I follow a few communities which have a lot of fixie and single-speed riders. Most of the riding discussed is commuting around the city, and often, riders will show off their new bikes, upgraded hardware, or will post photos of parts needing maintenance, seeking repair advice.

I've noticed that many of the bikes are in fact track bikes, based on the track fork-ends where one would normally find dropouts.

Does using a track frame for day-to-day city commuting have any drawbacks, either for the rider, or for the frame itself?

  • 3
    The horizontal slot rear dropouts are a feature of single-speed or hub gear bikes, they're not specific to track bikes. My main commuting bike used to have them, and it's anything but a track bike (Rohloff hub, 406 wheels etc). I swapped to vertical dropouts because I decided that a chain tensioner in the derailleur hanger was less hassle than a chain tug in the horizontal one.
    – Móż
    Jun 14, 2016 at 0:38

2 Answers 2


Real track bikes don't have brakes. You need brakes for commuting, especially in a city, and at least 2 independent braking systems. Not all frames and forks have brake mounts. You also won't have fender or rack mounts which are nice in wet weather.

Ergonomics and geometry can be an issue, given that track bikes tend to be a bit twitchy and aggressively positioned.

A lot of people use them in an urban environment, probably because of fashion and some sort of bike messenger fantasy.


The drawback of using a track bike are the same as the advantages of using a track bike. It is how you look at it. The two main "features" are: No brakes No gears You can look at these as drawbacks but they are advantages in city riding. Less weight if you carry the bike up stairs this helps. Less maintenance. If you depend on it to get you to work this is a big positive. A fixed gear gives you more control in stop/go traffic and when moving at slower speeds where having to brake often is a nuisance. Adjusting speed with your legs is more efficient and enjoyable. More control in wet conditions.

It is not all fashion.

  • Gidday and welcome. Please read our tour to learn how SE is different to a chat forum. Your reply doesn't address the question "what are the major DISadvantages?" and why they are disadvantages, Please have a go at editing your reply to answer the question.
    – Criggie
    Mar 15, 2017 at 23:18

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