How to Brake with Your Brakeless Fixie Bike: 5 Methods and Tips

How to Brake with Your Brakeless Fixie Bike: 5 Methods and Tips

Fixie bikes are sleek, require minimal maintenance, and their mechanics are quite simple, focusing largely on your biking skills and the force you apply to the pedals with your legs.

The real challenge comes when you decide to remove the brakes from your bike to fully embrace the true fixie riding experience. You might be wondering: How do you brake if there are no brakes or any mechanism to stop the wheels?

Fear not, as experts in the world of fixed-gear bikes, we’re here to share various methods and tips to help you brake effectively with your fixie and master this unique riding style.

5 Methods and Tips for Braking with Your Fixie

Below, we’ll introduce different techniques to help you brake with your fixie, allowing you to enjoy the pure fixed-gear style.

1. The Foundation of Braking Lies in Your Legs

Indeed, your legs are your primary allies for proper braking. To slow down, you’ll need to stop pedaling and relax your legs, allowing the bike to gradually slow down until it comes to a complete stop.

This method requires a greater stopping distance and more time. It’s advisable to use this braking method when riding on flat or gentle terrain, as the bike can stop on its own without any danger.

2. Equip Yourself with Straps

Install straps on your platform pedals and adjust them correctly according to your shoe type. It’s crucial that your foot is securely attached to the pedal yet can be easily removed when necessary.

Straps will aid in braking your fixie when you’re moving at high speeds and need to quickly reduce your velocity. To brake, you’ll need to press your feet in the opposite direction of pedaling, and you’ll notice your fixie’s speed decrease rapidly. This method requires some practice and strength but is very effective.

Also read: Beginner’s Guide to Fixie Biking: 5 Tips and Tricks.

3. Execute and Learn to “Skid”

You might be asking, what is “Skid”? “Skid” is the term used to describe a drift in the fixie world. It’s an action that allows you to skid your fixie, enabling you to perform a strong and quick stop. This is primarily used when riding at high speeds and needing an immediate response to brake.

Skidding is a braking system that demands some practice and experience. To apply it and make your fixie skid, you need to forcefully press in the opposite direction of pedaling, but with more abrupt and firm pressure this time.

The main pedal pressure should be applied with the foot closest to the ground, while the other foot, positioned higher, should press in the opposite direction, using the strap to pull up. The goal is to lock the rear wheel with the strength of your legs.

To do it correctly, firmly hold the middle part of your handlebar, shift all your weight to the front of the bike, and stand up to reduce weight on the rear wheel, thus locking the pedals more effectively and causing a skid.

Properly applying your weight to the front is crucial for the technique to work and to maintain control of the bike while skidding. With these steps, you can skid and brake your fixie when speeding through city streets.

4. Perform a “Hop-stop” to Regulate Your Speed

The “Hop-stop” is a milder version of the “Skid”. It’s a similar system but involves shorter movements to help you control your speed. This method is most commonly used on fixies to maintain speed control.

To perform a “Hop-stop”, apply the same mechanics as with a “Skid”, but this time slightly lift the rear wheel off the ground. When the wheel touches back down, you’ll notice a slight slide accompanied by a minor reduction in speed.

Repeat this movement until you achieve the desired speed. These are short, repetitive movements and, like the “Skid”, require practice and consistency.

5. Ride Safely by Anticipating Your Movements

When riding a fixie, you must be highly attentive to your surroundings. It’s important to always anticipate your movements since the reaction time for braking is much longer compared to bikes with a fixed gear.

Always stay alert and be ready to adjust your speed or skid at any moment.

So there you have it, the best tips for braking with your fixie once you remove the brakes. Don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time; go out there, practice, and start wearing down your fixie’s tires.

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