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  1. #1
    Senior Member spazegun2213's Avatar
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    How important is frame geometry?

    Alright, I'm thinking about pulling the trigger on a bike for the velodrome, but I have a few questions.

    1) How important is geometry for a beginner?
    We use Binachi Pista's which have a Low bottom bracket drop (58mm) and they work just fine.

    B) Would you sacrifice geometry for better components?
    I'm noticing That the beginner level track bikes from specialized, trek, felt, etc have their own components (cranks and what not). I'd assume they must be good enough for 90% of the people riding them... yes? What I'm trying to ask is there any real reason for a beginner to purchase a bike with Dura-ace components just because a DA?

    The reason I ask this I'm thinking about buying a used frame (pista most likely) and building it up to save some $ initially. But it looks like the fuji's, felts and the like have higher bottom brackets so I'm wondering which bike to get.

    I have no idea if that made any sense to you all, but thanks for the help!
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    '11 allez Comp, very specialized & '09 Pinarello Pista, that only turns left
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    Road bikes traditionally have a better BB, mountain bikes, hybrids, cyclocross bikes tend to have a higher BB for clearance. Bikes with a lower BB handle more nimble, due to the lower center of gravity. Unless you're a total klutz, to me it comes down to where you are riding, not how well you ride. But, because bikes with lower BB are more nimble they are quicker to turn or lean, so that could be an issue.

    It's hard to advise on components, better components are lighter, and usually perform better. Without knowing your true ability, it's really about budget. You can always upgrade your components if they are not sufficient.

    No matter what level of rider you are, you are cheating yourself if you skimp on rims though.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    Weight is really really low on the concerns for track racing components, among other things that you said which are strange and make me think you aren't really racing track much.

    Are you buying bikes as a rental situation? What is the plan for them, how much are you going to charge, can people rent them every race for a season?
    If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him

  4. #4
    Senior Member spazegun2213's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kayce View Post
    Weight is really really low on the concerns for track racing components, among other things that you said which are strange and make me think you aren't really racing track much.

    Are you buying bikes as a rental situation? What is the plan for them, how much are you going to charge, can people rent them every race for a season?
    Oh, this is just going to be my personal bike since I'm just starting out. I'm not worried about weight at all... if I was I'd get off my ass and lose a few more lbs before buying a lighter *insert part here*.
    '11 allez Comp, very specialized & '09 Pinarello Pista, that only turns left
    It doesn't hurt any less, you just go faster

  5. #5
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    For track bikes you should never worry about weight, you are never going to go up hill, so it is not a concern.

    The Bianchi Pista is an okay entry level bike, San Diego isn't especially steep, so your BB should be high enough, and the angles are tight enough to show no major concern. If you have one, it will be plenty fine to ride it. But if you are purchasing new there are much better options, for not much more money.

    The felt tk3 is only $100 more, and comes with much nicer wheels, and a much nicer crankset. Those are the two key components when looking at a complete bike. But of course you know the "best" bike that does not fit is completly useless.
    If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him

  6. #6
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    You are asking at least two questions:

    - How important is frame geometry?
    - Should I buy a complete bike or build one from the frame up?


    1) Geometry is *very* important. Geometry on track bikes can become very particular. But, until you know what the different angles mean and until you start specializing in some sort of riding style (endurance, sprint) then you'd probably be best served with an a basic, neutral frame geometry like the Bianchi Pista Concept, Felt TK2, or 2008 Fuji Track Pro. Those aren't the ONLY one's by far. They are just a few with which I am familiar. Actually, MOST track bikes are sort of neutral.

    If we have "neutral" bikes, then we have to have bikes on each extreme. For example, compare the Cervelo T3 to the Dolan DF3 (I would mention the BT Stealth here, but BT won't publish the geo). The Cervelo is an endurance/pursuit bike and the DF3 is a sprint bike. Yes, they can be (and have been) used for the entire range of events. But, they were designed for what they were designed for.




    Important metrics that determine your riding posture and how the bike will handle (already assuming you are on the right sized bike):
    - Head tube length (this will determine how low you can get with aerobars)
    - Head tube angle
    - Fork rake (this combined with head tube angle will determine how "twitchy" or "stable" the bike handles. Sprint bikes have short rake for quick maneuvering, TT bikes have long rake for stability when in aerobars.
    - Seat tube angle (Endurance bikes are setup similar to road bikes whereas some sprint bikes tend to have a more upright seat tube for several reasons.)


    Regarding components:

    For the most part, when you buy the nicer components you are buying durability and reliability. They will work well and do so for a long time. I know one guy who has been racing the same campy cranks for over 20 years. I've heard similar stories about hubs, handlebars, etc.. A friend of mine races some handlebars that she got off of her dad's old bike.

    On the other hand, LOTS of budget gear is really good. For example, Formula hubs are basic hubs, but are really strong and the bearings are replaceable...and they are A LOT easier to deal with than Dura Ace hubs which require constant checks to make sure that the bearing on the rear aren't being overtightened due to putting the wheel on/off the bike so often. I carry cone wrenches in my track sack.

    As far as components go, I'd ask around and pay attention to what other people who have been around a while use.

  7. #7
    Italian Stallion mcafiero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Off-topic, but interesting to see the Thomson seatpost on the DF3, and not the Alpina TT which comes with the bike. I am having problems with my Alpina dropping on my DF3 and have been wondering if I should get an aluminum post. Wonder if it's a common problem.
    "Go out hard. When it hurts... speed up"
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  8. #8
    Senior Member spazegun2213's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kayce View Post
    But if you are purchasing new there are much better options, for not much more money.

    The felt tk3 is only $100 more, and comes with much nicer wheels, and a much nicer crankset. Those are the two key components when looking at a complete bike. But of course you know the "best" bike that does not fit is completly useless.
    right now, I'm kinda looking at the specialized langster because, honestly, its cheap. I figure I'm a beginner and even if the wheels are 2g carbon disks, they are not going to make me pedal any faster. Which in the end, is what I need, lol. Bottom line is I'm looking for something I can grow into, knowing that its going to take me several years before I need lighter wheels or a stiffer crank, etc.


    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    You are asking at least two questions:

    - How important is frame geometry?
    - Should I buy a complete bike or build one from the frame up?
    yup, at least.

    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    1) Geometry is *very* important. Geometry on track bikes can become very particular. But, until you know what the different angles mean and until you start specializing in some sort of riding style (endurance, sprint) then you'd probably be best served with an a basic, neutral frame geometry like the Bianchi Pista Concept, Felt TK2, or 2008 Fuji Track Pro. Those aren't the ONLY one's by far. They are just a few with which I am familiar. Actually, MOST track bikes are sort of neutral.

    If we have "neutral" bikes, then we have to have bikes on each extreme. For example, compare the Cervelo T3 to the Dolan DF3 (I would mention the BT Stealth here, but BT won't publish the geo). The Cervelo is an endurance/pursuit bike and the DF3 is a sprint bike. Yes, they can be (and have been) used for the entire range of events. But, they were designed for what they were designed for.
    Would you car to elaborate a little on this (for my own amusement)? I'm assuming these specialized frames move the rider into a specific position. Do they just manipulate small things (angles and bb height)? or they do really funky things with the tube lengths as well?


    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post

    For the most part, when you buy the nicer components you are buying durability and reliability. They will work well and do so for a long time. I know one guy who has been racing the same campy cranks for over 20 years. I've heard similar stories about hubs, handlebars, etc.. A friend of mine races some handlebars that she got off of her dad's old bike.

    On the other hand, LOTS of budget gear is really good. For example, Formula hubs are basic hubs, but are really strong and the bearings are replaceable...and they are A LOT easier to deal with than Dura Ace hubs which require constant checks to make sure that the bearing on the rear aren't being overtightened due to putting the wheel on/off the bike so often. I carry cone wrenches in my track sack.

    As far as components go, I'd ask around and pay attention to what other people who have been around a while use.
    Sounds like I can go rummaging though the bargain bin for things that dont move is what you are saying? Ha, I understand the durability and reliability as I have something like 8k miles on my bike that is mainly 105 and it has never missed a beat.
    '11 allez Comp, very specialized & '09 Pinarello Pista, that only turns left
    It doesn't hurt any less, you just go faster

  9. #9
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcafiero View Post
    Off-topic, but interesting to see the Thomson seatpost on the DF3, and not the Alpina TT which comes with the bike. I am having problems with my Alpina dropping on my DF3 and have been wondering if I should get an aluminum post. Wonder if it's a common problem.
    My Alpina post worked as expected. I use the Thomson because it has zero set-back. The Alpina has like 2cm of set-back. I like to be right on top of the pedals.

  10. #10
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spazegun2213 View Post
    Would you car to elaborate a little on this (for my own amusement)? I'm assuming these specialized frames move the rider into a specific position. Do they just manipulate small things (angles and bb height)? or they do really funky things with the tube lengths as well?
    It's mostly angles. To sum things up:

    - Sprinters want to be aerodynamic and are willing to sacrifice comfort being that their races are around 1-2 minutes long but can reach very fast speeds. Weight is on the arms/shoulders.
    - Endurance racers are willing to sacrifice aerodynamics for the sake of comfort being that their races can be over 15 minutes long. Weight is on the butt (much like a road racer's position).
    - Pursuiters/Kilo riders need the optimal TT position

    Quote Originally Posted by spazegun2213 View Post
    Sounds like I can go rummaging though the bargain bin for things that dont move is what you are saying?
    No. I said see what other, more experienced people are using. Just because it's cheap doesn't mean it's good. It's very easy to waste money on bike parts.

    Understand that if you start taking the sport seriously, you may buy LOTS of different pieces of equipment (bar shapes, bar widths, crank lengths, frames, etc...) until you settle on what works for you. I am 10x more particular about my track equipment than I am about my road equipment. As one bike shop owner said to me, "THE most particular customers I have are track racers. They know every millimeter of their bikes back and forth."

  11. #11
    Italian Stallion mcafiero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    My Alpina post worked as expected. I use the Thomson because it has zero set-back. The Alpina has like 2cm of set-back. I like to be right on top of the pedals.
    That's your Dolan? Are you riding it now? Nice
    "Go out hard. When it hurts... speed up"
    I have a grande hairy chest and I am of Italian descent.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member spazegun2213's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    It's mostly angles. To sum things up:

    - Sprinters want to be aerodynamic and are willing to sacrifice comfort being that their races are around 1-2 minutes long but can reach very fast speeds. Weight is on the arms/shoulders.
    - Endurance racers are willing to sacrifice aerodynamics for the sake of comfort being that their races can be over 15 minutes long. Weight is on the butt (much like a road racer's position).
    - Pursuiters/Kilo riders need the optimal TT position
    thanks for the explanation. I had no idea there was that much frame variation within a single niche of cycling.

    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    No. I said see what other, more experienced people are using. Just because it's cheap doesn't mean it's good. It's very easy to waste money on bike parts.
    Sorry that was supposed to be a joke. 10 years ago I bought my allez and hem'd and haw'd over what group to get. After looking at some other riders and the recommendation of the bike shop I got the 105. I still love it today, but back then it seemed like a hefty price.

    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Understand that if you start taking the sport seriously, you may buy LOTS of different pieces of equipment (bar shapes, bar widths, crank lengths, frames, etc...) until you settle on what works for you. I am 10x more particular about my track equipment than I am about my road equipment. As one bike shop owner said to me, "THE most particular customers I have are track racers. They know every millimeter of their bikes back and forth."
    Oh trust me, I understand that 100% (I'm the same way with my race car), but I want to make sure that I can still have fun on a budget right now. if I knew I was going to stay with this sport for 10 years, I'd buy a great bike, but right now I'm sort of dipping my toe in the water and seeing how it goes. But I do know to get better is going to take training more than one night a week (like i currently do on a rental bike).
    '11 allez Comp, very specialized & '09 Pinarello Pista, that only turns left
    It doesn't hurt any less, you just go faster

  13. #13
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spazegun2213 View Post
    thanks for the explanation. I had no idea there was that much frame variation within a single niche of cycling.



    Sorry that was supposed to be a joke. 10 years ago I bought my allez and hem'd and haw'd over what group to get. After looking at some other riders and the recommendation of the bike shop I got the 105. I still love it today, but back then it seemed like a hefty price.



    Oh trust me, I understand that 100% (I'm the same way with my race car), but I want to make sure that I can still have fun on a budget right now. if I knew I was going to stay with this sport for 10 years, I'd buy a great bike, but right now I'm sort of dipping my toe in the water and seeing how it goes. But I do know to get better is going to take training more than one night a week (like i currently do on a rental bike).
    I guess the same could be said about road racing. There are Road, Crit, and TT bikes on the road. Road geo being the most relaxed, Crit is more aggressive, and then there are TWO TT setups, UCI and USAT (more aggressive than UCI because there is no 5cm rule)

    I'd like to suggest that you buy a nice quality entry level race bike from the list in this thread: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...k-Racing-Bikes

    As you well know, it's much cheaper to buy complete than a-la-carte.

    Also, you may be able to find a complete bike used for even cheaper.

  14. #14
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    I’m not so sure I would agree that weight isn’t important (but then again I only way 165). A good Madison race is 10 miles of intervals – hard acceleration, relax, repeat. The bike has to accelerate or I will kill myself just getting up to speed (of course the handoff helps a lot too). Weight is important, but stiffness is even more important for this type of event. Flexy cranks and frame, and a heavy frame and wheels makes this type of event difficult (a missing & out is somewhat similar if less intense).

    Frame geometry doesn’t seem to be the concern here, it is what type of frame you want. 58mm bottom bracket is fine. 68mm (road) bottom bracket drop is unusable. Most track bikes seem to be between 55 and 60mm drop.

    That new langster is an interesting looking bike, but man does it feel heavy.

    Realistically, for the first 2 years it doesn’t make too much difference what you ride. You need to learn the track, riding skills, and learn how to sprint well. After that point, the details of the bike start to make a difference. Its going to take that long to really know what you want/need in a track bike anyway.

    Building your own bike is an expensive way to go compared to a bundled factory bike (although upgrading can be fun if you enjoy that).

    Durability isn’t really an issue on a track bike. They are subject to no debris, no bumps, no water, and maybe just a few wrecks. Any new bike should last decades on the track and still look relatively new (crashes not withstanding).

  15. #15
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    I’m not so sure I would agree that weight isn’t important (but then again I only way 165). A good Madison race is 10 miles of intervals – hard acceleration, relax, repeat. The bike has to accelerate or I will kill myself just getting up to speed (of course the handoff helps a lot too). Weight is important, but stiffness is even more important for this type of event. Flexy cranks and frame, and a heavy frame and wheels makes this type of event difficult (a missing & out is somewhat similar if less intense).
    Plus you're likely to be doing more hard maneuvering in a madison than in most mass start events, and it's easier to move a lighter bike around under you. That was one of the bigger things I noticed in going from steel to aluminum.
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