Question from new guy
I usually hang around the classic / vintage list but I have a question for the real track riders.
I moved to indianapolis last fall and I just found out that I live only 2-3 miles from the major taylor velodrome. When I lived in Minneapolis i rode the velodrome there a couple of times and I really loved it, but it was far away. I have been riding single speed commuting and the occasional fixed gear (but I have to admit I like brakes on the road!) for a long time. My question is: I want to use the velodrome for excercise (it is owned by the city park district so it is cheap and accessible) a couple of times a week starting in the spring but I'm not sure what qualifies for an entry level track bike. I know of all the "fixed gear" street bikes available now (surly, bianchi, almost everyone it seems this year...) but I wonder if they are really built for the track. Since I don't really enjoy city fixed riding I would like a basic steel track bike, on a budget. Something I would only use on the track. What do you suggest? Are there any good web classifieds for real track bikes? What should I look for?
Any info on a bike or on what I'll need to do to get into the sport would be great!
Any track bike will be fine. I ride regularily at the shortest and steepest track you can imagine - www.forestcityvelodrome.ca - and we see many inexpensive track bikes here and those riding them do just fine. Our rentals are mostly the low end KHS with a few Fujis thrown in. Those things get raced regularily and used in Trackschool and the rental fleet. Then the next level up seems to be the Langsters and the mid range Fuji with the odd Trek. They do just fine also and some of our best racers hand out regular whuppings while riding them.
Originally Posted by swen0171
There are a few Bianchi Pistas too and a whole load of stuff I can't remember. I can't think of one "track" bike that isn't ok for our track. Usually it's the person riding them that's the limiting factor - especially in my case. I'd suck on a 10K Look.
Heck we even see the odd converted road frame. They're ok too as long as the pedals don't hit and we have the perfect Go/No Go gauge for that - a piece of 2x4 on edge. If it fits under the low pedal then you won't hit your pedals on our 50 degree banking no matter what your BB height or crank length is.
In my opinion your biggest concern should be the dollars that you choose to spend and getting the best fit possible.
It's not the best setup but they do have loaner bikes available. I don't recall what the cost is, but it's an option if you haven't found a bike for yourself by the time the track is open again.
Originally Posted by swen0171
You might check out Indy craiglist, but I haven't had much luck there. There's lots of info on here about introductory track bikes so definitely poke around some.
Hit me up when you're ready to head out to the track, I'm hoping to head out there fairly often.
thanks for the information, I don't think the major taylor track is very high banked so I'm glad to hear that most track like bikes will work. I don't plan on burning up the competition or anything, I don't know how much i'll want to race, but it really seems a waste to not ride the track a couple of times a week if just for excercise. I'm looking at the KHS, inexpensive, steel, has silver parts, but what about size? I ride a 60cm city road bike, but I like a comfortable position for commuting. I used to ride a 57cm bianchi road bike for fast rides, it was a little small but I put a million miles on it. Do people usually ride smaller frames for the track? I heard that once, and I ask because the KHS only comes in 57 and 60, and I assumed I would get a 59 for a track bike. Any ideas?
Waldo--thanks! I'll get in touch when the snow melts. Do you know when the track opens?
Yeah, Major Taylor is only about 27 degrees or so IIRC. I'm no guru when it comes to track-specific sizing since I'm just getting into it, but check out the top tube length and standover to see what is closest to what you have and what you're comfortable with. Maybe someone else with more experience can shed some light, but the bikes I looked at typically ran large relative to a regular road bike so I ended up with a size smaller than I would ride on the road. I'm on the shorter side so I don't have anything I could offer up for you to try out for size.
I don't know when the track opens up, but this is the website if you haven't found it already:
Oh, and you can take any old bike to the open rides, aside from a BMX bike.
Bike fit for the track is like for any other bike - you really need to try and ride the size yr considering; this is the only way you'll know if its right. Comparing specs 'on paper' is difficult as geometry (ie fork rake, head / seat angles) will differ between 2 bikes that are nominally the same size, and the track ideally suits a bike with different handling from say, the road.
If you really can't try one and must do things on paper, I'd look at the top tube length first. Try and get this the same as what suits you on the road. If you fall exactly betweeen sizes, I'd go for the slightly shorter one and compensate with a slightly longer stem.
Forget 'standover height' - that's never been of much relevence in bike sizing, and particularly on the track as track bikes have higher BB's than road / touring bikes which will affect the 'standover height' for a given size frame.
And most of all enjoy yourself - it's cool!
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