When it comes to buying a new bike, the same question pops up every time: are you going to choose a multi-gear bike or a single speed bike? Are you looking for simplicity or for complexity?
Riding a single speed bike has its advantages and so does riding a multi-gear bike. But in most cases, you can only buy one of them. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of a single speed bike, helping you to figure out if such a model is suitable for your needs.
Single Speed Bike vs. Multi-Gear bike
The main difference between multi-gear and single speed bicycles is obvious: the first can switch between gears, while the second one only has one. Single speed bikes can be fixed or freewheel. If the image of a single speed doesn’t come to mind, think about a messenger’s bike. That’s it!
There are a few things that people love about multi-gear bikes. One of them is the fact that it has multiple speeds. This kind of bike keeps tension on the chain and allows riders to reach higher performances. It is ideal for those who ride at high speeds, as well as on sharp inclines.
On the other hand, single speed bikes are preferred by those who love simple things and use this two-wheeled vehicle to travel around town. If you are planning to use the bike as a means of transportation, you won’t need the multiple gears. They are simply not practical.
Single speed bikes are suitable for those who need to ride in areas with flat surfaces or low inclines. Also, they are ideal for those who need a mountain bike that won’t be stuck due to a broken derailleur.
Single Gear Ratios
They have a single gear ratio, no derailleur gears or hub gearing and they come in various models. If you do a little research while you are looking to buy a single speed, you will see that there are a lot of options: track bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, cyclo-cross bikes or hybrid bikes.
Most people learn how to ride a bike on a single speed. Then, they change it with a multi-gear because it looks more fun and modern. But eventually, everyone wants to come back to basics.
Multi-gear bikes are more complex and therefore, they need more maintenance, while fixed bikes need almost no maintenance.
If you are looking to buy a bike that is easy to maintain and will involve almost no costs over time, single speed models are exactly what you’re looking for.
However, if you are in the search of a bike that will help you win competitions and you have an extended budget, multi-gear bikes are what you need to look for.
The benefits of riding a single speed bike
Although most cycling enthusiasts don’t see the point of buying a single speed bike, there are multiple reasons why it can be more practical than a multi-gear one.
Actually, it is extremely simple to choose a single speed bike when you know your priorities and you understand the fact that a multi-gear’s benefits aren’t useful in your case.
Taking into consideration the opinions of thousands of bikers who owned both singled speed and multi-gear bikes in the past, we have come to the conclusion that single speeds are preferred by those who want to train more efficiently.
If you are looking to ride a bike with the purpose of losing weight or toning your muscles, or even as a cardio workout, then single speeds are ideal. They put your entire body to work, they are more difficult to ride on inclines and they are much easier to repair should anything happen.
Simple is Fun!
When you own this type of bike, you forget about stretched cables, gear servicing, clogged up gears, chain slaps or frame chips. Very little maintenance means less money, which leads us to the conclusion that buying one of these bikes is cost-efficient on a long term.
Riding a fixed bike has become trendy in the past years because of the modern design that manufacturers tend to promote, the light weight and the usefulness in big cities. A single-speed bike is like a friend that’s not afraid to be honest. It shows your real performance when you’re training and it shows you its best qualities when you need to travel through town.
Single Speeds are Cheaper
Another reason why single speeds are popular is that they are cheaper than multi-gear bikes. Also, they are ideal for people who crave simplicity. Moreover, from a technical point of view, they are seen as more reliable and durable.
If your budget is limited, you are a beginner and you want to buy a new bike, you should know that getting started with a fixed bike is worth the effort. If you’ll ask an expert, they’ll tell you that single speed bikes can help a rider improve their technique, become stronger and teach themselves a higher cadence.
And if you try to ride on each type of bike, you will notice the same. The thighs and calves become stronger, your pedaling changes and you will start having a lot of fun.
Think about it. It is almost impossible to climb a hill riding a single-speed with the same RPM of a geared bike’s rider. Your bike practically forces you to slow down and build endurance. The effort grows, but so does your power.
One thing you certainly don’t think about when riding a single speed is that it has the ability to make you faster, because you become more powerful and your cadence adapts easier to the road conditions.
From a technical point of view, the way you ride a single speed bike isn’t only up to you. Modern bikes are manufactured using smart strategies for proper chain tensioning. So don’t think about it as a bike that lets you do all the work.
One thing is for sure: after a few weeks of riding a single speed bike, you can declare yourself experienced.