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  1. #1
    Senior Member Sebster's Avatar
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    Entry Level Track Frame/Bike

    I know, "search", "google" - no need.
    I'm aware that there's dozens of threads, and believe me, I've read dozens.
    I feel like there hasn't been an accepted answer for the question however;
    "What is good entry level track bike/frame for $500-$600ish that has a true track geo?

    I've created this list; it'd just be helpful if you experienced track riders could help me out. I'm leaning towards the Bianchi Pista, but I'm hearing now that Pake is the same as Soma Rush is the same as Kilo TT as Flite 100... Ugh..

    I prefer aluminum for some reason. Hopefully I didn't sound snarky, thanks in advance!

    STEEL
    • Vilano (240 complete)
    • Charge plug racer – relaxed (680 complete)
    • Fuji classic – road geo(450 complete)
    • Raleigh rush hour – aero? (600 complete)
    • Khs flite 100 (600 complete)
    • Mercier Kilo TT (360 complete) same thing as khs flite
    • Windsor The Hour (280 complete) same thing as fuji classic
    • Shwinn Madison – not track geo(300 complete deal nashbar!!)
    • Iro Mark V – not track geo (590 complete)
    • Gt Gutterball – aero (700 complete)
    • Jamis Sputnik (650 complete)
    ALUMINUM
    • Visp – track (190 frame w/ fork+headset+seatpost)
    • Bianchi pista – old model (450 complete)
    • NEW leader 725 (340 frame)
    • OLD leader 725 (260 frame)
    EXPENSIVE
    • Soma Rush
    • Bareknuckle
    • Fuji Track Pro
    • Trek T1
    • Felt TK3
    • Motobecane Team Track (800 complete)
    • Cannondale Capo
    • Surly Steamroller (720 complete)

  2. #2
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    I know that finances are relative. But these aren't expensive.

    EXPENSIVE
    • Soma Rush
    • Bareknuckle
    • Fuji Track Pro
    • Trek T1
    • Felt TK3
    • Motobecane Team Track (800 complete)
    • Cannondale Capo
    • Surly Steamroller (720 complete)
    Also consider the Felt TK3 and the TK2 with that group. I would call them entry level as far as actual track racing goes.

    To answer your original question, the Fuji Track Comp, Felt TK3, Motobocane Team Track, or Trek T1 might be your best bets for aluminum close to that price range. Keep in mind that you will also need tools (15mm wrench, lockring tool, chain whip, allen wrenches, pump), different sized chainrings and cogs (eventually), pedals, etc... I'd personally recommend that a new racer go for aluminum over steel if possible.

    Track racing is not an inexpensive sport. $500-600 won't really get you much. As with many things, your best value will be to buy something that is (gently) used.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Sebster's Avatar
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    Thank you for that detailed reply. I've been scouring ebay and craigslist and asking around at the velodrome and LBS, hopefully something turns up.
    I've actually got most of the tools needed, and clipless pedals/shoes on the way!

  4. #4
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    On my local track, the bottom bracket height determines if you have a track bike or not. If you don’t have a high BB, you will not be let on the track because you will have pedal strike sooner or later.

    I’ve never seen a bike with a high BB that didn’t have true track geometry. A BB drop of more than 60 mm is going to exclude it from being true track geometry.

    Yeah, you may be OK with one of the inexpensive bikes. It is going to handle sluggishly, and accelerate sluggishly, but you’ll probably be OK for a year or two. Something more dedicated to the track, like the Trek or Felt is going to be much more responsive on the track. That may not make a significant difference in your times until you have being doing it for a couple of years though.

    You can keep it inexpensive if you want. It depends a bit on your personality. Some people love to tinker with things, change things, and have the most competitive setup available. Others just pick one decent bike, one gear ratio, and go have fun. That part is up to you.

  5. #5
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Here is a quote from that other thread that may help on more traditional steel (e.g. Kerin) vs modern Aluminum:

    MH:Aside from all the elements I described answering your first question...a different riding dynamic manifests out of each respective frame. With a concept "type" or aluminum frame you can handle the bike with less input because the frame is stiffer, lighter and the wheel base is tight, also you can top-out velocity quicker but have to maintain it. That translates into a razor and it doesn't take much to cut **** it up with a razor!

    Now when riding a Keirin frame more input is required, because it’s a steel frame and there’s not as much transfer-of-energy. You work harder with more input, however riding style is subtle and smooth, while still having a tight wheel base. Velocity can be gradually developed and you can actually not work as hard when topping-out that velocity, because weight can be an advantage in that respect. When it gets moving, its moving! That translates into a sword, which will chop your s&%* right off!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Sebster's Avatar
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    Thanks I appreciate your response. I know exactly what you mean about steel input, I'm riding steel right now.
    I don't know if it'll be acceptable (its a suicide hub, again, I'm a poor student) - but I have 165mm cranks and have ridden the velodrome, no pedal strike

  7. #7
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    Here is a quote from that other thread that may help on more traditional steel (e.g. Kerin) vs modern Aluminum:

    MH:Aside from all the elements I described answering your first question...a different riding dynamic manifests out of each respective frame. With a concept "type" or aluminum frame you can handle the bike with less input because the frame is stiffer, lighter and the wheel base is tight, also you can top-out velocity quicker but have to maintain it. That translates into a razor and it doesn't take much to cut **** it up with a razor!

    Now when riding a Keirin frame more input is required, because it’s a steel frame and there’s not as much transfer-of-energy. You work harder with more input, however riding style is subtle and smooth, while still having a tight wheel base. Velocity can be gradually developed and you can actually not work as hard when topping-out that velocity, because weight can be an advantage in that respect. When it gets moving, its moving! That translates into a sword, which will chop your s&%* right off!
    I don't entirely disagree with what is written there but consider the source of that quote (not Chas58). The guy who said that in an interview isn't a track racer, he's a fixed gear freestyle dude.

    When in doubt, look at what others who know more than you are using.

    As with many activities that require special gear (golf, cycling, camping, playing guitar, etc...) there are the entry, mid, and high end types of equipment. What determines what is best is first to ask yourself, "How serious am I gonna take this?" and "How long do I plan to participate?" and answer honestly. If you are gonna commit, then commit.

    If you decide to commit, then get the very best you can for your budget...even if the bike is "faster than you are" and grow into it.

    If you can save up a bit more and get $900, the Felt TK3 and Trek T1 are REALLY good options. The frames and wheels are solid and you can upgrade the components down the road. These are bikes that you can grow into. The TK3 has a slight advantage being that it has a 144BCD crankset which is standard for track use. But, used cranksets can be found for a bargain. So, that's not a big deal.

  8. #8
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebster View Post
    Thanks I appreciate your response. I know exactly what you mean about steel input, I'm riding steel right now.
    I don't know if it'll be acceptable (its a suicide hub, again, I'm a poor student) - but I have 165mm cranks and have ridden the velodrome, no pedal strike
    Which track will you be riding? Many don't require a lockring-- some wheels (old specialized tri-spokes) don't accommodate them anyway.

    There's really no issue about transfer of energy with a steel bike-- mostly they're just heavier and take a little more power to accelerate and more effort to throw around underneath you.
    Track - the other off-road
    http://www.lavelodrome.org

  9. #9
    Senior Member Sebster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitingduck View Post
    Which track will you be riding? Many don't require a lockring-- some wheels (old specialized tri-spokes) don't accommodate them anyway.

    There's really no issue about transfer of energy with a steel bike-- mostly they're just heavier and take a little more power to accelerate and more effort to throw around underneath you.
    Marymoor Velodrome (Redmond, Wa)

  10. #10
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    the soma rush is NOT the same as the run of the mill china frames on bikesdirect.com (pake, kilo, etc)

    fuji track pro in my opinion can be had for 400 as a frameset if u look a bit. suitable frame for beg/inter.

    and there is no such thing as TRUE TRACK GEO.. there is tranditional track geo.. which is basically a twitch monster at 30mph +... and modern track geo.. which is a twitch monster @ 35mph+... and pro level track geo which is twitchy under 30mph.

    if you want to increase the HT angle from it's 73ish (most china steel 'track' frames) to 74-75... use smaller balls in the bottom of your headset race. i'm currently running .110" balls... w/ a fork race machined down bout .200".

    in essence .. shorten the fork, increase your HT angle. (and st angle a bit)

    Last edited by eoLithic; 03-25-11 at 04:50 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Sebster's Avatar
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    I ended up getting a Fuji Track Pro complete with ok parts
    Pics are in the "post your track bikes" thread
    Plan to upgrade parts as I go (right away seatpost with more setback, clipless pedals, saddle, etc)
    Quote Originally Posted by bikessuck View Post
    thats good to know, thanks for sharing that :)
    I'd rather have to carry a u-lock and cable lock with me here in LA than live in the middle of buttf**k nowhere winnebago county ahaha
    '79 Grand Prix Conversion
    '08 Fuji Track Pro

  12. #12
    Senior Member ethman's Avatar
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    Anyone owned or ridden both the Felt Tk3 and Fuji Track Pro? Any pros or cons to either? Is one stiffer? I'm also a roadie who would like to get my own track bike eventually, the loaners at the velodrome aren't anything to write home about. For those experienced track racers would owning an entry level track bike like one of those do the trick for a few years? I recently upgraded to a fancier road bike for racing after spending a couple seasons on an entry level road bike, so I know what upgrade fever can feel like... and it's expensive.

  13. #13
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ethman View Post
    Anyone owned or ridden both the Felt Tk3 and Fuji Track Pro? Any pros or cons to either? Is one stiffer? I'm also a roadie who would like to get my own track bike eventually, the loaners at the velodrome aren't anything to write home about. For those experienced track racers would owning an entry level track bike like one of those do the trick for a few years? I recently upgraded to a fancier road bike for racing after spending a couple seasons on an entry level road bike, so I know what upgrade fever can feel like... and it's expensive.
    If you are referring to the current Fuji Track 1.0, then I'd pass. The integrated seat mast is a pain in the butt. It solves no problem while creating a big one. Consider the Track 2.0.

    I would pick a frame that uses a standard 27.2mm seatpost.

    The key is to get a good quality frame that is stiff enough for your power output. Most aluminum frames are fine for most riders. But, if you are a bigger or stronger rider, then you will produce more torque. Big guys, although maybe not faster, will produce more torque just to get the bike moving.

    The fancy parts on a track bike are the components more-so than the frame. The most common upgrades are made for added stiffness and/or reliability. You can take a basic Pista Concept or (older) Fuji Track Pro and upgrade:
    - cranks
    - BB
    - stem
    - seatpost
    - handlebars
    - saddle
    - race wheels (demote the stock wheels for use as training wheels)
    - chainrings, cogs, and chain

    and have a MUCH different bike.

    If you want specific help with your decision, start a new thread.

  14. #14
    Senior Member ethman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post

    If you want specific help with your decision, start a new thread.
    Will do, thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    I know that finances are relative. But these aren't expensive.



    Also consider the Felt TK3 and the TK2 with that group. I would call them entry level as far as actual track racing goes.

    To answer your original question, the Fuji Track Comp, Felt TK3, Motobocane Team Track, or Trek T1 might be your best bets for aluminum close to that price range. Keep in mind that you will also need tools (15mm wrench, lockring tool, chain whip, allen wrenches, pump), different sized chainrings and cogs (eventually), pedals, etc... I'd personally recommend that a new racer go for aluminum over steel if possible.

    Track racing is not an inexpensive sport. $500-600 won't really get you much. As with many things, your best value will be to buy something that is (gently) used.
    Carleton, Why do you recommend that a new racer should choose aluminum over steel?

    Im planning on riding at the Encino Velodrome in the near future and i am starting to do my research on selecting a frame.

  16. #16
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eLJardins View Post
    Carleton, Why do you recommend that a new racer should choose aluminum over steel?

    Im planning on riding at the Encino Velodrome in the near future and i am starting to do my research on selecting a frame.
    Most people race aluminum bikes. It's sort of the best bang for the buck for beginner to advanced racers. Most riders that I know who ride steel either already had the bike, got it for cheap (and later upgraded), or it's of sentimental value.

    If you think you are going to take the sport seriously, buy a bike that you can grow into instead of buying a entry level bike now, then another when you advance in skill and strength.

  17. #17
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    That is good advice.

    Aluminum is light and stiff. That may have drawbacks on a mountainbike or road bike, but not on a track bike.

    If you found a good buy on a steel bike, you could use that for a year or two, and then sell it. But one of the problems with steel is you can’t really upgrade it. Sure, you can throw money at it, but that is kind of a waste if you don’t have a very stiff platform to build off of. Steel is more usable as a dual street/track bike, but it is those very qualities that limit hold it back on the track.

    You’ll likely be fine on steel for a year or two – the question is what are you going to do after that?

    Or look at it this way, you can spend $1,000, $2,000, $3,000+ on a good aluminum bike, but you are not going to find many steel track bikes selling for much more than $800. There is a reason why.

  18. #18
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    Beg to differ. Yamaguchi.

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