Choosing a new bike is not always easy. However, if you’re looking for recommendations for the best single speed bike, you’ve come to the right place! Single speed bikes are great for commuting, cruising around town and taking on small adventures with friends.
The difference between a single speed bike and a multiple speed is simplicity. A single speed bike gives you everything you need all within one gear; a multiple speed gear forces you to analyze which gear works best with each terrain, elevation or location that you’re in. With a single speed bike, your bike riding becomes less stressful and more carefree!
TYPES OF SINGLE SPEED BIKES
Single speed bikes, like multiple geared bikes, come in a variety of styles, options, brands and the like. In order to narrow down which single speed bike suits you best, take a look at the different kinds that the market has to offer.
As with most products or recreational equipment, you want to first identify the intention of use and then decide which type will suit you best. For example, if you’re looking for a bike to take to work, a commuter bike might suit you best. If you’re in a beach town and need something to ride with ease, a beach cruiser is probably your best bet.
This type of single speed bike is great for those living in a small town or a beach city. It allows you to simply cruise from place to place with ease; these type of bikes are great for these areas because there is typically minimal elevation, especially on the beach or running paths.
Also, on the cruiser you don’t need to worry about changing your gear for speed increase or decrease because it is simply a means of transportation from one place to the other.
When you live in a simple location, simple bikes like these work best. Cruisers are typically seated lower to the ground with a “laid back” style of handlebar. Sometimes they come equipped with a basket or a bell, great for daily errands.
Similar to the cruiser, a commuter single speed bike is great for getting around town. The difference, however, is the type of wheel, style of the bike, and the bike’s framework. Commuter bikes typically have a thinner, lightweight frame and are designed for traveling around town, efficiently; these are typically faster than a cruiser and are not as heavy.
Commuters are often referred to as “road bikes” and are common in cities and small towns. Often these bikes are great for transportation to and from work, hence the name “commuter”. These bikes are very simple and can take on a bit more elevation or bumps in the road, as opposed to the standard cruiser bike.
This is a mix between a comfort (cruiser) and a road bike. This type of single speed bike typically suits females best and is a great beginner bike for those looking for a simple solution to getting from place to place.
Hybrid bikes are typically mixed in its features; it may have a seat lower to the ground, but still has a lighter frame and thinner framework, for example.
A fixed gear bike is one that will stop moving once you stop pedaling the bike; there is no coasting. This is the opposite of the “freewheel” style of single speed bike. Essentially if you’re interested in a fixed gear bike, you’re looking to stay in control of your own movements, along with the bike’s movements.
A fixed gear bike allows for a better workout because it ensures that you must continue to pedal if you wanted to keep moving. However, most people are familiar with a “freewheel” style of bike; therefore, if you’re not comfortable with the fixed gear bike, it may cause you to lose your balance; the more tired you become, the less control you have over your bike.
This is the type of bike that most people are used to riding. When you stop pedaling a bike, the wheels continue to turn and you can coast for a bit, depending on your current speed of the bike. If you learn how to use the freewheel component to your advantage, when you climb higher in elevation, you could exert less energy. In turn, you could make your downhill speeds be faster, with less effort.
The important part of a freewheel bike is learning how to ride it in order to benefit your bike ride; if you leave too much of a delay between pedals, you travel at a slower pace when you’re on flatter surfaces.
SINGLE SPEED BIKE FEATURES
Single speed bikes, as you can see, come in a variety of types and sizes. Once you decide which type of bike will fit your adventure category best, you want to hone in on some specific features that can help you pick the perfect ride. Check out some of the recommendations below. Remember that ultimately at the end of the day, you should be able to decide which bike is offering the perfect package that you’re looking for.
Thankfully with single speed bikes, most of them will fall into a reasonable price range, specifically compared to performance bikes, mountain bikes and other specialty rides. Keeping most of the top quality brands in mind, single speed bikes typically fall into the price range of $150-450, with a bike or two maxing out in the $500 range.
The positive part about single speed bikes being so reasonably priced is that you are paying for a simple bike and the price matches its simplicity. For example, if you’re purchasing a generic, single speed bike that has very basic features, common brakes and a plain black style, you’re going to find one in the lower price range.
Likewise, if you’re shopping for a single speed bike that has all the bells and whistles, you might have to cough up a little extra dough.
We touched on this briefly when mentioning the types of single speed bikes that are on the market. The gear styles available for single speed bikes are freewheel or fixed gear. Again, the most common gear type is freewheel (allowing you to coast without continually pedaling), and the less common, but better workout gear is fixed (forcing you to pedal continuously for constant movement).
Some of the commuter options come with a fixed gear but offer a freewheel option; this is called a “flip flop hub”. Most of the road/commuter bikes, cruisers and hybrid bikes that you see nowadays will be fixed gear; this allows you to be in better control of your bike and control all movements. Not only is this option safer, but it’s also more productive, much like the nature of today’s society.
There are a few types of brakes that you will come across when searching for your single speed bike. These types include rim brakes (calipers pull brakes) and disc.
Seeing as though a single speed bike is the new “stylish” type of bike to own, you might stumble across a few bikes with pull brakes and “bullhorn” handlebars. Mechanical disc brakes are the most common for mountain bikes and will allow you stop quickly and efficiently, when needed.
Some of the bikes allow for the option of one brake system versus the other, and also some have a removable brake to suit your preference best.
STYLE & DESIGN
It’s possible that some riders buy a single speed bike just for the style alone. These bikes aren’t cluttered with cables or gears and they typically have lightweight, sleek designs to prove their stylish personalities. That being said, if you’re in the market for a new single speed bike, pick a color and style based off of what you like.
Sure, the features, specifications and price of the bike are important aspects too, but if you’re able to match a style/color with all of the above, you should be good to go. Believe it or not, people often choose aesthetics over function. Some of the recommendations below definitely encompass top of the line styles and features, so you can’t go wrong, there.
Different bikes are different sizes. Most bikes range from the 26” wheel to the 32” inch wheel and a few of the varieties in between. Often times the same bike is offered in a variety of sizes, changing the wheel size as well.
For instance, if you ordered one of the single speed bikes in a medium size, the wheels could be 32” each and the bike itself might be recommended for those 5’7” and taller. This is an important factor to keep in mind before purchasing.
Most of the bikes have sizing charts for reference points; these are very helpful in determining whether or not the bike you want has the size that you need, because ultimately, that’s the most important thing!
Top Single Speed Bikes
Got the jist of it all? Great! Let’s take a look at some of the hand-picked top single speed bikes.
Takara Kabuto Single Speed Road Bike
Dimensions: 7.5 x 28.3 x 52.76 (medium)
Specific features: Rear flip flop hub, alloy rims, commuter, pull brakes
Best use: Road riding, commuting, casual biking
Takara Kabuto Single Speed Road Bike is a well-priced, single speed, commuter bike. It has standard, durable alloy rims and side pull brakes. This bike comes in small, medium and large, accommodating various height and weight sizes of riders.
One neat feature about this bike is that it has the rear flip flop hub, which allows the rider to toggle between the freewheel capability and a fixed gear position. This feature is appealing because not only can you decide to ride in freewheel for the entire duration of your ride, but if you decide you want to switch halfway, it’s super easy.
Pure Fix Original Fixed Gear Single Speed Fixie Bike
Dimensions: 43-63 cm in wheel sizes
Specific features: Fixed gear, flip flop hub, front rim brakes
Best use: Road biking, tricks, casual riding, cycling
Pure Fix Original Fixed Gear Single Speed Fixie Bike comes in all shapes and sizes. With bike sizes ranging from XXsmall (16.9” wheel size) to XXLarge (24” wheel size) and a variety of 23 colors to choose from, you can really learn to make this bike your own. The bike features a rear, flip flop hub to switch from fixed to freewheel whenever you so please and the bike frame itself is tig-welded, which is a specialty kind of welding that uses gas and electrodes to produce the weld.
The bike comes with top of the line brands for wheels, brakes and handlebars and 1-year limited warranties are available for most components of the bike, with the frame having a lifetime warranty. You can’t go wrong with this well-priced, stylish commuter.
Vilano Edge Fixed Gear Single Speed Bike
Dimensions: 700c x 28c ( 28” wheels)
Specific features: Flip flop hub, alloy crankset, double-walled wheels, steel frame
Best use: Road biking, commuting, casual riding
Vilano Edge Fixed Gear Single Speed Bike varies in sizes and flashy colors; it ranges from small to large, with a 54 cm option for wheels, and the bike frame colors are standard, with bright colors framing the wheels. The bike features a standard, threadless fork and recognizable bullhorn handlebars. It features an alloy crankset, double-walled wheels and a tig-welded steel frame. The brakes on this bike include front and back calipers (a type of rim brake).
This bike starts at a reasonable price of less than $200 for the smaller size and basic colors. As the size increases and colors become more vibrant, the price increases as well. But don’t worry, this bike doesn’t reach the $500 range.
Critical Cycles Classic Fixed-Gear Single-Speed Bike
Dimensions: 43-60 cm (wheel sizes, small to x-large)
Specific features: 3-piece crank, alloy, Pista drop handlebars, water bottle mount
Best use: Commuting, cruising around town, casual riding
Critical Cycles Classic Fixed-Gear Single-Speed Bike sure is stylish. Not only does it feature Pista Drop Handlebars and a 3-piece crank, but the double-walled rims made of stainless steel give this bike a clean, sleek look.
It’s offered in 8 classic colors; there is nothing flashy or cheesy about this bike, it’s all class. It features an urban-style, comfort saddle and Promax pull brakes, making this commuter easy to ride and comfortable for the long haul.
Like most of the newer bikes, this city-rider features the flip hub so the rider is able to switch between fixie and freewheel; riding freewheel broadens your path while fixed wheel tackles the tough terrain. This bike is a great pick for those looking to stay in a moderate price range (under $300) and those who dig a classic bike.
Copenhagen Single Speed Fixie Bike
Dimensions: Multiple (52-60 cm, wheel size)
Specific features: Caliper brakes, flip flop hub, bullhorn bars
Best use: Performance riding, racing, commuting
Copenhagen Single Speed Fixie Bike has a racing mindset with its build and ultra-thin frame. It has the flip-flop hub, bullhorn bars and front and rear caliper brakes, making it similar to most of the other bikes we’ve seen. It’s offered in your standard black and white colors, with stainless steel, V-rim spokes. The part about this bike that makes it stand out is its super lightweight quality.
This bike is a feather compared to the other recommendations; it weighs a mere 25 lbs, proving that racing might be its strong suit. Again, this bike allows you to toggle between fixie and freewheel, offering a longer ride or a short, breezy commute.
Vilano Rampage Fixed Gear Single Speed Road Bike
Dimensions: 50-58 cm (wheels, small to large)
Specific features: Flip flop hub, alloy crankset, Tig-welded frame
Best use: City biking, road biking, commuting
Vilano Rampage Fixed Gear Single Speed Road Bike is not that impressive and quite honestly, not a top choice. It does offer a flip-flop hub, alloy crankset and deep V-rim style, but even the tig-welded frame doesn’t place it apart from all of the other bikes we’ve seen. The features of this bike are great, but they match the features of all of the other bikes; the style, however, is not so great, placing this bike at the bottom of the list.
The bike is offered in a basic black or tan frame with eye-straining colors painted on the rims of the wheels. It offers a standard (boring) seat with plain handlebars. This bike also falls into the same price category as the others, still not proving itself to have a decent selling point. Unless this bike is your style… keep looking!
Critical Cycles Harper Single-Speed Fixed Gear Bike
Dimensions: 43-61 cm (xsmall to xlarge, wheel size)
Specific features: Promax pull brakes, flip flop hub, deep v-rims, 2 sets of brakes
Best use: Street riding, commuting, casual riding
The design of Critical Cycles Harper Single-Speed Fixed Gear Bike is impeccable and the components of the bike prove it to be a smooth, easy ride. The bike comes in six basic, yet classic styles and boasts the 30mm deep V-, stainless steel rims that look flawless on this bike. The bike comes equipped with two sets of brakes (front and back) and a flip flop hub, letting yourself choose between fixie or freewheel.
Another great feature of this bike are the reliable wheels and relaxed handlebars, optimizing the comfort of your ride.
Fortified City Commuter Theft-Resistant Single Speed Bike
Dimensions: 50-58 cm (small to large, wheel size)
Specific features: Lightweight, theft-resistant, aluminum frame
Best use: Commuting, road biking, casual riding
Fortified City Commuter Theft-Resistant Single Speed Bike is reputable, but the style isn’t the best that we’ve seen. It’s selling as a commute bike but has the looks of a mountain bike. Though it doesn’t have wires or chains hanging, the frame is lightweight, yet has a “thicker” look to it, mimicking the frame of a mountain bike.
This bike does redeem itself in some other areas, though. A couple cool features of this bike are the theft-resistant bolts that layer the frame and the puncture-resistant tires that repel flats. The frame is also rust-resistant. This bike is pretty standard, yet the price is moderate-high.
Merax Classic Fixed Gear Bike Single Speed Road Bike
Dimensions: 54 cm, 58 cm (wheel size)
Specific features: Handmade steel parts, flip flop hub, left disc brake
Best use: Commuting, casual riding, city biking
Merax Classic Fixed Gear Bike Single Speed Road Bike is best seen in all black. It features a handmade steel frame and a front flip-flop hub (as opposed to rear). Another interesting feature of this bike is the disc brake. Most of the other single speed bikes that we’ve seen typically feature the front and back calipers or the front pull brakes. This bike, however, has a left-sided, front disc brake.
This bike does not come partially assembled, but does include the tools and instructions to do so. This bike is on the lower list of price ranges but will most likely get the job done of cruising you around the city. If you’re looking for more style options and an easier setup, this is not your bike.
Giordano Rapido Single Speed Road Bike
Dimensions: 29-32”, wheel size
Specific features: Alloy rims, flip flop hub, pull brakes
Best use: Road biking, commuting, casual riding
Giordano Rapido Single Speed Road Bike is lightweight, good-looking and ready to ride. With horizontal dropout handlebars that match the frame of the bike, this is definitely a bike to look into. Featuring a flip-flop hub and side, pull brakes, you’re getting and easy, smooth ride. This bike is just under 30 lbs, proving it to be on the lighter side, which will allow you to cruise more efficiently through the city streets.
The frame and fork of this bike were tig-welded, while the pedals are layered with clip-in straps, just in case you’re strapping in for the long haul, or in it for the race. This bike would be great for street or race riding.
COMMUTING WITH STYLE
The options are endless! After going through all of the various styles, colors and types of single speed bikes, you’re sure to find the bike and style that you’re looking for.
Whether you are the classic-type and looking for a bike with a smooth, easy ride, or you’re more into the function and speed of the bike, the single speed bike world has it all. Make sure that after finding the bike that suits your style, you are able to locate all of the specific features on that bike that are also important to you. Because after all, it’s great if the bike looks pretty, but it’s more important if the bike can ride well.
Take a look at some of the other comments for this article and take their advice! Also, feel free to leave a comment of your own if you tried, or are planning to try one of these bikes! Happy riding!