Five Good, Cheap Fixie Bikes for Under $300, Reviewed - SkyAboveUs - Outdoors
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Five Good, Cheap Fixie Bikes for Under $300, Reviewed

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My 5 Picks: Best Fixed Gear Bikes for Below $300

I love riding and building fixed gears. They are tons of fun to ride, super responsive and quick, and when you're riding one there's a sense of road feel and simple joy that's hard to describe.

I also believe that this kind of riding should be inexpensive and easy to get into. Fortunately, there are many capable, cheap fixie bikes under $300 for sale out there today; by merit of their simplicity, a little goes a long way.

I'm writing this article to help anyone who is brand new to track and fixed gear bicycles and wants to get into riding one on the cheaper end of things. I'm going to take a look at a few of my favorites for under $300, and rate them based on their brand, ride-ability, materials and components involved, and overall ride experience.

This is not an exhaustive list, but if you're new to fixies in general it's a good place for you to start. I'll do my best to explain the components and what the terminology means. If I've lost you at any point, please leave me a comment and I'll respond to any questions you might have.

Additionally, if you're looking at one under $300 that's not on this list and you want my opinion, leave a comment and I'll give you my honest opinion. Let's get started!

What Makes Up an Inexpensive Fixie

If you're new to fixed gear bikes, here's a primer. You don't need to know every component on the bike and how it all works, but it's good to know the basic components and difference from traditional bicycles.

  1. Fixed Rear Wheel: The primary different between a conventional freewheeled bike and a fixie is the fixed rear wheel. This means that the rear cog where the chain attaches doesn't spin backwards, but is fixed to the wheel. All fixed gears have this feature.
  2. Flip-Flop Hub: Many of these bikes, including many priced under $300, have a flip-flop hub. This means that there is a fixed gear cog on one side of the wheel, and the option for a freewheel on the other side. If you want to be able to pedal backwards (and coast), you just flip the wheel around.
  3. Track Style Dropouts: In order to adjust the chain to the right level of tautness, even a cheaper fixed gear bike must have track friendly rear dropouts. These are the slots into which the wheel sits. As long as there is some room to move the wheel back and forth in the slots, it should work.

Critical Cycles Harper: A quintessential cheap single speed / fixed gear bike

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When it comes to that sweet spot where affordability meets utility and good looks, Critical Cycles is in the center of that nexus; they make an awesome fixed gear bike. The Harper has some excellent features, and suits an adventurous rider.

The TIG welded steel frame is strong and quite light, and the bike itself comes with a flip-flop hub, so you can easily flip the wheel to the side with the Sunrun freewheel for coasting. This flexibility makes it an excellent city rider. If you're looking for an urban warrior, this is a great option to look at.

This is probably the ideal cheap starter bike for anyone looking to get into fixie tricks and stunts, since it has components set up perfectly for that style of riding. It has a sealed bottom bracket for smooth pedalling and low maintenance, a set of BMX style riser bars with excellent spin clearance, and Promax brakes for extra stopping power. The rims are deep V and are double walled for added strength and rigidity. It's available in small, medium and large, and in lots of different color schemes.

Did I mention it even comes with a cone wrench and 3 allen wrenches so you can do some maintenance?

Long story short, you get a lot for your money with this bike, and for well under $300 it's basically a great bargain.

Vilano Rampage: A good, affordable fixed gear that's well under $300

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When you find a great brand name for a decent price, it's an easy decision to make. However, when you find an unbelievable price with an unknown brand, it's a bit of a tougher call to make. I can understand your trepidation.

Vilano is relatively unknown brand when compared to the bigger ones, but it's one I'm familiar with and I've been very impressed. And their stunningly beautiful Rampage fixie bicycle is an awesome choice for a new rider.

This bike has a TIG-welded steel frame for superior strength, rigidity and dependability. It has a forged alloy Tec9 crankset with a 46 tooth chainring on the front, and a 16 tooth freewheel on the back. The gearing is great for all-around riding styles, and you can even tackle a hill or two. It has a flip-flop rear hub, and it comes with a freewheel attached to the other side, a nice bonus! Wide, BMX-style platform pedals are in style at the moment and offer nice support.

This fixie is also nice to look at and would make a good basis for a further buildup over time, since it has a very subtle frame and little overt branding on it. Check it out, you might be impressed by Vilano; I certainly am.

Takara Sugiyama: A low-cost fixie bike well under $300

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I'm not sure why this bike has such a hold on me. It's very inexpensive and looks pretty wild compared to others on this list, and it's just plain fun to ride. In any event, the Takara Sugiyama is an uber-cheap fixie that's worth taking a look at.

Another newer brand (you're probably seeing a pattern here), Takara is nevertheless gaining a good reputation for producing excellent road bicycles, fixie bikes and components. Just check out the reviews: price notwithstanding, these are nice bikes and the owners are noticing. I really dig the flat bars and 'custom' style look this one has.

The Takara Sugiyama is an attractive and basic single speed bike that is perfect for a newer rider. It comes with a fixed cog rear wheel and a freewheel (rare to get both out of the box) so it's a good deal for you if you want to try out both styles. The wheels are 700c alloy and very light, and the brakes (front and rear) are pretty effective, so no compromise on quality there! Getting all these nice, high quality components on a fixie costing under $300 is pretty rare.

Takara is worth a shot.. Check it out, and check out the next listing by the same company if you want something with a little bit of a different flavor.

Retrospec Mars: Fixed gear bike style without the pedal hassle

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Retrospec is another newer name to the game, but they're quickly gaining a positive reputation, and I particularly appreciate that they like to do things a little bit differently. The Retrospec Marsis a retro, fixie-inspired single speed that looks great and performs well in most riding situations. It's one of my new favorites.

Why would pedaling be a problem? On a fixed gear, your pedals never stop moving. No coasting allowed. So while you might really love the aesthetic, a single speed is often a better compromise to make.

The Mars has a single speed rear hub for a mixed riding style, and the 16 tooth cog matches well with the 48 tooth chainring, best suited for flats and lighter hills. The frame is steel and is built for the perfect mix of fun and comfort. I like it because you won't be in pain but you won't look goofy either. The moustache handlebars give it a good retro French appeal.

Accessories include a lamp, fenders, a chain guard, a bike rack and dual brakes.

What I like best about the Retrospec Mars is that it's a fantastic platform for almost any build. The classic look frame is perfect for a wide variety of styles. You can buy this bike and add better parts and components as you can afford them.

If you're interested in a slightly more comfortable single speed experience, this is definitely a nice bicycle to check out.

Framed Lifted: A budget-priced, 'BMX styled' fixed gear bicycle

five-best-cheap-fixie-bikes-under-300

This bike has a bit of a different flavour than the other ones we've been looking at so far. The Framed Lifted is neat because in both style and function it effectively combines the best of two worlds: BMX and fixed gear styles. It has a more BMX styled stance than normal, but it doesn't skimp on the many desirable properties of a fixie either.

Framed is known for their BMX bikes, and you can see that inspiration in the high tension steel frame here. It has deep dish 700c wheels with fully machined sidewalls. It has BMX-inspired riser bars, which aren't always seen on single speeds. Front and rear brakes are a nice addition, as are the generous platform pedals.

The riding position and stance is crafted with urban riding in mind; you'll find yourself positioning your weight right over the pedals, not the handlebars. It's an agile ride.

It's actually lacking a fixed cog, so if you're dead set on riding a fixed drivechain this isn't the ride for you (or you'd need to upgrade the rear wheel to a 700c fixie hub version.)

It's unconventional, but you'll stand out. Check out the Framed Lifted, one of the nicest and most unique offerings on this list.

Brakes or No Brakes?

Planning to ride your cheap fixie bike without brakes?

If you're shopping around for an affordable fixed gear bike, you're probably also aware that many riders eschew brakes on their rides. The idea is that with a fixed gear bicycle, you can always lock up the rear wheel to 'skid stop'.

I get the trick factor, and it's fun to play around with, but I implore you to always ride with at least a single brake on your bike! Traffic is unpredictable, skid stops don't always work well on gravel or wet pavement, and frankly, it's bad on your knees to be skidding all the time. Not to mention, in many municipalities it's illegal to ride a bicycle with no brakes, so you'd be risking a ticket or fine.

All of the inexpensive fixie bikes reviewed here have brakes, and any manufacturer worth their salt will offer them as standard equipment. Get them, they're worth it.

Things To Watch Out For:

In any cheaper fixed gears, you should be wary of cheap parts. Avoid anything that you're iffy about. I know that a lot of people don't put much stock in brand names, but the fact is they are a good sign of the overall quality of the product. No-name brands are dangerous, and you should avoid them for the most part.

Also, before you take your first ride, make sure your fixie has been inspected and put together properly by a bike shop or trained professional. Every component should be right and tight, and the chain should be straight and properly taut.

You don't want to be riding on something half-baked. On fixed gears in particular, flaws in the drivetrain can be very dangerous and can lead to accidents.

I hope my list of low cost fixies helps you out. Good luck!

What Do You Think Of Fixies?

kfly on June 16, 2017:

I am looking at both the SE Lager 2017 and the PureFix Original.

They appear to be nearly the same bike. Do you have an opinion as to which one might be better?

anonymous on September 17, 2013:

@anonymous: I forgot to add this one, Retrospec Mantra Fixie Bicycle.

Thanks!

anonymous on September 17, 2013:

Hi,

Thanks for your helpful review. I am considering to buy one for commuting to school, which is not that far, and wonder if you can recommend one from the list. I am looking into models below:

1. Motobecane Fixie Cafe

2. Pure Fix Cycles Fixed Gear

3. SE Lager

4. SE Tripel

Their prices are all in the same range, around 300, but I cannot decide which one to go. Could you please let me know your ideas about these candidates?

Graeme (author) on September 01, 2013:

@anonymous: Hi Ajay, for your needs and requirements, I'd opt for the Beta, it's a great bike and can handle a mile ride daily with no issues. As for sizing, there's nothing wrong with going a bit on the small side, especially for your first bike (I'd even recommend it). I'd go with the 49cm, or as high as 51cm, should be ideal. Hope that helps!

anonymous on August 28, 2013:

Also any thoughts on sizing. I'm 5'3" and the other day I test road a 52cm big shot. Most places size charts say I am about 48,49cm but some offer bikes in as small as 43,44 I believe (from your list). Is there any benefit or hindrances to having a bike "too small"? I'm new too all this and want to get it right the first time since I'll be ordering online. Appreciate you.

anonymous on August 28, 2013:

What are your thoughts on retro spec beta vs pure vs new retro bike. I think the retro beta is available for close to $220 in certain sizes colors and th other two are about $350. That's a pretty big difference for a starter bike for someone. Is it worth it? I'm buying a bike with plans to ride about a mile (little less) each way to work everyday if that helps. Thanks for your time.

anonymous on July 30, 2013:

Do you have an opinion on the Aerofix?

anonymous on July 24, 2013:

Heard about City Bicycle Co. Type One fixie's? Can't find information but they look top notch. Thanks for your insight ahead of time!

Graeme (author) on July 17, 2013:

@anonymous: Hi Marisol, the Siddartha is the best 'fixie look' option for having a coaster brake that I'm familiar with. If you've been riding a single speed beach cruiser so far, a fixie won't be any more difficult to pedal (probably easier actually). However, if you want a coaster brake and are worried about hills, I'd go for a bike with a three speed internal hub. Options include the Papillionaire Classic, or the Windsor Oxford series by Bikes Direct.

Graeme (author) on July 17, 2013:

@anonymous: Hi Aaron (and Alex), I'm a bit concerned about Markfit, mostly because like you I can't find any info, reviews or parts descriptions. Most brands disclose a bit more info on components. Also the welds where the seat stays meet the fork ends look a bit rushed. But it's hard to say without checking it out in person. Can you provide a brief review once you've ridden it a bit?

anonymous on July 17, 2013:

@anonymous: Would like to know as well

anonymous on July 17, 2013:

Markfit? Just purchased... can't seem to find reviews

anonymous on July 13, 2013:

So I bike an average of 5 miles daily to get to school and work. I've always relied on my beach cruiser to get me anywhere for almost 2 years now, but I feel like it's time for something new. I've been told that fixies would suit my biking lifestyle perfectly. The thing is, I really hate handlebar breaks! I've recently looked into the Retrospec Siddhartha bike, because of the coastal breaks. Anyway, my question is how effective do you think this bike will be in a town with lots of hills? Do you know of any other fixies with coastal brakes? Also, what do you think about the Retrospec Beta Series?

anonymous on June 27, 2013:

What do you think about markfit fixie??

Graeme (author) on June 23, 2013:

@anonymous: Yes! They are awesome! Sealed bottom bracket, Zoom components, Tig welded chromoly frame, flip flop hub with freewheel. It's a step up price-wise, but they are a very solid choice.

Graeme (author) on June 23, 2013:

@anonymous: I did the search and Pure Fix came up. Is that the one you're referring to? If so, they are awesome and highly recommended!

Graeme (author) on June 23, 2013:

@anonymous: My experience with Navi has been positive, but I know them more as a parts manufacturer. I didn't know they do whole bikes. Bikebuyers is OK, but they have so-so customer service, so returns could be tricky. I generally prefer Amazon because returns are always possible. Or buy direct from Navi, if you can. Hope that helps!

Graeme (author) on June 23, 2013:

@anonymous: Thank you for the great personal review of both the Sugiyama and the Critical Cycles fixed gear, and thank you for the compliments. Positive feedback like this really makes writing the review worthwhile, very encouraging! :)

anonymous on June 22, 2013:

any thoughts on Wyatt cycles?

anonymous on June 16, 2013:

Wow! Good information.

Thank you!

anonymous on June 15, 2013:

Hey man, great article! Hard to find good help for getting into the world of fixed gear at a reasonable price point. I found these options while shopping around, but they both seem too good/cheap to be true. Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

amazon search: black/wht fixie 58cm

amazon search: red/white 54cm fixie

anonymous on June 14, 2013:

Thanks! Awesome article, helped me pick my new bike (Let's hope it doesn't get stolen now...)

LUMOSE on June 14, 2013:

Great lens.

anonymous on June 11, 2013:

Bought the Takara Sugiyama Flat Bar about a week ago and LOVE it! It's not the best bike, but might be one of the best for the money. My friend ordered a Critical Fixie at the same time so I was able to compare them. The Critical is pretty light (compared to the Takara), and the color combos make it a super nice option. Plus all tools for assembly are including with the Critical which I did not know about the Takara.

Seats are about the same. Handlebars are purely preference. I am a tall/big guy (6'2" / 195), so i preferred the spacing of the Takara though I am considering some shorter bars. I think the gearing on the Critical is a bit better for top speed, but the Takara is much better for hills or any grades.

Benefits to the Takara, for me, are the width of the tires, overall frame "feel", pedals, and front and rear brakes (although qualifty between the two was a marginal difference). I feel like the brake lever for the Critical is better.

Again, overall, you cannot go wrong with either bike. I feel the need to immediately purchase a new seat/post ($40 bucks), spare tube ($15), and new brake pads/shoes for now ($15). So for $270 shipped, I received a unique, fun, and super functional bike. I love it, and the Critical as well. In fact, I am considering one of theirs to add to my quiver of bikes!

This article/blog is AWESOME and I am glad I stumbled upon it prior to purchasing my bike, as well as my friends bike.

anonymous on June 06, 2013:

Hey im looking into a fixie on bikebuyers.com it's a Navi but don't know if it is a good brand if its trustworthy the price is great they are only going for 250$ they look awesome and just want some help from someone who actually knows about them please reply thanks :)

anonymous on June 06, 2013:

@BikePro: Yeah helps a lot. Thanks!

Graeme (author) on June 05, 2013:

@anonymous: Yeah it's probably the same bike, just with different paint. It's a pretty decent one. Just take it in to a shop to get it tuned before riding, I don't really trust the Walmart bike builders.

Graeme (author) on June 05, 2013:

@anonymous: Thanks! OK, so the St. Urban and the Beta are really similar. Same frame material, wheels, hubs, etc. The main difference is the riding position. The St Urban is more upright and meant for city riding, while the Beta is more 'aggressive' with a more 'over the bars' stance. They're really similar though and neither one is better than the other. Hope that helps.

anonymous on June 05, 2013:

I saw a Takaro Sugiyama fixie in a Sam's Club. I'm new at this stuff and I really don't know a lot. It's not the same as the one you mentioned but looks similar. Should I buy it? It costs 200$ which is pretty good.

anonymous on May 26, 2013:

Great article! I am new to fixies and am just looking to get a good commuter bike, I will not be doing any bmx trick stuff. I have been looking at the retrospec beta ($350-website $300ish-shopping around) but then I found the retrospec saint urban ($400-website $220-shopping around). So why is saint urban initially priced higher? Is it a better quality bike? What would you buy for a basic commuter bike if they were priced equally? Im not looking to win any races. Thanks!!

Graeme (author) on May 07, 2013:

@anonymous: KT hubs, Kenda tires, Tec9 cranks... all decent entry level gear, looks pretty nice! Frame quality is my biggest question mark. I haven't seen one up close but based on the specs they look to be a good bargain, about on par with Critical Cycles. If you buy one let me know how you like it!

Graeme (author) on May 07, 2013:

@anonymous: Do you have a specific model in mind? Walmart has proprietary brands that are 'OK', but the odd bike is pretty decent. If you do buy from them, take it to a bike shop and get it checked over... they are not always assembled very well!

anonymous on May 02, 2013:

wat about a cheap fixie from walmart

anonymous on April 25, 2013:

What are your thoughts on Venice Fixies?

Graeme (author) on April 07, 2013:

@anonymous: Hi LJ, they look similar, but they are different manufacturers. Critical uses unbranded no-name wheels, while St Urban uses Retrospec wheels which are better. In fact, Retrospec uses mostly 'in-house' brand components, which are good quality. St Urban has a front brake instead of back, which gives better stopping power, and the frame geometry is different (St Urban is more aggressive). Is it worth $100 more? I'd say yes mostly due to the wheels and frame. But they're both great options in this price range.

anonymous on April 07, 2013:

@BikePro: Sorry comparison should be between the Critical and Retrospec Saint Urban - they look identical but price difference of $110. I seems like the original manufacturer is the same, the reseller chooses the option to swap parts. From what I can tell, the tires and seat are different. What parts are improved/different? Thanks

anonymous on April 07, 2013:

@BikePro: Hey. I'm looking at the Critical and Retrospec Beta bikes - retro being about $100 more. I'm trying to figure out what parts are different of the two to warrant that $100. The frame, brakes, crank/chain, grips, pedals, wheels/hubs, bottom bracket appear to be identical. The handle bars & seat are different and the tires appear to be improved (brand name). Can you comment what else you know that makes the Retrospec $100 more?

Michelllle on March 10, 2013:

Nice bikes. Great info.

anonymous on February 28, 2013:

Some really nice fixie bikes there. Thanks for share the information.

GardenBuildingsUK from UK on February 25, 2013:

Some really nice fixie bikes there. Thanks for the great information.

Graeme (author) on February 20, 2013:

@racingdatabase: Haha, we have more in common than you know! :)

racingdatabase on February 20, 2013:

Believe it or not, I've got every single bike I've ever bought since I was about 10 years old. A chopper, a couple of BMX's, racers and mountain bikes. My garage is full of them, much to my wife's delight :-)

cargoliftken on February 16, 2013:

I love fixies. They're simple, cheap and easy to maintain. Nice lens!

Graeme (author) on February 07, 2013:

@anonymous: Hey there. The only reason I haven't included a Pure Fix on this review is they're a bit above $300 (which I tried to stay under for the purpose of the article). I love them personally, they're really solid and they look amazing in person.

Graeme (author) on February 07, 2013:

@anonymous: I've seen these Navi bikes around, but haven't had a chance to look at one in person yet. Joytech hubs can be pretty good. Aluminum cranks is good too, and it's an attractive bike... no red flags that I can see. If you end up going for it please let me know how it works out!

anonymous on January 31, 2013:

why about Pure Fix Cycles Fixed Gear Single Speed Urban Fixie Bike?

Neil Spencer from uk on January 06, 2013:

This is a great lens and I really enjoyed reading it today so thank you :-)

anonymous on December 26, 2012:

i think there shitty and not very dureable

aslo its not as fast as mulltiple gear bycicles

tobydavis on December 16, 2012:

They look like a great choice for cities and cycle paths - plus none of the fuss and mess of gear changes and all that it brings :-)

Deborah Carr from Orange County, California on December 11, 2012:

These bikes look simple and uncomplicated. I bet they are wonderful to ride!

Graeme (author) on November 12, 2012:

@anonymous: It's actually a vintage frame re-built as a fixie. An old road bike frame (not sure which brand) with a fixed gear wheelset, bullhorn bars and single speed crank. :)

anonymous on November 11, 2012:

what's that first one pictured? (grey frame w/ white seat and handlebars)

alcrafter on November 01, 2012:

I surely do like coasting.

anonymous on October 31, 2012:

hey are there any other cheap fixies you'd recommend? Im an urban rider, i live in nyc, so i have to deal with a lot of pot holes, etc. im looking particularly in a sky blue/teal bike..lmao

anonymous on October 08, 2012:

@BikePro: Yeah, that actually helps a lot! Thanks!(:

Graeme (author) on October 08, 2012:

@anonymous: The Vilano Edge is a great bike! I've read those negative comments and I think they are just being overly picky. It's actually really responsive and pretty light. I used to work in a bike shop, and a bike with the same components in any shop around here would cost $500+. I hope that helps!

anonymous on October 07, 2012:

What do you think of the Vilano Edge? I'm thinking about switching from an old Schwinn road bike to that but I've seen mixed reviews. So I'm not sure if I want to shell out $300 for that. It is really pretty though!

bikerchickie on September 30, 2012:

I would love to get a fixie, just to cruise around town. I live out in the boondocks though, so I don't really see the point. If I lived in a big enough city, I could totally see myself getting one of the more retro looking ones..

Great lens!

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on September 17, 2012:

I used to love to ride a bite, but it's been a long time! Nice lens.

CoolFool83 on September 02, 2012:

It's been a long time since I've own a bike, but I could use one. This could save me a lot of money. Great lense!

anonymous on August 23, 2012:

@BikePro: thanks man yeah that really helped i ended up going for the Retropec Medellin Beta and i loving the bike. Especially the Deep Vs

Graeme (author) on August 15, 2012:

@Shevekpring: They are a lot of fun! ...unless you live in a hilly area, in which case they're leg busting torture machines. Takes a bit to get used to not having a freewheel, but they are addictive.

Shevekpring on August 15, 2012:

Very nice lens, I am a big bike fan and have over 14 bikes, but no fixie to date, maybe this should be my next acquisition!

pheonix76 from WNY on July 25, 2012:

Sweet lens! I would love to buy a fixie, my best friend has one and she loves it. Thanks for sharing.

Graeme (author) on July 09, 2012:

@TheGourmetCoffe: Thanks for the like and the comment! I enjoy the Tour too, was rooting for Ryder Hesjedal before the crash :(

Graeme (author) on July 09, 2012:

@juan-p-melgoza: Hi! Both those bikes are good choices. They share the same flip flop hub (a KT Quando), and both have sealed bottom brackets, good components and steel frames.

I'd say choose based on your riding style... the Pure Fix is a little more aggressive and 'race-y', which is good if you like riding fast and leaning on the bars, while the Retrospec is a little more upright and comfortable, a better 'all around' ride. I hope that helps!

juan-p-melgoza on July 07, 2012:

Hey man ive been looking into some fixies and i am relatively new to all the fixed geared culture and there have been a couple of cheap priced bikes that have caught my eye and i was wondering if you could give me your opinion on the retrospec beta and the pure fix bikes. which one would you recommend

oliverkennedy on July 05, 2012:

Fixies are becoming more and more popular all the time.

TheGourmetCoffe on July 04, 2012:

Very good lens with great information for bike lovers, thank you for sharing your insights. Enjoying the 2012 Tour de France! I also "liked" your lens!

Graeme (author) on June 29, 2012:

@bikerministry: Yes I'm surprised flip flop hubs aren't found in other bike styles. It's extremely handy!

bikerministry on June 29, 2012:

Brilliant. I've never heard of being able to flip the wheel around. Flexible!! Great. Riding bicycles is my favorite form of exercise.