Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 24 of 24
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    5
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Important characteristics in a track bike

    I've been racing at a velodrome for two or three months now, and am looking to buy or build up my own track bike. This will be my first full build, although I've done enough maintenance on my roadie that I feel comfortable enough working with bikes to do it myself.

    My biggest problem, though, is that I feel like I have far too many variables I'm trying to work with. Stiffness is more important than lightness, so I hear, but what does that mean in practical terms? Steel has a good reputation, and I absolutely love the classic lines of a steel bike, but are aluminum frames both lighter and stiffer in practice due to the larger tubes? I'm leaning more towards being a sprinter, so I suspect lightness is still pretty important, especially for getting a quick jump from standing starts.

    With that said, I think I'm pretty set on steel for a few reasons: first, the velodrome in Atlanta is anything but smooth (I've heard it referred to as the Paris-Roubaix of velodromes), so the steel frame ought to be more forgiving of bumps. Second, I expect to use this bike 80% on the track and 20% on the road, where again, Atlanta streets probably favor steel construction. But will I suffer greatly for choosing steel over aluminum due to the increased weight and stiffness?

    To make things a little more concrete, I'm looking at an IRO Mark V Pro at the moment. Reviews I've read on this board and elsewhere seem to indicate it's a pretty reasonable value for the money and the frame is of decent quality. I've toyed back and forth with buying the frame and building it myself vs. getting one stock, but I think I'm leaning towards building it myself now; I have a few minor niggles with the stock build (130mm bcd on the cranks vs. 144mm bcd seems to be track standard, for example). Plus I'd just like the experience of building a bike entirely from parts.

    Besides the frame, though, what else should I be looking for? Chromoly stem? Aluminum bars? Vice-versa? Both chromoly or aluminum? What about cranks? I'm trying to keep costs around the $700�$800 mark, but I'm not afraid to spend a little more than that to get something at a better price/performance sweet spot. Anything you guys have in the way of advice, whether for specific components or just general traits to look out for in components is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Last decade's model ijunes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Culver City, CA
    My Bikes
    Felt CA1, Cannondale Capo, Bridgestone 112
    Posts
    153
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    i personally race a cannondale capo, its cannondale's street 'fixie' that went on sale a couple years back. its an aluminum frame. its still very light and yet much stiffer than a steel bike by far. I took the time to invest in record cranks and wheelset, use bars that fit, and everything else is just kind of a throw on. just ride whatever feels right. alum does fine for me.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    My Bikes
    Marin Stelvio, Pogliaghi road, Panasonic track, Dolan DF3
    Posts
    649
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    There's nothing wrong with steel. I recently upgraded from a Panasonic NJS frame (steel) to a Dolan DF3 (carbon fiber). Yes, the Dolan is very nice, and feels stiffer, but I'm still not convinced I'm significantly faster on the Dolan. Sure, I've set new PR's on the Dolan this year, but the differences are in the 1/10ths of seconds, something that could easily be explained by improvements in my training plan. The Dolan is very sweet, but I still like the steel bike, too.

    Bottom line, buy what you like. Especially since you're just getting into it, having fun will be much more important that shaving fractions of a second.

  4. #4
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Ciudad de Vacas, Tejas
    My Bikes
    28 frames + 73 wheels
    Posts
    7,411
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Some observations:

    1) I've been racing track for 35 years. The first 30 years I raced on a steel track frame (Schwinn Paramount P14), which was made of thicker tubing than road frames, and was both heavier and stiffer. Four years ago I purchased a Bianchi Pista Concept with an aluminum frame and carbon fork. It was much stiffer as well as lighter than the steel frame.

    2) Stiffness and strength are all important in track racing, especially in sprinting, and weight is basically not an issue. I do sprints and short standing start events like the 500m TT with a disc wheel rather than a lighter spoked wheel, not for the aerodynamics, but for the greater stiffness under acceleration.

    3) I think you would be better off buying a complete track bike like a Felt TK3, which is track worthy but can be fitted with a front brake for safe road use. It also uses 144 bcd track standard cranks. You will undoubtedly end up changing the stem/bars to suit your physique and riding style. It is an aluminum frame with a carbon fork like the Bianchi Pista Concept, which I have ridden on the road and it's not that much different a ride from my steel Paramount. Any track bike with tight track geo is going to be a fairly rough ride on the road in comparison with a regular road bike. If you were going to ride 80% road and 20% track, I could see favoring steel, but in you case it's 80% track and 20% road so I vote aluminum all the way (carbon fork).
    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    My Bikes
    Marin Stelvio, Pogliaghi road, Panasonic track, Dolan DF3
    Posts
    649
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    In addition, an inexpensive steel track frame makes a nice dedicated road training bike for down the road when you do decide to "upgrade". That's basically where my Panasonic lives now.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    5
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The Felt TK3 looks fantastic. But they put 3/32" a chainring and cog on it! See what I mean about minor niggles?

  7. #7
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Ciudad de Vacas, Tejas
    My Bikes
    28 frames + 73 wheels
    Posts
    7,411
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by stouset View Post
    The Felt TK3 looks fantastic. But they put 3/32" a chainring and cog on it! See what I mean about minor niggles?
    Don't worry about the 3/32 chainring or cog, they'll work fine. You can change to a 1/8 chain, so you can use it with both the 3/32 chainring/cog and 1/8 cogs or 1/8 chainrings in other sizes.
    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs
    My Bikes
    Surly Steamroller, Schwinn Continental II
    Posts
    136
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by stouset View Post
    The Felt TK3 looks fantastic. But they put 3/32" a chainring and cog on it! See what I mean about minor niggles?
    I just started track this season. My Felt TK2 came with a 48X15 setup, which I'm pretty sure is the same as the TK3. I already bought a set of DA cogs and 49t and 50t rings since the current gearing is way too low. It's more of a warm up gear for me. Doing a flying 200m trying to crank it out of the saddle on the rail of turn 1 I couldn't get any more speed than what I had already had. You'll spin that gear out fast. That's when I decided to buy some cogs and rings. I'm sure you'll need extra gears too, that's when you could buy the 1/8" stuff. And like Tejano say you can also use a 1/8" chain with your 3/32" cogs and rings no problem.

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    5
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Also, the TK3 comes with a flip-flop fixed/free hub. I feel pretty set on a fixed/fixed hub, and keep getting annoyed at all the otherwise-fantastic track bikes out there that come fixed/free instead of fixed/fixed.

  10. #10
    Cat 666 fatallightning's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    nyack, ny (yes, that one)
    Posts
    1,462
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    i wouldn't call 48x15 way too low. sounds like some leg speed workouts are in order.

    and as fat as fixed/free hubs, i just throw a fixed cog on the free side. not going to be skidding around or significantly backpedaling on the track. i have a 15 fixed and 14 on the free side mounted.
    Oh man, its going to take days to kill all these people! - jens voigt
    Current: Calfee Tetra Pro/ Tiemeyer Signature Track/ Cannondale CAADX/ Trek T1/ Giordana Capella TT
    RIP: Cervelo SLC-SL/ Salsa Campeon/ Cannondale 2.8
    SOLD: Serotta Classique Ti/ Landshark 853/ Orbea Starship/ Cannondale CAAD9/ Bianchi Pista/

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    5,831
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have come to the opinion that stiffness is not very important. If the bike is flexible enough to affect the handling it is too flexible. Beyond that, I don't think it's important, ie. stiff bikes are not faster than flexible ones.

    Light weight is nice, but also not too critical. I'd spend money to reduce wheel weight long before I'd spend it to reduce frame weight.

    The short version is that one of the nice things about track racing -- massed start and sprinting, anyway -- is that the bikes aren't very important. You'll probably want a disk for the back and something aerodynamic for the front. Beyond that, I'd spend my money and attention on training, diet, and travel, and not worry much about my bike.

    Oh, and FWIW, the 49x15 was more-or-less standard for many years. I don't know if that's changed, but I do know that a lot of top professional races have been won on it.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs
    My Bikes
    Surly Steamroller, Schwinn Continental II
    Posts
    136
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by fatallightning View Post
    i wouldn't call 48x15 way too low. sounds like some leg speed workouts are in order.

    and as fat as fixed/free hubs, i just throw a fixed cog on the free side. not going to be skidding around or significantly backpedaling on the track. i have a 15 fixed and 14 on the free side mounted.
    I don't think so. I've been riding my street fixie with a 47X19 and 47X22 for the past year in a VERY hilly area and can spin at least 150 rpms on flats and 240 (for about 15 sesonds then have to brake) down hills with no hopping in the saddle. Everyone has been telling me that my 48X15 is a warmup gear and I believe them. Tonight was my first track race, didn't have time to fiddle with my gears so I left the stock gearing on. I just watched the camera footage of it and I was spinning significantly faster than the other riders.

    To the OP, fatallightning is right about the free side, just crank the cog on there tight alone and it will be fine. My TK2 was soposed to come fixed/ fixed but came fixed/ free instead. I wasn't too happy about it not coming as speced. Don't let something small like that steer you away from an otherwise nice bike.
    Last edited by coolkid_cody; 06-02-10 at 10:55 AM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    5,831
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    150 rpm in a 48x15 is 37-38 MPH. Warm-ups at the Springs have apparently gotten a little faster since my time.
    Last edited by Six jours; 06-01-10 at 11:58 PM.

  14. #14
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    5
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'll go ahead and spring for the TK3 then, maybe next month or so. I can always replace the cranks and cog with 1/8" versions later, and I'll just run a suicide cog on the opposite side.

    It's starting to get to the point where I really need to buy my own. The bike the guys at Dick Lane are letting me use is 48x15, and the last race day I was spinning as fast as my legs can move against essentially no resistance and getting passed in the final sprint. Will need to go up to a 49x15 or a 48x14 ASAP to keep up, I think.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    5,831
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I get the feeling this is pointless, but your posts re. gearing don't match any reality I'm familiar with. Again, 150 RPM in an 86 inch gear (48x15) is about 38 MPH. If you really don't feel any resistance at that speed you need to alert the fellows at the USCF (or whatever they're calling themselves these days) and have a chat with the national team coaches.

    Moreover, going up to a 49x15 -- the standard race gear in my day -- is only going to net you another eight tenths of a mile per hour. The 48x14 is definitely a bigger gear, but I will eat my hat if you can pedal it at 150 RPM in an entry level track race. You'd be going more than 41 MPH.

    Which brings up the key point that I never saw a cat. 5 track race where you could go 38 MPH and still get passed by everybody. I simply don't believe that's happening here. But hey, it's been a decade since I last coached at the old Olympic velodrome. Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about anymore...

  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    My Bikes
    Marin Stelvio, Pogliaghi road, Panasonic track, Dolan DF3
    Posts
    649
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I think riders these days are definitely using bigger gears and pedaling at lower speeds than in the past. I'm definitely guilty of this myself. I often use a 48X15 for training and training races in order to work on my (massively deficient) leg speed, but for "real" races I slap on the 14t, every time. Laziness, mostly.

    This is unrelated of course, but I think the trend with the pros has also been towards larger gears, as the sprint has become longer and longer (starting from farther out). E.G., Chris Hoy, etc.

  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    5,831
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I can dig it. I raced kilo with a 112 inch gear. And lord knows I've got no spin these days. I probably top out at 85 RPM! But the OP says he can spin 150-200+ RPM...

    I'd bet the OP simply isn't spinning as fast as he thinks. Which is fine, I guess -- I'm just still grappling with the idea that the gear I used in the 1/pros is not even good enough for the cat. 5s these days.

  18. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    My Bikes
    Marin Stelvio, Pogliaghi road, Panasonic track, Dolan DF3
    Posts
    649
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Well, spinning fast in a tiny street gear is a different world than spinning fast in a race gear, even 48X15. I know I can't do it. I need a 49X14 to get to my measly 11.9 f-200 PR...

  19. #19
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Ciudad de Vacas, Tejas
    My Bikes
    28 frames + 73 wheels
    Posts
    7,411
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Well, I've never raced in a 49x14, not even at altitude (Colorado Springs). Oh, sure I've used 49x14 and even 50x14 for over-gear power training, but mostly I race 47x14 and warm up in 47x16 (flip the wheel). Sometimes I'll use the 48x14 when I do a points or scratch race with the P123 riders, but then it's only so I can rest my legs somewhat at the sustained 30+ mph pace while floating in the pace line. Needless to say, I never come around anyone when sprinting in those races.

    @Baby Puke - There is a rider at our track that consistently does a mid 11 sec flying 200m in a 50x15.
    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

  20. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    My Bikes
    Marin Stelvio, Pogliaghi road, Panasonic track, Dolan DF3
    Posts
    649
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    TT- I know, I know! See above where I reference my "massive deficiency". I'm working on it...

  21. #21
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs
    My Bikes
    Surly Steamroller, Schwinn Continental II
    Posts
    136
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Baby Puke View Post
    Well, spinning fast in a tiny street gear is a different world than spinning fast in a race gear, even 48X15. I know I can't do it. I need a 49X14 to get to my measly 11.9 f-200 PR...
    Obviously there is a huge difference from a low gear down a hill and a track gearing on the track. I only stated that I could spin 200+ (with basicly no load) on the street because one poster said if I thought that a 48X15 is too low then I need to work on my leg speed. I never said I spun out my 86" on the track I simply meant it was too low for me in a race situation. I'm unsure as to exactly how fast I spin my 48X15, I only know about the RPMS on my road fixie as thats where the computer was used on.

  22. #22
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    5
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I never mentioned that I was spinning at 200+ RPM, merely that I was spinning as fast as my legs could go, which is true. Perhaps more practice would let me spin at even higher RPMs (I don't know what rate I was going, as the loaner I'm using doesn't have a computer).

    Also, my velodrome (Dick Lane) may be an odd case for this, because the backside is slightly downhill and the front side is uphill, making it easier to spin at that gear ratio while riding on the far side.
    Last edited by stouset; 06-07-10 at 01:53 PM. Reason: clarification

  23. #23
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Santa Ana
    My Bikes
    Fuji Elite, 3Rensho track, Trek Madone 6.9, Specialized MTB, GT MTB, Cannondale Cad3 fixie
    Posts
    54
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Every one is a little different when it comes to spinning. In my day, as Six Jours can attest to, I could and did spin 180 rpm in a race, and win in the sprints. However, I am a freak of nature in so many ways, we just shouldn't go there. Nowadays, especially at altitude, or inside, I ride a 90 to 92 inch gear instead of the 84 or 86 I once rode, mainly because my heart rate can't keep up with my spin, and I go anaerobic way too soon. Age and beta blockers will do that to you.

    My advice would be, if you think you can spin, then ride the small gear consistently and you will find after a while (think 6 months or so) that you can win races. Also, you will garner a lot of attention from coaches etc. If it turns out that extreme spinning is not in your legs, then use a bigger gear. Just don't be lazy about it, or you will get stronger, but not much faster. I know this sounds contradictory, but you will find it is true.

    If you want to be a sprinter, you have to spin. Hoy uses bigger gears because he can; he still goes very very fast; check out his cadence. Marty Nothstein, the last really great american sprinter, rode 88-94, depending on the track and weather conditions. He trained to push his gear at a 170 rpm. Take a look at what the French are doing. Usually you can't see their feet they are turning the pedals so fast.

    I ride a fixie on the road with a 65 inch gear all winter (we can do that in So. Calif.) and I routinely ride at 150 (30MPH) for long distances to build my leg speed. Six Jours used to make me race and train on the track during the off season in a 65. This is the kind of training you need if you really want to master the sprints. When you train up to a larger gear in the spring, your jump will be uncatchable.

    Good luck and go fast!
    Last edited by rensho3; 06-11-10 at 06:52 PM. Reason: embellishment and typo correction

  24. #24
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    5,831
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The amusing part is that Six Jours recently went for a 65" fixed gear ride with Rensho3 and promptly got dropped. So Six Jours should probably keep his mouth shut re. using smaller gears in track races.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •