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  1. #1
    You know you want to. Eatadonut's Avatar
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    difference between track and fixie?

    What are the differences between a track bike and a fixie? Is a track bike just a specific form of fixed?
    Weather today: Hot. Humid. Potholes.

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    Senior Member gilby's Avatar
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    A bike that isn't track-specific can be turned into a fixie, but a track bike is built specifically for riding on the track. It has different geometry--the bottom bracket is higher off the ground, and the handling is different with your weight further forward. The frames don't accomodate deraillers or brakes.

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    no brakes,no problem! -Blanco-'s Avatar
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    also due to the afformentioned different geometry there is usually toe overlap in true track bikes(ie wen crankarm is at most forward u cant turn the front wheel as ur foot will be in the way)...basically a fixie can be anything...converted road frame/track bike...but a track bike is a track bike

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    Destroyer of Worlds kyledr's Avatar
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    an easy way to tell is the dropout (or lack of). Track bike has fork end, which is horizontal and the opening is at the very rear of the bike. fixies can be horizontal or even vertical dropouts, but would not be limited to dropouts, and can include track ends, since a track bike is a fixie but a fixie doesn't have to be a track bike.

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    Junior Member judson's Avatar
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    The first pic is of a bike with a dropout & rear derailer hanger, people will remove the derailer, change to a single freewheel or fixed gear sprocket. The second is of a "track" bike with horizontal drops.

    Hope pics come out
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Destroyer of Worlds kyledr's Avatar
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    those are not dropouts on the track bike. read sheldon's site

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    Junior Member judson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyledr
    those are not dropouts on the track bike. read sheldon's site
    You're right, track does not have a "dropout" more of a fork end. (I like horizontal dropout, how about a 'drop-back' lol) But I think most would understand the pictures included.

    -Judson
    Last edited by judson; 08-06-06 at 09:30 AM.

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    "Fixie" is slang referring to any bike that has a fixed rear hub, that is to say, it does not have a freewheel so anytime the rear hub is turning the pedals are also turning. You can convert any bike (road, mountain, tricycle etc) into a fixie but a "track bike" is built specifically around the concept of the fixed rear hub and the stresses which come with this type of use. The chain, for example, is 1/8 inch instead of the thinner and weaker 3/32 inch of road bikes, and therefore the rear sprocket and front chainring are also thicker and stronger. The front chainring, which if not strong enough, could possibly suffer from metal fatigue and fail under severe stress such as emergency stopping when the chain is used to lock up the rear wheel. Or when sprinting.

    Regarding the frame, yes as someone else mentioned the bottom bracket is higher off the ground than on road cycles and usually the crank arms are shorter, like 165mm instead of 172.5 or 175 on most road bikes. This is due of course to the fact that you can't stop pedaling and therefore when leaning into a turn you must be certain that your crank arms do not touch the ground as the crank arms continue to turn.

    The wheelbase is also shorter which lends more stiffness to the frame and depending on what kind of forks you have you may experience "overlap" as someone else stated whereby the front wheel may touch the toes of the rider when turning the wheel, but this is certainly not always the case. The front forks, however, have circular tubing instead of the usual eliptical tubing on road bikes. Again, this is for lateral strength when sprinting away from a stop. For this reason, also, there are special track headsets which are stronger. Stems and bars are usually steel as this is stronger than aluminum. Generally speaking, track parts are stronger than road parts because they take such a pounding, and therefore they tend to command more money. Just check ebay and you'll see.

    In short, a fixie may have a road frame, road forks, road cranks, a road headset, a road stem, road bars, a road chainring, a road chain, and a road sprocket but a track bike would not unless someone messed with it and put road equipement on it, or didn't have the good taste or the money to do so. Also, there are no holes for brakes in either the fork or the frame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by landrover4
    "Fixie" is slang referring to any bike that has a fixed rear hub, that is to say, it does not have a freewheel so anytime the rear hub is turning the pedals are also turning. You can convert any bike (road, mountain, tricycle etc) into a fixie but a "track bike" is built specifically around the concept of the fixed rear hub and the stresses which come with this type of use. The chain, for example, is 1/8 inch instead of the thinner and weaker 3/32 inch of road bikes, and therefore the rear sprocket and front chainring are also thicker and stronger. The front chainring, which if not strong enough, could possibly suffer from metal fatigue and fail under severe stress such as emergency stopping when the chain is used to lock up the rear wheel. Or when sprinting.

    Regarding the frame, yes as someone else mentioned the bottom bracket is higher off the ground than on road cycles and usually the crank arms are shorter, like 165mm instead of 172.5 or 175 on most road bikes. This is due of course to the fact that you can't stop pedaling and therefore when leaning into a turn you must be certain that your crank arms do not touch the ground as the crank arms continue to turn.

    The wheelbase is also shorter which lends more stiffness to the frame and depending on what kind of forks you have you may experience "overlap" as someone else stated whereby the front wheel may touch the toes of the rider when turning the wheel, but this is certainly not always the case. The front forks, however, have circular tubing instead of the usual eliptical tubing on road bikes. Again, this is for lateral strength when sprinting away from a stop. For this reason, also, there are special track headsets which are stronger. Stems and bars are usually steel as this is stronger than aluminum. Generally speaking, track parts are stronger than road parts because they take such a pounding, and therefore they tend to command more money. Just check ebay and you'll see.

    In short, a fixie may have a road frame, road forks, road cranks, a road headset, a road stem, road bars, a road chainring, a road chain, and a road sprocket but a track bike would not unless someone messed with it and put road equipement on it, or didn't have the good taste or the money to do so. Also, there are no holes for brakes in either the fork or the frame.
    Wow! No "road equipment" unless the owner lacked good taste or money? No 3/32" chainrings because they couldn't deal with the force of skidding on the track? Circular tubing only on forks? Steel stems? Special track headsets? Track parts command more money becuase the are stronger?

    I think everything except maybe the first two sentences in this post can be disregarded.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dutret
    Wow! No "road equipment" unless the owner lacked good taste or money? No 3/32" chainrings because they couldn't deal with the force of skidding on the track? Circular tubing only on forks? Steel stems? Special track headsets? Track parts command more money becuase the are stronger?

    I think everything except maybe the first two sentences in this post can be disregarded.
    I'll try to enlarge on the issues you mentioned. If you want to disregard them, that's fine, but perhaps I wasn't clear in my earlier post -- I'll try again for you.

    As far as the 1/8 vs 3/32 chainrings (and chain and sprocket) are concerned, there's a reason they are thicker on track bikes: to enable them to withstand increased force due to sprinting and stopping. This does not apply to other types of bikes converted to fixed gear with handbrakes. I have seen a fixed bike (no handbrake) with a 3/32 chainring throw it's chain during a highspeed skidding stop -- not because the chain broke, but because the 3/32 chainring was bent from the force of the stop. If anyone has heard of this happening with a 1/8 chainring, please let me know. I believe Greg Goode has written an article about this very subject.

    Circular tubing was standard on track bike forks (I ride 70s and early 80s track bikes) and the tubing was circular, not eliptical as on road bikes, to withstand the increased lateral forces encountered in track racing. Modern forks may of course be different, I was referring to vintage track bikes. But don't take my word for it, just do your research. Perhaps you could start with Sheldon's site, if you don't find anything there get back to me and I'll point you in the right direction.

    Headsets specifically designed for the track were (and presumably still are) made by Shimano and Campagnolo -- again, they are stronger than road headsets in order to withstand the increased stress. A NOS (New Old Stock) Campagnolo Super Record Pista (track) headset will usually command more money on ebay than a NOS Super Record Strada (road) headset. This also appears to be the case with Super Record Pista cranks vs. Super Record Strada cranks. Check for yourself. Same goes for Dura Ace. Perhaps they command more money because they are more scarce, which may be true. Presumably Campagnolo and Shimano have produced more road components than track components and so there are simply fewer track bits out there, hence the increased price. If anyone has noticed that track components are less expensive than road components, please post and let us know where we can get them.

    As for the question of taste, well, there is no accounting for taste, is there? I've even seen people drill holes in track bikes to mount brakes levers . . .

    Do let me know if you have any other questions.
    Last edited by landrover4; 08-08-06 at 05:13 AM.

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    No you were perfectly clear just clueless.

    Noone skids on the track.... ever. If anything any considerations regarding skidding should be for non-track fixies rather then track bikes. Also the width of the teeth has very little to do with how stiff the ring is anyway. The width of the non-toothed section determines that.

    Yes so maybe if you said really old track bikes have circular tubing it would have been an accurate statement of what makes a track bike but not many new ones do.

    My point with the headsets is that most track bikes don't have a record pista or durace track headset on them. They don't even make a different record pista headset anymore and the only reason the dura ace track exists as a seperate headset is because there is no other dura-ace headset. It was a jab at your silly notion that real people who care about performance instead of collectors with money to blow would only use a "track" headset.

    Quote Originally Posted by landrover4
    Perhaps they command more money because they are more scarce, which may be true.
    more likely it's because everyone and thier brother wants "vintage TRACK RECORD PISTA classic ITALIAN NOT DURA ACE NJS." If you look anywhere else track components are cheaper then road. See the difference in pricing between Record/Record pista or duraace/duraace track.

    There was nothing in your post that accurately described what makes a track bike a track bike except in terms of some non-track riding collectors ideal. It's too bad that in your mind the vast majority of track bikes actually ridden on the track have been "messed up" by people lacking in taste.

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    "Noone skids on the track... ever." May have been a bit of an overstatement before you jump on it. People will skid if they have a mechanical that locks up their back wheel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dutret
    No you were perfectly clear just clueless.

    Noone skids on the track.... ever. If anything any considerations regarding skidding should be for non-track fixies rather then track bikes. Also the width of the teeth has very little to do with how stiff the ring is anyway. The width of the non-toothed section determines that.

    Thanks for taking the time to develop your thoughts a bit more than in your original post, but all of us reading this could do without the insults.

    I didn't say anything about riding in velodromes, or about skidding in them, so no, I won't jump on your sentence as you thought I might. If you go back and reread my post it should be clear that this was a discussion about track bikes vs. fixies and no where did I mention velodromes. As for the chainrings, of course the width of the ring itself gives it strength, not only the teeth of the ring. It's fair to say that the width of the chainring is also a factor in the width of the teeth, which are, of course, thicker on a track ring than on a road ring. Of course the whole thing is thicker.


    Yes so maybe if you said really old track bikes have circular tubing it would have been an accurate statement of what makes a track bike but not many new ones do.

    Many of the new bikes must be using something that originally came out of a bottle and later hardened -- circular forks still exist, however.

    My point with the headsets is that most track bikes don't have a record pista or durace track headset on them. They don't even make a different record pista headset anymore and the only reason the dura ace track exists as a seperate headset is because there is no other dura-ace headset. It was a jab at your silly notion that real people who care about performance instead of collectors with money to blow would only use a "track" headset.

    Easy on the allusive insulting remarks. It's a pity that Campagnolo has ceased production of the track headset, but at least they have continued producing the track bottom bracket. If you are riding a track bike why put road parts on it? Why not take a road bike and turn it into a fixie with a little front brake and then you won't need track parts.

    more likely it's because everyone and thier brother wants "vintage TRACK RECORD PISTA classic ITALIAN NOT DURA ACE NJS." If you look anywhere else track components are cheaper then road. See the difference in pricing between Record/Record pista or duraace/duraace track.

    No, everybody and their brother wants vintage Dura Ace Track as well, and it's expensive. Just peruse ebay and you'll see that vintage NOS track will usually go for more than vintage NOS road. A Cinelli 2A steel stem will more often than not go for more money than a Cinelli 1A aluminum stem. Thanks for the tip on current 06 pricing, I might check into it.

    There was nothing in your post that accurately described what makes a track bike a track bike except in terms of some non-track riding collectors ideal. It's too bad that in your mind the vast majority of track bikes actually ridden on the track have been "messed up" by people lacking in taste.

    Again, I think you should go back and reread my post. I never said anything about bikes ridden on the track, I described track bikes and some of the inherent differences with road bikes which might become "fixies" for the person who had asked. Was there really "nothing in [my] post that accurately discribed what makes a track bike?" My post was quite clear about some of the geometrical differences of the frame, the fork tubing -- especially for older track bikes -- and the components. Please add more if you wish.

    I didn't say anything about bikes ridden on the track being "messed up." Careful when you quote someone. I said, "In short, a fixie may have a road frame, road forks, road cranks, a road headset, a road stem, road bars, a road chainring, a road chain, and a road sprocket but a track bike would not unless someone messed with it and put road equipement on it, or didn't have the good taste or the money to do so." Go back and reread it. I didn't say that those bikes were "messed up" as you stated. "Messed up" as you put it is an adjective, I used the verb "to mess with something" as in "to change something." Personally I don't have the money for a Cinelli 2A track stem on my bike, so I have a 1A road stem. I'm one of those who doesn't have the money for all that stuff.

    Finally, I don't have any particular image or idea about "the vast majority of track bikes actually ridden on the track," as you say I do, so why not drop the jabbing insults and innuendo and come back to a decent discussion about track bikes and fixies. If my post offended you earlier, that was not my intention. That said, I appreciate your knowlegable contribution to this thread.


    .
    Last edited by landrover4; 08-08-06 at 02:07 PM.

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    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    A lot of six-day (and other madison) riders use road bars for comfort. It's also nice to have road bars that have a real "top" position when you're riding relief. For a 30-40 km points race they're going to be a lot more comfortable than steel sprint bars, too.

    I have a couple or three 70's and 80's steel track bikes and IIRC (since they're at home and I'm not), they all have at least slightly elliptical fork tubes.

    A lot of guys are also riding 170s, and even 172.5 on the track, particularly if they ride shallow tracks or are primarily pursuiters. I pretty much stick to 165, but I also get called old school.

    The main reason anymore to use 1/8" chain is compatibility. 3/32" stuff is quite strong, and as mentioned above, nobody skids on the track except as the consequence of something else already being extremely wrong. At that point, the last thing you need to worry about is 1/8 vs 3/32.

    Now that almost all forks are threadless (even on track bikes) you mostly see alloy stems, even on the very highest end bikes. They seem to work fine.

    Track headsets probably take much less of a beating than road headsets (except when they're on the roof of the car on the way to the track). A lot fewer potholes on most tracks. Again, there's nothing really track specific about headsets. The only time it will matter is if you're racing keirin in Japan and have to have all NJS stuff.
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    actually the differences in headsets (pista vs strada) have nothing to do
    with strength.

    From Sutherlands:
    campy super record pista has a stack height of 33.7 and uses 25 5/32 ball bearings
    (and stack height is lower for both upper and lower halves).
    Campy super Record Strada has a stack height of 39.1 and uses 22 3/16 ball bearings.

    the lower stack height has the effect of lowering the front end of the bike.

    The shorter crank arms and higher bottom bracket (not BB drop) are designed
    to avoid pedal strike while in the steeply banked corners (up to 50 degrees at some
    tracks).

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    I went up and spoke with a wheel-builder guy, an old track racer who has a little shop here in the city, and his take on the track headsets vs. the road headsets was that the track headsets were indeed not only stronger due to the increased number of bearings (and other differences) but also smoother. (Hard to imagine.) Yes, they lowered the front end of the bike, but that was not the sole aim except perhaps to decrease the amount of torque and/or lateral leverage power during hard sprints in order to reduce damage.

    He also showed me a couple 70s track frames and forks with, you guessed it, eliptical forks, but ALL of the frames with eliptical forks had holes drilled in the forks for brake calipers, so perhaps they were either dual purpose forks or simply borrowed from a road bike. Are there holes drilled in your eliptical forks?

    In terms of skidding on a track, no indeed, 1/8 or 3/32 is the least of your worries there, but on the streets with track bikes we skid all the time, and having a 3/32 road ring suffer metal fatigue and fail is just not an option in traffic or going down a hill. With a "fixie" you can get away with a 3/32 road ring as long as you have at least one brake caliper mounted on the bike.

    Does anyone know what the technical differences are between a track bottom bracket and a road bottom bracket?

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    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by landrover4
    He also showed me a couple 70s track frames and forks with, you guessed it, eliptical forks, but ALL of the frames with eliptical forks had holes drilled in the forks for brake calipers, so perhaps they were either dual purpose forks or simply borrowed from a road bike. Are there holes drilled in your eliptical forks?
    None are drilled.
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  18. #18
    Blast from the Past Voodoo76's Avatar
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    BB height and Crank lenght are to keep you from hitting the track riding SLOW, not leaning into a turn. Look at em, the RH pedal has the bevel worn in. Never seen an intentional "skid" on the track, at least one w/o loss of skin.

    I beleive the Chain width thing is just a carry over, not a consious design consideration. Road Bikes got narrower (and still are) and Track stuff just stayed the same (with the breif exception of Shimano 10).

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    Quote Originally Posted by lotek
    From Sutherlands:
    campy super record pista has a stack height of 33.7 and uses 25 5/32 ball bearings
    (and stack height is lower for both upper and lower halves).
    Campy super Record Strada has a stack height of 39.1 and uses 22 3/16 ball bearings.
    interestingly that also goes against landrovers assumptions about "track" headsets. More bearings are used because they are smaller. This larger number of smaller bearings will actually deal with stress more poorly then the road headset.

    Quote Originally Posted by landrover4
    I didn't say anything about riding in velodromes, or about skidding in them, so no, I won't jump on your sentence as you thought I might. If you go back and reread my post it should be clear that this was a discussion about track bikes vs. fixies and no where did I mention velodromes. As for the chainrings, of course the width of the ring itself gives it strength, not only the teeth of the ring. It's fair to say that the width of the chainring is also a factor in the width of the teeth, which are, of course, thicker on a track ring than on a road ring. Of course the whole thing is thicker.
    I'm sorry I figured when we where discussing what a track bike was we were refering to bikes designed to be ridden at a velodrome. I see now you define a track bike as ""track bike" is built specifically around the concept of the fixed rear hub and the stresses which come with this type of use." which I guess has nothing to do with a track... In that case I take back what I said about the first two sentences of your post making sense. The entire thing is absurd. A track bike is a bike meant to be ridden on a track not any bike specifically designed to have a fixed gear.

    Quote Originally Posted by landrover4
    In terms of skidding on a track, no indeed, 1/8 or 3/32 is the least of your worries there, but on the streets with track bikes we skid all the time, and having a 3/32 road ring suffer metal fatigue and fail is just not an option in traffic or going down a hill. With a "fixie" you can get away with a 3/32 road ring as long as you have at least one brake caliper mounted on the bike.
    This can't be serious...

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    track bikes are stiffer and the forks often have no rack the frames have fork ends and high bb's different geometry and twitchy handling alot of them are drilled for brakes but will not work well with brakes as the currnet trend is to ride a track bike on the street

    as afar as 1/8 vs 3/32 3/32 is quieter and a little weaker the 1/8 has a little better mechanical engagement and is a little stronger the size of the chain doesn't matter both standards are track legal in the us

    now if you are some idiot who will never ride in japan but has to have a keirin njs certified rig then be that way but 1/8 and 3/32 make no real difference except maybe you will find chains easier for 3/32
    I am dyslexic so bear with my posts.... [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    a 1/8th chain is a lot stiffer laterally than a 3/32 chain. Yes it's probably more of a holdover thing, but I would take the less flexible chain anyday.
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    Paste Taster Retem's Avatar
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    3/32 is actually cheaper as well but I undertand stiffness i use 1/8 and swear by it I just don't like people getting down in 3/32 I also weigh about 230lbs and sprint so....
    I am dyslexic so bear with my posts.... [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    I would think that braking on a road bike would put far more stress on a headset than sprinting. With good form, your bike isn't leaning much in either direction while sprinting. Braking, however, puts the entire mass of rider+bike times the acceleration (thanks Newton!) of braking on the headset using the fork as a lever arm.

    Though i usually disagree with Dutret, i have to agree with him this time on the point that talking about the stresses put on a track bike without infering that the bike is being ridden on a track is pretty absurd.
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sivat
    Though i usually disagree with Dutret, i have to agree with him this time on the point that talking about the stresses put on a track bike without infering that the bike is being ridden on a track is pretty absurd.
    If you've ridden a track bike in any large city without brakes you know that it takes much more of beating than in a velodrome. According to Campagnolo, they will not guarantee any of their track parts if they are ridden on the road -- see Sheldon's site for the letter and photo of the imploded Campagnolo rear track hub. Since this is a thread comparing track and fixie bikes it seemed likely that whoever posed the question was thinking of riding on the road.

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    Geek Extraordinaire sivat's Avatar
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    But track bikes and fixed gears go through the same beating on the road. And yes, the beating is almost as severe as the one we're giving this dead horse.

    Besides, weren't you the one saying that track parts are built so much stronger than road parts? And yet, they don't hold up when used on the road...
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

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