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Looking for an answer as to whether you can freewheel on a fixie bike? You’re not alone in wondering this. Let’s take a look and see what the answer is.
The short answer to the question is No.
And, in fact, if you try and coast on a fixie you’re likely to end up somersaulting over the handlebars.
Fixie bikes are a fantastic option for cycling, so let’s dive into why you can’t freewheel on them.
Why can’t you coast on a fixie?
First up, what do we mean by a ‘fixie’?
Well, a fixie bike (AKA a fixed-wheel or fixed-gear bike) is a bicycle that has the action of the pedals directly connected to the rear hub via the chain.
Turn the pedals and the rear wheel spins.
Stop turning the pedals and the rear wheel stops spinning.
Fixed gear bikes started life in sprint track racing (where coasting was never gone to win many races!) and more recently have become a more and more popular choice on the roads and pavements.
The real beauty of fixies lies in their simplicity.
Fixies don’t have rear cassettes (with multiple cogs) or front and rear derailleurs (or gear shifters on the handlebars). This means that you don’t have multiple gears to choose from.
That might be seen as a disadvantage – hill climbing is tougher. However, fixies also have some real big advantages in that without all that extra weight (additional gear cogs, cables, and shifters) they tend to be lighter bikes.
There’s also fewer mechanical components and that means there’s less to go wrong – so, in the long run, you’ll likely have fewer problems, need fewer trips to the bike repair shop, and spend less money on maintenance.
That low requirement for maintenance makes single speed bikes a great option for commuting – when you’re running late for work on a morning, the last thing you need is to have to start adjusting a fiddly derailleur.
Are there any single speed bikes you CAN coast on?
Yes, there are.
Many fixie bikes come fitted with a rear flip flop hub.
This is a special dual-sided hub that has a fixed cog on one side and a single-speed freewheel cog on the other.
The flip flop hub then gives you the option to have the pure fixed-wheel cycling experience. Or alternatively, you can undo the rear wheel fixings, turn the wheel over and secure it back into position.
You’ll now be able to pedal along with your bike in single-speed mode and coast whenever you feel like it.
So, if your heart is set on a fixie, but you also like to coast from time to time, then it’s worth looking at a bike that has a rear flip flop hub.