Is there anything better than riding a bike? Not only do they bring back childhood memories but they’re also convenient as an adult. Most people go for multiple geared bikes, but there’s another option. You could get a single speed bike!
Single speed bikes are bikes that don’t have any gears. They just have pedals and a chain. Why is this better? There are many reasons! For one, they’re simpler. You have less to worry about with only one gear. You mainly get to focus on enjoying the ride. Because of this simplicity, they’re also very low maintenance. With no complicated gear mechanisms, there’s a lot less going on.
On top of all of that, they’re much more affordable. A 500 dollar single speed is much higher quality than a 500 dollar fixed-gear bike. Buying a new bike can be challenging, so here are the best single speed bikes under 500 dollars!
10 Best Single Speed Bikes
Pure Fix Original Fixed Gear Single Speed Fixie Bike
The Pure Fix Original Fixed Gear is an excellent place to start your search. It’s efficient and comfortable. Due to its affordability and simplicity, it’s an excellent bike for newcomers in the world of single speed bikes.
Fixie bikes have a certain look and feel to them. This bike captures that perfectly. It has a Hi-ten Steel frame with a straight fork and horizontal dropouts.
Depending on the size, the bike will weight between 22 and 24 pounds. There are plenty of bikes that are lighter, but this is within the range of acceptability.
The saddle is a velodrome-style. It’ll give you a good mix of racing and comfort. To aid with the race feel there’s a 30mm riser handlebar. That will allow you to have a more aggressive riding position while still having back comfort.
The handlebars could be a con for some people. Handlebars with multiple positions will be better in the long run. Something like drop handlebars gives your more hand positions and better aerodynamics.
The gear ratio for the Pure Fix is 44:16 and it’s coupled with a 74.25 KMC Z-410 chain. This makes it great for urban riding.
The pedals are platform pedals with some extra foot coverage. They’re tough so that they can take a beating. When it comes to brakes, there are ProMax caliper brakes that will provide more than enough stopping power.
The wheels are 40mm deep dish 32-hole spoke wheels. Combined with the Kendra WTB Thickslick 700cc x 28 tires, the bike will ride very well.
In addition to the solid black, the Pure Fix comes in 30 additional colors. So if black isn’t your style, there’s a high chance this bike comes in a color you’ll enjoy.
Overall it’s a decent, affordable bike. You shouldn’t be disappointed with this one. It has plenty of compatibilities when it comes to extra additions. The gear ratio is great, it has good brakes, and it looks good too. The steel frame can be a bit heavy, and if your streets are smooth, the tires can feel a bit weak.
6KU Aluminum Fixed Gear Single-Speed Fixie Urban Track Bike
A hybrid of street and track, the 6KU Aluminum Fixed Gear can give you the best of both worlds. Riding a track bike on the street would be like driving a Formula One car on the road, as in it would be very uncomfortable and impractical! 6KU saw this and decided to modify the track bike for a more urban setting. That’s where this bike comes in.
The frame is a 6061 aluminum alloy. That alone will make it light and quick. The dropouts and fork are stainless steel. Steel is good at absorbing shock, so this will make bumpier riding a bit more comfortable.
Due to the aluminum frame, the overall weight of the bike varies between 18 to 22 pounds. This gives it easy portability and excellent maneuverability.
The saddle is more sporty than comfortable with minimal padding. However, this doesn’t mean it’s completely uncomfortable.
The handlebars have a riser design. This allows you to have a more upright posture. The grips are a soft rubber remnesicant of a BMX bike.
A Novatec rear hub provides a seal for the rear hub. Moisture and dirt getting inside will not be an issue for the 6KU. A 46T crank makes up the other half the bike giving you a 46:16 gear ratio. That will make longer rides less of a challenge.
The pedals, however, aren’t the best. They are overly large and feel cheap. Luckily, with most fixie bikes, upgrading parts is easy. So if you like every other aspect of this bike, don’t let the bad pedals stop you.
When it comes to brakes, the 6KU has both front and rear brakes. This comes with better control making it ideal for urban areas where a lot of sudden stops is a possibility. Because of its lightweight, having good brakes is recommended.
The rims are 30mm deep V double wall alloy with 700cc x 25c Kenda tires. These tires have a small tread design which will provide more grip and potentially smooth your ride.
Overall the 6KU is a good mix of speed and comfort. Despite its weak pedals and semi-uncomfortable saddle, the lightweight frame and decent brakes make it quick and nimble. It’s a fun bike to ride and is easy to upgrade.
Critical Cycles Fixed Gear Single Speed Fixie Urban Road Bike
Critical Cycles Fixed Gear is known for putting out bikes that are worth more than you pay. That tagline for this bike is “Fixed Gear, No Fear.” And it’s fitting. It has a simplistic but solid look. In addition, it has a high level of versatility due to the flip-flop options available.
This bike utilizes a hand-constructed steel frame. This makes it very durable and sturdy. While it does add to the weight, steel frames also absorb more shock making the ride smoother.
The weight of the bike ends up being around 22 to 25 pounds depending on the size. When it comes to the seat, it isn’t the best. It’s uncomfortable and it’s recommended to replace the seat as soon as possible.
The riser-style handlebars allow you to keep that upright position which is better for your back and the grips are made of durable rubber.
Despite the low price, a high amount of brand-name components are included. You can expect KMC Chains and WEll-Go bike pedals in addition to a Protek 3-Piece Crank. A lightweight Alloy chain wheel is also included.
The brakes are Pro-Max and are only included on the back wheel. This isn’t a big issue as the weight of the bike will aid in stopping.
The wheel set-up has Super-V double wall rims with Wanda tires. In addition, the ability to flip-flop this bike is desirable.
Overall the bike is worth what you pay. With a durable frame and brand-name components, the bike is up to par with other bikes in this price range.
However, flip-flopping the bike can be more time consuming than its counterparts and certain parts of this bike have been known to snap with more aggressive riding. Keep these aspects in mind when you’re deciding whether or not this bike is the one for you.
Takara Kabuto Single Speed Road Bike
This bike’s design is ridiculous and that’s not meant to be a bad thing. It has bright, flashy colors and a unique handlebar design. It’ll definitely turn heads and is the exact opposite of the “traditional” simplistic look of single speed bikes.
Both the frame and the fork are built from tig-welded steel. It will be on the heavier side, but as said before the steel helps with shock absorption.
This bike weighs about 37 pounds and is one of the heaviest on the list. This is due to heavier steel components and the steel frame. That, of course, means it’s very durable and can take a beating.
When it comes to the seat, there’s really nothing good to say. The seat is bad. Luckily, this bike is pretty cheap so when you include a new seat on the price it’s still very affordable.
The handlebars are a drop-handlebar style. While not the best for your back, they’re great for aerodynamics and style. The multiple hand-positions of drop-handlebars are also very desirable for longer rides.
Thanks to its drivetrain, the Kabuto is durable and you can get a lot of miles out of it before any part of it fails. This bike rolls very smooth.
The wheels are 32-hole alloy with Kenda 700 x 32 tires. In addition, there’s also a minor tread pattern to increase grip. This set up adds to the strength and durability of the ride.
In addition, this bike also has a flip-flop capability. There’s a single handle that allows you to switch between modes. It’s a very simple system.
The brakes, on the other hand, aren’t the best. They’ll stop the bike, but they could be a lot better. You can make adjustments to the brakes to increase their performance, so not all is lost in this aspect.
The bike is flashy and attention-grabbing, it has the performance to back it up, and the affordability to top it all off. It’s a good bike for what you pay. Despite the fact that the brakes are a bit weak and the seat is bad, it can still be a good choice for you.
Pure Fix Glow in the Dark Fixed Gear Single Speed Fixie Bike
The second Pure Fix bike on this list comes with a unique twist. This bike is similar to the original Pure Fix but it glows in the dark. It has special, solar-activated paint that allows it to glow in the dark for over an hour after being in sunlight for just one.
With a Hi-Ten steel frame and a straight fork, this bike captures the simplicity that a lot of fixie bike enthusiasts seem to favor.
This gives the bike weight of around 22 to 24 pounds. For a steel frame, this is an excellent weight that will still allow you to be quick and nimble.
The saddle, like the other Pure Fix, is a velodrome-style which provides a great mix of race and comfort.
Combine that with the riser handlebars, and you have one comfortable ride. The handlebars are 30mm, which will give you the ability to ride both comfortably and aggressively.
The glow in the dark capabilities and the 44:16 gear ratio make it great for urban riding. It’ll be smooth and you’ll also be visible in the dark. The extra safety is always worth it. Vehicles have a hard enough time seeing cyclists on the roads.
The pedals are rugged with good grip. They’re tough enough to handle aggressive driving but comfortable enough not to bother anyone.
Braking can be difficult on this bike as the only brakes on it are front-radius brakes. You can move them to the back if you want, but that can be a bit time to consume.
The wheels on this bike are a bit bigger than the other with 50mm deep dish 32-hole spoke wheels vs. the other’s 40mm wheels. The tires are Kendra WTB Thickslick 700cc x 28.
Like the other version, these tires can be a bit of an issue on rugged roads with potential debris.
Overall, this bike is unique in its own way. While it doesn’t have the best brakes, it makes up for it with its glow in the dark style and quality components. If riding at night is your thing, this could be a great choice for you. Imagine how this bike looks at night and ask yourself if this is something you can pass on.
Golden Cycles Single Speed Fixed Gear Bike
With this bike, Golden Cycles has provided an excellent example of a good valued bike. As stated before, fixed gear bikes are less expensive compared to others, but this one is even cheaper. With its low price, it’s surprising that it manages to hit most of the good points.
The frame is a Hi-Ten Tig welded steel. Thanks to the welding, the frame and fork are almost seamless and the horizontal dropouts have some great aesthetic.
Weighing in at about 25 pounds, the weight is reasonable. It will allow you to be aggressive and nimble without increasing the price for a lighter build.
The saddle has a racing-style. It fits the bike’s aggressive aesthetic and is a good match for the handlebars. It actually encourages you to lean forward.
Speaking of the handlebars, they’re a riser-style with Neco headsets. The grips are rubber and in the style of BMX
The brakes are excellent as they’re caliper brakes. They’re on both the front and the back wheels. This bike will absolutely stop if you have to stop.
On the rear hub lies a 68mm sealed bearing. This provides you the option to switch to freewheel whenever you want.
The crank is an alloy 130BCD with a JIS square taper spindle. The pedals have good foot coverage and the gear ratio is a solid 46:16.
The wheels are 45mm deep alloy rims with 700c x 25 Kenda tires. The tires have a nice tread design to increase grip and smooth our your ride.
In addition to those features, there are also a wide variety of colors you can choose from. It’s always good to have options for colors.
The pedals can be a bit weak and the seat is a little thin, but despite that, the bike is still a top contender in its price range. The color choices are amazingly cool, the welding is smooth, and the weight is reasonable. Plus, caliper brakes are always great.
Critical Cycles Harper Single-Speed Fixed Gear Urban Commuter Bike
Critical Cycles makes its second appearance on this list with it’s Harper fixie bike. As the name states, it’s great for urban commuting and it has an excellent “rustic” look to it. Costing a bit more than its brother, you can expect a bit more out of this Critical Cycles Harper bike.
The frame is premium hand-built steel with barspin clearance. It has no toe overlap and good-looking horizontal dropouts. This frame is particularly durable and you’ll be using this without issue for a long time.
At a weight of 25 pounds, it’s within a reasonable weight range and is comparable to aluminum counterparts.
As with a lot of stock bike seats, this one isn’t very comfortable. You can easily order a new one though as this bike isn’t very expensive.
This bike comes with a standard flip-flop hub which allows you to enjoy all aspects of riding whether it be single-speed, freewheel, or fixed gear.
The riser handlebars allow a relaxed riding position. This makes it great for commuting and long-term riding.
The rims are 700C Deep-V unit alloy and the wheels are Kenda commuter tires. In addition, the chain is KMC and you also get VP freestyle pedals. Combine all of this and you get a very smooth ride.
There are brakes on both the front and the rear wheels. Double braking gives you more options when you’re on your commute. This allows you to have better control in urban environments.
Overall it’s a great bike for what you pay. There are a few color options and the style looks great. It maintains that simplistic design people love and the color options really add to that. With the combination of brakes and wheel-set, the ride is smooth and controllable. Despite the bad seat, the bike is built with quality components so you’ll be using this one for a long time.
Vilano Fixed Gear Bike Fixie Single Speed Road Bike
Vilano has produced a great bike that won’t break your bank. It’s style and design make it great for riding on the campus, commuting, or just for leisure. It comes in great color styles and it has a classic simplistic design.
The frame is tig welded Hi-Ten steel. This gives it a clean, seamless look. It has 120mm rear spacing and the fork is 700c 1 ⅛” threadless.
This bike comes in at around 25 pounds. While not the lightest possible, it feels solid. As stated before, the steel frame is great for absorbing extra shock.
As with most cheap bikes, the seat is on the more competitive side. This is common as bike manufacturers would rather put more money into quality components and let the consumer replace the easy-to-replace parts.
The horizontal riser handlebars will allow you to keep a good posture making a relaxing ride. The headset is an alloy threadless with a 25.4 alloy threadless stem.
The brakes are caliper and are only in the rear. This will provide ample stopping power for almost any situation.
The rear hub is a flip-flop freewheel/fixed allowing you to easily switch between the two modes depending on how you want to ride that day.
The wheels are 700c Double walled and have CNC machined sides. The tires have a minor tread pattern to help with grip and ride quality. While there are not a lot of color options, the ones they have are fun and interesting.
It’s a good bike for a solid price. Some parts will have to be replaced in the long run, but this can be expected with certain bikes are a lower cost. The back brakes are great for what they are and will make sure you can stop when you need to. It’s a great bike for short rides around campus or short commutes, but it’s not recommended for longer rides.
Vilano Rampage Fixed Gear Fixie Single Speed Road Bike
This bike is a good example of a true fixie. It’s very lightweight and durable. It’s easy to use and on top of that, it’s cheap. It’s a great bike for the cost. Not only does it look good, but it also has some decent performance as well.
The frame is urban geometry track style and is made from tig-welded Hi-Ten steel. The forks are straight and this all gives the bike a lightweight build.
The overall weight of the bike is around 22 pounds which is extremely light for a steel frame. This will allow an amount of nimbleness comparable to an aluminum frame.
The seat is not the best, not it’s not the worst either. It’ll be okay until you decide to get a new one. The handlebars are the popular riser style which will allow a high level of comfort and stability. Like the others, the flip flop hub allows you to switch between the different modes of travel easily.
The wheels are great. They are 45mm double walled Deep-V anodized wheels with matching anodized hubs. The tires have a minimalistic tread pattern that’s just enough to give you what you need.
The pedals are urban platform pedals and there is a 700c ⅛” threadless crankset. On top of that, the KMC chain will help with the smoothness of the ride.
There are brakes for both the front and the rear and they’re both caliper brakes. These will provide you with any stopping power you may need. They make this bike ideal for denser urban environments.
The Rampage is a great example of a true fixie bike. It’s simple, lightweight, and durable. It has great style and it rides great. The lightweight frame and decent brakes are always a plus, especially at this price range. As with most of the cheaper models, the seat should be replaced, but don’t let that stop you from getting what you want.
Giordano Rapido Single Speed Road Bike
For a fixie road bike, the Giordano Rapido can be the bike for you if you’re looking for a beginner road bike. This bike will give you both speed and will be more than enough for your daily commute. Designed for mostly flat terrain, it has the best of both worlds.
The frame is aluminum and the handlebars are steel. They have a drop bar configuration. This gives it a great stylish look and provides a large amount of durability. The steel also helps absorb shock.
Weighing in at about 29 pounds, it’s a bit on the heavier side, but it will still be light enough to carry around if you have to.
The flip-flop hub provides you with flexible riding. It handles very well on streets and sidewalks and can even take a beating if you crash.
The tires are 700 x 32 Kenda tires and are on the thicker side. This helps you keep control and adds to the durability of the tires.
The rims are an alloy and very durable. They won’t be breaking under any reasonable circumstances.
The seat on the Rapido is actually decent and you can use it for extended periods of time. It’s not the best seat, but it’s far from the worst and you’d expect that with the slightly higher price.
The pedals have clips for your feet so you don’t lose your grip. They’re detachable if you don’t want them, but having the option is always great.
The brakes are alloy side pull brakes. The alloy brakes provide a stable grip and have excellent performance overall. Decent brakes are a necessity for this bike as it’s designed for speed.
The Rapido really does earn its name as it is one fast bike. It’s a lightweight, durable frame help it gain its speed. The alloy side pull brakes are there to slow it down and give you the control you need. While it is on the more pricey side of the list, the extra price you pay is deserving it if you want a fast and stylish bike.
Features to Look for in a Cheap Single Speed Bike
Some people say no to brakes on single speed bikes, but that’s just ridiculous. Unless your bike is specifically for racing and that’s all you use it for, you need brakes. Always keep an eye out for brakes when you’re buying a single speed bike.
Most bikes will have them, of course, but not all of them have the same setups. Some bikes will have front only, some will have rear only, and some have both front and rear.
It’s recommended to at least have rear brakes as front brakes can cause you to flip over if used improperly. Both front and rear brakes will be the best overall as they will provide the most stopping power.
The gear ratio is important because it defines how your ride will feel. A 44:16 gear ratio is generally agreed to be the ideal ratio for basic riding. Whether you’re commuting to work, riding around your college campus, or just having a ride, a 44:16 ratio will be best for you as long as it’s all flat ground.
For off-road riding, the gear ratio should be about a 2:1 ratio. Performing around and trying to find the right ratio for your situation is recommended.
The frame is the main body of the bike and if the frame is bad, the bike is bad. Looking for solid frames is good. Steel or aluminum are the main choices. Both have their pros and cons.
Steel is heavier than aluminum, but it’s stronger and will absorb more shock. Aluminum, on the other hand, is lighter and will give you more maneuverability and speed.
Depending on where you’re riding, you may want tire treads. Tire treads give you more grip and stability and can even give you a smoother ride.
Smooth tires are great, but only if the roads you are riding on are mostly smooth and free of debris. The smoother tires are more susceptible to punctures and damage.
If it rains where you live, you’re going to want fenders. Fenders will prevent water from flying into your face and all over your back. If you don’t want to get wet, consider getting fenders for your bike.
The most popular handlebars are riser handlebars and drop handlebars. The riser style is more comfortable to use long term. They inspire a more upright position which is better for your back.
However, your hands can get uncomfortable after repeated use. To mend this issue, you can get bar ends for your riser bars to give yourself more hand positions to use.
Drop handlebars are more designed for speed and aerodynamics as they force you to lean forwards more which creates a more aerodynamic “teardrop” shape. This does, of course, hurt your back in the long run.
If your bike is a commuter bike, this is definitely something to consider. Riding around with a backpack all the time can get annoying. Panniers work like saddlebags on a horse. They’re on the bike, not on your back.
Most bikes don’t come with panniers, but it’s good to check to see if they have the hookups to allow you to use them.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are many things to consider when you’re looking to buy the best single speed commuter bikes. When it comes to the best single speed bikes, the actual best bike will vary from person to person. There are things you have to ask yourself before you purchase.
Q: Do You Ride on Rough Roads?
A: If you ride on rough roads, regular thin or road tires might not be enough. You should consider looking for bikes that have larger tires with larger treads. As stated before, smooth tires will have issues on rough roads.
Smooth tires will give you a bumpy ride and will puncture easily if you run over anything sharp. Treaded tires, on the other hand, help you with those issues by smoothing out the ride and being generally more durable overall.
You may have noticed how certain mountain bike tires are very large and thick. This is to accommodate the rough trails that they ride on. While you don’t have to reach those extremes, it’s good to realize that with rougher terrain, you need bigger tires.
Q: Are You Going to Ride in the Winter?
A: Riding in the winter adds a lot of new issues. When winter comes, so does the snow. Just like cars have to switch out tires for the winter, so do bikes.
Bikes with “summer” tires in winter will slip and slide all over the place and crash frequently. So what can you do to prevent this from happening?
The answer is studded tires. Studded tires provide much more traction on snow and ice than regular tires. Basic treaded tires will not be enough for icy roads, you’ll have to get specific snow tires.
Q: What are You Going to Use this Bike for?
A: This may seem obvious, but depending on what you want to use the bike for, you’ll want to buy different bikes.
Bikes that are for racing should be as lightweight as possible. You’ll want them to have drop handlebars and most likely no brakes. They won’t be very comfortable, but they’ll go very fast. Much like modern-day supercars.
For commuting, you’ll want bikes that encourage more relaxed postures, speeds, and safety.
Rise handlebars are common amongst commuter bikes as the handlebar position allows for better back posture. The seats for these are heavier and more comfortable. On top of that, the steel frames commuter bikes will use are often cheaper overall than their racing counterparts.
Commuter bikes tend to be heavier which is more durable for everyday use. You most likely won’t be using a race bike every day.
In addition, commuter bikes usually have brakes. Whether they’re front, rear or both vary depending on the bike. As stated before, rear brakes or both fronts and rear brakes are almost a must. If you’re going to be riding in urban areas, brakes are a necessity. You wouldn’t want to not be able to stop at a stoplight.
Q: Do You Want to be Able to Flip-Flop?
A: Flip-flop availability can be an essential aspect of any single-speed bike. The components that make this possible are called flip-flopp hubs. They’re on the rear part of the bike and they are threaded to take both cogs and freewheels.
Depending on what you’re doing, you may want the ability to switch out between different modes.
Q: What are single-speed bikes?
A: They are bikes with a single gear ratio.
Q: Why are single-speed bikes good?
A: There are plenty of reasons as to why they’re good, but one of the major reasons is that they’re much more simple and easier to maintain.
Q: Are single-speed bikes expensive?
A: They can be, but generally, a top of the line single-speed will be much cheaper than a top-of-the-line mountain bike.
Q: What are single-speed bikes good for?
A: They’re good for everything a regular bike can do! While they can’t handle hills as well, they’re an excellent source of exercise.
Q: Why should I get a single-speed bike?
A: They’re cheaper, more efficient, less likely to break, and they’re an excellent way to stay in shape.
Finding the best single speed bikes for any one person can be difficult. There are a lot of bikes with a lot of features. You shouldn’t just look for the best bike as the best bike might be terrible for your situation.
Instead, look for the best bike that matches your needs. Remember to ask yourself the right questions and look for the right features.
Getting stuck with a racing bike when you wanted a bike for commuting wouldn’t be right and the same goes for another way around. Overall, find the best bike that suits you. Use this guide to your advantage! Good luck with your endeavors!
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