First of all, riding a fixie downhill sounds like an oxymoron. Second, riding a fixie downhill sounds like something you should only attempt by yourself, not in public where other people can see. (unless you want other people’s opinions on how you are doing). Third, how to ride a fixie downhill is something you should never do with a brake.
Now that we have established riding a fixie downhill is not something you ever want to do, let’s go into how it actually works. To start off, how does a fixed-gear bike work? It has only one gear that connects the pedals and the rear wheel. If the pedals are not moving, then neither are the wheels. Because of how this works, you cannot coast like on a traditional bike. If you stop pedaling, your fixed-gear bicycle will come to a complete and sudden stop (think an unplanned dismount).
How to ride a fixie downhill?
To a fixie downhill, you are still going to be riding a fixie uphill. It is best to go on slight grades because how you slow yourself down with the fixed-gear bike will depend on how fast you are going. If you are traveling at an extremely fast speed downhill, then your normal braking method just won’t work.
You have two options if you ride a fixie downhill too fast. You can lay the bike down and hope that no one sees how to ride a fixie downhill (definitely not recommended). Or you can put your foot on one of the rear wheel’s tire spokes and use it as a brake.
Things to consider when riding a fixie downhill
- Confidence in riding
- Level of experience
- Braking system
- Gear ratio
I have 5 years of experience riding fixie bikes. With a lot of practice, I have figured out how to control a fixie bike. So here is what you need to know before riding a fixie downhill.
Confidence of riding
The most important thing on this riding. If you are confident with your riding and have faith that you can do it, then go into this. Before going into this, make sure you are wearing all the safety gear.
Level of experience
The key to success in downhill biking is confidence. Confidence comes with experience. When I first started off, I have probably focused on getting comfortable with the basics. When I have a good handle on basic bike mechanics, that’s when I started to focus on advanced techniques.
The best way to get started on a downhill bike is to start with a single-speed option. You don’t have to shift gears so you can build muscle memory and focus on your speeds and balance. After you build the confidence to make it up the hills, that’s when you can start focusing on the downhill.
You need a front brake if you want to be safe when riding a fixie downhill. It is required to have a brake which you control by hand on the rear wheel. In order to skid, you can use the back wheel.
You will come to a halt if you stop pedaling once the rear wheel of the fixie is locked out. You don’t have to have a hand-operated brake on the rear wheel to use this as a braking system. As a result, if you push back on the pedals, the back wheel will skid. It is a method that some fixie riders use to slow down when they are riding downhill.
You can’t change gears on a fixie bike. But when you are riding fixie downhill or uphill, you need to make the gear ratio well balanced.
What will be the gear ratio for riding a fixie downhill
Beginners are going to be looking at something like a 48/15. I ride a 48/14 as I personally find that this provides more of a well-balanced riding experience. It also means I can go faster on the flat, but most importantly there’s better control on the downhill.
Other people choose to ride a 50/16. Because it’s easier to control on the flat and uphill, but you need to be a strong rider to be able to go fast on the flat and especially on the downhill. I believe that there is a lot of scope for experimentation with ratios as every bike, rider, and terrain is different. But for the most part, I would recommend sticking to the more common 48/17 setup.
Riding a fixie downhill is not hard. You just have to remember the basics of riding a bike and you’ll be fine. What I mean is keep your weight low, lean forward, and don’t be afraid to use your brakes. Many people think that fixies are hard to ride downhill and that you are more likely to crash while riding them downhill. If you are one of these people, I hope that this how to ride a fixie downhill article has changed your mind.