Is it a bicycle with no gear? Is it a bicycle with no free wheel?

My bicycle has no gear. I removed that. However, I can rest my food and the bicycle and move forward. Do I own a fixie? If not what?

  • fixie, from the glossary on this site. Annoyingly I can't flag the question as a duplicate of the specific answer in the glossary, just of the glossary as a whole.
    – Móż
    May 8, 2016 at 22:03
  • Looks like what I have is a single speed bike, not a fixie.
    – user4951
    May 9, 2016 at 11:53

2 Answers 2


A fixie and a single speed are both similar in that they only offer a single gear that you can use to make the bicycle move. The difference is that a single speed will allow you to coast without turning the pedals while a fixie will require that you pedal the bike in order for it to move. To test if you have a fixed gear bike, flip the bike over give the pedals a good spin. If the pedals continue to move then you have a fixie. If they stop, then you have a single speed. Be careful to keep your hands away from the chain when doing this, because getting your hand caught in the drive train of a fixie can be dangerous.

A fixie will also allow you to move the pedals in the reverse direction and have the wheel spin backwards. If pedalling backwards allows the pedals to spin freely, or causes your bike to brake without moving the rear wheel in reverse, then you have a single speed. If you pedal backwards and a brake is applied, you have a single speed with a coaster brake.

  • Nearly right. There exist multi-speed fixies. Rare and pricey though.
    – Batman
    May 8, 2016 at 17:21
  • A multi gear fixie sounds like it would be quite interesting to ride. Must be quite jarring if you switch it while moving because the movement of the rear wheel would force you to pedal slower/faster depending on the direction you shifted in.
    – Kibbee
    May 8, 2016 at 19:30
  • Well, the first implementation was at least the 50s/early 60s, but it never became super popular. I've never seen a multi-speed fixie in person.
    – Batman
    May 8, 2016 at 20:21
  • Would a multigear fixie be like a deraulier geared bike but with damaged/frozen pawls in the freewheel/hub?
    – Criggie
    May 9, 2016 at 1:47
  • 1
    Well, you can't have a derailleur since the derailleur would get sheared off in stopping by resisting. But you can construct one by appropriately damaging a multi-speed internal gear hub. Sheldon Brown has some instructions for a Sturmey-Archer 3 speed IGH -> 2 speed fixed.
    – Batman
    May 9, 2016 at 8:21

A fixed gear bicycle (colloquially known as a "fixie") is one that whenever the rear wheel is turning, the pedals are turning. If your bike has this property, it is a fixed gear bicycle. If you can allow the rear wheels to turn without the pedals turning (i.e. coast without the pedals turning), your bicycle has the ability to freewheel.

In a fixed gear bicycle, you can't turn the cog on the rear wheel without turning the wheel. If you have freewheeling ability, you can turn the cog backwards (which is what allows you to coast without the pedals turning).

A single speed bicycle is one with one speed (one that has only one gear combination). It may be a fixed gear bicycle or it may have freewheeling ability. This is realized with one cog in the back and one chainring in the front without some internal to hub or bottom bracket gear mechanism.

Most fixed gear bicycles are single speeds, but not all. The Sturmey-Archer S3X for example is a three-speed fixed gear hub. It works by having a single cog attached to the hub and the gear changing mechanism is internal to the hub (that is, it is a fixed gear internal gear hub). You can also probably construct a fixed gear with multiple speeds by using a gear system internal to the bottom bracket. Colloquially though, fixie refers to something single speed.

In your case, it sounds like you have a single speed bicycle which is not a fixie.

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