Track Cycling: Velodrome Racing and Training Area - Surly track bike?
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07-27-05, 12:16 PM
I was looking at the surly steamroller and was wondering if this would be a good track race bike. Surly designed this bike to be a versitile fixed gear bike and I was wondering if the geomitry would be good for a track race bike. I compared the geomitry of the surly with that of the Bianchi Pista Concept and I found the Bianchi to have a shorter wheel base and a 75 degree ange and seat angle compared to the surly's 74 degree head angle and 73 degree seat angle. Would the surly be a good choice?
07-27-05, 01:44 PM
a few friends of mine have steamrollers and love them, but they don't ride track. From what I'e heard, the BB is a little low for track. One of my friends rode his on the track here in ATL and had serious pedal clearnce issues. Granted, our track is super steep. That said, I have seen at leas one person using a steamroller in the practice races at the track here. so I'd say it can be used on the track, but I don't think its your best bet for the money.
I'd take a look at what IRO (www.irocycle.com) has to offer if you want to build something yourself. lots of people have good things to day about them.
07-27-05, 02:14 PM
I've owned 4 steamrollers over the years (no, I don't break 'em, I've just bought/sold 'em over the years) and love them. I do almost all my winter base miles on fixed gears, so I've got probably 25 thousand or more miles on steamrollers and have NO complaints. Over the past two years, I've even set one up w/ a BMX freewheel and dual brakes, and used it in early season crits as a single speed. Loads of fun!
Anyway, I wouldn't use it on the track (the typical, moderately steep banked track, that is) as it's not quite right, geometry-wise. It might work on a longer, shallow-banked track, but you'd be better off with a real track bike for use on the track.
The IRO won't be a good choice if you're looking to race track since that has a slack road geometry. I'd look into a Soma or a DeBernardi if you want to keep it in that price range.
All the frames mentioned here are first and foremost road fixies. The bottom bracket is a bit lower, they're a bit longer, and if you try diving and climbing on the banking, you'll get pretty frustrated. Since you don't do much of that in your basic massed start points, scratch, or miss-and-out race (which is most of what most tracks put on), you really won't notice most of the difference -- your bike will just be less satisfying if you intend to broaden your range of track riding.
The Bianchi and Fuji basic track frames are pretty good starting places. Another really nice frame is the Nessuno from www.businesscycles.com. I'd strongly recommend you check it out. If you haven't spoken with John Dacey there, he's pretty much the most honest and unassuming retailer in the whole track bike market. His prices are competitive but not the best, but the honesty and the customer service that comes with them makes them worthwhile.
In San Francisco, there are a number of stores with track equipment, but my favorite is Freewheeling on Hayes. Ask for Travis. Make it clear you really want to race. There have been various threads on the fixed gear forum about San Francisco track-oriented shops. There are differing views about the manners at most shops, but having seen how a small but influential fraction of customers are abusive to the store employees, manners really do count. If you're racing, most shops have some kind of discount, by the way.
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