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Old 01-20-13, 12:52 AM   #1
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Determining correct fork rake for a general use track bike

Putting aside personal preference and minor technical details, what is the best way to determine what is the ideal rake for a beginning track rider who also needs to ride to the track. This means I'll need a brake hole on the fork.

The stock geometry on my frame is a 74 headtube with a 30mm raked fork for 6.8cm of trail. That seems like an awful lot. I found 5.5cm was ideal for a nimble road bike. So I decided to try a 43mm raked fork. Since I am new to this, but have ridden crits for a while, I have no idea which events I will be doing, but probably not sprints. I was hoping someone could help me determine a good starting point, or if a road fork will be too squirrely. Again, I need a front brake to ride the bike to an outdoor track, which is not heavily banked.

I was also thinking of getting a 25mm raked track fork to bring with me in case I need it, as I found one I like in that size, but no brake hole. But then again 2cm of difference is a lot, tho it's closer to the stock 30mm. Advice is appreciated.
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Old 01-20-13, 05:05 AM   #2
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Depending on the fork leg diameter, you also have the option of the Dia Compe clamp on brake for riding to the track. http://www.tracksupermarket.com/inde...roducts_id=330
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Old 01-20-13, 10:04 AM   #3
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I appreciate that, but I would feel safer in traffic with a proper threaded brake. Changing the fork is very easy, and since I will have to remove the brake anyway, a bit of wrenching is unavoidable. I am starting to think I've got my rake calculations wrong..
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Old 01-20-13, 12:04 PM   #4
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The stock geometry on my frame is a 74 headtube with a 30mm raked fork for 6.8cm of trail. That seems like an awful lot. I found 5.5cm was ideal for a nimble road bike.
FYI, these are kind of like apples and oranges. The reason your road bike handles the way it does is not just because of the trail measurement, but also due to head tube angle, weight distribution, and, well, a bunch of other variables. So strict trail comparisons between your track bike and your road bike aren't going to be super informative.

If you're racing at Kissena, you'll probably be doing a variety of events - not really classic sprint or enduro, but a mixed bag of shorter events. I think the longest event I ever raced there was maaaaaybe an 8km race (20 laps), and races <4km are pretty common.

I think you might be overthinking this a bit. I also think you can probably find a 40mm road fork, which might avoid overmuch trail, and also let you find a fork that is drilled for brakes.
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Old 01-20-13, 04:23 PM   #5
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I think you might be overthinking this a bit. I also think you can probably find a 40mm road fork, which might avoid overmuch trail, and also let you find a fork that is drilled for brakes.
Yeah you might be right about that. Was looking at a 41 rake fork but thought 43 was close enough. I'll just ride that and see how it handles. Track guys seem VERY specific about what they ride and why, so I figured I would ask here first. It's an all carbon Alpha Q fork, so I hope the thin steerer holds up okay, as it will be a few cm of space btn the headset and stem.

And my track bike is pretty similar to my crit bike, which has a 73 HT and an identical wheelbase and CtA fork measurement. But I see what you mean.
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Old 01-20-13, 05:29 PM   #6
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What is the frame?

If it is anything decent it was well designed with a certain shaped fork in mind.
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Old 01-21-13, 04:15 AM   #7
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qqy, I think you may be over-thinking this one.

74 deg with 30mm is fine...and very common. Dolan DF3 uses this combination. My custom Tiemeyer came with that as well.

You *might* want 40mm if you plan to specialize in events that use aerobars, but aside from that, there's no sense in buying another fork.

43mm is for road bikes. 43mm on a track will feel super sluggish. 40mm is too sluggish for my tastes. 43 would feel like driving a school bus.
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Roadies can run tempo all year as that's what humans were designed for. If you want to be a cheetah, lay around and lick your paws more.

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Old 01-21-13, 04:23 AM   #8
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Also, it took a long time for track bike manufacturers to settle on 73-74 degree head tubes and 30-40mm forks. It's all for good reason
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Roadies can run tempo all year as that's what humans were designed for. If you want to be a cheetah, lay around and lick your paws more.
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Old 01-21-13, 11:12 AM   #9
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Yeah I should point out that I got a frame only. No fork. Finding a 30mm raked fork is tough. I saw some Leader ones, but they seemed awfully expensive for what they are. So I am considering a Planet X currently on sale that matches my frame in 25mm. Am still looking for one new or used.
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Old 01-21-13, 11:36 AM   #10
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bianchi pista concept fork
alpina track fork
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Old 01-21-13, 01:16 PM   #11
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Thanks for the input Carleton. That's exactly what I'm worried about - sluggish handling in a pack sprint. This is why I started this thread..

Finding a Bianchi Pista fork will be like a needle in a haystack.

Was looking at the Aplina stuff on DPM but only a Wing Pista is left, which breaks the bank a bit at $250+shipping. Everything else was sold out.
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Old 01-21-13, 08:13 PM   #12
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Thanks for the input Carleton. That's exactly what I'm worried about - sluggish handling in a pack sprint. This is why I started this thread..

Finding a Bianchi Pista fork will be like a needle in a haystack.

Was looking at the Aplina stuff on DPM but only a Wing Pista is left, which breaks the bank a bit at $250+shipping. Everything else was sold out.
Leader makes a 30mm fork for $179. Get it from this guy: http://www.retro-gression.com/produc...-aluminum-fork

Retro-Gression is run by a fellow bikeforums member (and former mod) named Scrod. I've order from him. Nice guy, good prices, fast shipping.
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Roadies can run tempo all year as that's what humans were designed for. If you want to be a cheetah, lay around and lick your paws more.
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Old 01-22-13, 12:14 AM   #13
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I was able to find a few Concept forks. Just have to patient lol.
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Old 01-22-13, 12:37 AM   #14
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Yeah I was looking at that Leader fork, but I may as well just get a full alu fork. At 600g+ there must be very little carbon in it, plus the brand isn't exactly held in great esteem. But it's one of my only options right now.

Otherwise I am looking at this: http://www.planet-x-usa.com/product-p/fopxpctv2-118.htm
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Old 01-22-13, 02:24 AM   #15
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Yeah I was looking at that Leader fork, but I may as well just get a full alu fork. At 600g+ there must be very little carbon in it, plus the brand isn't exactly held in great esteem. But it's one of my only options right now.

Otherwise I am looking at this: http://www.planet-x-usa.com/product-p/fopxpctv2-118.htm
What? And Planet X is held in high esteem?

Planet X is a budget carbon manufacturer.

Are you going to race your bike or put it in a bike show?
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Old 01-22-13, 12:16 PM   #16
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This is just what I've heard, from my LBS who has gave me; so far, understandable and honest advise.
When I was asking about brand/model for a wheelset, he advised anything but PlanetX, apparently their carbon is a type of plastic in some products. I've not encountered this myself, but it's from a source I trust to post here
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Old 01-22-13, 12:25 PM   #17
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This is just what I've heard, from my LBS who has gave me; so far, understandable and honest advise.
When I was asking about brand/model for a wheelset, he advised anything but PlanetX, apparently their carbon is a type of plastic in some products. I've not encountered this myself, but it's from a source I trust to post here
My first track bike that I raced was a Planet X Stealth Pro Carbon. It was pretty flexy. I'm a big guy and I make lots of torque. But still, aluminum is stiffer at the same weight.

Back then, I had a speed/cadence magnet on my rear wheel. During rolling jumps (think Flying 200M acceleration) the rear triangle would flex so much that the magnet would clack against the sensor.

It's OK for a $800-900 frame and fork. But, aluminum is better.
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Old 01-22-13, 03:59 PM   #18
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I would much rather have anything leader is making right now over anything planet x has ever made. There was a lot of leader issues 5 or so years ago. But now they are quite nice.

I don't know how you can determine the quality/ amount of carbon in a fork based on manufacturer's stated weight.
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Old 01-22-13, 05:16 PM   #19
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Oh I am not saying Planet X is a good OEM, but it's (1) full carbon (2) $50 cheaper and (3) matches my bike nicely. Given all that, it's a better choice for me aside from the 25mm rake. Plus if I were to get a Leader I would get their vastly cheaper all aluminum model. The one above seem a lot more expensive for a lil bit of carbon. Also, all cheap Taiwanese prepreg carbon is more or less the same. I think the LBS is denigrating a product they can't compete with price-wise.

I am trying to build this bike on the cheap as I have no idea if I'll really like track racing, and will probably crash a few times learning the ropes (if my past crits are any indication). If I am good enough to take Track seriously, I will get a good frameset/tubular wheels/carbon bars, etc.

I used to ride a IRO Mark V. It has a 74 headtube with a 43 rake fork. However the identical geometry Mark V Pro has a 30 rake fork, just no brazeons or brake holes. I never really had an issue with it, in face I quite liked it. I hope it will be the same with the Alpha Q. I just hope the thin steerer is solid enough.
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Old 01-22-13, 05:35 PM   #20
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I don't know how you can determine the quality/ amount of carbon in a fork based on manufacturer's stated weight.
By comparing it to a similar all alu fork. Not scientific or anything, but a reasonable approximation.
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Old 01-22-13, 07:15 PM   #21
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Less thinking/shopping, more riding.
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Roadies can run tempo all year as that's what humans were designed for. If you want to be a cheetah, lay around and lick your paws more.
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Old 01-23-13, 12:11 PM   #22
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Less thinking/shopping, more riding.
Hehe this is always the right answer. It's like 20 outside right now, so that's my excuse.
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Old 01-23-13, 09:27 PM   #23
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fwiw I run a road fork off of a cannondale (43-45mm rake) on my Fuji Track Pro (stock is 35mm iirc). I have never had any issues with it or found myself wishing I had a different fork on it whether it be a match sprint or an 60 lap points race. I use it because it was laying around when I put my bike together. If I had the money, I would have bought a fork with the correct rake, but I'm in no hurry to change it any time soon.
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Old 01-24-13, 07:16 AM   #24
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My last post didn't really help, this probably won't either but, oh well.
I use a road fork on my track bike and I have rode friends full on sprint bikes that I nearly wiped out because of how responsive it was so I understand what you mean by the rake difference. My personal opinion is to ride what you can find based off of your exp. so far. I just stuck any 700c carbon fork w/ alloy steerer on my track bike and left it. I think you would probably adapt to the handling of the set-up you end up with if it's somewhere close to the standard 'track' bike set up.
Off-Topic: I always thought carbon steerers were not great? I thought alloy was more reliable... Probably an out-dated opinion though. And the weight between alloy/carbon steerer imo isn't noticeable.
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Old 01-24-13, 01:31 PM   #25
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Off-Topic: I always thought carbon steerers were not great? I thought alloy was more reliable... Probably an out-dated opinion though. And the weight between alloy/carbon steerer imo isn't noticeable.
No your post is helpful. Carleton is right though. I just have to ride it and see. I suspect I will be fine for most stuff, but we'll see once the speed picks how it really handles. Not well I'll bet.

Carbon steerers are probably a bad idea, especially the one I'm using. Then again I seriously doubt I am powerful enough to actually break it off. But I will have to keep a close eye on it for cracks over time. Probably by then I'll have found a better fork.

Sorry for all this obsessing. I've haven't been able to ride much (<100 miles/week) so I've had too much time to overthink my current build.
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