Ok so I've been riding bike since I was as young as I can remember. Now I'm 18 and I've been given a fixie. But I know nothing about bikes I've always just ridden them and brought them to a shop when they broke. The fixie I have is basic and when people ask what ratio I run and other things like, "What cogs have you got?". I've tried searching online but I can't find a definitive guide to fixies. Can someone please give me a basic run down of how to improve my lingo and understanding of bikes.


2 Answers 2


See the terminology index. It doesn't apply just to fixies, but a lot of the parts on either kind of bike are the same.

  • 1
    Agreed. Ethan, feel free to add to the terminology index; you only need 100 rep to edit CW posts. And even if you're vague on what a term means, put it in anyway and someone else will improve it. Apr 8, 2013 at 14:28

I agree with you. I have 2 road bikes, 1 mountain and 1 fixie. In terms of understanding the bike - not just the terminology but understanding parts, sizes etc. - the fixie has taken up more of my time than all the others put together.

The reason for this is that although the bike itself is a simpler arrangement (i.e. no derailleurs to worry about), there appear to be far more variations. Also I find that when I need to make purchases I'm looking at very niche shops, rather than just popping down to my lbs.

It might help you to look at a couple of the specialist web sites I look at - Velosolo and Tokyo Fixed. These are both vendors (and both uk-based) so probably not quite what you're after. But in terms of terminology they should still be quite helpful. Plenty of photos with descriptions etc. Velosolo in particular has some good FAQs in addition to the "shop" bit.....but note that even they refer to Sheldon!

  • No offence but what do you need that you can't get from your LBS? Unless track cycling is non existent by you I'd imagine they would have all the parts necessary, the only difference between a fixie and standard bike is the rear hub
    – will
    Apr 12, 2013 at 8:27
  • I bet my lbs doesn't carry a White Industries ENO 16-tooth freewheel in stock, or a 48-tooth 130mm BCD chainring to run a 1/8" chain, for that matter. But I may strike lucky with a 103mm bb, and I'm sure I'd fine a 1/8" chain no problem. My point is that none of this is as simple as walking into a shop and saying "I'd like a Shimano 105 bottom bracket, please"
    – PeteH
    Apr 12, 2013 at 12:34
  • They don't stock it, but I'm sure most would be able to order it. Most bike shops would probably have a 16 tooth freewheel, but they might not the the exact manufacturer you want. Also White industries freewheels are quite a high-end component, and I really wouldn't expect them to keep everything in stock, especially for something that is unlikely to spontaneously break.
    – Kibbee
    Apr 15, 2013 at 16:23
  • I know I can order these things, how else do you think I get them? What is the advantage in ordering through a bike shop when I can order the parts (with the manufacturer I want) myself?
    – PeteH
    Apr 15, 2013 at 19:53

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