there are two types...fixed and broken (ie single speed/freewheel/what ever)
As for the gearing...go with somthing in lower 60's you should be fine. Plus working at a high cadence is good for ya. Look at what it did for Lance Armstrong.
I'm in fort collins, not many hills in town, but at the foothills of the rockies. My gearing is at 78" for my main fixed gear. I also have another running at 85" for when i wanna fly down the street, sucks when somone pops out infront of me though(hard to stop)
You can find out all you really need to know from him. There is also a gear calculator, so you can find out what ratios yeild what gear inches.....ie my 78" comes from a 48:16 on 700mm wheels, and 172.5mm cranks blah blah blah...more than you prolly wanted.
So,...im hunting for my first fixie, I have two questions:
1) What are all the different types (freewheel, ss, etc)? Which is best?
2) Relatively whats my ideal ratio? (Considering fixed is new to me, and SF hills, and without having to pedal like a madman on flat turf)
thanks in advance.
I'm a relative newbie, also, been riding in Brooklyn/NYC for a few months. I was running a 44x16 gearing, which is fairly standard, but people on this forum advised that I lower the gearing. So I got a 19t rear cog. This seems to be fairly good--you might even be able to go lower. If you want to skip/skid a lot, do a search for 'skid spots' or something like that to learn more about gearing choices.
The difference between ss (singlespeed) and fg (fixed gear) is that with a ss bike, you have one gear with a freewheel. That means that you can coast and backpedal like on a regular, geared bike. On ss bikes, you want to have both front and rear brakes. A fixed gear bike has no freewheel, so when you pedal, the rear wheel turns; when you don't pedal, you're rear wheel stops. You have to pedal to move the bike. You do have to be aware of the fact that backpedalling or applying negative resistence to the pedals on a fixed gear bike exercises totally different muscles in your legs. Be careful with this. I recently began to get tendonitis in my left patellar tendon, and this is NOT a fun pain to get.
Definitely look up the sheldon brown site referenced above. He is considered the well-known expert on these things; in fact, by reading his site, I got inspired to go out and get a fixie myself.
Good luck with the whole thing: it's really fun, and not as difficult as it might seem from researching.