Best Fixed Gear Wheels: Differences Between Fixie & Single Speed Bikes

Fixies are surely exciting to ride, and they're just as fun to build. So whether you want to build a fixie from scratch or upgrade your existing bike, you'll need the best fixed gear wheels to prolong your bike's lifespan and enhance its performance.

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Over the past few years, the fixie community has witnessed a huge spike in size thanks to the incredible amount of convenience and comfort offered by fixed gear bikes.

What was once used by athletes to boost their rhythm now is embraced by many riders looking for that same effect.

Today, we're reviewing some of the best options available on the market and presenting you with a detailed buying guide to help you find the best fixie wheels for your ride. Let's jump in!

Quick Comparison: Best Fixed Gear Wheelset

Brand/Model

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1. Retrospec Mantra 700c Deep V Fixed-Gear/Single-Speed Wheelset

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2. Superteam 50/23 Carbon Wheelset Fixed Gear

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3. Vuelta ZeroLite Track Comp 700C Wheel Set

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4. Origin8 700C Fixie Wheelset

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5. SunRise Bike Carbon Fixed Gear Bike Wheelset

buy from amazon

What's the Difference Between Fixed Gear and Single Speed Bikes?

Two terms that often get thrown around when discussing fixies are 'fixed gear' and 'single speed'. Since many riders seem to confuse the two words and describe any bike with only one gear as 'a fixie', we want to help set the record straight.

First off, let's explain the similarities between fixed gear and single speed bikes to understand where the mix-up comes from:

  • Both fixies and single speeds are somewhat lightweight due to the absence of gears and components.
  • They're easy to maintain.
  • Both are generally affordable compared to many road and hybrid bikes.
  • They tend to have a minimalist and clean look.

Confusing fixies with single speeds may be understandable if you're a newbie, so let's explain the key difference between them to make you better informed.

Single-speed bikes are equipped with a freewheel, but fixed gear bikes do not have this feature. On a fixie, the rear cog is connected to the rear hub, which means that the cog will turn when the wheel turns.

As a result, if you stop pedaling on a fixie, the cranks (pedal arms) will continue to spin. In other words, you're always riding on a fixed gear bike. This also means that coasting is definitely off the table.

On the other side, when you stop pedaling on a single-speed bike, the back wheel will continue turning, but the cranks won't.

Then, what about braking?

Well, single-speed bikes are fitted with brakes like any regular geared bike. However, fixies are a different story.

On a fixed gear bike, you can brake by stopping the pedals from moving. This will lock the rear wheel in the same way that brakes do on a regular bike.

So, you'll find that some fixies rely on road position and rider skill to brake using the pedals. Other fixies will have a single brake typically on the front because the back wheel itself acts as a brake.

Best Fixed Gear Wheels for Every Purpose

1. Retrospec Mantra 700c Deep V Fixed-Gear/Single-Speed Wheelset

Description

Retrospec may be newer to the fixed gear scene than other candidates on our list, but this doesn't stop it from putting out gear with tons of quality – and their Mantra 700c fixies are no exception.

Specially developed for commuting, these fixed gear wheels are heavy and durable to withstand everyday rides.

They come in a superior aerodynamic design with 14mm inner width and 21mm outer diameter, which provides better water dispersion and improves the Kenda Kwest tires' grip.

Yes, the Retrospec Mantra 700c includes tires to save you the cost and effort of buying then installing tires on your wheels.

This wheelset also features a flip flop hub that gives you the freedom to ride in fixed gear or single speed. The high flange sealing makes for limited maintenance, while the double-wall Super Deep V rims allow for smooth riding.

The Retrospec Mantra 700c is clearly made for serious riders, available in 5 color options to match whatever color scheme you got going on.

Features and Specifications

  • Lightweight Alloy 43mm
  • Flip-flop hub
  • Super Deep V rims
  • Kenda Kwest tires with large water dispersion grooves
  • 14mm inner width and 21mm outer width

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Allows riding in fixed gear and single speed
  • Tires included
  • Comes in 5 color option

Cons

  • A bit too heavy
  • Loud

Video: Unboxing Retrospec wheelset

2. Superteam 50/23 Carbon Wheelset Fixed Gear

Description

Designed to fit most types of bikes, the Superteam Carbon Wheelset Fixed Gear is available in the standard 700c size. The wheels are made of 100% carbon fiber, which means they're quite stiff without being too heavy.

This is very noticeable since the wheels weigh in at 1900g±30g (excluding cogs) despite the fact that the rim depth is 50mm. Topped off with a rim width of 23mm, we can tell why this fixie wheelset is best recommended for racing.

In addition to the high-quality braking surface, we also took notice of how the wider rim profile responds to higher tire pressure.

Here, the rims will allow the tires at a maximum of 125psi, offering great comfort, superb traction, and adequate air volume to endure hours of riding.

The Superteam Carbon Wheelset Fixed Gear is an excellent choice if you're looking for extra support and control during rides. They passed EN quality standard tests and come with a sleek design, a glossy finish, plus two years of warranty under normal use.

Features and Specifications

  • Carbon Fiber-Toray T700
  • All pass EN quality standard test
  • 3k glossy rim finish
  • 23mm rim width
  • A pair weighs 1900g±30g excluding cogs
  • Warranty: 2 years

Pros

  • 100% carbon fiber
  • Impressive braking surface
  • Lightweight
  • Sleek design
  • 2-year warranty

Cons

  • Pricey

Video: Free to Fixed: What is a Flip-flop Hub and Why Do You Want One?

3. Vuelta ZeroLite Track Comp 700C Wheel Set

Description

If you're in the market for reliable performance at a reasonable price, then the Vuelta ZeroLite Track Comp Wheel Set may be precisely what you need.

These wheels are considered one of the absolute best in the fixie world as they're both lightweight and sturdy. They come with a traditional 30mm rim depth for 700c size wheels, which means they'll look good on almost any bike – especially when paired with vintage frames.

The wheel up front weighs 1007g while the rear one weighs 1185g. This provides you with further control over the bike's movement, making it easier to drive and maneuver.

This advantage is also why many beginners choose to go for the Vuelta ZeroLite Track Comp 700c.

The rim's circumference has a black and red print pattern that makes for a professional look, but you can easily remove the rim decals if you're after a 'no brand' look. The wheels are also available in pink color.

Another impressive aspect of the ZeroLite is the flip-flop hub that accommodates a fixed cog or a freewheel, but it only includes one or the other. The wheels feature CNC machined sidewalls for brake setups and 24 stainless steel spokes for a smooth ride.

Features and Specifications

  • 30mm aluminum 6061 alloy rims
  • CNC sides
  • Flip-flop hub
  • Stainless steel spokes

Pros

  • Outstanding value for money
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Supports fixed gear and single-speed
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Needs more readjustment than other candidates

Video: Unboxing Vuelta Zerolite Comp Wheelset

4. Origin8 700C Fixie Wheelset

Description

Engineered with innovation, performance, and value in mind, the Origin8 Fixie Wheelset is available in the standard 700c size. As a result, it's compatible with all road bike tires, whether 23, 25, or 28.

The wheels have a 42mm profile, which is pretty popular in the fixie community because the trade-off between weight and flat speed is minimal.

This is why most riders consider 42mm rim depth to be a nice all-round option that's light enough for climbing, but still fast on the flat.

The Origin8 Fixie Wheelset comes with stainless steel spokes, sealed-bearing hubs, and double aluminum walls. Not only is this wheelset skillfully put together, but the fact that it's wider edged with more aluminum makes it extra flashy and aggressive.

These wheels also feature a flip-flop hub with fixed-gear threading on one side and freewheel on the other to give you extra flexibility. Also, the braking wall is non-machined, painted, and allows for mounting brakes.

Features and Specifications

  • 42mm rims
  • Non-machined sidewall
  • Stainless steel spokes
  • Sealed hub
  • Flip-flop system

Pros

  • Good construction quality
  • Lightweight but durable
  • Feels stiff and smooth
  • Ready to use straight out of the box

Cons

  • Quite squeaky when braking
  • No color options 

Video: Deep Rims for Fixed Gear Pros & Cons

5. SunRise Bike Carbon Fixed Gear Bike Wheelset

Description

Last but not least, the SunRise Bike Carbon Fixed Gear Wheelset is an awesome choice for riders looking to up their top speed. It comes in the standard 700c size to fit just about any road bike out there.

As the name suggests, these wheels are made using 100% carbon fiber, which gives them significant stiffness without being annoyingly heavy. You can clearly see this in the 2150g±30g weight (excluding cogs) comparable to other aluminum alloy options on the list.

Another thing that you can't miss about these wheels is the 3 spoke design on the front wheel, engineered to provide maximum weight and aerodynamic benefits.

With the classic 24 spoke design on the rear wheel, you can expect an incredible boost of speed without compromising the coordination capabilities compared to having both wheels in a three-spoke design.

Also, these 23mm wide rims will allow the tires at a maximum of 125psi to give you great comfort and superior traction.

The SunRise Bike Carbon Fixed Gear Wheelset is widely recommended for racing thanks to the 70mm and 80mm rim depth of the front and back wheels. It even comes with a checkered racing pattern design to complete the look.

One more selling point for these fixed gear wheels is the included brake pads. Additionally, they passed EN quality standard tests, a 12k glossy finish, and a 1-year warranty under normal use.

Features and Specifications

  • Carbon Fiber-Toray T700
  • All pass EN quality standard test
  • 12k glossy finish
  • 3 spoke front wheel
  • 2150g±30gm weight
  • Warranty: 1 year

Pros

  • Amazing aerodynamic profile
  • High top speed
  • Stylish race pattern
  • Includes brake pads
  • 1-year warranty

Cons

  • The most expensive option on the list

Video: Fixed Gear Tricks On Carbon Wheels

What to Look for When Buying the Best Fixie Wheelsets

When shopping for the best-fixed gear wheels, there are several features that you need to consider before making a decision. The following are some pointers to help you make the most out of your purchase.

Wheel Design

Wheels for bikes are divided into three sections according to rim depth :

  • Shallow section (25mm - 40mm): this is the go-to choice for beginners looking to gain experience. These wheels are durable and lightweight, suitable for hill climbing and accelerating. They're also the most affordable.
  • Mid-section (40mm - 60mm): considered the best of both worlds, these wheels are light enough for climbing, but they also run fast on flat surfaces.
  • Deep section (60mm+): the only choice for advanced road racing, these wheels are the fastest on flat surfaces where there's no repetitive acceleration.

Rim Material

The rims of a fixed gear wheel are either aluminum or carbon fiber. Aluminum is the more popular choice among casual riders because it's more affordable. Carbon fiber offers better performance but at much higher prices.

Tire Type

When it comes to tires, there are three main types of wheel configuration:

  • Clincher wheels: these provide optimum convenience with maximum safety, which explains why they're the most common.
  • Tubular wheels: these are lighter and lack the bead seat. Some riders prefer this, but keep in mind that the set up can be rather tricky.
  • Tubeless wheels: these are heavier than clincher wheels but don't have inner tubes, so the rotation mass remains intact.

Braking Surface

Again, there are two types of braking surfaces: carbon and aluminum. Out of the two, aluminum is the most widely used because it's smoother, more consistent, and easier to work with.

FAQs

What is a fixed gear bike?

It is a one-speed bike without a freewheel mechanism. This means that when the rear wheel turns forward or backward, the pedals turn forward or backward.

Why a fixed gear bike?

The fixed gear bike induces the cyclist to concentrate on finding the correct cadence, optimizing the performance of both the cyclist and the bicycle.

Why are fixed gear bikes so popular?

These bicycles are back in vogue, especially among fitness enthusiasts, because they require constant pedaling.

Are fixies good for exercise?

Surely. Fixed gear bikes allow for better training than other freewheeling bikes. A fixed gear bike has been shown to force the cyclist to consume more calories.

How tight should a fixie chain be?

It should be as tight as other bikes. As always, it is good practice to check the condition and adjustment of the chain.

Conclusion and Best Offer

Choosing the best-fixed gear wheels can get pretty confusing. However, we made sure to include only the top-performing wheels in every aspect to help you find reliable fixies no matter your requirements.

As for today's winner, we recommend the Vuelta ZeroLite Track Comp 700C Wheel Set because it offers excellent value for money. 

These fixies do require more readjustment out of the box compared to other wheelsets on the market, but what's a couple of extra tweaks when you got a performance comparable to some high-end competitors.

Best Offer


These wheels are easy to install, provide great control, and allow for riding in fixed gear and single speed.

The Alternative

If you're interested in fixies built for speed, you may want to consider the Superteam Carbon Wheelset Fixed Gear instead. 

Superteam 50/23 Carbon Wheelset Fixed Gear

These wheels are 100% carbon fiber, which means they're fast, lightweight, stiff, and aerodynamically sound. Not to mention, these wheels offer superior control and support for longer rides.