What Is A Single Speed Bike?

A single-speed bike is one of the most popular bicycles today. These bikes may be simple, but they are durable. You'll see almost everyone riding it, from recreational and amateur cyclists to advanced and professional racers. 

Although single-speed road bikes are often referred to as single speed, it does have several types. This includes BMX, bikes, mountain bikes, most kid's bikes, track bikes, jump bikes, unicycles, and fixed-road bikes.

This type of bike only comes with one gear ratio. Likewise, it has no means for changing its gear ratios, such as shifters, hub gearing, or derailleur hangers. This means that its drivetrain only has a chain and gears. 

On the other hand, bicycles that feature multiple speeds have one to two derailleurs. These help the gear shifts when changing the number of times the wheel rotates. As a result, pedaling becomes more comfortable at various speeds and inclines. Nevertheless, in terms of the drivetrain, single-speed bicycles do come with some advantages over multiple speed types.

Different Types Of Single Speed Bikes

The main types of a single-speed bike are the following:

  • Freewheel bike. These bicycles feature a cog that rotates freely. It's usually mounted at the bike's rear wheel, allowing it to coast without the need for the cranks to spin when it's moving. Freewheel bicycles are a favorite among new riders.
  • Single-speed drivetrain. With this style, the rear gear is fixed. Hence, the cranks will not spin at any given time your bike is in motion. As a result, you'll be able to use the pedals to stop or slow down. Single-speed drivetrains are popular with city riders and advanced cyclists.

Benefits Of Owning A Single Speed Bicycle


A single-speed bike doesn't come with any extra gears. The only parts that move its brakes, cranks, and wheels. Additionally, you only need a few simple and small adjustments over time. Once the chain starts to expand due to normal abrasion, you can adjust it using the horizontal dropouts found on your bike's rear frame. Even beginner riders will find it easy to adjust and properly tune.

More for less

Because of its minimalistic and simple style, manufacturers can create single-speed bikes using high-quality components at a lower cost. For this reason, if you're shopping around for one, you're most likely to end up with more value for your money.

Low maintenance

Thanks to its minimalistic design, there's not much that will break on single-speed bicycles under normal usage. Cyclists love its mountain bike type because it lacks derailleurs. It means that it's a little more resilient when riding off-road, which can damage the derailleur arm's alignment during a bad landing. Furthermore, the speed of the drivetrain type is not variable on even grounds. Hence, it's perfect for city riders.

Disadvantages You Need To Know

Bikes with a single gear ratio can limit with you on certain terrain types. It'll also require more pedaling effort when riding uphill. Since it doesn't have multiple speeds, you won't be able to shift to a larger cog. Likewise, you can't downshift to a smaller one when you're cycling at high speeds. 

These restrictions have a significant impact on the performance and comfort of single-speed bicycles for uphill cycling. Plus, you may find it hard to keep up when riding with your friends using bikes with multiple gears.

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