With the increasing popularity of “fixies” — that’s fixed-wheel bikes that only have one gear – more and more riders are looking for the best fixie wheels. Whether your fixie has replaced your daily commute or you just like to go for an enjoyable ride on the weekends, good-quality wheels are a must.
Not only do good-quality wheels make cycling easier as they maintain a better pressure, they are also important for safety. Plus, although the best fixie wheels might need a little more investment up front, over time they will save you money as they need to be changed less often than cheap alternatives.
In order to find the best fixie wheels, it’s important to understand some of the common features and differences between the products on the market. Let’s take a look.
Choosing the best fixie wheels – what to look out for
Types of wheels
The first thing to know about fixie wheels is that there are three main types available: shallow section, mid-section and deep-section.
A shallow section wheel, as the name implies, have a shallower profile which can mean that they are a little slower, although the difference is minimal, and unlikely to be noticed by most recreational riders. Particularly for beginners and everyday people, shallow section rims are absolutely fine and provide a good strength-to-weight ratio.
These are a lot less common, and you might see a lot of debates about “shallow vs deep section” wheels, where mid-sections don’t even get a look in! However, they do have their own strengths and some people swear by them. They are often light and well-suited to climbing, so are a good choice if you like a little more variety from your fixie.
If you are serious about speed and looking to take things up a notch, you may want to consider investing in deep section wheels. The aerodynamic design of deep section wheels means they are the top choice for road racing over flat surfaces, although they can also be used for climbs. The extra performance can make them a little more finicky for some beginners, however.
The tyre type is one of the things that makes the biggest difference in the overall look and performance of the wheel. Note that not all fixie wheels come with tires included.
Suitable for beginners, clincher tires are the most common type on fixie bikes. Although some say that they are heavier and provide a less smooth ride, they are easy to fix and maintain, making them a great choice for most riders.
Tubular tires are more expensive, but they are favoured by some enthusiasts who appreciate that they are much lighter than clinchers, as they have less parts. That said, they are not as easy to repair as clinchers, and are typically more expensive.
While tubeless tires have been around for awhile, they have become more popular in recent years. The downside of these tires is that they are the heaviest of all, however many riders say these offer the smoothest and most comfortable ride of all.
Another important consideration is what material the rims are made out of. Commonly, they are made out of either aluminium or carbon fibre, although you may find alternatives like ABS plastic and stainless steel, too.
You will often find that aluminium wheels are the preferred choice, as they strike a good balance between cost and performance. They are suitable for most recreational riders, including beginners.
Carbon fibre is considered a more premium material as it is very light. This makes the wheels faster, and arguably easier to ride. However, it does come at a cost that may not be justifiable for recreational riders.
The final thing to consider when choosing the best fixie wheels is the looks. One of the reasons that fixie bikes have become increasingly popular is that their minimalistic design looks great. You can complement this with some great looking wheels, as there are a variety of designs on the market.
Phew – that’s a lot to think about! So, to help you find the best fixie wheels, let’s take a look at some of the leading products on the market.
The best fixie wheels at a glance
|#1. Retrospec Mantra|
Our Best Pick
|32||Alloy||Wheels + tyres||2.5lb (1.1kg) per wheel|
|#2. Stars Rim Fixie|
|24||Aluminium||2 x wheels||2.2lb (1kg) per wheel|
|#3. Vuelta ZeroLight|
|32||Stainless spokes||2 x wheels||2.2lb (1kg) per wheel|
|#4. ACS Clincher|
|5||Hardened plastic||1 x wheel (front)||2.6lb (1.2kg) per wheel|
Let’s take a closer look…
#1. ACS Clincher Mags
As mentioned, many people prefer the look and style of fixie bikes over other models. If this is something that matters to you, then you’ll probably love these wheels from ACS.
With a deep matte black finish, they look extremely stylish with a retro-inspired design. As you can see from the look of this wheel, it is solid and designed to be durable even when used off-road. Interestingly, it is made from hardened plastic rather than a more expensive option like aluminum or carbon fibre, but it still performs well.
These wheels are clinchers, so they are a little heavy but nothing unreasonable. The diameter is 20” which is standard for most US BMX bikes. They weigh 2.6lbs.
Note that this product only comes with the front wheel, but you have the option to purchase the rear wheel as well.
#2. Stars Rim Fixie Freewheel
If you are a beginner looking for a light, good-quality set of wheels that won’t break the bank, then these wheels from Stars are a great option.
They are made from aluminium, yet they are very light (2.2lbs) making them easy to maneuver and good for speed as well. They come with a flip flop hub as they are specifically designed for fixie bikes and for getting the best possible performance out of fixies.
The design of these wheels is modern and simple, meaning they will look great on any bike. There are 24 stainless-steel spokes in total, for even weight distribution.
For the price, you get both the front and back wheel, making this a great value set. The wheels come assembled and fixing them onto your bike is easy and straightforward.
#3. VeltaZeroLite Track Comp 700C Wheel Set
This set of wheels is ideal for a fixie bike as well as other models, too. They are lightweight, minimalistic and made to last, making them a great choice for your next set of fixie wheels.
These wheels are made to be durable, although at the price they are better suited to beginners and recreational riders rather than competitive cyclists. They feature 24 stainless steel spokes which promote balance and a smooth ride.
These are not the lightest wheels available on the market, however the weight of these is still excellent. The front tire is 1007g while the back tire is 1185g, meaning both are lightweight, promoting speed and maneuverability without sacrificing strength.
Both wheels are included for the price, so we think this is a great value option if you are looking for the best fixie wheels.
#4. Retrospec Bicycles
For those looking to upgrade their fixie wheels in terms of both look and performance, you really can’t go past this great option from the well-respected brand, Retrospec.
Unlike some of the other options on this list, this set comes with both wheels and tires included, making it a great value buy. In addition, you don’t need to buy all the bits separately for your fixie bike, which is very convenient.
These durable wheels have 32 spokes, meaning that the balance is excellent and minimising the risk of flats or punctures. They are a bit heavy, however, they are ideal for everyday commuting and recreational riders.
The clincher tyres that are included with the set are high-quality deepset Kenda Kwesttyres that are ideal for your daily commute. Riding on these tires is sure to be a delight!
One of the best things about these tires is that they come in several great colours to choose from. If style is important to you and you want your fixie to look great, then you’re sure to love the choices on offer from Retrospec!
And the winner is…
Choosing the best fixie wheels can be difficult as there are so many factors to consider. You want wheels that look great, but that also offer high-quality performance. Of course, you also want to be confident that you have gotten good value for money. Especially if you are starting out, it’s important that the wheels are affordable and won’t blow your budget!
All of the options on this list have their own strengths, however our pick of them all is the Retrospec wheel set. It is true that these are not the lightest wheels on our list, however this means that they are strong and durable.
The value of these wheels is unbeatable, as you get both wheels plus good-quality tyres for the price. In addition, we just love the bright colours that these come in. Whatever style you’re going for with your fixie, you’re sure to find that one of the colours on offer suits perfectly.