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I am feeling minimalist and hipster, considering buying a fixie. I have never ridden a fixie and cannot gauge the safety of fixies (an important issue for me).

I am only considering fixies with both front and back brakes.

Does a fixie require proper training to be safe? Is a fixie any more dangerous than a traditional urban bike?

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Not enough to warrant posting as a full answer: keep your fingers clear of the chain if the wheel is spinning while doing maintenance. You can slice off your finger if it gets jammed in the chain, an issue freewheeling bikes don't have. –  whatsisname May 30 '13 at 21:32
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You can still mess up your fingers on a freewheeling drivetrain, but you have to work way harder at it. –  WTHarper May 30 '13 at 21:40
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Also be very careful of shoelaces. Keep them out of the way of the drivetrain. Double knot them so they are not loose. If they get caught in the crank or the front chainring, they can pull your foot off the pedals and make you eat pavement hard. I ripped 6 lace holes out of a shoe and snapped my shoelace before I could stop while riding fixed gear on rollers. –  Benzo May 31 '13 at 12:42
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3 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

If you have brakes, then a fixie is no more dangerous than a single speed once you get accustomed to not being able to coast. Simply put, on a fixie, if the bike is moving, you must be pedaling. Take it easy at first and you will adapt to this quickly.

I would recommend spending a bit of time where there isn't other bikers/pedestrians when you first ride as a fixie.

I would recommend starting with a flip-flop rear wheel, fixie on one side and freewheel on the other, and carrying a 15mm wrench so you can flip it. As you start out on a fixie it can be more taxing on your legs than you might expect at first. Being able to change over to a single-speed (freewheel) and give your legs a break can be very important.

Happy Riding.

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Thanks. Done, got one: amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B007TH8LBC –  Randomblue May 30 '13 at 20:59
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Nice looking bike...you may want to skip the pedal straps for the first couple of rides. –  Ken Hiatt May 30 '13 at 21:02
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@KenHiatt I disagree that he should start off without pedal straps. Having your feet anchored to the pedals makes riding fixed a lot easier. sheldonbrown.com/fixed.html#pedals –  Mac May 31 '13 at 3:52
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NEVER RIDE A FIXED GEAR WITHOUT FOOT RETENTION. If you're not comfortable with the foot straps, then ride it freewheel until you get used to them. The big danger is that your foot will slip off the pedal (especially when going downhill) and make it very hard to remount the pedals since they keep spinning. It's hard to brace yourself for braking and maintain your balance with your feet off the pedals. –  Benzo May 31 '13 at 12:38
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I disagree. If a fixie has brakes and you ride it sanely, foot retention is not a must...even if someone types in in all caps. I actually recommend speed plays myself, but consider straps and cages to be dangerous to the uninitiated. –  Ken Hiatt Jun 3 '13 at 6:48
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One thing that may be more dangerous on a fixie is performing emergency turns. Since the pedals are always turning you need to make sure that your crank doesn't strike the ground while cornering. Other than this I wouldn't think riding a fixie would be any more dangerous.

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After riding single speed for a long time I finally went fixed last week and there's no going back. Straps and toeclips: Absolutely. Not only are they more safe because as others have mentioned your feet won't be slipping off the pedal, they also fully connect you with the bike which is the whole point of riding fixed in the first place. Getting in and out of them is tricky at first dealing with the fact that the pedal is always spinning. I'm still mastering this, but it gets easier with practice. Take it slow at first, practice on a bike path or at a park. I would also recommend running front and rear brakes at first until you're comfortable on the bike and able to fully control your speed with pedal pace. When you get to the point where you're almost never grabbing the brake levers ditch the rear brake. 90% of your stopping power comes from the front brake, keep it for emergencies

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