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Thread: track bikes

  1. #1
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    track bikes

    so, why are track bikes fixed gear? is this a rule in track racing? if so, would track racing benefit from the introduction of multiple gear bikes(hypothetically)? would speeds increase and times go down? if not(a rule), it must be advantagous to use a fixed gear b/c that's what track racers use. anyone know why?

    as a sidenote, are there any good resources on the internet for either history of track racing or theory and strategy? thanks.

    dan

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    Kev
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    Well when riding in a velodrome on a track bike, you do not have varying terrain to deal with like on the road. So no real reason to switch gears, so more gears would just add weight and maintenance to the bike.

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    Weight is a factor too; gears and derailers add a lot of weight, and so do brakes. Fixed gear eliminates these, and thus the extra weight. Plus it's cool

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    Efficiency

    Track bikes are more efficient in a controled environment like a velodrome.

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    all this makes good sense. but, would it maybe be more effective to have 2 gears? i high and low, a bigger one for 90% of the race and then a little one to sprint w/? does this make sense?

    dan

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    Spawn of Satan
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    You have a huge range of speeds on a fixed gear.

    It all depends on your RPM's. You pick an initial gear range that optimizes whatever event you are doing.

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    cxmagazine dot com pitboss's Avatar
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    to prevent as many wuss, gear-twitchers off a perfectly good, fixed gear course
    Deathlap - cyclocross, training, beer,...escape hatch

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    the problem with having 2 gears on a FIXED GEAR bike is that it would defeat the PURPOSE of the bike being FIXED GEAR. with two gears, (i assume you mean two chainrings up front) you'd need a front derailuer, and a rear derailuer-like device in the back to take up the extra chain slack, (slack in the chain on a fixed gear bike is..well...not a good thing) plus all the other crap that goes along with shifting. and eventually, "track bikes" would evolve into road bikes. then everything would be the same again.

    and why would you want to shift to an easier gear for a sprint? why not just get up out of the saddle and PEDAL HARD!

    meh, fixed geared track bikes have been around a lot longer than road bikes with gears...they used to use them for all the major races, even the TdF...back when men were men, and they smoked and drank and had fun and pissed together on the roadside, and congratulated each other on a job well done.

    i'm inclined to believe that a track bike is more efficient than a road bike anywhere. i mean, if you're on a road bike, and your shifter cables snap, where are you? stuck the hardest possible gearing. meanwhile, on a track bike you just keeep oooon truckin'. also, and this is the big one, the pedals move for you, so it's easier to maintain a higher cadence, and from what i've noticed, easier to climb hills (as long as you're not runing like, 52/13, of course, then you could probably just build up enough speed to carry you up the hill ).

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    track bike

    One gear in front.
    One gear in back.
    No coasting.
    What don't you understand?

    fixedgearhead
    One gear in front,
    One gear in back,
    No coasting.
    What don't you understand?

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    Kev
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    Like the others said, a track bike because of no gears and extra stuff it is more efficient. People are always looking for the best hub to get instant engagement, but nothing beats a fixed gear you talk instant! As soon as you add gears.. you are adding inefficiency to the bike, so where it might help for about 30 seconds in a velodrome it will be less efficient the rest of the race so there is more drawbacks then benefits.

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    you guys: i understand what some of the advantages of a fixed gear bicycle are: efficiency, less weight, simplicity, etc. and for the record i think they are great machines. i'm just kind of thinking out loud here if it's possible bikes w/ multiple gears could have advantages in a track situation. like might it be helpful on time trials to have 2 different cadences to pedal at?

    sheesh. i'm just kind of questioning the standard, not implying that one way is either better or more correct than another.

    so no one can think of any advantages to having a geared bicycle on the track? or you just think whatever advantages there are are outweighted by the disadvantages? thats fine. i'm just curious.

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    Kev
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    I think it is simpley the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.. because of the reasons me and the others have stated. You are racing on a track with no hills, only reason for even having a second gear would be in the begining, but what does that take 30 seconds.. so then dealing with the inneficiency and added power loss the rest of the race. So not really beneficial in the long run.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev
    I think it is simpley the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.. because of the reasons me and the others have stated. You are racing on a track with no hills, only reason for even having a second gear would be in the begining, but what does that take 30 seconds.. so then dealing with the inneficiency and added power loss the rest of the race. So not really beneficial in the long run.

    thanks. that makes good sense. i just wasn't sure. having never raced on a track before and all. thanks again.

    dan

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    The Female Enduro velo's Avatar
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    Just wondering...this discussion is completely about track bikes/track riding. Why not post it in the track forum? Let's get some posts over there for once. There are so many floating around here that are all about track!
    "....You have to have faith that if you're doing the work now,you'll get there sometime."
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    Quote Originally Posted by velo
    Just wondering...this discussion is completely about track bikes/track riding. Why not post it in the track forum? Let's get some posts over there for once. There are so many floating around here that are all about track!
    good point. i probably should have posted in there. sorry

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    The Female Enduro velo's Avatar
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    No problem. I just want to make sure people know it's there!
    "....You have to have faith that if you're doing the work now,you'll get there sometime."
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    Ok, I'm moving this to track forum.

    Marty
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    Cranky Ol' Curmudgeon
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    would a geared bike be more "efficient"? yeah, sure. but then it's not track racing. simple as that. yes, the rules specifically state "fixed gear single speed".

    for those of you saying that it's because fixed gear is more mechanically efficient, that's not it. yes, they ARE indeed more mechanically efficient, but you put a geared bike in most track races and it would really cause some trouble. a chariot race, for instance. 1 lap. lessee, lemme start in a low gear and by the backstretch I'm way up and screaming. or the pursuit, where you could start easier and then end up in your 55x11. part of what makes certain track events interesting is how high a gear you can handle, and try to even get it moving in the beginning (how many of us started our first chariot race in our normal gearing and were dropped before turn2??).

    All of that is beside the point though. Fixed gears are an integral part of track. It's part of the magic. You just won't understand till your elbow to elbow coming out of turn 4 during a point race with NO BRAKES.

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    in order to have multiple speeds on a bike you need a freewheel;
    if you have a freewheel you need a brake to slow down;
    if a group of people are riding on a track in close effecient fashon as they should and someone pulls a break lever...

    they all crash.
    multi speed bikes are too dangerous for velodrome. case closed.

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    Mechanical efficiency is kind of a loaded term. Maybe it's also about fairness - having an even playing field in a dead sprint. Using a freewheel or gears on the track might be like doing the hundred meter dash wearing roller blades. It's just a different race.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hair07
    you guys: i understand what some of the advantages of a fixed gear bicycle are: efficiency, less weight, simplicity, etc. and for the record i think they are great machines. i'm just kind of thinking out loud here if it's possible bikes w/ multiple gears could have advantages in a track situation. like might it be helpful on time trials to have 2 different cadences to pedal at?

    sheesh. i'm just kind of questioning the standard, not implying that one way is either better or more correct than another.

    so no one can think of any advantages to having a geared bicycle on the track? or you just think whatever advantages there are are outweighted by the disadvantages? thats fine. i'm just curious.
    The advantages are that with everyone on a fixed gear you can race in tighter and closer, mainly because you dont have to anticipate the rider in front of you touching the brakes or stopping his pedalling action.

    Without gears you also have to start to understand the bike and yourself more and adjust accordingly as a meet goes on, a more precise form of cycling than just getting out on the road or trail and bashing the pedals and you don't have to worry about your gear being out of date next year.

  22. #22
    Me Likey Bikey danielmolloy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bronxbull
    in order to have multiple speeds on a bike you need a freewheel;
    if you have a freewheel you need a brake to slow down;
    if a group of people are riding on a track in close effecient fashon as they should and someone pulls a break lever...

    they all crash.
    multi speed bikes are too dangerous for velodrome. case closed.
    Ah ah, sturmey archer made a three speed fixed hub that gives one all the efficiency of a fixed wheel bicycle, and the benefit of different ratios. These ASC hubs as they were known are probably the most rare bicycle part in existence, but there is a bike shop that is converting SA 3 speed hubs into 2 speed fixed hubs. Even though this wouldn't be legal for track racing, the applications for street use are immense, especially with the popularity of track bike riding on the streets.

  23. #23
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    When Bicycles first came out there were no gears, then a few people decided that fixed wheeled bike were too hard for them so came the multi gear sysytem.


    S/F,
    CEYA!

  24. #24
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    This interests me,
    I just bought a used track bike and am beginning to learn to ride in this style. There is a local velodrome but I want to train more so I don't make a fool of myself.
    I live near hills so I could add a lower gear to some training wheels.
    What bike shop is this that sells the trick hubs?
    Thanks...

  25. #25
    Me Likey Bikey danielmolloy's Avatar
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    I forget the name of the shop, but it is in Oregon. Just do a search for two speed fixed gear or track hub, and you should find it. I believe there's an article on sheldon brown's website as well.

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