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  1. #1
    Senior Member zizou's Avatar
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    n00b to the track...what do I need

    n00b to the forum too i suppose - i signed up a while back, but more of a reader than a poster though.

    Anyway i stay close to the Chris Hoy velodrome in Glasgow. It is a 250 metre indoor wooden track and was the location of the last round of the world cup and will be the venue for the commonwealth games in 2014. I appreciate i am in a pretty lucky situation to have this within a 20 minute ride of my house and as such it would be rude not to take advantage of it (and in Scotland the attraction of being able to ride indoors is pretty big during the winter!). At the moment i am working my way through accreditation and enjoying it so far.

    I've got the bike sorted (although i wont actually have it until Christmas) - moda forte, american classic 420 track clinchers and miche pista chainset (49x15 and ive also got a 14 too). Will be sure to post a picture in the photo thread when it finally arrives. Got the pedals / shoes / helmet too.

    What else do i need? What clinchers are recommended for steeply banked wooden tracks? I think it is 44 degrees so my preference is for the grippier the better (I go with Michelin Pro 4 on the road but Michelin tyres are banned from the track) . Should i get another chainrings or sprocket? What sort of tools? Will my existing chainwhip that i use on my 10 speed road bike work? That is probably a stupid question that i should already know the answer to

    Thanks for reading, i'll no doubt think up some other stupid questions later

  2. #2
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    I assume you have most good racing gear(kits, helmet, gloves, etc)

    So the big thing are unique track tools: 1/8 chainwhip, lockring wrench, and chainring bolt key

    And a range of rings and cogs(rings are big and attatched to the crank, cogs are the little ones on the back wheel).

    Depending on what kind of racing you plan to do aero bars and helmet would be a good investment at some point.
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  3. #3
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    Tool-wise, the ones Kayce has mentioned and the appropriate allen keys (4mm, 5mm and 6mm are popular on bikes) so you can adjust seatpost height, bars, stem etc.
    Equipment concerning what you're going to use on track, Carelton has posted a list many times of which is important to least. I will quote it later if I find it. The general gist of it was; good, strong stuff now. Fancy aero/carbon later.
    Your 10sdp chainwhip won't be large enough, however a 1/8th' chainwhip will work on smaller sizes, so you only need one. You will find yourself slowly getting a vast array of gearing as you ride the track as you want them.
    As for wheels, I can't recommend specific stuff for steep tracks, my local one is 458meters and shallow banked... So it doesn't make sense for me to get stuff for steep, typical tracks as I only go there maybe x2 a year.

  4. #4
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    44 degrees? that will be an experience. We dont have crap in the darn country and what is available is not even close to what you guys are building in the uk, I envy you. The last one I rode was a wooden 45 degrees in canada and the finest one I rode was in a panam in colmbia back in the day.

    I think you have been reading a lot about the banks and you dont want to have an accident and thats why you are asking about the tires... well... technically speaking you can use whatever you want the issue is that as long you keep the speed constant up to a minimum that I imagine is like +25 km/h you wont have any problem sliding down the banks. For the record you can ride in the track even with a road bike as long as your are pedaling all the time. Just for you to have an idea that the banks arent something to be afraid of.

    Anyway the only way for you to know how slow are you going and gain confident in the track is just start going slow and slow until you slide down, after that you will know, no other way IMO. Many are making frowns for sure but is the only way for you to figure it out, all trackers have gotten at least one of those and once you have it you learn.

    Personally I would use tubulars. I can't even imagine going in the banks with clinchers, the reason I mention this is because the side walls with clinchers are weak. No matter how much air you put the clincher will deform too much, im an old guy used to old stuff and after the experience i have with the darn clinchers I would do tubulars specially in that nice track. Just my personal opinion ok?

    The other thing you will find out is that is hard to ride in the track your legs will hurt as hell after 15 minutes, track and road are totally different. Hmmm... after a couple of times riding the track you will notice that the banks are flatter than before, thats normal and that will improve your confidence in the track. The other thing I can tell you is that is easier to ride in the middle up of the banks thank in the bottom Home work figure it out why.

    Good luck and I envy you, been watching track racing since i retire from it and the track in the hoy stadium just rocks man...

    The bike you pick looks nice, put my eye on that one time ago, nice machine, post pictures if you can man..


  5. #5
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    Forgot this... 49x15 is more than enough IMO. 49x14 i doubt you will be able to handle it, to move 48x14 fast you have to have a lot of power and i mean kind'a hoy power. In a matter of fact if you are starting i would use 50x16 until you get used to it. You can do 55 km/h sprints with 50x16 just in case.

  6. #6
    Senior Member zizou's Avatar
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    Thanks for the help guys


    Although i dont have my own track bike yet i've been to a couple of the introduction classes so far where a coach takes a group through the basics. First time walking into the venue i looked up and saw some riders going round the banking above and I was a bit shocked just how steep it was (so much steeper than it looks on TV!). At the start we were getting used to the bikes - most of us had never riden fixed wheel before, so just clipping in the first time was a bit of a challenge, the pedal was never where i wanted it then went on going round the cote d'azur, then the coach got us onto the banking in the sprint line...then going up the top a few minutes after that and eventually some stacking. Never thought the progress would happen so soon but they really have set up the sessions nicely to introduce beginners to the track. The hire bikes (Dolan Pre Cursa) have 48x16 which i've found a little spinny (although perhaps i just need to learn to spin better!) but it might be a bit to big of step up to a 49x15 straight away so will probably get a 16 too.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    Two things:

    Yes, learn to spin. Dont just go and spin some. Do entire long rides undergeared.

    The rental bikes are lower than race gear because it is safer and easier to learn with a "road fixed" gearing, rather than a track race gearing.
    Last edited by Kayce; 11-26-12 at 03:37 PM.
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    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Why are the Michelin's 4banned from the track? I am thinking the pro4 (race version) would be great on the track, especially with the pointy aero front tire and low rolling resistance.

    Plenty of people use clinchers on the track. Get something light with low rolling resistance. Conti supersonics or those 320tpi Victoria tires tend to work good.

  9. #9
    Senior Member zizou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    Why are the Michelin's 4banned from the track? I am thinking the pro4 (race version) would be great on the track, especially with the pointy aero front tire and low rolling resistance.

    Plenty of people use clinchers on the track. Get something light with low rolling resistance. Conti supersonics or those 320tpi Victoria tires tend to work good.
    It is because they are dual compound (other dual compounds are also banned). I dont know the reason for this but presumably there is an unpredictable difference in grip depending on what part of the tyre is on the track.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zizou View Post
    It is because they are dual compound (other dual compounds are also banned). I dont know the reason for this but presumably there is an unpredictable difference in grip depending on what part of the tyre is on the track.
    It is for this exact reason. Steep bankings, timber tracks and coloured treads do not go well together. It is a recipe for disaster. On timber tracks black rubber tread tyres work best. If the track recommends against certain tyres, there is a reason for that, don't try to prove them wrong or you'll end up in an ambulance.

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    Why are the Michelin's 4banned from the track? I am thinking the pro4 (race version) would be great on the track, especially with the pointy aero front tire and low rolling resistance.

    Plenty of people use clinchers on the track. Get something light with low rolling resistance. Conti supersonics or those 320tpi Victoria tires tend to work good.
    Tires with an evenly round profile feel most predictable on the track. Predictable is good.

    My favorite tires are the Conti Steher (and similar tires) that have a very round profile and not a lot of rubber. Too much rubber can create "thread squirm" when pulling Gs in turns. Thread squirm is when the tire gets mushy under load. Picture a new pencil eraser. Notice how the rubber bends back and forth when there is lots of rubber. But, when the rubber is worn off, it doesn't wave back and forth so much. Believe it or not, you can sometimes feel thick tires (or under inflated tires) waving back and forth.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Impreza_aL's Avatar
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    I've got the 19m Pista EVO CS on my 404s and they feel so good especially coming into the turns. On the disc and 808 I've got 23mm Corsa CX and it feels a little mushy coming into the turns. I don't think it's really affected my times just the feel. It'd probably make a difference if I was riding on an wooden indoor track.

  13. #13
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    As the Pro4 is designed (in part) for improved cornering, I was thinking it would stick well when going slow (15mph) on a steep track with its wide contact patch in corners, and then have a narrow fast rolling contact patch at speed (over 30mph). I'm not quite sure how the Pro4's "compounds used for the shoulders that favours grip as the rider leans through corners." is going to be a drawback on a steep course. That where people tend to slide off (when going relatively slow).

    With its aero profile, extra stick in slow corners, extremely low rolling resistance and ultra light weight, it seems like an ideal track tire to me. So far Iíve just ridden mine on the road, but it is a very nice piece of rubber.

    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Tires with an evenly round profile feel most predictable on the track. Predictable is good.

    My favorite tires are the Conti Steher (and similar tires) that have a very round profile and not a lot of rubber. Too much rubber can create "thread squirm" when pulling Gs in turns. Thread squirm is when the tire gets mushy under load. Picture a new pencil eraser. Notice how the rubber bends back and forth when there is lots of rubber. But, when the rubber is worn off, it doesn't wave back and forth so much. Believe it or not, you can sometimes feel thick tires (or under inflated tires) waving back and forth.

  14. #14
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    As the Pro4 is designed (in part) for improved cornering, I was thinking it would stick well when going slow (15mph) on a steep track with its wide contact patch in corners, and then have a narrow fast rolling contact patch at speed (over 30mph). I'm not quite sure how the Pro4's "compounds used for the shoulders that favours grip as the rider leans through corners." is going to be a drawback on a steep course. That where people tend to slide off (when going relatively slow).

    With its aero profile, extra stick in slow corners, extremely low rolling resistance and ultra light weight, it seems like an ideal track tire to me. So far I’ve just ridden mine on the road, but it is a very nice piece of rubber.
    I don't know the specifics of this tire, but compounds optimized for grip on tarmac don't necessarily carry over to wood. If a velodrome warns against certain tires, stay away from 'em.
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    For clinchers, I was recommended Vittoria Diamante Pro Light tires and have been using these on my training wheels with no problems on timber ever since. As I race on concrete most of the time, I use Vittoria EVO CX tubular road tires on my race wheels. These too I've had no issues using these on timber.

    Best to ask the locals at the track for a list of allowed tires.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by afterburner View Post
    It is for this exact reason. Steep bankings, timber tracks and coloured treads do not go well together. It is a recipe for disaster. On timber tracks black rubber tread tyres work best. If the track recommends against certain tyres, there is a reason for that, don't try to prove them wrong or you'll end up in an ambulance.
    And to complicate things a little more-- not all black tires are created equal. Some use silica to make the rubber last longer and dye them black, rather than using carbon black for the black (which doesn't add quite as much durability but leaves a stickier tire). And some tires have residual mold-release compound that has to be worn off before they ride well on smooth wood. I always recommend that people take any new tire around the track slow at the black line. The banking is the same all the way up, but at the black line you only have a few inches to slide and probably won't go down. I usually keep some alcohol wipes and a scrubber sponge with my track stuff for prepping new tires and tires that haven't been ridden in a while.

    (and some tires have silica in them *and* have good grip-- e.g. the EVO Pistas).
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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    As the Pro4 is designed (in part) for improved cornering, I was thinking it would stick well when going slow (15mph) on a steep track with its wide contact patch in corners, and then have a narrow fast rolling contact patch at speed (over 30mph). I'm not quite sure how the Pro4's "compounds used for the shoulders that favours grip as the rider leans through corners." is going to be a drawback on a steep course. That where people tend to slide off (when going relatively slow).

    With its aero profile, extra stick in slow corners, extremely low rolling resistance and ultra light weight, it seems like an ideal track tire to me. So far I’ve just ridden mine on the road, but it is a very nice piece of rubber.
    Aero tires are pretty much just marketing hype to get tri geeks to buy stuff.

    The ideal tire starts at not causing any issues.

    When in doubt, I use what people with more experience than me use.

  18. #18
    Senior Member zizou's Avatar
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    Just getting the track time at the moment is proving difficult never mind choosing the tyres to use. Was due on a session this morning but it was cancelled and there are apparently no free ones until the new year.

    To put this in perspective the opening times are 9 am to 10 pm, 7 days a week (although that is not to say i would qualifiy for every session during those hours - like juniors or track league and so on but those are all busy too)

  19. #19
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    It sucks that you can't put the track time in, my tracks rather the opposite, never in use (opens 3 nights, 4 in the summer but that's for track league), and when it's not in use it isn't open to the public! Only usable when the club coaches etc. are there. Pretty damn sucky if you ask me.
    No *free* ones until new years, is there any sooner ones that are maybe cheap? Also, are these sessions for absolute beginners? If you've got track time/confidence already, why not tag along to some other sessions (Adult beginners/intermediate) if they have them. I nearly said about another track, but your post says the Hoy velodrome, and I know how scarce tracks are in the UK.

  20. #20
    Senior Member zizou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lew. View Post
    It sucks that you can't put the track time in, my tracks rather the opposite, never in use (opens 3 nights, 4 in the summer but that's for track league), and when it's not in use it isn't open to the public! Only usable when the club coaches etc. are there. Pretty damn sucky if you ask me.
    No *free* ones until new years, is there any sooner ones that are maybe cheap? Also, are these sessions for absolute beginners? If you've got track time/confidence already, why not tag along to some other sessions (Adult beginners/intermediate) if they have them. I nearly said about another track, but your post says the Hoy velodrome, and I know how scarce tracks are in the UK.

    To get on the open sessions (there are only a couple of these per week at the moment) you need to be fully accreditated and show you have the fitness and skills to be a safe rider, that is a 4 stage process of which i am only at the 3rd stage so I am at a bit of a bottleneck. The track is so busy clearing all the accreditations at the moment that the structured training sessions havent started yet and also individual clubs cant hire track time for themselves for their own training.

    I dont intend this to sound like i am complaining about the set up, it has been well organised to deal with the numbers that are interested i am just a little frustrated at not getting to play as often as i would like! Overall though it is great to see how popular it has been so far from 8 year olds starting out to 70 year old roadies taking to the track for the first time also.

  21. #21
    Senior Member zizou's Avatar
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    Well that is me passed my accreditation.... now the training starts

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