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  1. #1
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    Entry Level Track Bike Help

    I'm hoping for some honest feedback on a few entry level track bikes from guys who actually ride on the track...

    I'm finally going to check the "ride a real track bike on a velodrome" box on my things to do before I'm too old to do them list and would appreciate any help you guys may offer.

    I'm going to try to keep this as far under $1000 as possible for the sake of my wedded bliss, so here are the bikes I am considering:

    Schwinn Madison

    Bianchi Pista

    KHS Flite 100

    Mercier Kilo TT Pro

    Trek T1

    Keep in mind that for now I only want to ride the velodrome (Trexlertown), but I'm sure as my track skills improve I'll consider a race or two.

    I'm 5'9" or so with a 30 1/2" inseam (53 cm frames?) and weigh about 165lbs.


    I'm really looking forward to this for all the right reasons (no wide white belts and hip huggers for me at this stage of the game...just looking forward to some pure bicycle speed without the cars, potholes, etc.


    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Steve

  2. #2
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    the schwinn madison, bianchi pista, kilo tt, and khs flite are all pretty similar - frames made from 4130 and decent budget-level components. the pista and the flite have somewhat more traditional track-oriented geometry, whereas the madison has a slightly more road/all-around geometry. it wouldn't hinder you on a track.

    the T1 is a little bit more performance oriented - aluminum and carbon with some fancier wheels, and it'll cost you a bit more. it also comes stock with a track-ready gearing, unlike the slightly more street-oriented other bikes you mention. personally, i enjoy the feel of an alu/carbon track bike over budget-range steel - i ride a Felt TK2.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  3. #3
    Lurker for Life yonderboy's Avatar
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    You should go to the T-Town swap meet this weekend and check out the bikes. You're bound to find something that will work for you at a reasonable price.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by yonderboy View Post
    You should go to the T-Town swap meet this weekend and check out the bikes. You're bound to find something that will work for you at a reasonable price.
    I'd love to hit the Trexlertown swap Saturday, but I have to be at work the entire day. Even if I could get there, it would be an unbearable tease (I have to sell a bike or two to raise the scratch for the new track bike first).


    I'm leaning towards the Pista or the Madison, but if I can get enough dollars together the T1 is not out of the question.


    Question on pedals...I've been a toe clip guy for the last 20 years or so, will steel clips and straps be ok or do I finally need to join the 20th century and go clipless?


    Thanks,

    Steve

  5. #5
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Steve,
    I know a few people who race with clips and straps, but slotted cleats complete the equation. Everyone I know (beginners) who have used street shoes with clips and straps have found them lacking. You don't want to pull out of the clip/strap when you're accelerating, nor do you want to be wishing for better power transmission in a sprint. You don't need to be a superserious racer to appreciate the benefits of clipless pedals. Even basic ones can fill the need.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  6. #6
    ÖöÖöÖöÖöÖö Dannihilator's Avatar
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    I'm running a pista at the moment and will likely be making the jump to a 2009 Fuji Track Pro in the near future. One of my better upgrades was the pedals, put down the money for a set of speedplay zero track sprint editions.

    Another one you may want to look at is the 2009 Fuji Track Comp which is pretty much the old track pro.
    Strike like an eagle and sacrifice the dove.
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  7. #7
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    Thanks for the input guys. I looked at two more intro bikes today,

    Giant Bowery: I liked it a lot, but I can't believe they put braze on cable stops on the tope tube (I'd hate to take the dremel to a brand new frame, but I'm thinking about it.)

    and

    Cannondale Capo: a bit more $ and I wasn't crazy about the bars or goofy "stealth" paint, but it looked like a solid ride (needs a fixed cog though instead of the freewheel it comes with).

    Was suprised both bike had water bottle mounts and the Bowery had fender/rack maounts? on the fork...why would they do such silliness?


    Queerpunk,

    I'm hoping these will get me through my first season on the track:






    Dannihilator,

    How long have you had your pista? Anything insightful you can tell me about it as it's in my top three choices at the moment.

    What do you plan on doing with it when you upgrade? (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)

    Thanks for the tip on the pedals. If I find the clips aren't cutting it I guess it will be time for carbon soles and speedplays...


    Steve

  8. #8
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    You should try heading to a Performance bike shop and ask if they can get you a older Fuji Track Pro. At my local performance they said they could source me (from another state) a 07 or even a 06 FTP heavily discounted. Heck, I bought my local Performances only in-stock 07 FTP at $675 + 10% off + 10% store credit (with performance member card).

  9. #9
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eastcoaststeve View Post
    Was suprised both bike had water bottle mounts and the Bowery had fender/rack maounts? on the fork...why would they do such silliness?
    well, there are more and more 'track bikes' that are being designed as all-around street bikes. the KHS flite is one of them - it's got fender and rack mounts, if i recall correctly.

    the cannondale capo is a fine frame, but in the past few years, cannondale's stock build of the frame has gotten pretty silly. drop bars with only cross levers, silly four-bolt cranks. but i know several people who like it on the track.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  10. #10
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    Ok, now I'm in trouble...

    Found a shop today that had a Madison in stock (which I thought was the size I needed), so I went to check it out. It felt like an anchor ( I suppose it will lighten up a bit when all the road stuff (brakes/freewheel/etc come off, but I'm not to hot on it atthe moment. Also I thought it was odd that the sticker on the frame said it was for riders UP TO 5'6"(?) as it seemed to fit me just fine.



    Here's the problem, they had an '08 Fuji Track Pro that lit me up like a Christmas tree. I'm just not sure if it is too big for me (56cm sticker on the frame). Although side by side with the Madison, the Fuji seemed the same size if not a bit smaller. It was hard to get an idea of size by sitting on it since it was without pedals, but it seemed ok. I'm just worried about grabbing the bike in the heat of the moment and finding out later i went too big.

    Am I worrying too much? If the frame turns out to be a bit large, can I effectivly fit it to me by shortening the stem and dropping a spacer or two off the fork/stem?


    Thanks,
    Steve

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by eastcoaststeve View Post

    Am I worrying too much? If the frame turns out to be a bit large, can I effectivly fit it to me by shortening the stem and dropping a spacer or two off the fork/stem?


    Thanks,
    Steve
    As you describe in your original post I am about the same dimensions as you. One thing I did notice is that the Fuji Track Pro did seem to run a size small. I normally use a 52-53cm frame, with alot of 54's from different brands made me feel too stretched out. Though, when I bought my Fuji Track Pro I ended up with a size 54. I assume that the combination of the geometry just had it happen to fit me just right.

    As for riding a 56, I would say to take the bike out on an extended test ride. Feel if you can ride both on the tops and drops of the bars without feeling too stretched out. Can you ride comfortably with your elbows bent? Or do you have to lock out your arms and curl your shoulders in just to reach the bars?

    If it feels right, then it should be right. Unless youre getting a custom fitted frame, youll find different makes and models feel subtly different even if theyre both labeled XX cm. Kinda like pairs of shoes, some fit and some dont even though they say the same size (or are made to fit differently).

  12. #12
    ÖöÖöÖöÖöÖö Dannihilator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eastcoaststeve View Post

    Dannihilator,

    How long have you had your pista? Anything insightful you can tell me about it as it's in my top three choices at the moment.

    What do you plan on doing with it when you upgrade? (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)

    Thanks for the tip on the pedals. If I find the clips aren't cutting it I guess it will be time for carbon soles and speedplays...


    Steve
    I've had my pista for over 3 years. First thing I got rid of was the junky wire beaded tires that come stock on it. Only stock part left on my pista is the frame and handlebars, everything else has been changed. The handlebars, while somepeople don't like them, for some reason I really like the bars that came on my pista.

    When I get my track pro, I plan on keeping my pista and use both on the track.
    Strike like an eagle and sacrifice the dove.
    Words and Stuff.

  13. #13
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    Bianchi Pista

    I think the Pista is great value for money, I have ridden it for 2 years now, in points races, sprints and tt. It has a perfect track geometry, and offers great stiffness.

    The parts you will have to change is the chain, the Sprockets and the chainrings, they are of very poor quality(oval).

    The tuoro crank looks like junk, but is very stiff, and functions fine with a pair of Gephardt or Sugino
    blades on, that you can get in 130 to fit the touro cranks.

    The wheels again are not bad, both stiff and runs smothly, and can be ridden with a high pressure open ring, or and Tufo clincher closed ring for more safety. I still use them on my new bike, but considder bying
    a pair of Navigator or Miche.

  14. #14
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    Finally finished up a really nice "sell one bike to pay for another" deal...

    I ended up with $25 in my pocket and this little beauty in my garage:








    It needed a good cleaning and a bit of part swapping, but in the end I think it's exactly the right bike for me...

    If all goes well, I'll be riding it at Trexlertown on Friday...can't wait.


    Steve

  15. #15
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    Had the entire velodrome to myself this morning. I am seriously hooked.
















    Wish I had a few action shots or some video of me almost crashing when I leaned down to cinch my straps, lol. Maybe next time....




    Steve



    .

  16. #16
    Senior Member novacane's Avatar
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    oh man, that looks awesome!

  17. #17
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    You have chosen well, grasshopper.

  18. #18
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    Velodrome to yourself! That's awesome. I would love to be able to run intervals by myself at the velo and not on the road.

  19. #19
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    Had the place to myself again today...

    Had a great time riding, but learned a very valuable lesson....

    never eat a baloney and chesse sandwich before hard riding...felt like I was gonna hurl all over my pretty bike, lol.


    On a slightly more serious note:

    Is there a difference in helmets specifically made for track riding? The front edge of my regular road helmet seems to be in my line of vision and it is a bit distracting.


    Thanks,

    Steve

  20. #20
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    Most uses normal road helmets, alltrough u can get special made track helmets, but they are for sprinters.

    http://www.velodromeshop.org.uk/inde...=203&parent=60

  21. #21
    Building a better Strida
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    good choice on the fuji track pro!

    i have to say tho, fuji's fit a bit smaller than other brands, I run a fuji track and its standover is pretty short, however the top tube is a 550mm for a 54cm frame.... feels great and responsive tho..!

    you may want to loosen your chain a bit from the pic above.. looser chains run easier, and feel faster!

  22. #22
    Snail-paced new boy AlexTaylor's Avatar
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    You lucky bugger!
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  23. #23
    Senior Member vmajor's Avatar
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    For some reason I really like Fuji bikes and yours looks really nice.

    V.

  24. #24
    ÖöÖöÖöÖöÖö Dannihilator's Avatar
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    Very nice, I approve.
    Strike like an eagle and sacrifice the dove.
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  25. #25
    commuter
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    Keep your clips, straps, and slotted cleats for the track. Consider investing in a pair of double straps. I ride Campy track pedals with double straps and have never even come close to pulling out. I have seen a few riders come very close to crashing hard after pulling out of pedal systems in a sprint, nearly taking down riders near them. Exception: a friend of mine has rigged his Speedplay Zero pedals by adding straps to hold his feet down. With this redundant contact system, he will never have to worry about pulling out.

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