Single Speed Solutions
If you are taken by the allure of track bikes (Whats A Track Bike?) and their elegant and simple aesthetic, yet reluctant to sacrifice modern comforts such a coasting and brakes, than you may want to consider a single speed bike. Single speeds are generally track frames, which have a free wheel in place of a fixed cog, and a front fork drilled for a brake. They can also be mountain bikes, but this article is focused on single speeds geared toward on road riding. Their lack of shiftable gears makes them lighter, simpler, and more intuitive to ride than a road bike. They are perfect for the consumer who wants the feel of a road bike without all the complication and maintenance required to keep a more complex bike functioning properly.
Another reason to buy a single speed bike is it’s easy customizability. All of the colorful well made, and unique parts made for fixed gears will work perfectly with your single speed. The culture of fixed gear riders has spurred the production of many beautiful and hand made accessories and products that simply wouldn’t work with road bikes. This has given rise to owners with bikes as unique and special as themselves. This is not to say that one cannot trick out a roadie, only that the level of personalization and beauty that can be achieved with a single speed bike is on a whole different plane due to their simplicity and lack of cable clutter.
Upon riding your single speed, you will quickly come to realize what a delight it is to pedal such a simple machine. One hundred percent of your energy will go straight your rear gear, and instead of the soggy feeling you get when your chain is hindered by derailers and tensioners, your acceleration will be a crisp and sharp reflection of your initial effort. The fact that gearing decisions aren’t a constant distraction will free your mind and let you enjoy the simple enjoyment of riding your bike. Without all the extra parts present on a road bike, a good aluminum single speed will blow you away with its lightness and responsiveness, and even when made from steel, your average SS will be ounces lighter than a comparable geared bike.
As mentioned earlier, maintenance on a single speed bike is loads easier than that of a roadie, and you will save money by learning to fix problems on your own. Even such, the only problem your likely ever to encounter is a flat tire, since the mechanism is that simple. Looking after your own bike is a fun and rewarding experience, and many owners develop a bond with their bike that can last a lifetime. Next time you see a fixed or single speed rider, ask if they have named their bike, and nine out of ten times the answer will be yes.