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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 11-08-12, 03:49 PM   #1
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First Track Bike, Component Quality

Hi guys, I have my first track session scheduled for this Saturday at the Burnaby Velodrome - only a 20 minute bike ride from my house, as it happens. I'm very excited, but also a bit concerned about what this latest interest might cost.

I've been reading on here, and looking at bikes and trying to learn something. I plan to simply ride the rentals for a while, until I decide whether or not it's for me. Mind you I haven't found a cycling discipline yet that I didn't like...so yea.

Anyways, I'm trying to get a handle on what a bike might cost me should I choose to buy one, so I can start budgeting. I have some ideas regarding frames, but component quality varies a lot and I don't know what's 'good enough'. For example, this bike

comes with everything from a FSA Vero crankset to a Campy Record. I guess it's safe to say the Record is good, but is there any point to spending the extra money? Is a Vero good enough? How about Miche stuff? Is the crank quality critical, how about hubs? Does it matter much what rims I'm running? I know the deeper ones are more aero, but is that going to be relevant for me as a beginner? Should I plan on going tubular, or are clinchers fine?

If someone could give me some advice as to where to spend the money and a realistic price point, that would be great. Thanks, and sorry for the rambling questions.

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Old 11-08-12, 04:10 PM   #2
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You want to stick to track standards first and foremost. 1/8" drivetrain, 144bcd crankset, 120mm rear hubs, etc.
Beyond that, there's room to play around. If you aren't a monster, you probably won't feel the difference between middle ground stuff, and high end stuff usually, but probably still want to stay away from really low end components.

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...k-Racing-Bikes
Check out that link, should put you in ballpark.
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Old 11-08-12, 08:02 PM   #3
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I'm like a 1/2 a step ahead of you man in that I spent a few sessions out at the local velodrome last summer and now am just trying to get myself ready for next spring. I was a little focused on the bike at first but have since tried to focus more on myself and learning the ways around the track, ie talk to a lot of track riders/coaches and start some specific training to get ready for the upcoming season (gym, indoor training, etc). I've spoken to a lot of the track riders and coaches and they've all suggested checking local clubs for good used bikes as you'll save a ton of money. Bikes in my area frequently pop up on OBRA (Oregon's bike racing assoc) or fixedgearfever, whatever. Theres a few good track riders on this forum - pick the previous threads and their brains.
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Old 11-09-12, 08:52 AM   #4
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One of the things I love about track racing is that there are very few drawbacks to basic gear. An aluminum frame with a carbon fork will likely suffice for most riders, even at a rather high level. Aero, tubular wheels are nice, but national championships can be won without 'em.

There are a few things that are helpful:
*Alu frame with carbon fork, threadless steerer - this is sort of the baseline of performance gear on the track.
*144bcd crankset, as Nagrom mentions. This means you'll be able to borrow chainrings from other riders, teammates, whoever, for gear changes. This might not be necessary for you - I raced for 3 or 4 years before diving into gear changes for different races.
*1/8" drivetrain - this just makes it more likely that you'll be able to borrow chainrings and cogs if you need to. there's no drawback to using 3/32" unless you can't change your gear because the chainring you want to use is 1/8".

Clinchers are fine. Get some good, high-quality, supple tires. Since Burnaby has steep banking, you might want to ask some folks there what tires are recommended. Some tires definitely don't play well with steep banking.

Quite frankly, most racing-oriented complete track bikes will take you a long way. The wheels might be kind of cheap and you might need to upgrade the contact points (saddle, handlebars, and pedals) based on your own preferences, but you'll probably save money buying complete and planning to upgrade a few pieces later than piecing together a bike part by part.
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Old 11-09-12, 02:36 PM   #5
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Burnaby is an awesome track and you are fortunate to live so close. I'll be there this weekend as well.
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Old 11-12-12, 12:29 PM   #6
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I've just got a new (old) track bike. By working craigslist and eBay pretty hard I was able to put together a Felt TK2 with Miche cranks, chain & cogs and decent clincher wheels for about $600. If I end up being rubbish I figure I can sell for about $500...
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Old 11-13-12, 11:04 AM   #7
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Burnaby is an awesome track and you are fortunate to live so close. I'll be there this weekend as well.
Yea...as it turns out there was a big race this weekend. No track time for learning! So my much anticipated (by me) debut will be delayed at least a week.

Thanks all for the contributions, I'm slowly getting a handle on the potential price tag for this potential new hobby of mine.
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Old 11-13-12, 08:16 PM   #8
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Keep in mind that a lot the higher-priced gear is simply more reliable. Pay close attention to what others are using (in photos and in person) on the local/regional race scene. You'll start seeing the same gear over and over because it's the stuff that stands the test of time and are a good value.

Also, it really depends on how hard you are on gear. If you are a 170lb enduro racer you won't be as hard on your stuff as a 230lb sprinter. I'm a huge guy (and a lot of that isn't muscle! Haha) and I can flex wheels, frames, and handlebars that many can't. (I've actually broken saddles and 2-bolt stems). So, I have to spend a few more bucks for higher-end gear that is stronger.

The quality stuff will last. For example, I've seen sets of Dura Ace and Campy cranks that are decades old that were raced annually.

But, don't get caught up on the "anything carbon is better..." thing. For example, here is Chris Hoy just a couple of years ago racing with some $60 steel handlebars (Nitto B123):

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Old 11-13-12, 08:31 PM   #9
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Some more random thoughts:

Pay particular attention to your drivetrain: Cranks, Pedals, Chain, Chainrings, and Cogs. Spend the extra loot here. If I bought a stock bike, over the course of my first season I'd replace all of that stuff.

Replace other items to solve problems. Stem the wrong size? Replace it. Saddle sucks? Replace it. Bars are the wrong width/depth? Replace them. Cranks the wrong length? Replace them.

As one bike shop owner once told me, "Track racers are THE most particular customers that I have. More so that Tri or Road racers."

Some people (me) spend years fiddling with different crank length, bar width, saddle setbacks, etc...looking to get that perfect fit. I think it's because there are so few variables in track racing that these things are emphasized whereas with road, CX, or MTB there's a whole lot more going on.

Track racing can get really technical...in a good way. It keeps things fresh for me. There are always so many ways to look for improvement.

As a new racer, you will see tremendous gains in your first season. Change something...improve. Learn how to draft...improve. Learn when to attack...improve. Develop gear ratio preferences...improve. It keeps things fun.

EDIT:

But, you'll find that track racing gear is MUCH cheaper than MTB, Road, and CX bikes and equipment. Much cheaper.
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Old 11-14-12, 11:37 AM   #10
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Carleton, thanks for these great responses.
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Old 11-16-12, 09:49 PM   #11
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Some more random thoughts:

Pay particular attention to your drivetrain: Cranks, Pedals, Chain, Chainrings, and Cogs. Spend the extra loot here. If I bought a stock bike, over the course of my first season I'd replace all of that stuff.
Whats the general consensus on chainrings? The only real expense I've got left is wheels, chainrings and a frame. Frame and wheels are pretty much figured out. What rings do you guys generally run. I understand this is something that most fine tune on their own, but I've nickel and dimed my commuter buying several $50 chainrings and $30 cogs trying to figure out ratios I like. The rentals out on the track had 46T rings (on purpose I guess) and I spun pretty quick on hard efforts. I dont really want to buy 5 x $100 dura ace chainrings. How would you guys start out?
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Old 11-16-12, 10:02 PM   #12
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I like the FSA rings and am slowly swapping out my rings for those when they come up cheap (picked up a new 51t on a local forum for $30).

When initially adding rings with a view to a budget I went with Miche Advanced rings from the UK and these are still going strong.*

*I'm an enduro. Actual performance may vary for heavy sprinter types...
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Old 11-16-12, 11:05 PM   #13
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I like the FSA rings and am slowly swapping out my rings for those when they come up cheap (picked up a new 51t on a local forum for $30).

When initially adding rings with a view to a budget I went with Miche Advanced rings from the UK and these are still going strong.*

*I'm an enduro. Actual performance may vary for heavy sprinter types...
Thanks
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Old 11-20-12, 05:53 PM   #14
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Burnaby's rentals are actually pretty good. All of Victorias live over there in the winter, and I helped tune them just before they went over, and I know that the guy in burnaby who keeps the rentals in shape knows his stuff, too.
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Old 11-21-12, 11:36 AM   #15
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Old 11-21-12, 03:21 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalai View Post
I like the FSA rings and am slowly swapping out my rings for those when they come up cheap (picked up a new 51t on a local forum for $30).

When initially adding rings with a view to a budget I went with Miche Advanced rings from the UK and these are still going strong.*

*I'm an enduro. Actual performance may vary for heavy sprinter types...
Sort of along these lines, keep an eye on your various second hand markets, especially the places the fixie riders use. I only have 3 chainrings ATM, all of them being DA. I got one with my original bike, bought one, and then bought the other one from fleabay brand new for $35!

As another option, http://www.cycleunderground.com.au/chainringdesigns.htm. I believe some US guys have bought from him before and you can get a range of designs, and if you have the coin, you can even get your own individual design. As an example, http://www.twebikewheels.com.au/cran...hainrings.html - the track chainrings here are done by cycle underground I believe. He has a pretty good reputation on quality and I'm getting a couple from him myself very soon.
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Old 11-21-12, 04:37 PM   #17
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Burnaby's rentals are actually pretty good. All of Victorias live over there in the winter, and I helped tune them just before they went over, and I know that the guy in burnaby who keeps the rentals in shape knows his stuff, too.
Good to know
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Old 11-26-12, 10:34 AM   #18
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I’m of the camp to buy something cheap/used for your first season or two and then sell it when you know what you really want (and how addicted you are). There is a good market for used fixed gear stuff that isn’t too expensive.

During your first season, it won’t really matter what kind of bike you are on, but somewhere after that, everything will make a difference.
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Old 11-26-12, 11:37 AM   #19
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Thanks for the tips - I've got everything I need now minus the frame. Shopped around and got great deals on everything.
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Old 11-27-12, 10:42 AM   #20
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you are gonna have fun!

You could potentially buy a nice built frame and sell the parts off of it and end up with a pretty inexpensive frame to use.
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Old 11-27-12, 11:11 AM   #21
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Quote:
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you are gonna have fun!

You could potentially buy a nice built frame and sell the parts off of it and end up with a pretty inexpensive frame to use.
Good idea. I'm still just waiting for the right deal to come up.

A funny side note: I asked the wife what she thought about a family vacation to Estes Park, Co. and she said it sounded nice, but what's there? I told her its a sweet, outdoor type town.................and the home of Dave Tiemeyer. I could just run in and get fitted for a new frame while we're there on vacation You all can guess how the rest of the story went.
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Old 11-27-12, 02:49 PM   #22
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Oh, I can imagine... ;-)
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