It was bicycle couriers on the city streets that started the urban fixed gear revolution. You’ll have seen them at traffic lights, balancing on the pedals, ready to shoot off into the distance at the first hint of green. Fixed gear means exactly what it says: no change up or down options, and just the one cog with no freewheel option, so you have to keep pedalling. Velodrome racers have long been this way and aficionados love the simplicity and directness. It’s quite an adjustment though. So much so that many manufacturers offer a so-called flip-flop hub, with a fixed gear cog fitted to one side and a more conventional freewheel to the other. It’s the work of minutes to flip the rear wheel around. For the less committed, we’ve also included a single speed option in our list of the 10 best fixed gear bikes.

Best fixed gear bikes in 2024

Quella Varsity Collection - Cambridge

Elegant heritage-style design from specialist British fixed gear specialists Quella, inspired here by the traditional colours of the University of Cambridge for just a little up-market snobbery. There’s a 4130 chromoly steel frame, intricate crank is in aluminium, handlebars are wide bore and - illustrating the attention to detail that Quella pride themselves on - bar tape is vegan friendly. Fixed hub is standard, specify a flip-flop hub if you’d occasionally like life a little easier.

Specialized Langster

One of the big names in cycling is always a reliable and in this case, we’d dare to suggest, inspired choice. The Langster is a high-end machine that is, Specialized say, ready for both the exacting demands of the velodrome and the very different expectations of the city streets. Front fork is carbon fibre, crankset is square tapered in aluminium, all braking equipment is by Tektro, result is a highly individual bike backed by all the might of a major manufacturer.

Condor Pista

Each bicycle produced by London-based Condor is made to order, so first thing you’ll be specifying is a frameset, here Condor’s steel Pista frame - manufactured exclusively for the company in Italy - fitted with carbon front forks so you know it’s aimed the enthusiast. That frame is, say Condor, tig welded for aesthetic and strength reasons, fixed gear cassette is Condor’s own, purity dictates there’s no flip-flop option.

Ribble Urban 725s

Looking for classic hand-made British style in your fixed gear bike? Look no further. Ribble are an entirely in-house operation at their headquarters in Preston, Lancashire and are, as they like to say, “real bike people”. The Urban 725s has a flip-flop hub, allowing for freewheel or the full fixed ride, brakes are by Tektro and there’s a full range of customisation options to make your Urban 725s very much your own.

6KU Urban Track Bike

Affordable option from 6KU doesn’t stint on quality basics: frame is fully aluminium as are both fork sets, while wheels are lightweight alloy. There’s a flip-flop hub so if you’re keen on the track part of the bike’s name there’s the fixed cog while you might choose to flip to the single-speed freewheel cog for your urban adventures. Perfect as an introduction to fixed gear cycling, without any compromise.

FabricBike Aero

Sporty option from Spanish manufacturers FabricBike looks ready for just about any velodrome track you can throw at it, though FabricBike themselves say it’s perfect for street use too. Frameset is triple-butted aluminium, front carbon forks feature aerodynamic design to help you get to the cinema in time for the opening credits, rims are aluminium. It’s a relatively high end offering - though at an affordable price point - and FabricBike don’t provide a flip-flop hub option.

Riva Cypress

First-off: you’ll have to import your Cypress - built to personal specification of course - from Brazil. Second: it’ll be worth all the trouble, not least because of the way this hand-built bicycle looks. Frame and forks are in lightweight cromoly SAE 4130, also used in aeronautical applications, saddle and handlebar tape are in premium Brazilian leather. The Cypress is equipped with a flip-flop hub - and when you’ve stopped admiring yours once it’s arrived, you’re unlikely to see another.

Schwinn Stites

Urban styled fixie from long-established American bicycle specialists Schwinn. The Stites uses the company’s steel racing frameset with steel forks and alloy wheels. Brakes are standard dual caliper, emphasising that this is very much an entry level machine aimed at your daily commute with the odd weekend adventure attached, rather than being a velodrome-friendly bike. To underscore this, the Stites is equipped with a flip-flop hub for those days when only freewheeling will do.

Genesis Flyer

A single speeder rather than a dedicated fixie from enthusiast-run outfit Genesis, who design all their bikes in Britain and have had competition as part of their heritage since the company was founded in the early 2000s. Flyer is very much a daily rider, however, and the single speed set-up allows you to experience the stripped-back appeal of just having the one gear without having to learn how best to use a fixie. Disc brakes mean all weather capability, frame is lightweight alloy.

Brooklyn Bicycle Company Wythe

If fixed gear bikes had a natural home, it would arguably be New York’s Brooklyn, so we couldn’t complete our list without this sleek offering from the Brooklyn Bicycle Company, based in hip Williamsburg. Winner of multiple recommendations for best urban fixie, the Wythe is simplicity incarnate with a lightweight alloy frame, puncture resistant tyres and sealed-bearing hubs. There’s a flip-flop hub for freewheeling when you choose. Perfect for the Manhattan townhouse.

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