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Single Speed Bike or Road Bike for commuting to work? What should you buy?

If you are in the market for a new bicycle with the purpose of using it to commute to work you may have heard of or seen a single speed bike. In London single speed bikes are everywhere in the form of old steel frame conversions, deep rim fashion fixies to dedicated track bikes.

Here are some important questions you need to ask yourself before you make a decision.

How far/short is my commute? Is my area hilly? What’s my budget? Is there somewhere safe to lock my bike at work? Can I take my bike into the office? Do I want to take up cycling as a sport? Do I simply wan’t an alternative means of transport other than tube, train, bus or car?

Having some answers to the above questions will help you realise your needs after weighing up the facts you will read in this post.

Single Speed Bikes

Nowadays a single speed bike can be picked up relatively cheap. A half decent new single speed can cost you around £300. The beauty of the single speed bike is it’s low maintenance and general low cost. It has normal 700c sized road wheels so it will feel faster and smoother when compared to a mountain bike or BMX.


  • Less money to purchase 
  • Hassle free maintenance
  • Lots of brands and bikes to choose from
  • Smooth drive-train due to optimal chain-line
  • Choice of handlebar types
  • More customisable


  • Restricted to one speed
  • Hills can be challenging
  • More effort over longer distances
  • You will need a road bike if you want to join a road cycling club

If your commute is within a rural area you may struggle having only one gear. Over longer distances you may tire more quickly if the gradient is not flat. If you really like the idea of a single speed bike you can change the gear ratio by installing a smaller front chain-ring or a larger rear sprocket to best suit your terrain. The pros of a single speed bike make the prospect of owning one more tempting. The initial financial outlay would be significantly less compared to a road bike of similar quality so you may feel less paranoid about leaving it locked up outside whilst at work.

Road Bikes


  • Full range of gears available 
  • Faster over longer distances
  • Weekend rides with road cycling clubs
  • More carbon and aluminium bike options


  • Higher purchase cost
  • Increased risk of theft
  • More hassle to maintain
  • Cost of servicing and parts is much more

A road bike is generally a bit quicker due to the access to a larger ratio of gears. On the flats you can ease into a gear where you can spin less and push harder. Owning a road bike also allows you to participate in club rides at weekends however a road bike does come with increased costs. Continually using your road bike to commute on all year round will put lot of wear on the components and can get expensive to replace. Gears may become out of sync quickly if not properly installed or maintained. To have smooth shifting gears you would be looking at £200 just for the groupset alone.

A single speed bike with it’s simplicity and hassle free nature is our bike of choice. In an ideal world you would own 2 bikes and reserve the road bike for commuting in the summer. A single speed bike will offer the most reliability when commuting all year round. If you are a student in a flat urban area you can’t go wrong with a single speed. It will certainly be the bike that costs you less money in the long run.

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Single Speed Bike or a Fixed Gear Bike? – What’s the difference?

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We get many customers asking us about the differences between a single speed bike and a fixed gear bike so we thought it would be good to explain it here in a blog post.

Fear not, all our bikes are both Single Speed Bikes and Fixed Gear Bikes due to them having a Flip Flop hub on the rear wheel. Flip Flop hubs have a fixed cog on one side and a single speed freewheeling cog on the other.

This means if you would like to coast/freewheel/stop pedalling you can! If you are up for the challenge of riding fixed gear this can be done by simply flipping the rear wheel around and placing the chain on the fixed cog.

Riding fixed means the pedals rotate if the rear wheel is moving. You have to keep pedalling all the time. You can slow yourself down by applying resistance to the pedals which will bring you to a gradual stop.

This is different to coaster brake bike where back pedalling applies the brake. Riding on the single speed side is like riding a normal bike. You can stop pedalling at any point to rest and roll down a hill. In order to stop you have to have brakes.

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What are the best handlebars for your fixie?

What are the best handlebars for your fixed gear?

People often wonder what are the best handlebars for your single speed or fixed gear bike. This guide will help you decide which handlebars you should be using.

When it comes to handlebars there are many different types of bars. Drop bars, riser bars, bullhorn bars, pursuit bullhorns, moustache handlebars, straight handlebars and swept back handlebars. I will focus on the main handlebar types you are likely to encounter.

Main Handlebar Types

The main types of handlebars are bullhorns, drop bars, riser bars and pursuit bars.



Drop bars

Drop bars provide your single speed bike or fixed gear bike with a true track bike look. You will find these typical drop bars on bikes such as the State Bicycle Co Black Label range. Drop handlebars without hooded brake levers can be a bit uncomfortable for longer rides so are best suited for sprinting in the velodrome or short commutes. The problem is that hooded brake levers just don’t look right on an aero track bike. To maintain the track bike look you will have to use brake levers like these that mount across the top of the bar.

Drop bars with hooded brake levers like those on road bikes are one of the most comfortable setups you can find. The brake hoods extend the reach of the bars providing excellent leverage for going up hills and sprinting. Riding in the drops allows you adopt a more aerodynamic position for descending hills and producing maximum power whilst sprinting.

Riser bars

Riser bars are the original handlebar choice for fixie bikes. Before fixie specific riser bars were available riders would cut down old mountain bike handlebars to a smaller width. The riser bar is still very popular as it offers a more upright position and fast responsive handling, which is favourable when weaving in and out of traffic.

Riser bars are not great if you commute long distances as they offer only one hand position. They are also not the best for going up hills.

Bullhorn bars

Bullhorn handlebars are my personal favourite for a fixie or single speed bike. They offer multiple hand positions and an extended reach similar to that of drop bars with brake hoods. This extra reach forward provides excellent leverage for climbing hills and offers a different position for your hands. Bullhorn handlebars often have the brake levers across the top of the bars but some like to use time trial style bar end levers.

Bullhorn bars also come in the form of ‘Pursuit Bullhorns’ which are often used on time trial bikes. This style of bullhorn bar adds some drop in furthest position making them best suited for fast riding and sprinting. The top of the bar is generally quite narrow and sometimes doesn’t offer enough space for your hands. Most single speed bike brands who offer pursuit bullhorn bars have extended the area around the stem clamp to make space for your hands and to fit brake levers.


To conclude:

If you are using your bike for short commutes and like a more upright riding position then riser bars would be a good choice.

If you will be riding long distances and prefer practicality over looks then go for drop bars with hooded brake levers because this combination will provide the most comfort.