What to Look For
Fixed wheel, or “fixie” bikes as they are referred to in the United States, are popular for those who are looking for a low-maintenance bike without having to worry about shifting. Fixie bikes are simple, so look for a well-built frame, durable chain and crankset, and a pair of lightweight wheels. You might also want to consider a bike that comes with a front brake. Some of the best fixie bikes are custom frame builds such as those provided by Dario Pegoretti. There are some quality stock frame bikes such as the Bianchi Pista Via Condotti and the Surly Steamroller. Most fixed-wheel bikes are made from steel, which is durable and has a comfortable feel to the ride. There are also some exotic materials being used such as carbon fiber, which provides a light and strong frame.
Because a fixed-wheel bike stops only when you stop pedaling, having a dependable chain is a must. If the chain breaks, you have no way to stop. This is also a good reason to look for a bike with a front brake as an option. Pick a gear that is conducive to your riding environment. If you have a lot of hills, you will suffer if you use a high gear because it will make it almost impossible to pedal uphill.
Where to Buy
Unless you are purchasing a custom frame build, most bikes are purchased from a certified dealer. You can check on the manufacturer’s website for local bike shops or distributors near you. You can also find some fixie bikes online at places such as REI, Amazon, Performance Bicycle and Bike Nashbar.
If you are planning on having a custom frame build like those made by Pegoretti, you can plan on spending close to $2,000 for the frame, as of 2010. These are plush bikes and are specifically designed for your body geometry with years of acquired frame-building skill and craftsmanship. The Bianchi Pista Via Candotti retails for $799, and the Surly Steamroller can be found online for $719.