Tag: electric bike

“Fixed gear” ebikes are apparently a thing

Whilst reading my Mastodon feed, I ran across mention of a “fixed gear ebike.” This piqued my interest: can such a thing really exist?

The top results when I google “fixed gear ebike” include a blog post on the “Best Fixed Gear Electric Bikes,” which begins with a description of this weird, nonsensical chimera.

What is an “Electric Fixie”?
Electric fixies are simply electric bikes without a freewheel on the rear hub. It might sound like a minor difference, but the freewheel allows the wheel to keep turning while the pedals are still (when you’re coasting, for example).

This gives fixies a unique feel. Whenever the bike is moving, your legs will be moving too. It can take a bit of getting used to, but fixies build fitness, are generally faster and fun to ride. Contrary to what you might have heard, fixies are safe (although it’s advisable to get a bit of practice in before navigating traffic) and road legal as long as they have a front brake.

Fixie E-Bikes vs Single Speed E-Bikes
Single speed e-bikes are already extremely popular and it’s easy to see why. They’re the ultimate in accessibility; you simply hop on and pedal. Fixies are a little more complex. They take some getting used to but can help you to perfect your peddling technique and can give you a fitness boost.

While reading this gibberish, it occurred to me that people now use the ChatGPT artificial intelligence chatbot to generate links for search optimization. I asked the ChatGPT bot, “What is a fixed gear ebike?”

A fixed gear ebike, also known as a single speed ebike, is a type of electric bike that does not have a freewheel mechanism, meaning that the pedals are always turning whenever the bike is in motion. This means that the rider cannot coast on a fixed gear ebike, but must continuously pedal to move the bike.

Fixed gear ebikes are similar to traditional fixed gear bikes, which are popular among urban commuters and track cyclists. The main difference is that fixed gear ebikes have an electric motor to assist the rider, making them easier to pedal and allowing the rider to go longer distances without getting tired.

Fixed gear ebikes typically have a simple, minimalist design and are lightweight, making them easy to maneuver and handle. They are also known for their durability and low maintenance requirements, as they have fewer moving parts compared to traditional derailleur-equipped bikes.

Some riders enjoy the simplicity and the unique riding experience of fixed gear ebikes, while others may prefer the versatility and ease of use of a bike with multiple gears. Ultimately, the choice between a fixed gear ebike and a traditional geared ebike comes down to personal preference and the specific needs of the rider.

Maybe you disagree, but to me this looks similar enough to be suspicious. In both examples, the writer (an AI? somebody from Fiverr?) obviously cribs boilerplate info about fixies, then replaces “bike” with “ebike” in the discussion.

Fixed gear ebikes?

And yet, I find real product pages for fixed gear ebikes. See, for example, this Luna “Fixed Stealth Ebike,” this “Fixie” from Rize, the “Fixie” from Valk, or the “New York Fixie” from Watt. The product names all imply they’re fixed gear bicycles, but are they?

Luna, to their, credit, includes this text in their description: “IT IS NOT a fixie bike… it does freewheel.” Weirdly enough, they put a 3-speed hub in their bike they call the “Fixed.” For the other bikes, you have to hunt through the product specs to verify these are normal singlespeeds with hub motors. These are not fixed gear bicycles.

The challenges of mating an electric motor to a fixed gear makes this seem unlikely as a product, but surely a modern day Prometheus somewhere has married their junk bin of electromagnetism to a 1985 Fuji fixie conversion to create this mad scientist mashup, but my google-fu fails me, and my Twitter inquiries resulted in a handful of “this is a horrible idea” responses.

How about it, you bike nerds: Has anyone built on an electric fixed gear bicycles?