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  1. #1
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    Track bike setup

    Alright im headed up to st louis next month to try out the velodrome and will be moving there permanently in august so id like to know what components are required/recommended? Currently iv got a steel frame track frame that iv setup for road riding with 28c tires and 46-16 gearing. Id like to know everything from wheels to handlebars on what type or prefered brand of components i need. Thanks!

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VintOrbea View Post
    Alright im headed up to st louis next month to try out the velodrome and will be moving there permanently in august so id like to know what components are required/recommended? Currently iv got a steel frame track frame that iv setup for road riding with 28c tires and 46-16 gearing. Id like to know everything from wheels to handlebars on what type or prefered brand of components i need. Thanks!
    Ask 10 people what is preferred and you'll get 10 answers. There are a lot of factors like, flexibility, riding style, event specialization, etc...

    Just take a stroll through the "Show off your bikes" thread and see how different the setups can be. Keep in mind that "best of breed" parts may not be "best for me". For example:
    - a sprinter type rider may appreciate the 37cm 3T Scatto bars, whereas an enduro may prefer standard road bars at 40-44cm.
    - a time trialist may like 170 or 172mm cranks whereas the match sprinter may like 165s

    I'd suggest getting a basic setup and moving towards preferences as you progress in the sport. A basic setup would include:
    - 28 or 32 spoke clincher training wheels
    - 144BCD 48, 49, 50t chainrings
    - 1/8" 14, 15, 16t cogs
    - Quality chain (Izumi ECO, KMC K710, or similar) for around $20.
    - Quality 23c tires. 28 will probably be squirmy at high speeds in the turns.
    - Road (not MTB) clipless pedals

  3. #3
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    It looks like you have what you need to get started, except for the gearing. Many people start out with at 48x16 equivalent and go from there. You could basically do that by going to a 15t cog.

    Your tires are OK for starters, but for racing you are going to want to get some light 23mm tires.

    Mostly you need track time, and I’m sure the gang at the track can help you plenty with questions.

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    You might want to ask at the forums over by stlbiking.com. It'd be more pertinent to their track. I agree that you'll want to gear a little heavier, and make sure you have drop bars, but honestly for that track the 28's might be better. It's pretty bumpy.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    Youre going to be in St Louis?

    Hi I am kayce, I have a big read beard and love talking track racing. What do you know about our track? I think 28s are too wide, 21s are too narrow. Most everyone is at 23 or 25. On my training wheels I have 25 up front 23 in the back. On the fancy wheels I am all 23.
    If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him

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    im comin up to st louis on the last week of june. i dont know if ill race but ill defiantly take some practice laps. I know absolutely nothing about velodrome racing let alone st. louis's velo. Its just something I've wanted to try for awhile but since the closest one to oklahoma is st louis or dallas i havent gone yet but since im moving up to st louis i will definitely be out there most of next season and probably a few times this season. I've got clincher wheels that are 36 spoke origin8 Track wheels. i was thinking about going with a 23c tire and 49x16 gearing. I have heard that that track is bumpy though. I also have a friend that got all city track drops but he is a riser fan so he switched back and will sell me his track drops relatively cheap. what about clipless or toe cages?

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VintOrbea View Post
    im comin up to st louis on the last week of june. i dont know if ill race but ill defiantly take some practice laps. I know absolutely nothing about velodrome racing let alone st. louis's velo. Its just something I've wanted to try for awhile but since the closest one to oklahoma is st louis or dallas i havent gone yet but since im moving up to st louis i will definitely be out there most of next season and probably a few times this season. I've got clincher wheels that are 36 spoke origin8 Track wheels. i was thinking about going with a 23c tire and 49x16 gearing. I have heard that that track is bumpy though. I also have a friend that got all city track drops but he is a riser fan so he switched back and will sell me his track drops relatively cheap. what about clipless or toe cages?
    You'll learn that just about everyone warms up on a light gear and trains or races on something slightly or significantly larger. This is why you see people changing cogs and chainrings all the time. 49x16 would be a warmup gear. Too light for anything but absolute beginner racing or warming up before putting on a race gear like 48x15 or larger as you progress. Warming up on a race gear is harsh and racing on a warmup gear is harsh for a different reason.

    I advise most beginners who have a flip/flop hub to have a 48t chainring and put a 16t on one side of the rear wheel and a 15 on the other side. Use the 16t side for your warmup and the 15t side for your training/race session. This will all make sense once you get going on the track.

    Toe cages work, assuming that you use the proper slotted cleats that go with them. But, most people use modern clipless pedals. And by most, I mean 99.99%. I don't know one person at my track that uses them. I can only think of 3 people that I've seen over the past couple of years. Babypuke (on this forum) uses them and they seem to serve him well.

    I suggest getting road clipless pedals like Shimano SPD-SL (any model), LOOK Keo or KEO Max 2, or Speedplay Zero (only Zeros, not X or Light Action).

    Don't forget to find out about a Into to the Track class. Also called a Beginner's class. This is VERY important. It teaches you etiquette. You will learn very important Do's and Don'ts. You will learn what to expect and what is expected of you to keep you from being involved in a mishap. The track is organized chaos, even during open warmup sessions, not just races. It's no different than a Driver's Ed class. Most tracks will not let you on unless you have taken their class or can prove that you've done so elsewhere. It's to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

  8. #8
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    Heres my baby named by me as "The Phantom"

    IMG_0792 - Copy.jpg

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    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    good looking bike. You'll be fine on the 49x16 for a while. Once you get used to spining and get your leg speed up you can use a 15t cog, and then you'll fly (if you have worked up to it properly).

    The 3 things you need:
    - gears as discussed
    - drop bars that you have
    - shoes and cleats.

    Tires and a 15t cog can come later.

    Most important: intro to track class!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    Penrose is a bit different than most tracks, probably in part because of the poor surface. Along with the people that race here and the guy who runs it all. There is a very DIY punk rock feel to it all. Very open, very friendly. We do go pretty tight with the rules, but the culture is looser than a lot of places. Not to say one is better than the other.

    There is a lot more relaxed feel to it. People generally do not change gearing as much, have less high end equiptment, etc. Its not very common even here, but there are a few people that do the old clips and straps with out slotted cleats. If you do not know how to tighten your straps while on the bike it will be a problem though. Clipless is much much better, but not a nessecity.

    We aslo don't host regular into to track classes, just the one that was last night. But there are lots and lots of friendly faces that will ride with you during warm up and tell you some stuff. Then watch the A and B races and point things out. Its not as effective as an intro class, but you will be okay.
    If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kayce View Post
    Penrose is a bit different than most tracks, probably in part because of the poor surface. Along with the people that race here and the guy who runs it all. There is a very DIY punk rock feel to it all. Very open, very friendly. We do go pretty tight with the rules, but the culture is looser than a lot of places. Not to say one is better than the other.

    There is a lot more relaxed feel to it. People generally do not change gearing as much, have less high end equiptment, etc. Its not very common even here, but there are a few people that do the old clips and straps with out slotted cleats. If you do not know how to tighten your straps while on the bike it will be a problem though. Clipless is much much better, but not a nessecity.

    We aslo don't host regular into to track classes, just the one that was last night. But there are lots and lots of friendly faces that will ride with you during warm up and tell you some stuff. Then watch the A and B races and point things out. Its not as effective as an intro class, but you will be okay.
    Sounds like ill fit in. Anyone use eggbeater pedals on the track? Id rather not have to wear road shoes when riding street. Id like be able to use the chrome shoes wih clips on the bottom so id have to mtb clipless pedals. Id rather not carry around an extra pair of shoes that id have to swap out whenever i get to whereever im going. Glad that i dont haveto take an intro class since ill only be up for a week until later this year.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    Eggbeaters are only one walkable option, but for track racing they are probably the least good. If you have to have something walkable I would go with the Shimano SPDs. But I would also look at other options than the chrome shoes. Most SPD shoes are walkable, and lots are stiffer than the chrome ones.

    Since you won't get a class or anything it is even more important to show up early. When it gets closer let me know what day youre coming and I will get there an hour early so I can show you some things and still get my proper warm up. I have always been a better coach than athlete, and I enjoy it. So ask me anything you want about Penrose. And lots of people on here know tons more than me about track in general.
    If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VintOrbea View Post
    Sounds like ill fit in. Anyone use eggbeater pedals on the track? Id rather not have to wear road shoes when riding street. Id like be able to use the chrome shoes wih clips on the bottom so id have to mtb clipless pedals. Id rather not carry around an extra pair of shoes that id have to swap out whenever i get to whereever im going. Glad that i dont haveto take an intro class since ill only be up for a week until later this year.
    Would you like to eat tarmac as you unclip at 30mph and you can't coast?

    Would you rather keep your skin?



    It seems that you've pretty much ignored the suggestions that were made above and really only want to hear that you don't need to do anything different than you are already doing.

    Properly maintained road clipless pedals are safer than MTB pedals. And as Kayce mentions, Eggbeaters are really easy to pull out of. They are designed to shed mud and for easy entry and exit when hopping on an off of a MTB/CX bike. They are not for track training and racing.

    Anyone use eggbeater pedals on the track?
    No, because they are not good for actually keeping your feet on the pedals when pulling hard on them.

  14. #14
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VintOrbea View Post
    Sounds like ill fit in. Anyone use eggbeater pedals on the track?
    Eggbeaters would probably be my second to last choice for riding the track. My last choice would be bare platforms without clips. As a few others have already mentioned-- they really don't hold you in tight enough at all. I use eggbeaters for commuting and on my mtb, and I would never use them for road racing, let alone track racing. Regular SPD mtb pedals are ok for track training, and you might get away with racing them for a little while, but you'll find very quickly that you'd rather be more secure. I use SPD-R (no longer available) because you can make them so tight you have to take the shoe off to get out. About the last thing you want (short of having your front wheel chopped or riding directly over a crash) is for your feet to come unclipped at speed.
    Track - the other off-road
    http://www.lavelodrome.org

  15. #15
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    I have had some one unclip infront of me. It was the scariest thing that has ever happened to me on a bike, including my 3 years working as a messenger, and racing alley cats in Philadelphia, DC, and New York. I cannot imagine how bad it would be to be the one that unclipped.
    If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him

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    guess ill have to go with the road clipless then. I'll be out there the 28th of june. I made sure to check the schedule to see that there was a race that day. its pretty easy to swap out pedals for road riding. was just hoping there was another option. although iv never ridden clipless so i might fall in love with them! who knows

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