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Track Cycling: Velodrome Racing and Training Area Looking to enter into the realm of track racing? Want to share your experiences and tactics for riding on a velodrome? The Track Cycling forums is for you! Come in and discuss training/racing, equipment, and current track cycling events.

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Old 10-05-05, 04:22 AM   #1
Sammyboy
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Entry level/low cost track bikes - and getting started

Ok, so learning that I have a velodrome less than 10 miles away, I've decided to go down and give one of their taster sessions a try. This has got me thinking though, if I love it, can I afford to get involved? So, a few questions. I guess what I'm looking for is an idea of the level of commitment necessary to dip my toe further than a couple of tasters.

1) Bikes

What are the options in low cost bikes in the UK. I know the Pista isn't available here, but the low end Fuji is. Is it any good? Are there other similarly priced bikes in the UK? I figure that for quite some time, the thing that'll stop me being competitive will be my fitness and technique, rather than the bike, which suggests that springing 250 on a low end bike to start off will probably do no harm. Am I missing something, is there something apalling about these low end bikes? Is the BB gonna fail on me if I ride it six times? Or would I be better off looking for a used, but higher quality older track bike on Ebay?

2) Pedals

I see the Fuji comes with clips and straps. That's what I'm used to (I'm old skool!). Is there any major reason to go clipless, or will I be cool with the clips and straps?

3) Other purchases

What else does a track rider need, at a basic level? Some type of fancy clothes etc?

4) Regularity of riding

I doubt I'm going to be going down there every single week. How does track competition work? Can you turn up and race every couple of weeks, when you've got the free time, or is it all or nothing?


Looking forward to your responses already......
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Old 10-05-05, 09:01 AM   #2
Mike T.
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Originally Posted by Sammyboy
Ok, so learning that I have a velodrome less than 10 miles away, I've decided to go down and give one of their taster sessions a try. This has got me thinking though, if I love it, can I afford to get involved? So, a few questions. I guess what I'm looking for is an idea of the level of commitment necessary to dip my toe further than a couple of tasters.

1) Bikes - What are the options in low cost bikes in the UK. I know the Pista isn't available here, but the low end Fuji is. Is it any good? Are there other similarly priced bikes in the UK? I figure that for quite some time, the thing that'll stop me being competitive will be my fitness and technique, rather than the bike, which suggests that springing 250 on a low end bike to start off will probably do no harm. Am I missing something, is there something apalling about these low end bikes? Is the BB gonna fail on me if I ride it six times? Or would I be better off looking for a used, but higher quality older track bike on Ebay?
Sammy, I lead 2-3 sessions per week on our local track and we have lots of KHS 100 rentals (their low end) and some low end Fujis too. Those bikes get used often for beginner, training and race sessions and have been going for 5+ months. Apart from crash damages they are holding up just fine. We've had lots of flats caused by cheap rim strips but that's easily solved. Heck until recently the one-lap track record was held by someone on a rental bike.


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Pedals - I see the Fuji comes with clips and straps. That's what I'm used to (I'm old skool!). Is there any major reason to go clipless, or will I be cool with the clips and straps?
There is nothing wrong with clips & straps Sammy and don't let anyone pressure you otherwise. Our rentals come with clips & straps but some people fit their own pedal systems.


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Other purchases - What else does a track rider need, at a basic level? Some type of fancy clothes etc?
Just about the same answer as above but it should be stated that dedicated cycling clothes have evolved for good reasons. Track gloves (finger or fingerless) are almost a must (they are in our sessions) and good cycling shorts make for comfortable riding. Plus a real cycling jersey is more comfortable than a damp cotton t-shirt.

Take along a water bottle or two and a towel and maybe some grub. If you're riding regularily then get a seat height allen wrench and a good pump.


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Regularity of riding - I doubt I'm going to be going down there every single week. How does track competition work? Can you turn up and race every couple of weeks, when you've got the free time, or is it all or nothing?
This depends on your track's racing setup. At ours you can just show up and race as often as you like (after proper instruction!). Contact your track's racing director for their info.

Last edited by Mike T.; 10-05-05 at 08:16 PM. Reason: Change Fuji 100 rentals to KHS 100 rentals! Woops!
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Old 10-05-05, 11:15 AM   #3
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Thanks Mike. Do you know whether there are other bikes at the same price point as the Fuji? And what about the idea of looking for something older, but better, on ebay?

Anyhow, the general feel I get from this is that 350-400 would get me outfitted.....
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Old 10-05-05, 05:08 PM   #4
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Do you know whether there are other bikes at the same price point as the Fuji? And what about the idea of looking for something older, but better, on ebay?
I don't know what's available in the low end bike market but I went with the older used bike idea. I picked up a nice well used early 1970s Colnago. It's a true classic. I had to re-build the wheels but that's easy for me. A lot of older bikes have shown up at our track recently.
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Old 10-05-05, 07:06 PM   #5
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Mike - that is a beautiful beautiful NAGO. The problem in my neck of the woods is that although there is a velodrome, there just isn't a supply of used track bikes....! E-bay is overpriced right now, except for Langsters which everyone seems to be moving as if they are going out of style....

So the answer, for me at least, is to wait until guys up north get too cold to ride this winter and start moving their steeds....
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Old 10-06-05, 12:54 AM   #6
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Hmmmm. A colnago for 300 doesn't seem absolutely out of the question...

I guess I'll see what ebay throws up.
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Old 10-06-05, 02:53 PM   #7
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Sammyboy,

I start track racing this year and bought myself the cheap Fuji (299) the only thing that I have changed since is the rear sprocket. I found 48x16 (U16 gearing in the UK) to low when racing on track at Halesowen eventually found that 48x14 was about right on the 400m track.
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Old 10-06-05, 03:01 PM   #8
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Sammyboy, also forgot to add look on http://www.veloriders.co.uk quite a few trackies post on that, some from the southampton area as well I think, they should be able to help you give it a go
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Old 10-06-05, 03:16 PM   #9
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Oh you two are stars. That's exactly the sort of info I needed. Cheers.
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Old 10-11-05, 02:57 PM   #10
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Sam,

Can you let me know what you find out about Calshot, as my brother lives in Southampton, and if I ver get the chance to come down and see him I wouldn't mind going over to the track
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Old 10-12-05, 02:09 AM   #11
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Sure. It might be a few weeks til I get there though - expensive couple of months, and though 13 aint much, it's some.....

I'll post my thoughts here when I get there.
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Old 10-16-05, 02:05 PM   #12
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Don't know if they are available by you, but the Specialized Langster is an affordable and great looking bike to get you rolling.
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Old 10-20-05, 02:28 PM   #13
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You might want to check out www.irocycle.com

Tony sells a Track specific steel bike that is very nice and highly regarded. I don't know if he can get it overseas but he is a really really good guy and if it can be done he can do it.

Milo

Ps. I shamelessly plug IRO when ever I get the chance, Tony is one of the best things to happen to the retail bike market.
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