Why Do Fixies Have No Brakes? (Explained)

Fixies have no brakes because they are mainly designed for track racing competitions. It enhances faster and smoother rides on the track.

But you have a beautiful Fixie in your garage right? and you would want to ride it on the road someday. 

Guess what? You are well understood. Hence, this article is prepared to shed some light on what you can do. 

Here, you will learn what a fixed gear is, how legal it is to ride your fixie on the road, the benefits of riding your fixie, how to apply brakes to your fixie and if it is possible to add brakes to it.

Keep reading till the very end and all your questions will be adequately answered.

What Is A Fixed Gear Bike? 

Fixed-gear bikes also known as fixies are bicycles that have no freewheel mechanism in place. They have no freewheel so if you want to move, you have to pedal. 

Why Do Fixies Have No Brakes

To sustain the movement of the bike or to stop it, you have to work the pedals. The more you increase pedaling, the more speed it generates. 

It is equally perfect for those that desire a serious fitness section. 

Also Read : Are Fixed Gear Bikes Bad For Your Knees? (Explained)

Are Fixed Gear Bikes Illegal Due to No Brakes?

No! If you are riding on a track. However, The legality or illegality of riding your fixed-gear bike is dependent on several things. 

  1. The cycling laws in your state.
  2. Where you are riding. 

1. The cycling Laws In your state 

To ride your fixed-gear bikes in most states, it is required that you have at least the front brake installed. 

For instance, in the U.S, most bicycle laws state that bicycles should have a brake that allows the rider to have a one-skid brake successfully on a dry leveled surface. The same rule goes for California. 

2. Where You Are Riding

Fixies are meant for the tracks and not for the road. On the track, they are used for track races and this makes them legal. 

What are the Benefits of Riding Without Brakes?

road bike tire

Riding a bike without brakes could sound dangerous and scary. However, there are some advantages attached to riding without brakes. 

Here are four benefits of riding your fixie without a brake. 

1. Easy To Maintain

Without the brake system in place, the fixed-gear bike has a lesser bike component that can get damaged and subsequently needs repairs. 

This means it is more reliable. You don’t have to worry about replacing the brake oil or repairing the calipers. 

Asides from this, the lesser component also makes cleaning easy. No dirty slippery and tight corners to clean. 

2. It is More Beautiful

The fixie without the additions of cables, levers, or calipers looks simple yet structurally majestic. The visual appeal is enough to attract and encourage a rider to his bike most of the time. 

3. Excellent for Fitness Purposes 

Cycling is a wonderful exercise to tone the thigh muscles and achieve general body fitness. 

Riding your fixie regularly will actively engage the use of your lungs, and heart and generally promote your cardiovascular health.

It will also give you a better posture. Riding your fixie regularly is a great exercise to include in your routine if you are struggling with slouching.

It will force you to sit up straight for some time and ultimately give you a better posture. 

Aside from these, cycling is an efficient way to manage your weight or even reduce it if you are obese. 

4. It’s Classy

 Riding your fixie gives you a certain air of class with your friends. It practically says you are an expert without you having to vocalize it. It earns you some well-deserved ‘street’ respect. 

Also Read : Shimano Deore Vs SLX

How to Apply Brakes on a Fixie

To apply brakes on a fixie, you will need to create some amount of pressure between the tires and the ground. 

Are Fixed Gear Bikes Good For Long Distance

There are two ways to apply brakes to your fixie. 

  • By expertly using the pedals
  • By using the hand brakes

By Using Pedal

To brake your fixie using the pedals, you will need a good mastery of your pedals to sustain your movement, increase your speed, and more importantly, stop the fixie. 

To break a fixie, you need to slowly decrease your pedaling speed. The lesser you pedal, the lesser your speed till you finally stop pedaling. Once you stop pedaling, you will equally stop moving. 

By using the Hand Brake 

To use the handbrake, Here is a step-by-step process:  

  1. Slowly and firmly pull your handbrakes. 
  2. Continue to pedal slowly.
  3. Press the front brakes to cause some resistance 
  4. Remove your feet from the pedal strap and stand upright as the fixie stops. 

Is It possible to add Brake to my Fixie? 

Yes! It is possible to add a brake to your fixie. Although your fixie would work well without a brake, it is quite dangerous to ride your fixie on the road without brakes.

Are Fixed Gear Bikes Good For Exercise

The good news is that you can easily walk into any of the cycle shops and buy a front and rear brake for your cycle. 

You can also add a v- brake and a caliper to your fixie. If you are wondering which type of brake you should get, it may help to know that most people opt for the front brake.  

You can easily self-install your brakes too. 

Here is how to do it.

  • Install your calipers first. Untighten the nuts and slide the calipers through the hole located at the rear wheel. Retighten the nuts.
  • Next, install your lever where you would like it to be on your handlebars.
  • Remove your cable from the housing and fix it at the brake lever’s back. Replace the cable housing and ensure it stays in place. You will know this is done when you hear the click sound. 
  • Fix the other end of the cable to the caliper. Close the caliper and tighten the bolt to ensure the cable stays in place. 
  • Attach the cable to your fixie’s frame
  • Align your brake pads. Ensure there is a little but equal space between your wheel and the pads. Also, ensure your pad touches the braking zone.
  • Press your lever to check if your brakes are well fixed to your satisfaction. 

Final Thoughts

So, Fixies do not have brakes because they are primarily designed to be used for track races. 

They are illegal on the road in most states and legal on the track. Always make sure you check your state cycle laws. 

You can easily stop a fixie by stepping on the pedal. Be sure you are experienced. 

It is possible and safer to add brakes to your fixie if you intend to make it road-worthy. 

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I’ve been riding (bicycles) my entire life and am passionate about everything that comes along with it. I wouldn’t call myself a true “roadie”. I’m just a guy that loves riding because of the pure joy it brings.

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