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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 09-12-11, 02:38 PM   #1
I_like_cereal
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How do you tell a road bike from a track bike without a ruler?

So, being in Portland there is a large "fixie" culture here which means there are lots of road bikes being transformed. However, we have a velodrome, Alpenrose, and one track specific bike shop which mainly sells older, vintage type restores.

If I go there looking for a track specific bike how do I separate the road frame from the track frame? I could just take to owners word for it, but just my luck I get to the track get sent packing.

Thanks
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Old 09-12-11, 08:52 PM   #2
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this question might be moved..but if you are talking about Bike Central they won't sell you a road bike if you are looking for a track bike....IF you are worried look at the drop outs.
Road bike

Track bike

Hopefully you can see the difference

My best advice is if you live here in Portland and are interested in racing track go talk to the folks at Bike Central and they will get you squared away with everything you need.
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Old 09-13-11, 11:00 AM   #3
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Thanks for the bike central tip.

I know about the dropouts, but companies are using them for SS/Fixes that do not have the track geometry. This is the reason for the question.

I'll check out BC.
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Old 09-13-11, 01:10 PM   #4
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There arent a whole lot of visual things to look for, unless you really know what you are looking at. But any shop that you are buying from should be able to tell you all the geometry and riding characteristics of a bike.

If there is a specific bike you are wondering about, lots of people here can help.
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Old 09-13-11, 02:11 PM   #5
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There's not really such a thing as "track geometry" anymore (if there ever was). It really depends on what you want to do on it. People generally want a different geometry for pursuit and sprint and mass start, but there are some bikes (Look 596, BT) that are commonly used for all three. My current track bike is a Giant that's basically the TCR Advanced front triangle and seatmast with a track-specific rear triangle (at least at the dropouts...). Bikes intended for the track will usually, but not always, have high-ish bottom brackets, and bikes with low bottom brackets can do fine for track racing-- most tracks in the US are shallow, and even on the steep ones the racing tends to be fast enough that BB height is rarely an issue. There are people who ride the HDC velodrome with cranks ranging from 150 mm to 185 or 190 mm. If you're doing mostly mass start races you'll likely be fine on something pretty "road-like".
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Old 09-14-11, 08:42 PM   #6
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Seat tube angle and fork rake are two other sitters. They'll be steeper, like a road bike got put in a compactor (for a bit) leading to a shorter wheelbase.
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Old 09-15-11, 09:57 AM   #7
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Thanks.
I called the LBS and they want $1500 for an entry level steel frame with hand laced wheels and personal fit. Which is not a bad gig, but for a training and occasional, I wanna go to Alpenrose, bike it is a bit steep. I was looking at the Trek or the Felt. The parts though seem crappy. So I am not sure what I should do.
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Old 09-15-11, 11:16 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by I_like_cereal View Post
Thanks.
I called the LBS and they want $1500 for an entry level steel frame with hand laced wheels and personal fit. Which is not a bad gig, but for a training and occasional, I wanna go to Alpenrose, bike it is a bit steep. I was looking at the Trek or the Felt. The parts though seem crappy. So I am not sure what I should do.
Yes. That's steep...especially for an entry level steel frame. The frame is the heart of the bike. Hand-laced wheels are nice if you have particular hubs and/or rims that you really like. But for the majority of us, off-the-shelf wheels are just fine. Especially since fixed gear bikes are so popular, there are LOTS of quality inexpensive options from which to choose for $200 or less for a complete wheelset. See for yourself: http://www.velomine.com/index.php?ma...x&cPath=87_172

For $1500 you can get a very nice Felt TK2 or something similar. The bars that come on it aren't to everyone's likeing. But they retail for $400 and some people LOVE them. So, they would be easy to sell to finance the drop bars of your choosing and leave some extra cash in your pocket.
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Old 09-19-11, 10:12 AM   #9
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Yep, for 1500, there are some very nice of the shelf track bikes available.

The biggest thing that makes a track bike a track bike may be the bottom bracket. You will not be let on a track that has steep banks with a road geometry bike (e.g. low bottom bracket). If you were to ride with a low BB, sooner or later you would smack a pedal, and then take down the whole pace line. This will make you very unpopular!

One option to eyeball this is to take a bike with pedals on it, lean it over at 45 degrees and see if the pedal (fully down) hits. Not a great test, but since you asked…

Your best bet would be to head to the tracks, rent a couple of bikes, talk to people, understand what you want and what you like, and maybe even find a good used bike for half of what a new one would cost.
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Old 09-19-11, 11:33 AM   #10
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The biggest thing that makes a track bike a track bike may be the bottom bracket. You will not be let on a track that has steep banks with a road geometry bike (e.g. low bottom bracket). If you were to ride with a low BB, sooner or later you would smack a pedal, and then take down the whole pace line. This will make you very unpopular!

HDC doesn't do any bike inspection -- riders are responsible for their equipment and knowing how to use it safely for the kind of riding they want to do. I've never seen anybody touch a pedal there without already being on the way down, and people ride all sorts of geometries with all sorts of crank lengths. You can touch a pedal to the track at Blaine with a high BB and 165 cranks and not go down (I've done it), but in 7 years at HDC I've never seen it there-- the pine is way slicker than the afzalia.
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Old 09-19-11, 01:27 PM   #11
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Yeah, ultimately every track is going to have its own rules. Still, with a BB drop of more than 60, it is going to be easy for a beginner to smak a pedal on a 44 degree track, and take down everyone behind him. A typical road BB drop of 70 (in addition to longer cranks) is a receipe for trouble.

You are more likely to smak a pedal at slower speeds (below 15-20), when riding relief, or when turing up track at the end of a turn.

For HDC, what are the banking angles? Does HDC allow road bike conversions on the track? I would be surprised if Alpenrose allowed conversion because of the banking angles. As usual, it is best to check with the track for specific requirements. They tend to be more accurate than what you read on internet forums. ;-)

Sometimes when people have their bike slide out from under them, they don't even realize they have smaked a pedal on the track. The scratch marks on the track will tell though.
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Old 09-19-11, 03:24 PM   #12
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You are more likely to smak a pedal at slower speeds (below 15-20), when riding relief, or when turing up track at the end of a turn.
There aren't many people who can ride 15 at HDC without sliding. 18 is a pretty common slow cruising speed and I've never seen anybody hit a pedal at that speed.

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For HDC, what are the banking angles? Does HDC allow road bike conversions on the track?
46 degrees.
If its USAC race legal you can ride it at HDC.
Blaine used to (and may still) have conversions in the rental fleet.

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I would be surprised if Alpenrose allowed conversion because of the banking angles. As usual, it is best to check with the track for specific requirements.
I think Alpenrose is open but unattended most of the time. It also has about the weirdest transitions I've ever seen.

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Sometimes when people have their bike slide out from under them, they don't even realize they have smaked a pedal on the track. The scratch marks on the track will tell though.
I've seen a lot of slides at HDC, and on race days I've been the one going to tape the track...
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Last edited by bitingduck; 09-19-11 at 03:35 PM. Reason: add info
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