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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 05-16-14, 09:28 AM   #1
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Need help finding the right track bike

I don't have a track bike and I've never owned one. I haven't even ridden one, but I'd like to start. Been looking at bikesdirect.com and stumbled upon Gravity Swift2 Save up to 60% off new Track Bikes - Gravity Swift2 | Save up to 60% off new Track bikes
Is this a good bike for a beginner, or is there another one better suited for me?
By the way, I'm 6'1" so what size should I get?
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Old 05-16-14, 09:39 AM   #2
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Do you plan on actually riding on a track?
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Old 05-16-14, 09:42 AM   #3
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Nope, just for fun around town.
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Old 05-16-14, 09:43 AM   #4
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Well if you are shopping at bikesdirect everyone here is going to say get a Kilo TT. If you only have $300 than Windsor The Hour or possibly Motobecane Track
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Old 05-16-14, 09:44 AM   #5
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or Motobecane Messenger because it comes with brakes
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Old 05-16-14, 09:52 AM   #6
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It should definitely have brakes. It should also have free wheel. I'd like to try fixed, but I don't think it's for me. Is there a reason to pick Kilo TT over Swift2? I'm not stuck on $300. Winsor Clockwork Plus looks nice too
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Old 05-16-14, 10:52 AM   #7
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It should definitely have brakes. It should also have free wheel. I'd like to try fixed, but I don't think it's for me. Is there a reason to pick Kilo TT over Swift2? I'm not stuck on $300. Winsor Clockwork Plus looks nice too
Swift is aluminum/carbon fork the others are steel. That's mainly a preference. The kilo has Reynolds frame which among the steel options is considered slightly better and the components are a little better for the extra $100.

Swift vs the Hour would basically be aluminum vs steel. I think cheap steel frame is generally better then cheap aluminum as far as ride quality goes. Don't get caught up on fixed vs freewheel as long as the hub will take both. You can buy a fixed cog or freewheel for $10-20
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Old 05-16-14, 11:22 AM   #8
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Swift is aluminum/carbon fork the others are steel. That's mainly a preference. The kilo has Reynolds frame which among the steel options is considered slightly better and the components are a little better for the extra $100.

Swift vs the Hour would basically be aluminum vs steel. I think cheap steel frame is generally better then cheap aluminum as far as ride quality goes. Don't get caught up on fixed vs freewheel as long as the hub will take both. You can buy a fixed cog or freewheel for $10-20
What about Winsor Clockwork Plus vs. Kilo TT? Are they kind of equal or is one better than the other? Thanks for your suggestions, by the way.
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Old 05-16-14, 01:10 PM   #9
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For resale value alone, I would go with Kilo TT. Lots of people really love those.

As far as sizing, I usually recommend a standover height of 1" - 2" less than your inseam for general riding. I think the sizing suggestions on the BD site are generally going to suit your needs.
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Old 05-16-14, 01:45 PM   #10
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For resale value alone, I would go with Kilo TT. Lots of people really love those.

As far as sizing, I usually recommend a standover height of 1" - 2" less than your inseam for general riding. I think the sizing suggestions on the BD site are generally going to suit your needs.
Standover height means nothing, it's all about top tube length for the right fit.
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Old 05-16-14, 03:35 PM   #11
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Look at the sticky for the Competitive Fit calculator. It's not perfect but it will get you close enough and go with effective top tube that fits you both. Make sure you read the bike geometry charts to see the top tube measurements because it's not the same as the bike size
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Old 05-16-14, 03:56 PM   #12
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Look at the sticky for the Competitive Fit calculator. It's not perfect but it will get you close enough and go with effective top tube that fits you both. Make sure you read the bike geometry charts to see the top tube measurements because it's not the same as the bike size
Is there any information as to what those input measurements mean? For example, what's Trunk and Sternal Notch??
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Old 05-16-14, 03:59 PM   #13
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Is there any information as to what those input measurements mean? For example, what's Trunk and Sternal Notch??
Never mind, I found a video that shows how to do the measurements
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Old 05-17-14, 02:36 AM   #14
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Fixed gear does NOT mean 'track bike'. A track bike is one designed to be raced on a velodrome. However, you can use fixed gear bikes on the road and if you're willing to work within the limitations of a track bike, you can use a track bike on the road. However, there are more useful bikes for use on the road and many of these have track like geometry if that's what you want.
Just sayin' in case you're confused (as many are) about the terminology and what it means in the real world.
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Old 05-17-14, 05:12 AM   #15
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If I was just starting out, I'd get a flip single speed/fixed bike first, without the drop handlebars. If you're just riding primarily in the city, then there's no real need to ride in the drops for the most part. I know that I ride a road bike, but 90% of the time, I'm on the hoods.

IMHO, you would be better off buying at Performance, where you can at least test ride the bike, before actually taking delivery of the bike. That way, you can more easily receive a refund, if you're dissatisfied with the bike. Checkout the SE Draft Lite single speed @$300 at Performance.

Find Bikes, Cycling Clothing, Bike Parts & Bike Shoes Or Your Local Bike Store at Performance.

It's considered as a "Fitness bike"...

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Old 05-17-14, 07:04 AM   #16
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If I was just starting out, I'd get a flip single speed/fixed bike first, without the drop handlebars. If you're just riding primarily in the city, then there's no real need to ride in the drops for the most part. I know that I ride a road bike, but 90% of the time, I'm on the hoods.
You really have to wonder about this bloke. In another thread (at least one, I suspect others), he's tried to claim that drop bars = an aggressive bike. FFS, they are only HANDLE FLAMIN" BARS and when it comes to bars for 'just starting out', they are the perfect choice.

Fixed gear/SS means you only have one gear - no mystery in that though you'd wonder with some posts. Road drop bars, NOT track bars which are another beast completely, when fitted with a pair of road brake levers, provide the most hand positions you'll get on any set of bars. You DO NOT have to set them up miles below your saddle and this is where WestPablo gets himself all confused because he imagines that road bars = an aggressive riding position (actually, he imagines it means an aggressive frame but that's nonsense as shown in another thread). My own bikes wear road bars set at more or less the same height as the saddle and don't even pretend to be aggressive. Not only is this comfortable, it gives a variety of hand positions and seating positions. If you don't understand that moving your hands changes how you sit you shouldn't be arguing the point in the first place. For this reason alone, they are a better choice than any other choice of bars. If you are spending 90% of your time on the hoods, you are not riding efficiently and your bike is probably poorly set up because on an efficient bike, you can and do change hand positions fairly often to even out the wear on your body.

Apart from the variety of hand positions, where road drops really come into their own on a fg/ss bike is when you hit a head wind. On a geared bike, you simply go down a gear or two. You can't do that with our bikes however, simply going onto the drops reduces your aerodynamic drag and it's like having another gear in your back pocket. True, you need to have your bike set up properly to take advantage of it but that's just part of the skill of bike fit and even fat old gits like me appreciate that lower gear when the need presents.
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Old 05-17-14, 08:15 AM   #17
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Checkout the SE Draft Lite single speed @$300 at Performance. It's got a chromoly frame, too!
No it doesn't. Draft Lite - Urban Series, Lifestyle Bikes | SEBikes.com

I would do the fit calculator (more than one time to ensure proper measurement), and order something online that fit properly. For a first and primary bike I would prefer a chromoly steel bike.

This one would fit the bill...for me.
Save Up to 60% Off Track Bikes | SingleSpeed Bikes | Fixie | Windsor Bikes - The Hour | Save up to 60% off Fixed gear and singlespeed bicycles

Downside is that you may want an LBS to assemble your bike if you don't feel comfortable doing so.

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Old 05-17-14, 08:26 AM   #18
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You really have to wonder about this bloke. In another thread (at least one, I suspect others), he's tried to claim that drop bars = an aggressive bike. FFS, they are only HANDLE FLAMIN" BARS and when it comes to bars for 'just starting out', they are the perfect choice.
Drop handlebars were originally designed for racing. That's why they were first introduce to the U.S. on English racing styled bicycles, Bloke! Racing with drops gives you the aerodynamic advantage of decreasing air resistance when either attempting to accelerate or maintain your current speed. When drop handlebars are used for their intended purpose, it is assumed that the cyclist is riding in a more aggressive position.

Track bikes are just that! They were made for racing on a track. If you've ever observed a track race, you would see that all of the track racers assume that standard aggressive cycling position for racing. It is indeed a very aggressive position. Judging by your post, I can only assume that you're currently holding that very position yourself, right now.

Sure, a newbie just might prefer a track bike drop bar, as opposed to a flat bar. However, being new and becoming acclimated to cycling within an urban environment, I would strongly urge him to avoid cycling in the drops, in preference of holding a more upright position. Of course, this is just my opinion. One that I am entitled to, just like you, yourself!

Quote:
Fixed gear/SS means you only have one gear - no mystery in that though you'd wonder with some posts. Road drop bars, NOT track bars which are another beast completely, when fitted with a pair of road brake levers, provide the most hand positions you'll get on any set of bars.
Most track bars are not made to be fitted with brake levers. That's because they're usually not quite as wide, leaving less space to fit brake levers (though it's often done). However, road bikes are quite adept at accommodating brake levers on the wider drop bars. Nonetheless, that doesn't matter, the point remains that sporting either on your bike, provides the cyclist a more aero position when cycling.


Quote:

You DO NOT have to set them up miles below your saddle and this is where WestPablo gets himself all confused because he imagines that road bars = an aggressive riding position (actually, he imagines it means an aggressive frame but that's nonsense as shown in another thread).
All of the embolden portion of this statement is a lie. If not, prove it!

Quote:
My own bikes wear road bars set at more or less the same height as the saddle and don't even pretend to be aggressive. Not only is this comfortable, it gives a variety of hand positions and seating positions.
Most road bikes are equipped with drop bars, for the aero position option. Most road bike frames are designed with a more aggressive riding position in mind, with the weight of the cyclist shifted forward.

Yeah, and who doesn't know about the variety of hand positions afforded to the cyclist with drop bars? That was just one of my fundamental points in the thread that you aforementioned.


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For this reason alone, they are a better choice than any other choice of bars.
Maybe for you! However, many people find them to be uncomfortable, because they cause them back pain and undue stress. Besides, they're inadvisable for much urban cycling, because you'd need a more upright sitting position so that you can better observe traffic!

Quote:

If you are spending 90% of your time on the hoods, you are not riding efficiently and your bike is probably poorly set up because on an efficient bike, you can and do change hand positions fairly often to even out the wear on your body.
I spend 90% of my time on the hoods, because 90% of the time, I'm commuting where I need to see more vehicles in dense traffic. I can't afford to have my head buried below car tops and truck beds. That would not only be dangerous, but stupid, as well!

Quote:

Apart from the variety of hand positions, where road drops really come into their own on a fg/ss bike is when you hit a head wind. On a geared bike, you simply go down a gear or two. You can't do that with our bikes however, simply going onto the drops reduces your aerodynamic drag and it's like having another gear in your back pocket. True, you need to have your bike set up properly to take advantage of it but that's just part of the skill of bike fit and even fat old gits like me appreciate that lower gear when the need presents.
Glad to see that you know when to go down a gear or two, Fat Guy! However, your original point was that the track bar was the preferred bar on a track bike when sporting brake levers. Now, you appear to be saying that drop bars are preferred. Do you even know the point your trying to make here? ...Do you even know the difference between a track bar and a drop bar, yourself?

www.bikeforums.net/singlespeed-fixedgear/28787-cowhorns-vs-track-bars-road-bars.html

Last edited by WestPablo; 05-17-14 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 05-17-14, 08:56 AM   #19
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Performance says it does, but SE doesn't state it, specifically...Therefore, we can safely assume that it doesn't!...Gotcha!
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Old 05-17-14, 09:29 AM   #20
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Drop bars with hoods offer you the most hand positions. Options are a good thing. I would rather start with that and then swap out to bullhorn or risers if you find you don't need all the positions. If I'm riding more then a couple of miles at a time I sure like to change hand positions.
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Old 05-17-14, 06:45 PM   #21
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[QUOTE=europa;16766131]Fixed gear does NOT mean 'track bike'. A track bike is one designed to be raced on a velodrome. However, you can use fixed gear bikes on the road and if you're willing to work within the limitations of a track bike, you can use a track bike on the road. However, there are more useful bikes for use on the road and many of these have track like geometry if that's what you want.
Just sayinin case you're confused (as many are) about the terminology and what it means in the real world.[/QUOTE

I'm probably confused with the terminology. I tried a track bike today and I didn't like it. I felt I was too forward. I looked at Motobecane fixie cafe. Is that good for someone who is not a track bike person but wants a single speed?
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Old 05-17-14, 07:20 PM   #22
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Trying as many bikes as you can is a very smart move because, as you've discovered, that's when you discover what you do and don't like. I prefer the old style roadies myself - my Europa actually is an 80s road bike while my Hillbrick was based on it. Both bikes have drop bars set at saddle height and both feature a long wheel base with relaxed geometry to give a comfortable and relaxed yet still very responsive ride. These are the sort of things you work out over the years of owning and riding lots of bikes so your first choices can be a bit of a lottery, hence the advice to try as many as you can.

You see many bikes, particularly on the internet, with the bars set much lower than the saddle. This results in the feeling you noticed until you get used to it. The lower the bars, the more fit and flexible you have to be to maintain that position and the more you have to lift your head up to see around you which isn't as good in traffic. Lower bars are, however, more aerodynamic which is why that position is used in racing. For normal riding (and for us older gentlemen) having the bars higher makes more sense - less strain on the body, better visibility in traffic and less need for the aero gains.

The trick is to find a bike that allows you to raise the bars up to where you want them. This can be done with track bikes, they'll just be more twitchy than something designed for the road but many prefer them and set them up for the road, not the track. To achieve this, the headtube of the frame (the bit the forks go through) will need to be higher and this raises the top tube. Forget about having lots of seat tube showing, on my bikes, you can just grasp it with your fist. The top tube can be high enough to lightly touch your privates when straddling the bike without a problem (many of us have ridden that way for years).

So, work out what sort of bars want to use (road drops with brakes and hoods is the best choice but flat bars and risers work well too), work out where you want them (even a couple of inches below the saddle is fine for a young bloke ... and many older blokes too for that matter) and look for a frame that will allow you to put them there.

However, we haven't come to the most important measurement and that is the length of the top tube. This is important because it defines how much you have to reach to get to bars. It can be compensated for to a certain amount by shorter or longer necks (the bit that holds the bars to the frame). If you've got a favourite bike now, measure that top tube length and use it to choose your new mount, otherwise use one of fit calculators or, better still, take a tape with you as you try out different bikes.

It sounds like a lot of mucking about but if you ride a lot of different bikes, eventually it falls into place.

Remeber, riding SS or FG is no different to riding a bike with gears (except for all the gear changing) so if you find a geared bike you really like, measure it and use those numbers ... or, if practical, buy it and convert it.

I can't comment on the Motobecane because we don't get them here. I'm sure others can though.
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Old 05-17-14, 07:32 PM   #23
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Track bikes are designed to be raced - they like very smooth surfaces, react very quickly to steering input and when chosen for the track, place you in a low racing position.

You can address that last item by buying a larger track frame than you'd use on the track as along with the higher head tube, you'll also get a longer top tube so. The thing to watch is that you don't go too big and have to reach too far for the bars. You'll still have a twitchy bike that likes smooth surfaces.

More road orientated bikes won't be as twitchy, be more forgiving of the road surface and it will be easier to get a frame that fits a road riding position.

For an urban bike, look for places to mount fenders, front and rear brakes, carriers, drink bottles - pure track bikes won't have any of them, many roadies won't either. Many bikes designed for the urban environment do, at least in part.
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Old 05-17-14, 08:22 PM   #24
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Fixed gear does NOT mean 'track bike'. A track bike is one designed to be raced on a velodrome. However, you can use fixed gear bikes on the road and if you're willing to work within the limitations of a track bike, you can use a track bike on the road. However, there are more useful bikes for use on the road and many of these have track like geometry if that's what you want.
Just sayin' in case you're confused (as many are) about the terminology and what it means in the real world.
I'm sure I'm confused. What type of useful bike would you recommend for the road that have track like geometry?
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Old 05-17-14, 08:31 PM   #25
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Trying as many bikes as you can is a very smart move because, as you've discovered, that's when you discover what you do and don't like. I prefer the old style roadies myself - my Europa actually is an 80s road bike while my Hillbrick was based on it. Both bikes have drop bars set at saddle height and both feature a long wheel base with relaxed geometry to give a comfortable and relaxed yet still very responsive ride. These are the sort of things you work out over the years of owning and riding lots of bikes so your first choices can be a bit of a lottery, hence the advice to try as many as you can.


You see many bikes, particularly on the internet, with the bars set much lower than the saddle. This results in the feeling you noticed until you get used to it. The lower the bars, the more fit and flexible you have to be to maintain that position and the more you have to lift your head up to see around you which isn't as good in traffic. Lower bars are, however, more aerodynamic which is why that position is used in racing. For normal riding (and for us older gentlemen) having the bars higher makes more sense - less strain on the body, better visibility in traffic and less need for the aero gains.

The trick is to find a bike that allows you to raise the bars up to where you want them. This can be done with track bikes, they'll just be more twitchy than something designed for the road but many prefer them and set them up for the road, not the track. To achieve this, the headtube of the frame (the bit the forks go through) will need to be higher and this raises the top tube. Forget about having lots of seat tube showing, on my bikes, you can just grasp it with your fist. The top tube can be high enough to lightly touch your privates when straddling the bike without a problem (many of us have ridden that way for years).

So, work out what sort of bars want to use (road drops with brakes and hoods is the best choice but flat bars and risers work well too), work out where you want them (even a couple of inches below the saddle is fine for a young bloke ... and many older blokes too for that matter) and look for a frame that will allow you to put them there.

However, we haven't come to the most important measurement and that is the length of the top tube. This is important because it defines how much you have to reach to get to bars. It can be compensated for to a certain amount by shorter or longer necks (the bit that holds the bars to the frame). If you've got a favourite bike now, measure that top tube length and use it to choose your new mount, otherwise use one of fit calculators or, better still, take a tape with you as you try out different bikes.

It sounds like a lot of mucking about but if you ride a lot of different bikes, eventually it falls into place.

Remeber, riding SS or FG is no different to riding a bike with gears (except for all the gear changing) so if you find a geared bike you really like, measure it and use those numbers ... or, if practical, buy it and convert it.

I can't comment on the Motobecane because we don't get them here. I'm sure others can though.
Thank you very much for your suggestions, I really really appreciate it.
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