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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 08-22-14, 06:44 PM   #1
coolcamaro12
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Converting older bike to track bike

I recently visited a velodrome in Rochester, Michigan (the only one in the state) and was instantly amazed by it. I really want to start in velodrome racing, But I don't have a bike for it. I am only a teenager so I don't need anything extremely quick or pro level. Is is worthwhile and permitted to convert a vintage Bianchi to a single speed to go on there?
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Old 08-22-14, 07:05 PM   #2
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Older road bikes often make good fixed gear conversions, but may not be appropriate for the velodrome due to geometry, bottom bracket height, etc. Have pictures of the bike?
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Old 08-22-14, 07:10 PM   #3
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Many velodromes have programs to introduce newbies to riding on the track. Some even have loaner bikes, or special rules allowing non track bikes for these special rides. If you decide you like it, it is possible to convert a road bike, but ask for advice about the specific rules about things like QR wheels, pedals, gearing and so on.
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Old 08-22-14, 07:34 PM   #4
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See this link >>> NEW RIDERS INFORMATION

They have track classes and should be able to help you hook up with a track bike.

FYI, I used to live in Jackson MI, and raced on the old now defunct Dorais Velodrome in Detroit. Dale Hughes designed the Frisco Superdrome where I now race.
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Old 08-22-14, 07:47 PM   #5
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See this link >>> NEW RIDERS INFORMATION

They have track classes and should be able to help you hook up with a track bike.

FYI, I used to live in Jackson MI, and raced on the old now defunct Dorais Velodrome in Detroit. Dale Hughes designed the Frisco Superdrome where I now race.
Thanks, never came across that link on their website. I'll go check that out, try a bike there to get used to it and see if I enjoy it, and then go on my journey to get a track bike
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Old 08-22-14, 09:03 PM   #6
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Older road bikes often make good fixed gear conversions, but may not be appropriate for the velodrome due to geometry, bottom bracket height, etc. Have pictures of the bike?
vintage concord 10 speed road bike That's a bike in the realm of what I would get (obviously swapping out a lot of components. What is the problem with the bottom bracket height? Is it too low?
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Old 08-22-14, 09:22 PM   #7
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vintage concord 10 speed road bike That's a bike in the realm of what I would get (obviously swapping out a lot of components. What is the problem with the bottom bracket height? Is it too low?
Track frames typically have higher bottom brackets than road frames to avoid pedal strike on track banking, but this is only a problem on tracks with very steep banking in the turns, which is not the case at the Michigan track. Nonetheless, you'd probably find it more practical and economical to by an inexpensive basic track bike like the Windsor The Hour from bikesdirect for $280 than to convert a road bike >>> Track Bkes | SingleSpeed Bikes | Fixie | Windsor Bikes - The Hour | Save up to 60% off Fixed gear and singlespeed bicycles
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Old 08-22-14, 09:55 PM   #8
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Track frames typically have higher bottom brackets than road frames to avoid pedal strike on track banking, but this is only a problem on tracks with very steep banking in the turns, which is not the case at the Michigan track. Nonetheless, you'd probably find it more practical and economical to by an inexpensive basic track bike like the Windsor The Hour from bikesdirect for $280 than to convert a road bike >>> Track Bkes | SingleSpeed Bikes | Fixie | Windsor Bikes - The Hour | Save up to 60% off Fixed gear and singlespeed bicycles

I was looking at those and was concerned about the quality- But yet this is a fixed gear so there isn't much that can go wrong. I'll look into those. I'll just have to sell my hybrid bike to get the money..My Specialized Tarmac put me 250 dollars in debt
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Old 08-22-14, 10:21 PM   #9
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I was looking at those and was concerned about the quality- But yet this is a fixed gear so there isn't much that can go wrong. I'll look into those. I'll just have to sell my hybrid bike to get the money..My Specialized Tarmac put me 250 dollars in debt
Before you do anything, go to the track first and ride one of the loaner bikes. The quality of the Windsor Hour is ok, so you won't have to change anything to get going on the track other than possibly pedals and different rear cog.
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Old 08-22-14, 10:34 PM   #10
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Check any rules and regulations your local track might have. Mine doesn't allow conversions unless you've been incredibly thorough, filing off all the cable guides, dérailleur hangers, etc. Even want the axles cut flush against the wheel nuts.
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Old 08-23-14, 12:50 AM   #11
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Check any rules and regulations your local track might have. Mine doesn't allow conversions unless you've been incredibly thorough, filing off all the cable guides, dérailleur hangers, etc. Even want the axles cut flush against the wheel nuts.
Whereas my local track is happy with conversions while you're testing the waters. Eventually though, you'll need to get a proper track bike and as mentioned above, they are really only suitable with the longer tracks that have lower banking.

Give it a go though. It's one hell of a blast.
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Old 08-23-14, 03:06 PM   #12
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Before you do anything, go to the track first and ride one of the loaner bikes. The quality of the Windsor Hour is ok, so you won't have to change anything to get going on the track other than possibly pedals and different rear cog.
Probably won't let him out on the boards solo unless he is "track certified".
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Old 08-24-14, 12:26 AM   #13
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Probably won't let him out on the boards solo unless he is "track certified".
Dunno what it's like where you are, but we have an outside velodrome that's bitumen. Having said that, our indoor velodrome is the main one for Australia (home of the national team, host to international events, etc) and during the track season, offers beginners nights every friday where anyone can come along and have a go. They even have loan bikes. I'm sure this sort of thing varies from place to place though, all the OP (and others) can do is go along and find out.
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