The terminology may be confusing for some beginners. So, we think a good place to start is to get all of the necessary terms out of our way and clearly explain them here.
When discussing single speeds and fixed gears, you’ll face a situation similar to the square and the rectangle.
Every square is a rectangle, however, not every rectangle is a square.
Similarly, every fixie is a single speed, but not every single speed is a fixie.
People also refer to single speed as a freewheel. This is the correct term.
Keep these simple terms in mind. We’ll get to the specific differences next!
You can coast on a single speed bike, but you can’t coast on a fixed gear bike.
If you’re new to the sport, coasting simply means you can ride your bike while taking your feet off the pedals.
Now, the benefit of coasting is that it allows you to ride uphills and downhills much easier and safer. You don’t have to use too much force.
This frees you from worrying about pedal strikes and makes moderating your speed easier. It also gives you some time to rest if your legs get tired during long rides.
But why is this?
Remember we talked about freewheel earlier? This difference lies in the different drivetrain mechanism between single speed and fixed gear.