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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 01-19-09, 10:53 PM   #1
2liv&rideNLA
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Track Geo on the street

So I have long been a MTB and a roadie, and have recently started riding fixed. I'm on a entry level, relatively relaxed frame and am considering upgrading possibly to a proper track frame. If I'm going to be riding it exclusively on the street, is there any reason for track geometry? Easier track stops?
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Old 01-19-09, 11:07 PM   #2
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Not that I have an overabundant amount of experience in comparing the two, but it's said to be a bit twitchier handling-wise, and it certainly looks cool. Trade-offs are increased toe overlap and a less comfy ride.

My frame has what I guess is considered either a relaxed track or track-ish road geometry. I can just squeak by without running into toe overlap problems, and it's neither very forgiving of bumpy pavement nor a pain to ride. I like it, guess it's sort of a happy medium.
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Old 01-19-09, 11:21 PM   #3
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I ride a track bike with road geometry, too. My lemond is very comfortable and I ride at all speeds very well, not twitchy. Steep compact geometry does look cool, but so does a simple fixed geared bike with a little more relaxed geometry.
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Old 01-19-09, 11:27 PM   #4
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I've ridden a fixed conversion (road geometry), a road bike (relaxed geometry) and now I ride a bike with track geometry. The only differences I feel are:

1. The track bike is a bit more twitchy and quicker handling (especially at slower speeds)
2. DEFINITELY a lot more toe overlap, although It's never become a problem. The only time I notice it is when I'm going slow (~5 mph) and am making a U Turn or really tight turn.
3. Depending on the materials, you'll feel a lot of the bumps. My frame is steel, which is supposed to be more forgiving than aluminum, and I still feel a lot of the bumps.
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Old 01-19-09, 11:31 PM   #5
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Ive went from a fixed gear road conversion to a couple different track frames, and I think that for most riders, true track geo on the street is definitely a plus. Navigating through traffic and such is a lot easier, and its just plain more fun to ride. Longer rides arent as fun as comfort becomes a factor, but I've done 79-80 mile rides on my track bikes and its definitely do-able.
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Old 01-20-09, 01:10 AM   #6
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I'm having a blast!
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Old 01-20-09, 01:39 AM   #7
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its depend on indiviual who like ride fixed gear-road geo or track geo on street with their own comforts. I think track bike is better and look so good when you ride it on street!

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I check your site.. Your bike is soo FANCY AND PURE NEAT! Soo I am DROOL & jealous!
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Old 01-20-09, 01:48 AM   #8
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^ How's that fork work for ya? What happened to your old one? I love my BK my girlfriend is jealous
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Old 01-20-09, 01:58 AM   #9
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You don't ride track on the street, you ride TARCK on the street. Nah, I'm just kidding. Track is awesome! I long for something more relaxed and upright with (GASP!) gears and brakes after about 60 miles, but I can pull off a hundo pretty easily. And that's with a totally impractical setup too. Drop stem, deep track drops (lots of s to b drop) and no bar tape (just grips on the drops). It's awesome.
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Old 01-20-09, 08:15 AM   #10
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super responsive handling and maneuverability
ability to accelerate quickly to high speeds
lightweight so it's easy to carry into buildings & up stairs
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Old 01-20-09, 08:22 AM   #11
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probably the most advantageous difference in geometry is a slightly higher bottom bracket shell, making pedal strikes less likely, which are a big deal on a fixed gear.
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Old 01-20-09, 10:43 AM   #12
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Only reason I bought my track bike for street was because it was super light to carry up to my apartment on campus. I ride both a road and track bike and I can't tell a big difference between these two except that the track bike is maybe a bit rougher. And add to the fact that most track bikes will always stand off in a sea of bikes.
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Old 01-20-09, 11:20 AM   #13
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it's nice to not have to worry about der. adjustment and cables and thangs but you get that with a plain ol' conversion.
actual track bikes are fun but pretty impractical. they are built to be stiffer plus the steeper angles absorb even less of the road. so run really nice tires.
overall comfort as far as time in the saddle will depend on how you fit on your track bike. don't ride something too little and don't bother iwth deep drop track bars with track stems unless you just care about hte looks.
with short rake and steep head angle you will get a quick front end that remains stable. different feel than the avg. road geometry.

Quote:
1. The track bike is a bit more twitchy and quicker handling (especially at slower speeds)
i've found the opposite.

Quote:
ability to accelerate quickly to high speeds
a geared bike will accelerate quicker and easier.
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Old 01-20-09, 01:02 PM   #14
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I find my bike with track geo more fun to ride. Could be a lot of reasons or it could be all in my head. I think a big thing is that the short wheel base makes it less stable than my longer converted road bike and this instability makes it feel more aggressive and responsive to my movements. In terms of practicality, comfort, and handling at high speeds a road geo seems to make more sense.
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Old 01-20-09, 01:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DARTHVADER View Post
a geared bike will accelerate quicker and easier.
This must be why velodrome racers are fixed gear.
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Old 01-20-09, 01:40 PM   #16
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Quote:
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This must be why velodrome racers are fixed gear.
i think anyone in here would be quicker on a geared bike if they actually knew how to use the gears and i don't think the velodrome racers ride fixed because it's faster.

oh yeah. and how often do you ride in the velodrome?

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Old 01-20-09, 07:38 PM   #17
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It depends a LOT on the frame. My Giordana is designed to have a stiff bottom bracket area yet ride smooth.

My Giordana is tight track geometry, and it has a plush ride. Smoother than anything else I've ridden. It's a combination of wheels, saddle, frame and tires.

That said, I feel more confident maneuvering through traffic and people on my track bike. The track bike is less comfortable because in my track setup i have a lot of saddle to bar drop, but with riser bars, It feels even more comfortable to ride than my road bike.


Geared bikes accelerate faster than fixed geared bikes. No question about that. A geared bike can have high torque at low speed, to get you moving fast, then you increase your gearing as you get to speed.

Fixed gears are used on the track because gears and brakes and coasting are not needed. If the same rider rides a fixed gear and a road bike on the track, the speed would probably be about the same. The track bike is a little bit more efficient though.

Last edited by physh; 01-20-09 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 01-20-09, 08:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MIN View Post
This must be why velodrome racers are fixed gear.
Must also be why Keirin racers use steel bikes instead of carbon fiber
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Old 01-20-09, 08:22 PM   #19
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Fixed is so much more dominant at the same gear as compared to their geared counterpart. And beyond the increased length of the power stroke as a result of the fixed drivetrain, the other clear advantage is in the speed of drivetrain engagement. I thought this was fairly rudimentary and self evident to anyone who espouses fixed gear riding for anything other than mindless fashion conformity.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
Fixers rule on the track because they are faster when geared
appropriately for restricted circumstances. Specifically,
their 50% torque advantage means 50% greater acceleration in
the appropriate gear, and acceleration is nearly everything
in track racing.
Background conversation from the past.
Fixed gear advantages - beyond "anecdata"

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Originally Posted by DARTHVADER View Post

oh yeah. and how often do you ride in the velodrome?
more often than you clearly. I'm a cat-3, when was your last race?
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Old 01-20-09, 08:23 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PistaRider311 View Post
2. DEFINITELY a lot more toe overlap, although It's never become a problem. The only time I notice it is when I'm going slow (~5 mph) and am making a U Turn or really tight turn.
dear OP,

both of the bikes in my sig had NO overlap. it CAN be avoided
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Old 01-20-09, 08:29 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elTwitcho View Post
Must also be why Keirin racers use steel bikes instead of carbon fiber
u know keirin isn't a term that describes the japanese circuit... fyi hoy and bos race "keirin"...
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Old 01-20-09, 08:40 PM   #22
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u know keirin isn't a term that describes the japanese circuit... fyi hoy and bos race "keirin"...
I didn't realize that until now. I checked it up, you're correct. I think people understood what I meant, but absolutely you're right in pointing out that my use of the word was wrong.

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Originally Posted by MIN View Post
Fixed is so much more dominant at the same gear as compared to their geared counterpart. And beyond the increased length of the power stroke as a result of the fixed drivetrain, the other clear advantage is in the speed of drivetrain engagement. I thought this was fairly rudimentary and self evident to anyone who espouses fixed gear riding for anything other than mindless fashion conformity.

Background conversation from the past.
Fixed gear advantages - beyond "anecdata"
oh jesus. Every now and then I guess you come across people who believe that ridiculous article, pleased to meet another.

Care to explain where this 50% torque advantage comes from?

And drivetrain engagement? When was the last time you were on a bike with a freewheel? Anyone whose pedal stroke isn't terrible can spin a full rotation without the drivetrain ever disengaging, so maybe you can rationalize how a person pedaling in a given gear without the drivetrain ever disengaging is any different than a person pedaling fixed...

Basically this

Quote:
My first local fixed gear street ride on FGG 2219 was a
familiar route, in a 66 inch gear. Climb like that in 66
inches? Must be some mistake! So I re-rode the route in my
nice 27 speed Campy equipped road machine...yes, 44 inch gear
for the same climbing ability as the fixer!
Now Dick DiGennaro, Mr. Solo Velo, who had built the frame
and persuaded me to try riding fixed on street and road, is a
very nice guy. Besides being a master frame builder he works
every day with crazy physicists at Lawrence Berkeley
Laboratory, which is why we get along well. To return some
part of the great favor he had shown me I decided to work out
the peculiar and perplexing physics of fixing. It took two
years of meditating on the subtleties of classical mechanics
to ascertain a set of simple truths:
All cyclists are biomechanical gyrators. Fixed gear bicycles
operate under a scleronomous holonomic constraint. Free gear
bicycles operate under a rheonomous holonomic constraint.
Gibberish, yes, but here are two real examples:
Watch Lance climb out of the saddle: he jackhammers the
bottom of the stroke just as every tyro does; this is because
human anatomy of itself cannot rotate the cranks at constant
angular velocity. The presence of a free wheel in the drive
train allows this by decoupling the forward rotation of the
rear wheel from the forward rotation of the cranks. The
effect is not so apparent when the rider is seated, but
riding a freebie, seated or standing, a roadie’s--or anyone
else’s--legs cannot catch up to the rear wheel until the
leading crank is about at two o’clock.
Then watch world class trackies, say the Uruguayan Olympic
team at Alpenrose Velodrome in 2004: their smooth loping
cadence is perfectly even, seated or standing, because their
cranks always are synchronized with the rear wheel; there is
no dead spot at the top and bottom of their stroke.
This is a very big deal!
It means that the fix rider can apply force to the crank
wherever she or he chooses, and the human system of optimal
adaptive control soon will figure out how best to do so. The
fix rider can get into the power stroke at 12 o’clock, or a
little before, and so utilize the entire downward stroke for
propulsion. Way strong!
The free rider can apply downward force beginning only at two
o’clock, and so has wasted fully one-third of the downward
stroke. This is not good!
Looked at the other way, the fixer has a 50% longer power
stroke than the freebie, which equates to 50% more torque
and therefore 50% more power at a given cadence.
I’m all steamed up.
is entirely nonsense. The idea that you can spin faster at the top and bottom portion of the stroke just because it's fixed is severely flawed. Either you can't do it and the cranks pull you along (ie, no added energy) or the freewheel engages (no added energy) or you can spin fast enough and you pull the chain with your rotation.

You can't simultaneously be pulled by the rotation because you're pedaling too slow while adding energy to the system, it doesn't work that way.

EDIT: for clarity and responding more directly to the "article"

Last edited by elTwitcho; 01-20-09 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 01-20-09, 09:14 PM   #23
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I totally concede / agree that there are methodological flaws. But can you disprove it? If you are hanging out in the fg/ss forum, you have to believe that there is a benefit to this drivetrain. Do you really not feel that there is not a benefit to accerating while riding fixed? I own and put serious miles a "fast" geared bike but I can accererated much harder with a fixed gear at the same ratio and spin it at a much higher cadence than it's geared counterpart. With fixed gear, speed is totally a linear function of cadence, but with a geared bike it's linear function of cadence + time it take to shift and engage in the new cog. There's a useful limit to the RPM band I can put out, but within that band fixed is always better.

I realize that this is now straying from the original question but it's still connected because one would assume track geo implies fixed.
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Old 01-20-09, 09:23 PM   #24
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Sure I think there are alot of benefits. The way pedaling becomes completely second nature (much the same way you don't have to think of each individual step when you're walking), the absolute reliability of the fixed drive train, the fact that it's fun, has greatly improved my pedal stroke, there's tons of reasons. Performance based, not really though.

As I said, when the drivetrain is engaged in a freewheel bike, the bike behaves exactly like a fixed gear. This is the only time you are adding power to the equation. The difference between the two drive trains only comes into play when no power is being added to the equation. You either coast, or the chain pulls your feet along for the ride. In terms of power input there can't logically be any difference whatsoever in light of this fact. If you can pedal fast enough at a certain point in the stroke to engage the drivetrain on a fixed gear, you can do the very same thing on a coastie.
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Old 01-20-09, 09:31 PM   #25
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BTW,

Beethaniel your yellow BK is great. I was inspired to use the Wound Up for my bike as a result of previously spying yours (enviously.)
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