Complete Track-Ready Frames
This is actually a question for the Track sub-forum people, but since they're never around, I'm asking what few non-tarck SSFG'ers who have some track experience for help.
Long story short, I just graduated college and am living with my parents again till I can find a serious job. In the meantime I intend to continue working at my local bike shop and attending track clinics every Monday (and perhaps Tuesdays as well). I've been riding fixed for a year, so I know how it works and while my Steamroller is technically track-able it's currently outfitted for granny-ing around town with fenders and a leather panniers. I want to pick up a complete bike, put it together ASAP and want to be on the concrete ready to ride in circles in a week's time.
As it stands, I have access to track bikes from Rocky Mountain, Cannondale, Bianchi, Raleigh and Lemond. My first pick would have to be the Rocky Mountain Borough (~$950 before employee pricing).
Rocky Mountain Borough (follow the link for specs).
Given the data at hand, is the Boroughs in fact a track bike or simply a FG bike? If not, is there a better, track-geometry, complete bicycle available on the market which would suite a beginner's needs?
yeah, it's a track bike. it looks like a nice bike, but it seems expensive for what it is. there are a lot of other entry level track/fg bikes out there, built really similar, for several hundo cheaper.
There are lots of bikes at yr disposal - Cannondale Capo, Bianchi Pista and Pista Concept, Raleigh Rush Hour and Rush Hour Pro... probably Lemond, too, but I don't know off the top of my head.
I think one question you should answer is, how much do you want a dedicated track bike, versus a track bike that you can use for all purposes?
Not that any of the somewhat higher-end models couldn't be used for other purposes, but if I was buying one bike for both commuting and track racing, I wouldn't buy the Concept or the Rush Hour Pro. But if I was buying just a track bike... I'd lean more toward those. Since you've got your steamroller, maybe that's where you are.
However, any basic track bike will suit your needs. that Borough seems like a solid bike - basic steel, solid components - with your emplyee discount it should get it down into a nicer range. But it's not too different from a Bianchi Pista, which sells for - what, 600 at retail?
Okay, I'm rambling.
Also, if you think that you might not have this bike for a long time - if it would be first on the chopping block when you're strapped for cash or whatever - I think that the cheaper steel bikes are the way to go. "Barely new, only ridden on a velodrome" will get you what you paid for it. The alu stuff tends to not do quite so well at re-sale. Exception being the Pista Concept, which is this year's hot frame.
Fails at being impressed
The geometry would suggest that it's a 'true' track bike, which means it follows the European traditions of track bike design, more or less. Of course, depending on your home track, a European-style track bike may not be the best choice. (i.e. if your track is longer and has shallower banking than the tight, wooden 'dromes found in Europe, a longer wheelbase and slightly slacker angles are not a detriment.)
This Rocky Mountain looks like a nice bike but, honestly, I wouldn't buy it until you've had at least a season or two under your belt and you've got a better idea of what you like. Nor, for that matter does it really strike me as being worth close to a thousand. A Bianchi Pista with upgraded cranks and tires gets you a very similar bike for a lot less.
The Steamroller is a perfectly serviceable racer. I see a few of them being raced every now and then. The price of a new chainring, cog, chain, and tires is most likely a lot cheaper than a whole new bike. Don't worry about people thinking that you've showed up to the track on a 'street' fixie. Trackies ride all sorts of beaters and are nowhere near as...style-conscious, as roadies. (That's not to say the guy who shows up on a Colnago C50 Pista with IO/Comete wheels doesn't think he's hot sh*t in a Champagne glass.) You wouldn't be thought of as a poser if you are able to demonstrate even the slightest inclination towards track dedication.
My recommendation: race the Surly. Save your money for nice parts. In a year or two when you have enough to buy a nice frame, like a Felt TK2, for example, you'll also have enough to put killer parts on it.
Alternately, if you decide that racing just isn't your bag, then you're not saddled with a bike that you need to sell.
The only reason I don't want to rock the Steamroller is because it's set up as my daily rider and I really don't wanna have to remove and replace parts all the time.
This bike will be my track-only bike.
I see what you mean about getting used to the track before picking up a track-only frame though. I guess I just want a new bike. Can't hurt right? If all else fails I can lace up some Vees and find a set of risers. [/sarcasm]
Meh, I've got work tomorrow morning so I'll just check on the availability. If I can get the Borough for about what the Capo is then I'm gonna nab it and you guys will have a review in a few weeks on a frame apparently no one owns. Otherwise I'll just pick up the Capo and make it work.
Thanks for the quick replies. Far more helpful than the average SSFG post.
take trelhak's advice. i just built up a cheap kilo tt frame with some nicer used components (i.e. sugino 75's) and like it a ton more than any stock bike i've seen.
I cannot build up a frame right now. The primary reason being that our shop is in the middle of the busy season. Stands are occupied from opening to close and keyholders are often too tired to stay and let me work. Assuming I could find somewhere to work and get the job done well, I'd still find myself buying much nicer parts than I'd need. Other than replacing the saddle and tires, I could probably ride this bike stock all season and into the next before I needed to get better parts.
Originally Posted by dookski
Besides, I want to ride NOW, not next week.
what i meant to say was build up your current bike. add a new stem/bar combo, new chainring and cog, and you could have a serious track bike. if you build a fixed/fixed and swap your stem/bars at the track your bike could do it all. this is my plan (suggested by riders i met at the track and by a couple mechanics).
Originally Posted by doomkin
edit- i forgot about the fenders/panniers. do they need to stay on for commuting? you can probably make that bike do anything you want with small adjustments. maybe there won't be room for granny-ing in the future.
Last edited by dookski; 05-18-08 at 10:39 PM.
Fails at being impressed
Instant gratification makes things tricky.
The problem with a pre-built bike that you will encounter is that you'll very soon see the need for upgrades. Probably instantly.
You'll be standing in the starting blocks and notice the odd feeling of your crank arms actually twisting. In a sprint, you'll feel your wheels, tires, handlebars and stem flexing under the forces you are transmitting through them.
Just like that, you need to buy new parts and just like that, the cost you are now incurring is the same as if you had just bought a frame and built it up as you wanted to. Your junk bin is now just a little bit fuller.
If you want to get on the track immediately, take the racing courses on the track's rental bikes while you build up your own bike. This could only work in your favor, because any experience will give you more insight on what kinds of parts you want and what kind of gearing to run.
The Rocky Mountain looks nice, but buying in haste can sometimes lead to regrets. Most every track has club rental bikes. I would ride one of those for a couple of weeks until you can put together one that will not need to have parts swapped immediately. That's the thing about price-point products - there's always a compromise somewhere to make that price point.
Top Tube Brake
Knock the keyholders out from behind, duplicate key, presto! build up a kilo and you're dandy
unfortunately our track does not have rentals. there is, however, a shop in the city that rents track bikes to be used at the velodrome, but it's another 45 minutes past the velodrome for me and on the way out there for everyone else.