Why would anyone ride a single speed bicycle?

Way back in the 1860s when the very first velocipede (human powered vehicles) were invented, they were almost immediately used for delivery purposes. It was the most efficient way to navigate a major city. These early bicycles were all single speed. During the bicycle boom in the United’s States during the 1890’s, Western Union started employing telegraph boys in New York City and San Francisco who rode bicycles as professional couriers around the city.

As time has gone by, bicycles and the various technologies that go with them, have evolved. The single speed bicycle, however, remains the city messenger bicycle of choice.


The simplicity of the machine provides an extremely reliable human powered vehicle that needs very little maintenance and keeps the messengers on the road and out of the workshop.

 A single speed bicycle thrives in the urban environment! Instead of services every few months, you’re riding more. Repairs are easy and spares cheap. The design comes from an era where products where designed to last forever and not break apart just as the warranty expires.

If you’re worried about hills and which gear ratio to choose, Rook Cycles has done heaps of testing to make sure our stock ratio works for most hills most of the time. We install a 46T chain ring and a 16T Freewheel on our stock builds. This has great versatility on hills as well as a decent high end. The top speed is around 45kmh, but comfortably keeps a 25kmh average throughout your commute.

A single speed has a very pure riding feel too. There’s a certain connection you feel to the bike that you just don’t get with a multi speed. Not to mention the feeling of dropping a R50k high tech bicycle on your single speed rat bike!

Fixies look elegant and beautiful , behave predictably and are possibly the purest forms of human powered transport in the world.

If you don’t own a bicycle yet - your first purchase into the 2 wheel world should be a single speed. If you already own bicycles: A single speed is a must have in any riders quiver.

Want to know more? Get in touch with our bike shop team and they’ll be happy to answer any Qs you might have.

Bikeshop@rookcycles.com
or call us on 060 464 0623

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