Put your foot down

Having considered what gearing we might like to go for on our fixie, one other (often overlooked) thing is the pedals.

It's possibly even more important to choose wisely than it is with a free-wheel bike.

The type of pedal you choose for your fixie is going to need careful consideration as you'll need to keep your foot attached to the pedal whilst riding, but have it easy enough to get your foot off the pedal when needed; not having your foot connected to your pedal is not something you should consider - especially if you're just starting out using fixed wheel bikes.

Your choice of pedal is going to be decided upon by the style of riding you want to do and what footwear you're likely to be wearing. If you are an out and out racer then you won't be wearing trainers, but if you want to ride around town or the country roads for leisure, then you may be more likely to wear them.

So let’s get this out of the way first... why shouldn’t you just use normal plain ol’ pedals that you don’t need to attach your feet to? The thing with a fixed gear is that the pedals are always being driven - either by you or the bike. If your foot slips off the pedal, or more likely, gets thrown off the pedal because you tried to coast you won’t be able to sort out the ensueing mess until you can slow the bike down enough to get your feet back on those pedals… and ‘back-pedalling’ is one of the major ways of controlling your speed! Not having your feet attached to the pedal is an advanced technique.

There are a number of suitable methods of fixing your feet to the pedals, and clipless is probably a good choice if you want to ride for speed; you will need to play around with the tension though as hauling yourself uphill and pulling up on the trailing pedal may pull the shoe out of the clips.

You can opt for straps designed for fixie bikes, or you can go down the route of toe-clips and straps, which is what is fitted to my bike. Using this system I can use a bike shoe (without clips), trainers or some other footwear. To my mind, this is the most flexible system to use and I bought a pair of shoes specifically for my fixie as my trainers didn’t fit into the toe-clips!

My bike originally came with black plastic toe-clips that were too chunky, looked cheap and just didn’t suit the style of the bike… I wanted something a bit sleeker and so I got hold of some chrome toe-clips with leather straps. I also changed the

pedals - but the colour didn’t match the bike and so I rebuilt the original ones, refitted them and bolted the toe-clips to those. Don’t forget to check the clearance between the front of the toe-clips and the front wheel, that was another problem with those horrible black plastic ones that the bike came with - the were too large and the front wheel would strike them going round a bend. Not good for confidence!

Whatever your view on fixies, dangerous or awesome (or if there's something about them that just appeals), I'd love to hear your views and experiences with them.

This article was written by DC. Vickers

Share with friends

Related tours

See all tours