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Best single speed bikes 2021: fixed gear and single speed bikes from £250

21 Mar 2021
Verdict:

2021’s best single speed bikes, plus what to consider before you buy. Ideal for anyone looking to cycle commute to work for the first time

Why ride single-speed? Riding a single-speed bike is cycling at its most stripped back. Doing without multiple gears, single speed bikes require little maintenance, making them great for everyday use. But besides minimal servicing costs why would you ride one?

Forcing you to work hard uphill and spin quickly back down, single speeds help build technique and are great for training.

Equally on flatter terrain low weight and robustness make them ideal partners for commuting. With one less thing to think about they’re fun to ride too, while many riders are attracted by the minimalist aesthetics. But which to choose?

With fewer parts, you can get more bike for less money, yet despite their simplicity, there’s a broad range catering to many different niches.

From the budget to the boutique Cyclist is here to explain all, helping you choose from the best single speed bikes of 2021.

Remember, you shouldn't be riding a bike without brakes on UK (or most other) roads.

The best single speed bikes to buy in 2021

The best value single speed bike: Ribble Urban 725s

Buy now from Ribble from £599

Despite its accessible pricing, Ribble’s commuter-focused single-speed manages a few very nice features. First, being made of Reynolds 725 steel not only imparts cachet among bike nerds, but it should also keep things comfy while ensuring decades of service from the frame.

Built to order, the Urban 725s can be customised in a myriad of ways before it arrives, including upgrading its tyres and saddle or adding accessories. With space for wide tyres and an upright riser handlebar, it’s designed for navigating around town but can also take on light off-road stretches.

Sadly without rack or mudguard mounts, you’ll be stuck carrying your gear in a backpack, although this won’t bother many dedicated fixie riders.

Buy now from Rbibble from £599

Best city single-speed: Fuji Feather

Buy now from Wiggle

Dripping with style and class, the silver rims, red frame and leather bar tape of this Fuji Feather will have you looking quite the dedicated follower of fashion while spinning around your local streets.

It’s robust, too, thanks to a steel Reynolds frame, front and rear brakes and tough Vittoria Zaffiro 25mm tyres fitted as standard.

Buy now from Wiggle for £549.99

Best for commuting: Genesis Flyer

Buy now from Freehweel

The long-established single-speed Flyer has gone fully gravel. Now based on Genesis’s popular CDA cyclocross frameset, it’s got huge 37c tyres, easy gearing and myriad mounts for racks and mudguards.

Ditching its former calliper brakes for powerful and low-maintenance disc models, it’s unafraid to get muddy – whether that happens commuting along the canal or heading off on a bikepacking holiday.

Based around a durable double-butted aluminium alloy tubeset, the overall weight is kept lower than comparable steel models. Slack and stable, it should prove a durable workhorse capable of heading wherever you point it.

Buy now from Freehweel for £649.99

Best on a budget: B'Twin 500 Single Speed City

Buy now from Decathlon

At £250, it’d be easy to approach the B'Twin 500 Single Speed City and start looking for weak links. It’s cheaper than seems logical. But it is what it claims, a proper little single-speed bike with everything working as you’d expect.

The frame is pretty basic and a bit heavy, but it does its job of holding all the components in place. The brakes stop, the hubs spin and the wheels aren’t lead weights.

We can’t imagine anyone will feel they haven’t got their money’s worth. Which isn’t the case with any similarly priced single-speeds we’ve seen.

Buy now from Decathlon for £250

The Best Retro Single Speed Bike: Condor Classico Pista

Buy now from Condor as a frameset from £1,199

London-based Condor has been making bikes for over 70 years. A chunk of this heritage is visible in its lovely Condor Classico Pista. Available as a frameset, or custom-built to your specification, it’s based around a traditional profile triple-butted steel tubeset and held together using classic investment cast lugs.

Resulting in a timeless ride that’s likely to be as attractive in a decade as it is today, the Classico Pista eschews faddish standards in favour of things more likely to last. This sees it benefit from an easy-to-adjust threaded headset and quill stem at the front, a threaded BSA bottom bracket and an integrated seat clamp.

Buy now from Condor as a frameset from £1,199

Best for touring: Bombtrack Arise 2

Buy now from CycleStore

A simple steel single-speed with disc brakes and plentiful scope for customisation. Inspiring wanderlust, the Arise’s skinny frame provides enough flex to make trips off-road enjoyable, something furthered by its relaxed geometry and lengthy wheelbase.

With lots of tiny knobbles, the 35C Kenda Flintridge gravel tyres are also adept on the trail and not excessively slow on smoother surfaces.

Upgrades over previous years include tubeless-ready WTB rims, an extra set of downtube bottle bosses and a narrow-wide chainring allowing easy conversion into a 1x or 2x11-speed drivetrain.

On road, the short gearing makes the Bombtrack easy to power, while mounts and space for racks and mudguards mean it’s ready to commute or tour.

Read our full Bombtrack Arise 1 review

Buy now from Cycle Store for £1,149

Best for city riding: Orro FE Single Speed Bike

Buy now from Tredz

A moderately relaxed bike, designed for city commuting. With a medium stack headtube, the Orro’s bull-horn style bars provide a range of practical positions while riding.

The 48/18t gearing is equally easy going, being designed for the start-stop of city traffic rather than competition on the track. With a flip-flop rear hub, you can switch the wheel around to experiment with riding fixed, while standard twin brakes ensure you’ll stay legal in either mode.

Deep-section rims, high flange hubs, and a classic looking crankset are ageless, while the low-key black paint job, tan-wall tyres and leather effect kit look stylish without being too try-hard.

Buy now from Tredz for £599.99

Best for all fun no fuss: Steed Thoroughbred

Buy now from Steed Bikes

Look at the joy on their faces. That's what riding the Steed Thoroughbred does to you. With simple yet stylish aesthetics and a super comfortable feel.

It's equipped with wide tyres for light work on broken city streets and 44/18t for easy gliding through cycle lanes and up short inclines with room in the tank for longer climbs if your legs are up to it.

Whether you're commuting, going to the shops or riding for pure pleasure, the Thoroughbred will do it in style, comfort and with a smile on your face. And at £450 it could easily slot in as the best value, too.

Check out our full review of the Steed Thoroughbred for more.

On top of that, the saddle and handlebar grips are both fitted with vegan leather and for every bike purchased a tree will be planted in fragile ecosystems around the world thanks to Steed's partnership with the International Tree Foundation. You can't dislike that.

Buy now from Steed Bikes for £450

BLB City Classic Fixie and Single Speed Bike

Looking like a classic 70s track bike, but with a few subtle tweaks to transform it for day-to-day use, the fixed-gear BLB City Classic is both pretty and practical. Starting with a skinny steel frame, to this is attached a classic flat-top fork, traditional quill stem and deep-drop bars.

Meaning it looks like it’s just rolled off the track, a front brake, and puncture-resistant 25c Schwalbe Thickslick tyres mean in reality it’s just as ready for the road; even if you’ll need good flexibility to find it a comfortable fit.

Very good value, the kit-list is solid, with Brick Lane Bikes’ own deep-section wheels doing a decent job of supporting its speedy ambitions.

Buy now from Brick Lane Bikes for £599

Best winter trainer: Dolan FXE Aluminium Fixie Bike

Buy now from Dolan


If you’re happy to prioritise practicality over aesthetics, the Dolan FXE Aluminium Fixie Bike is a splendid little package. Winter trainer, city runaround or even a first track racer, it’s fully customisable via the Dolan bike builder.

Allowing you to chop and change it to match your measurements or the bike’s intended use, it’ll take brakes, mudguards and even a pannier rack.

With an aluminium frame and carbon fork, it’s light and stiff, while employing a geometry that’s better suited to the tarmac than the boards at the average velodrome. Fitted with a mix of Alpina and Shimano parts as standard, it’s excellent value.

Buy now from Dolan for £725

Best for versatility: Octane One Kode Commuter Single Speed Bike

Buy now from Wiggle

With 40mm tyres, tubeless-ready wheels, disc brakes and provisions for full mudguards and racks, the Octane One Kode Commuter is a robust single speed bike begging to be ridden both on and off-road.

Its relaxed geometry should ensure your journeys are always taken in comfort while 42x14 gear supplied can get you rolling along nicely on flat roads.

Buy now from Wiggle for £699.99

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