better bicycles and bicycle parts and accessories are coming out, and there will be progression in bicycle manufacturing as long as we will ride bicycles as much as we do now.