Brakes…I would say brakes are a good call, especially if you are new to fixed gears or don’t really feel comfortable riding without brakes. It is always better to be safe than sorry…you don’t want to be caught on a runaway bike without brakes. Brakes are simple, inexpensive and may one day save your life.
If you grow tired of the fixed gear system, throw a freewheel on there and you don’t have to worry about the constant pedaling…just coast. Many complete fixed gear bikes these days come a flip flop hub where one side of the wheel will be fixed while the other side will have a freewheel, meaning you can flip it around and ride fixed one day and flip it back to ride freewheel the next…very convenient for a very versatile area where fixed gears might not always be ideal.
Chainrings engage the chain to transfer power to the rear wheel. They usually have teeth spaced to engage every link of the chain as it passes over; however, in the past, some designs (called skip-tooth or inch-pitch) have had one tooth for every other link of the chain. The Chain Ring is your front sprocket…these are pretty important…you should know the specs on all your stuff so you know what is interchangeable and what works with what.
Chains are pretty straight forward…there are different sizes based on width and pitch. Most fixed gear bikes utilize a 1/8″ chain. Breaking a chain is not fun…Don’ keep it too tight…I’d carry an extra in my bag if I were you. Click here to learn how to properly adjust the chain tension.
A crankset consists of two cranks, the chainwheel and stack bolts that hold the chainwheels to the cranks. Sometimes the crankset will include the bottom bracket axle and bearing assembly. The crankset is the component of the bike’s drivetrain that converts the motion of the rider’s legs into rotational motion which in turn turns the chain and the wheel…making you go fast!
No this ain’t no utensil for eating bbq, the fork is part of the frame that holds the front wheel. Forks consist of two blades that hold the axle in place. Forks differ in many ways…it all depends on the type of steering geometry you prefer. The fork also allows for that very important task known as steering!
Handlebars are usually in two different styles, drop and upright. Drop style include Maes bend with other variations known as randonneur and anatomic bends. Most bikes used for street use incorporate upright usage. More commonly there are 3 styles of handlebars which you will mostly see on fixed gears…Riser handlebars, Bullhorn handlebars, and drop track handlebars…for a complete rundown of the differences, check out what kind of handlebars do i need.
The pedal is where you put your feet and what attaches to the crank to power the bike. Pedal sizes and styles also differ. There are plain pedals and toe clip pedals…toe clip pedals are more efficient for stopping a fixed gear without brakes…it all just comes down to personal preference.
The rim on your fixed gear bike is the outer metal loop of the wheel…the material and size of the rim can differ by a lot and there are also many ways to customize your wheels…different spoke counts, materials, colors…the possibilities are endless. Wheels are always exciting new additions.
A seat is a seat…this is where you sit to ride your bike. Seats can also differ in sizes, material and comfort. This is pretty much just a personal preference type thing…there are some pretty comfy seats out there, check them out. The Origin 8 Saddle seat is one of my personal favs.
The stem is what connects your handlebars to the steerer of the fork. The stem diameter must match the inside diameter of the steerer, which is usually 1/8″ smaller than the nominal headset size.
Tires that allow you to ride on a higher PSI will help your tires to last much longer, especially if you are going to be skidding all over town on them. Even the best tires will eventually break down if you are skid stopping. These things usually last about 2 months taking that kind of abuse…riding with brakes is a good way to get a longer life out of your tires.