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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 01-19-09, 05:00 PM   #1
Body Electric
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I Want to Start Track Cycling

This August I will be moving to within an hour of a velodrome. This is exciting for me, since I have always wanted to give track cycling a try. Of course, this velodrome has cycling classes and rental bikes, but just in case I want to make the investment and buy a track bike, I'd like some advice on a good and cheap one for an entry level rider. A few quick searches online turned up fairly cheap bikes, but none of them seem really fit for track, and are aimed more at the urban hipster set. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-19-09, 05:33 PM   #2
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which track?
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Old 01-19-09, 05:37 PM   #3
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It might be a good idea to buy a nice used steel track bike. At least then it would always be worth what you paid for it rather than buying one of the new "I just jumped into the fixed gear craze" generic bikes that are flooding the market.

There are some very nice '70s and '80s vintage track bikes gathering dust. They show up at our track all the time. Put a few dollars into new tires and tape and away you go.
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Old 01-19-09, 05:59 PM   #4
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I'm moving to Berkeley, so I'll be about an hour (by BART) from the Hellyer Park Velodrome. Thanks for the advice. I'll probably start looking in shops and online for older bikes.
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Old 01-19-09, 06:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Body Electric View Post
This August I will be moving to within an hour of a velodrome. This is exciting for me, since I have always wanted to give track cycling a try. Of course, this velodrome has cycling classes and rental bikes, but just in case I want to make the investment and buy a track bike, I'd like some advice on a good and cheap one for an entry level rider. A few quick searches online turned up fairly cheap bikes, but none of them seem really fit for track, and are aimed more at the urban hipster set. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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I'm moving to Berkeley, so I'll be about an hour (by BART) from the Hellyer Park Velodrome. Thanks for the advice. I'll probably start looking in shops and online for older bikes.
I workout / race at Hellyer. Hellyer has great beginner / novice sessions on Saturday mornings. Rental bikes are available and you must participate in the session. Until you have participated in at least 3 Saturday sessions, you are not allowed to ride the track in an open session. You must complete a race ready session plus the three beginner sessions before you can race.

I would suggest renting a couple of times and see what others are riding and talk with them. You will learn a lot from the supervisor during the sessions about the track, equipment and riding technique. I rode the rental bikes and they are Bianchi and Specialized. They are adequate to get started and geared for the clinic.

After a couple of Saturday sessions, you will be a much better position to know which track bike will work for you and if you even like working out / racing at the track. Also, the Hellyer supervisors / track requirements are very specific about equipment and etc. I see people show up on Saturday with a bike and are required to rent because the bike is out of spec. Good luck and welcome to the bay are.
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Old 01-19-09, 08:06 PM   #6
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What Mike T. said.

Older steel track bikes can be relatively inexpensive and hold their value well.
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Old 01-20-09, 06:46 AM   #7
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What Mike T. said.
Older steel track bikes can be relatively inexpensive and hold their value well.
My first one (in this country and at this track anyway) was an early '70 Colnago which had done much racing up here in Canada and a few 6-days. I replaced the old tubular rims (there were no tires on it) with a nice pair of Open Pros (I wanted to use clinchers) but certainly kept the beautiful Campagnolo Record hubs.

Its geometry was weird (a 77 degree head angle!!) so I eventually changed it for a nice custom Marinoni. It's much less of a handful.

So those old track bikes are out there and they're usually a bargain.
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Old 01-20-09, 10:18 AM   #8
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Take a vacation in Japan and bring back a keirin bike! I have a friend who literally found one of his race bikes in a dumpster. That is extreme, but they are common here and cheap. My local shop has two Vivalo frames hanging for 25,000 (about $250) each, and these are not mass-produced cheap-o's. You can always flip it to a hipster for over double what you paid for it if you decide it's not for you.
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Old 01-20-09, 04:45 PM   #9
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Keep in mind that BART will not get you to Hellyer - it'll get you as far as Fremont, but you'll either have to take VTA or ride the rest of the way. Check out 511.org for more info.
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Old 01-21-09, 01:21 PM   #10
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+1 on the old Keirin bikes. They are nearly always of the utmost quality and plenty of them can be found with bad paint but no dents. Those ones go for reasonable money and you're getting a purpose-built bike.

Before buying anything, though, take the track orientation course on a rental. That will give you the best idea of if you even want to ride track and/or what you require in a bike.
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