Best Fixie Wheels - Guide and Review
No matter what bike you ride, having the best fixie wheels is a necessity. The wheels after all, are the components of the bike that touch the ground, plus they’re the ones providing support for your body.
Wheels have the same purpose on all bikes but they come in different forms and styles, and ending up with the wrong one can make for an unpleasant riding experience. With the right pair of wheels however, biking will be more pleasurable.
If you’re unsure of what wheels to get, feel free to check out this guide. I have gone over several wheels for fixies and handpicked the best of the bunch. This guide also includes information about bicycle wheels in general so when you read the reviews, you will know what those features are and what they mean. In addition we’re going to highlight the prominent features of each wheel.
How to Choose the Best Fixie Wheels
There are several features and factors that should be considered before purchasing a pair of wheels. Here are some pointers that you should look into.
Types of Wheels
Bicycles wheels come in three types.
- Shallow Section: these are found on beginner wheels and are among the most affordable. They are durable and the strength to weight ratio is good enough for new riders. It is good choice for new riders who need to gain experience.
- Mid-section: mid-section wheels are not widely used, but some riders enjoy using mid-section wheels because they are light, runs fast on flat surfaces and versatile enough to be used on climbing.
- Deep section: these are the fastest and the only choice for top level road racing. Deep section wheels are utilized on flat surfaces as the aerodynamics helps improve its performance. Improvements in the technology have also led to the deep section wheel being used in mountain riding.
There are two types, carbon braking surface and aluminum surface braking. Between the two, aluminum is more consistent and smoother, and it is easier to prepare a flat braking surface with aluminum. This does not mean carbon fiber isn’t any good, it is just that aluminum is the one you’re most likely to come across.
Tubeless, Clincher and Tubular Tires
You’re bound to come across these terms when buying a bike, so let’s break them down.
- Clincher wheels: these are the most common and provide optimum convenience. There is a bead on the rim so the tire remains in place, and the inner tube pressure sets the tire bead into place, increasing safety. There is a reason why clincher tires are the most common, and if you are a beginner this is the one you will want to use first.
- Tubular wheel: these are lighter than clincher wheels. It doesn’t have a bead seat, and while some riders prefer this it does take more time to set up, and you have to choose between tubular tape or glue. While there are benefits to using this, the set up may be a bit too involved for beginners.
- Tubeless wheels: tubeless wheels are gaining popularity, and a lot of manufacturers now offer a tubeless version of their products. They are a bit heavier than clincher but don’t have inner tubes, keeping the rotation mass intact.
Rim materials are either aluminum or carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is the preferred choice for racing due to its stiffness and lightness. Aluminum on the other hand, is preferable when it comes to braking, though carbon fiber is making inroads. What you need to remember is that these metals are not equally made as some are better than others.
There is no standard as far as rim width is concerned, though the 622mm diameter for the seat bead is the industry standard. The trend nowadays is for wider rims because it leads to a stiffer wheel and greater volume for the tire. The end result is you have greater control over your bike and it reduces the risk of flats. The wide rims are also more aerodynamically sound.
Some manufacturers try to make their products stand out by adding or changing certain features, so check your bike’s setup before buying a replacement wheel. However if you buy any of the bikes we have reviewed below, there is no need to worry about compatibility as they have standard components.
Recommended Product Reviews
The information above should make it easier to understand the different types of wheels and their features such as those in the reviews below.
1. Retrospec Bicycles Mantra Fixed-Gear/Single-Speed Wheelset
These wheels from Retrospec have been significantly upgraded from the previous versions, making it more capable of handling different environments.
The wheels are available in different colors and have double-wall Super Deep V rims sealed for smooth riding.
The wheelset comes with a flip flop hub that allows you to ride in fixed gear or single speed, and thanks to its high flange sealing doesn’t need frequent maintenance.
The tires have been developed especially for commuting. Its smooth rounded design comes with sizable water dispersion grooves, ideal for different types of bikes. Throw in its aerodynamic properties and it’s clear this is made for serious riders.
- Hand built for durability
- Aerodynamically sound
- Compatible with fixed gear, single speed, road and commuter bikes
- Built for different types of bikes
2. Fixie Freewheel Track Wheel
These are versatile wheels that deliver superior performance for both freewheel and fixed bikes.
Whichever you use, expect consistency, and unlike other wheels there is no deterioration even on snow or dirt.
The rim joint seams are well made and thrive under varying conditions. The tires themselves last for thousands of miles and aren’t vulnerable too punctures; rocks, sticks or even small glass pieces won’t damage them.
The wheels are well suited for riding on hills, and you can go as fast as 50 mph and brake heavily and the wheels will hold up. It helps the sidewalls are CNC machined for maximum performance.
- Wheels come with a long lasting glossy finish
- 100% assembled
- Sidewalls are CNC machined for brake precision
- Stainless steel spokes
3. ACS Mag 5-Spoke Front Wheel
A lot of customers have given the ACS Mag positive reviews for its durability and they are well-deserved. The construction is solid and can take a lot of hits even when used extensively.
The wheel is well-designed, as can be seen from its sealed bearings and the included bolts.
The nuts on the bearings are very tight for safety reasons, but you can remove them with the right approach. The wheels do not have that stiff feel that comes with other similar products and provides enough flexibility for use on road bikes.
- 20 inch tire and wheel built to last
- High quality clincher tires
- Uses Standard Schrader valve
- Designed for different types of bikes
4. Fixie Freewheel Single Speed Wheel Wheelset Black
These wheels are light, but don’t let that fool you as they are constructed for long term use.
Sporting aluminum rims and CNC machined walls, these wheels are versatile and can be used on different types of bikes without compromising performance.
The wheels don’t just look nice but have smooth feel to them. The hub and rims are well constructed and can handle everything from small rocks to potholes. The wheels have gotten solid reviews and based on our tests, this is justified as it holds well even on rough roads.
- Comes with a flip flop hub for fixed gear or single speed riding
- Stainless steel spokes
- Wheels are fully assembled
- One year warranty
5. Pure Fix 650C 45mm Micro Wheelset
Pure Fix has come up with a lot of good wheels and this is one of their best efforts yet.
It is packed with features riders will find useful like 120mm KT Quando hubs and 650c wheels with 45 mm rims.
The wheels are clearly built for speed and durability. The aluminum wheelset is solid yeti light, and moving from fixed gear to single speed is effortless. The 32 spokes on each wheel plus the nylon rim strips ensure the tube is protected against punctures.
- The flip flop hubs have the freewheel and fixed cogs attached for your convenience
- Has nylon rim strips built in for protection against punctures
- Each wheel has 32 spokes
- Compatible with different bike setups and types
If you’re riding a car you don’t take the tires for granted, and the same rule should apply to bikes. No matter how durable the frame is, it’s not going to do much if your wheels aren’t any good, so don’t neglect this part of your bike.
The wheels we reviewed earlier have differences but the things they share in common are efficiency and reliability. All of them actually qualify as among the best fixie wheels for your money as they are versatile enough to be used in different situations. If you’re tired of having to constantly replace your bike’s wheels due to punctures, then give these a try.