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  1. #1
    Senior Member canflyboy's Avatar
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    Track Newbie Looking for Frame Guidance

    I'm looking at getting a track bike for myself. Mostly for pacelines, rec rides but no racing. It seems there are a rash of Fixed singles on the market that are riding the Fixie trend, but if you look at their geometry, they are more along the lines of a road bike than a track bike. The Specialized Langster is an example of this and there are many more manufacturers jumping in this market.

    Biggest difference between a real track bike like the Bianchi Pista and horde of other fixed/singles on the market is the Seat Tube Angle, the Head Tube Angle and the Fork Rake.

    How would these different characteristics affect the ride on a track? Are the new wave of fixed/commuters that a lot of manufacturers selling now suitable for recreational track riding?

    Thanks

    Canflyboy


    1970 Raleigh Sprite, 1970 Raleigh Sports, 1984 Miele Road Bike SS, 2008Cannondale F400, 2009 Opus Avro 29er, 2010 Jamis Sonik, 2009 Blue CXC, 2009 Bianchi San Jose, Cervelo SL-SLC and a wife that loves me!

  2. #2
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Yes. When it comes to recreational, entry-level amateur track riding, the most important things (in my opinion) are a decent fit and comfortable contact points (saddle, handlebars, and pedals). A bike's geometry or material isn't going to hold a rider back in cat 5 or cat 4 racing. As long as a bike's got a fixed gear and plugged drop bars, it will suit somebody for recreational track riding just fine.

    The older tradition of making track bikes as tight and steep as possible is a little bit outdated, and plenty of track bikes have a more road or hybrid frame geometry. Cannondale's Capo, which now has a silly stock build aimed at the matchy-matchy consumer crowd but used to be sold as a serious track bike under the model name Major Taylor, is a good example of this.

    All of this also depends on different velodromes. I ride at Kissena Velodrome on a Felt TK2, which has steep angles and a tight wheelbase. Kissena is a little bit bumpy. If I had the opportunity to get something with 74/73deg angles rather than 75/74deg, and a slightly longer wheelbase, I'd take the opportunity. Maybe I'd feel differently if the bulk of my riding were done at T-Town or any other smoother, steeper 'drome. I do like the fast steering of tight bikes but don't find that it's necessary for performance at my level - Cat 4.
    the hipster myth.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Depends on the kind of riding you do and which track.

    On a steeper track you'll probably want to have a higher bottom bracket and maybe shorter cranks (I know a lot of people who ride 170s at ADT, so long cranks aren't unusual there).

    As mentioned above, fit is the most important thing to worry about-- the angles are relatively less important.

    I've raced national level races on steel, aluminum, and carbon, all in the past 5 years or so, and the frame material really doesn't make any difference. I like my carbon frame because it's *really* stiff and it's easy to throw around underneath me (it's light and a compact geometry). I don't get any better results on it than I did on a 1985 steel pinarello. The carbon bike has a very road-like geometry- the front triangle is basically identical to the road version of the frame, and the rear triangle is track specific. It's great for the kind of racing I do- mass start races and madisons, that can go for up to an hour. It's probably less great for match sprinting, but I don't do much of that.

    As long as it fits and has room for the gearing you need (I've been seeing some reports that some of the road fixed gears have stays that get in the way if you go to chainrings larger than 46 or so) you should be fine on just about any bike.
    Track - the other off-road
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  4. #4
    Not a dick. Guvna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by queerpunk View Post
    I ride at Kissena Velodrome on a Felt TK2, which has steep angles and a tight wheelbase. Kissena is a little bit bumpy. If I had the opportunity to get something with 74/73deg angles rather than 75/74deg, and a slightly longer wheelbase, I'd take the opportunity. Maybe I'd feel differently if the bulk of my riding were done at T-Town or any other smoother, steeper 'drome. I do like the fast steering of tight bikes but don't find that it's necessary for performance at my level - Cat 4.
    Very useful information to this aspiring track newb in nyc!
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

  5. #5
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guvna View Post
    Very useful information to this aspiring track newb in nyc!
    More useful information:
    Be careful low in Turn 2, and sprinting through turn 4!

    It was renovated in '04 but there's still some terrain that can catch you by surprise.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  6. #6
    Senior Member canflyboy's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the useful input. I've been riding at a small and steep indoor track in London Ontario (Forest City Velodrome) and they us a two by four block under the lowest pedal stroke to determine it the bike is safe on their steep track.

    I won't shy away from the newer fixed/track bikes and actually, with the longer wheelbase, they probably are a better choice for a 50+ newbie recreational track rider.

    Thanks Again


    1970 Raleigh Sprite, 1970 Raleigh Sports, 1984 Miele Road Bike SS, 2008Cannondale F400, 2009 Opus Avro 29er, 2010 Jamis Sonik, 2009 Blue CXC, 2009 Bianchi San Jose, Cervelo SL-SLC and a wife that loves me!

  7. #7
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    That track is a total blast to ride!
    Track - the other off-road
    http://www.lavelodrome.org

  8. #8
    Upstanding member. Mike T.'s Avatar
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    Canflyboy, I too ride the FCV and have since its opening. Don't be overly concerned about a bike or a frame. Even the low cost KHS rentals do fine on that track. The geometry doesn't make a hill o' beans of difference, especially for Rec riding. The rentals have been raced to success by many people. The bike's engine makes the biggest difference.

    Yes, as long as that 2x4 goes under the low pedal then any bike - even a converted road bike - will be ok.

    See ya there. I'm the guy waaaay older than you.

  9. #9
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    Which way do they stand up the 2x4?

  10. #10
    Upstanding member. Mike T.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JulianBH View Post
    Which way do they stand up the 2x4?
    Do ya really have to ask? If so then - on edge.

    This might not work for every track though. It works for the FCV and it's very steep - 50 degrees - and probably the steepest in the world. I think it has everything to do with steepness PLUS radius of banking. A bigger radius for a given angle of banking will mean less g-force and therefore a more upright bike. A more upright bike will strike pedals sooner.

    I ride and e-mail with the designer of the FCV. I'll ask his opinion on this interesting topic.

  11. #11
    not actually Nickatina andre nickatina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by queerpunk View Post
    The older tradition of making track bikes as tight and steep as possible is a little bit outdated, and plenty of track bikes have a more road or hybrid frame geometry. Cannondale's Capo, which now has a silly stock build aimed at the matchy-matchy consumer crowd but used to be sold as a serious track bike under the model name Major Taylor, is a good example of this.

    All of this also depends on different velodromes. I ride at Kissena Velodrome on a Felt TK2, which has steep angles and a tight wheelbase. Kissena is a little bit bumpy. If I had the opportunity to get something with 74/73deg angles rather than 75/74deg, and a slightly longer wheelbase, I'd take the opportunity. Maybe I'd feel differently if the bulk of my riding were done at T-Town or any other smoother, steeper 'drome. I do like the fast steering of tight bikes but don't find that it's necessary for performance at my level - Cat 4.
    I think the trend in geometry has to do with the materials as well, as far as I can tell from all the research I've been putting into track geometry lately. The old school steep angles like 75 ST and 75 or steeper HT wasn't only to make things more twitchy and acceleration-happy, it also meant you could stiffen up a bike in an era where you pretty much worked with only steel, and only one diameter of it per given tube... so if one was still considering a steel frame, getting a slacker one doesn't make as much sense as it does for carbon/aluminum.

    Have you ridden a Bareknuckle or know anyone that does at Kissena? I'd be curious to know how they like it for the bumps since it has some of the lowest trail for a production track bike.

  12. #12
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    I know a few who do, but I don't know their specific take on it.

    I rode a steel track bike (my pogliaghi) there for a while and it was still rough on the bumps - rear wheels have a tendency to jump sideways while sprinting low in turn 4. I'm inclined to say that material is going to be less important than wheelbase, good technique on the bike, and not cranking your tire pressure too high.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

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