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-   -   500M TT: Track Bike or Road Bike Faster? (http://www.bikeforums.net/track-cycling-velodrome-racing-training-area/882900-500m-tt-track-bike-road-bike-faster.html)

carleton 04-09-13 03:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hermes (Post 15490414)
Nagrom, Do you compete in the 500 meters at the track?

+1!

Nagrom_ 04-09-13 03:58 PM

Not yet :)

Kayce 04-09-13 04:28 PM

I am in the track bike camp. The 500 is ALL about a good start. And a good start is just not possible on the road bike.

brawlo 04-09-13 04:43 PM

Think about the physical aspect of the standing start. The straight arms, out over the pedals and tight body to get all the power down to the pedals. Then think about the road bike without any bar mods. You need your hands forward in some way to change the gears. They either have to be forward in the drops to reach the shifters and you have to change the grip to shift, or they're on the hoods where your upper body is high. I just don't think the body position allows maximal effort like a track bike does.

Hermes 04-09-13 06:06 PM

A couple of minor points... My Dolan DF3 weighs more than my Cervelo P2C TT bike. The frame is heavy and badass stiff. Both the Kilo and 500 meters are raced in aerobars. The 500 is for women and masters men 50+. The kilo is for men 49 and under.

Probably the greatest track starter and kilo racer is Sir Chris Hoy. Here is a 2002 video of him doing the Kilo in Manchester. Manchester is a 250 track that is very similar to Velo Sports Center in Carson, CA. Watch Hoy's start and the position of his arms. They are straight and forward of vertical. He is in a big gear. I am speculating 98 but it may be bigger. I remember reading that his starting power is 2800 watts (may be wrong). He explodes out of the starting gate like the Jamaican runner Usain Bolt does in the 100 meters starting block. He makes the bike look irrelevant to the event. Where would he shift to a different gear and why would it be necessary?


refthimos 04-09-13 06:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hermes (Post 15491242)
A couple of minor points... My Dolan DF3 weighs more than my Cervelo P2C TT bike. The frame is heavy and badass stiff. Both the Kilo and 500 meters are raced in aerobars. The 500 is for women and masters men 50+. The kilo is for men 49 and under.

Probably the greatest track starter and kilo racer is Sir Chris Hoy. Here is a 2002 video of him doing the Kilo in Manchester. Manchester is a 250 track that is very similar to Velo Sports Center in Carson, CA. Watch Hoy's start and the position of his arms. They are straight and forward of vertical. He is in a big gear. I am speculating 98 but it may be bigger. I remember reading that his starting power is 2800 watts (may be wrong). He explodes out of the starting gate like the Jamaican runner Usain Bolt does in the 100 meters starting block. He makes the bike look irrelevant to the event. Where would he shift to a different gear and why would it be necessary?

I'm no Chris Hoy and I'm pretty sure no one else that will participate in the club event is either.

8bits 04-09-13 06:49 PM

It all comes down to what you are more confortable/experienced really, I for one am still trying to improve my standing start and to nail it down is a very hard thing (at least for me).

If you have more experience with road riding and sprinting, wich is a very different technique of sprinting in the track then you should and will be faster on the road bike, no room for second guessing. That will mean that you will be at your optimum performance for the event it may not be enough to compete with a experienced 500m racer but then again it doesn't seem to be the case at your event.

Brian Ratliff 04-09-13 07:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hermes (Post 15491242)
A couple of minor points... My Dolan DF3 weighs more than my Cervelo P2C TT bike. The frame is heavy and badass stiff. Both the Kilo and 500 meters are raced in aerobars. The 500 is for women and masters men 50+. The kilo is for men 49 and under.

Probably the greatest track starter and kilo racer is Sir Chris Hoy. Here is a 2002 video of him doing the Kilo in Manchester. Manchester is a 250 track that is very similar to Velo Sports Center in Carson, CA. Watch Hoy's start and the position of his arms. They are straight and forward of vertical. He is in a big gear. I am speculating 98 but it may be bigger. I remember reading that his starting power is 2800 watts (may be wrong). He explodes out of the starting gate like the Jamaican runner Usain Bolt does in the 100 meters starting block. He makes the bike look irrelevant to the event. Where would he shift to a different gear and why would it be necessary?

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihhXE00Udgs[/vid eo]

Now, imagine that in the first quarter lap, he had a 94" gear, shifted to a 98" coming out of turn two, then shifted to a 102" gear just out of turn 4. I would wager that sequence, (assuming, of course, the bike doesn't fall apart), would net him a second on the first lap, maybe two, and then some tenths with the taller gear during the next three laps. Surely he is strong, but just like anyone else, his gearing is a compromise between his start and his cruise. Not having to compromise the cruising gear for the start has to be an advantage.

As for strength of components, namely wheels and stuff, you can use bolt-on wheels on a road bike with no problems whatsoever. And you have to imagine that a start on the road bike will have to be practiced and optimized the same as we do on track bikes. Those shifts won't be ad hoc; everything about the shift points would be planned and practiced.

Brian Ratliff 04-09-13 07:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brawlo (Post 15490860)
Think about the physical aspect of the standing start. The straight arms, out over the pedals and tight body to get all the power down to the pedals. Then think about the road bike without any bar mods. You need your hands forward in some way to change the gears. They either have to be forward in the drops to reach the shifters and you have to change the grip to shift, or they're on the hoods where your upper body is high. I just don't think the body position allows maximal effort like a track bike does.

Of course, you could set your road bike up like a track bike, except for the drivetrain.... And a lot of the technique for starting a track bike is all about applying torque to the wheels using a gear that is much too big. Lower the gear and I would imagine your technique would change drastically. Even for Hoy, a 98" gear is far from the optimal gear for a pure standing start.

Thought experiment: what gear would you choose for a say 25m (not a typo) standing start sprint? Probably a pretty small one.

queerpunk 04-09-13 08:28 PM

Nelson Vails used to have a trick sprint bike. Two cogs with a derailleur controlled by a brake lever. He'd start his sprint holding the lever down, and upon its release, it would shift to the higher gear. So there's that. But whatever.

CommuteCommando 04-09-13 10:07 PM

I am a newb on a track bike, but my experience is that I am faster on the track bike. I attribute this mostly to aerodynamics since the bars are so much lower, my back is pretty horizontal in the drops. I seem to be able to spin faster in this position too. Currently running 87 GI.

Brian Ratliff 04-09-13 11:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by queerpunk (Post 15491874)
Nelson Vails used to have a trick sprint bike. Two cogs with a derailleur controlled by a brake lever. He'd start his sprint holding the lever down, and upon its release, it would shift to the higher gear. So there's that. But whatever.

That is cool!

carleton 04-09-13 11:58 PM

So, of all of those who have answered, how many ride a better than average, for your race category (Jr, Elite, Masters), 500M?

We can postulate all day about how a geard bike *should* be faster...but it's not.

About me (old fat guy):

- I hold a track record for team sprint.
- 2x Elite Regional Champ in Team Sprint
- I've medaled twice at Masters Nationals in Team Sprint
- I can ride a strong Man 1 or Man 2 (250-666M, depending on the track) in team sprint.
- I have done standing start workouts on my Specialized Tarmac (a proper road/crit bike). They felt god-awful. Road bikes are not made for this.
- I've used power meters for all of the above.


I can tell you without a doubt, that the 500 efforts using the track bike would clearly be better. Better by the power numbers (using the same rider) and better by the final time.

You guys can postulate all you want but Brute Force is required for a proper, above average 500M effort...even from the women:

Sandie Clair is 1.6M, 59kg (5'2", 130lbs) and using aerobars which are by all accounts not better than drop bars for standing starts. Look at how hard she has to start to do well...

http://www.creartisanat.com/vsh/IMG/jpg/DSC_2389.jpg



A 500M standing start is similar to a 1 rep max dead lift followed by a 5 rep max dead lift. It's intense. Notice how the start above looks like this woman's single deadlifts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWFquiRfkIs&t=1m23s

Skip to 1 minute 23 seconds in this vid:

JMCX 04-10-13 06:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hermes (Post 15489345)
The human engine is pretty good at high torque at zero speed.

Spot on. This question is a bit of a mind bender, but gearing is a torque multiplier and I think this is really about POWER. Smaller gears won't help you on the low end because of what Hermes just noted (unless the gearing is just too large to turn). On the high end, shifting gears is time consuming, inefficient, and most importantly unnecessary (unless you run out of rpm and get spun out) - both of which should of course factor into your 500m gearing selection anyway.

Personal preferences aside, a properly geared track bike is going to be quicker before we even account for the additional weight and aerodynamic drag of any necessary gearing mechanisms.

Brian Ratliff 04-10-13 08:19 AM

At zero speed, a standing start, power is zero by definition; it is all about torque. Gearing on a bicycle is a torque reducer. A shorter gear represents less torque reduction, a shorter lever.

Say one applies 150lbs of force to a pedal. The amount of force that goes to the road is 11lbs with a 90" gear and 10lbs with a 100" gear (assuming a 170mm crankarm). It is 14lbs in a 70" gear. It means that for those first couple pedal strokes when pedal cadence is essentially irrelevant, you have more force going to the road with a shorter gear. More force means faster acceleration which means a faster start. A start in a 90" gear will be 10% faster than in a 100" gear for the first few pedal strokes at least.

Now then, you get up to speed faster, you also max out your cadence at lower speeds. This is fixed with the gear shift. The point I am trying to make is that the violence characterized by a standing start on the track is in large part due to the need to accelerate a huge gear. The ability to shift will mean that a lot of that violence, and its associated inefficiencies, is not required to accelerate the bike from a stop.

McRussellPants 04-10-13 10:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff (Post 15493300)

Say one applies 150lbs of force to a pedal. The amount of force that goes to the road is 11lbs with a 90" gear and 10lbs with a 100" gear (assuming a 170mm crankarm). It is 14lbs in a 70" gear. It means that for those first couple pedal strokes when pedal cadence is essentially irrelevant, you have more force going to the road with a shorter gear. More force means faster acceleration which means a faster start. A start in a 90" gear will be 10% faster than in a 100" gear for the first few pedal strokes at least.


But your cadence will increase so quickly you can't keep maximum torque into the pedal as long. Maximum torque on the pedals will come at zero rpm, and I'd imagine its a near exponential loss with speed.

The gearing advantage you gain will be lost with the power you lose with rpm.

I did a 52/11 standing start on my road bike one day for the lols, and it was super sketchy, and the chain popped two or three gears up the cassette. So I really don't feel like its capable of hard standing starts like you'd need to 500 better than a track bike.

Hermes 04-10-13 11:25 AM

Carllton, Nice race Palmarès. I race the 500 a lot and have done it at Nationals and Worlds with a podium at Nationals in 2011. I also have a standing start track coach.

There is an intellectual discussion, and after that is complete, any hypothesis can be tested at the track. I will produce a faster time on my track bike than I can on my TT bike with 53/39 chainrings. I have ridden my TT bike at the track. FWIW, I got started track racing by attending a day at the track where we could ride our road bikes. I did okay on my TT bike but not great but had a great time.

I practice and train on my road equipment when we cannot go to the track. I do standing starts on my TT bike, flying kilos and 500s as well as all the other drills. It is a good but not great proxy. The gearing is never right and the freewheel seems to change the feel. Road terrain is not the same as the track. When doing a standing start, going up track on the first pedal stroke is the kiss of death so getting that right is very important and it is difficult to find a road with a slope to simulate the banking of the track.

Now, if there were a track bike with an automatic three speed transmission that allow micro adjustment of the gear ratios, I would start using an 88 changing to 91 and then to 94. The shift would trigger off of cadence and I would choose 100. However, I would play around with starting gear and spread between the gears and cadence set point.

I know it is heresy to say this but there are times that I could use a smaller gear, such as a 90 or 88, at the end of a 2K pursuit when my legs are loaded up.:D

Brian Ratliff 04-10-13 12:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by McRussellPants (Post 15493893)
But your cadence will increase so quickly you can't keep maximum torque into the pedal as long. Maximum torque on the pedals will come at zero rpm, and I'd imagine its a near exponential loss with speed.

The gearing advantage you gain will be lost with the power you lose with rpm.

I did a 52/11 standing start on my road bike one day for the lols, and it was super sketchy, and the chain popped two or three gears up the cassette. So I really don't feel like its capable of hard standing starts like you'd need to 500 better than a track bike.

A 52/11 is a huge gear (127"), and the chainline is horrible.

The slowest three pedal strokes are the first three. I normally run a 92" or 94" gear for a kilo; if I could do the first three pedal strokes in a 88" or 90", I'd do it and be faster for it. I would shift once: start in a 53/16 through the first corner on my weird 266m (1/6 mile) track, shift once to a 53/15 and get that up to speed before I sit down before entering the turn, and run out the rest of the race in that.

The only reason it might be slower on a tight track is because of the geometry of the bike; it might take some practice to dive a road bike through the corners at Alpenrose. I've never done it before; don't know what it would be like. On a 333m track, I can't imagine bike geometry being a huge deal.

Brian Ratliff 04-10-13 12:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hermes (Post 15494166)
...

Now, if there were a track bike with an automatic three speed transmission that allow micro adjustment of the gear ratios, I would start using an 88 changing to 91 and then to 94. The shift would trigger off of cadence and I would choose 100. However, I would play around with starting gear and spread between the gears and cadence set point.

I know it is heresy to say this but there are times that I could use a smaller gear, such as a 90 or 88, at the end of a 2K pursuit when my legs are loaded up.:D

This is what I'm talking about. If this were a real event, I could build a bike that would be up to this task (maybe not with the autoshifting though... ;)).

carleton 04-10-13 02:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hermes (Post 15494166)
Carllton, Nice race Palmarès. I race the 500 a lot and have done it at Nationals and Worlds with a podium at Nationals in 2011.

Thanks! You, too!

Quote:

There is an intellectual discussion, and after that is complete, any hypothesis can be tested at the track. I will produce a faster time on my track bike than I can on my TT bike with 53/39 chainrings. I have ridden my TT bike at the track. FWIW, I got started track racing by attending a day at the track where we could ride our road bikes. I did okay on my TT bike but not great but had a great time.

I practice and train on my road equipment when we cannot go to the track. I do standing starts on my TT bike, flying kilos and 500s as well as all the other drills. It is a good but not great proxy. The gearing is never right and the freewheel seems to change the feel. Road terrain is not the same as the track. When doing a standing start, going up track on the first pedal stroke is the kiss of death so getting that right is very important and it is difficult to find a road with a slope to simulate the banking of the track.
Why are others not accepting this?

Quote:

Now, if there were a track bike with an automatic three speed transmission that allow micro adjustment of the gear ratios, I would start using an 88 changing to 91 and then to 94. The shift would trigger off of cadence and I would choose 100. However, I would play around with starting gear and spread between the gears and cadence set point.

If such a machine existed, it would be great for 500M and 1000M events. But, as of now, it does not exist (nor would it be legal). Between the two currently available options, Track and Road bikes, the track bike is better suited for the job.


We can postulate till the cows come home.

All of the arguments for the road bike are about the gearing. You guys aren't acknowledging the drawbacks that must be considered because they are a factor.

- Without going into detail, the geometry of road bikes and their components are not suited for standing starts.
- Shifting gears under heavy torque simply is not reliable. Ever try to shift while standing when climbing that awful hill in your neighborhood?

These two factors alone are enough to keep the rider from transmitting the energy required into the bike. Basically, a strong rider on a track bike can give a 100% effort for the first 10" of the event. A strong rider will have to "back off" from giving 100% when using a road bike.

There are many events where finishing strong can win an event. Be reminded of how Taylor Phinney can ride a world-class Kilo by "Negative-Splitting" all 4 laps. Basically each lap gets progressively faster and faster where a guy like Hoy is fast for 2 laps then slows down for lap 3 and slower for lap 4. This is possible in the Kilo and longer events...but not the 500M :)

chas58 04-12-13 10:35 AM

The problem that the road riders will have is that most of them will shift until they are in a gear that is too high, and that will hurt.


Really, you should be up to speed in 100m, is the banking on a 333m track really an issue?
(to some degree, that is going to depend on where you start)


Also, it depends on the rider size and power. While someone like Carleton clearly needs a frame stiff enough to take his torque and translate it into motion, the typical 155lb roadie may need a little gear help to get his torque down - he won't have Carleton's technique or torque.

your average roadie is not like chris hoy or carleton.

"The point I am trying to make is that the violence characterized by a standing start on the track is in large part due to the need to accelerate a huge gear. The ability to shift will mean that a lot of that violence, and its associated inefficiencies, is not required to accelerate the bike from a stop."
+1 That hits the nail on the head.


Just shift once, most people will have an advantage - especially if you are not trained for a 500m. Carleton on the other hand would be faster if he stayed on his track bike.


I'm most concerned about the road bike flexing and having possible difficulty shifting under high torque. Do you really have to back off when shifting (assuming you start out with 80 gear inches or higher)?


In the end, the guy with the best training will win, and the guy with the best training will be on a track bike.


The road guys would be better off with a road bike and lots of practice.

Flatballer 04-12-13 01:09 PM

If the choice is a standard road bike or a standard track bike, there's no question that the track bike is faster. The road bike likely couldn't handle a really violent standing start without the chain hopping some.

If you custom built a bike that was basically a track bike with a few gears, you might be able to make it work and it would probably be faster.

David Broon 04-12-13 03:44 PM

I asked a coach of mine named Gillian what she thought. She's a total badass at standing starts, having won the 500m at elite worlds, as well as killing it at the team pursuit.


She said that anyone with significant track experience would be faster on a track bike. She's pretty much the fastest standing starter I know, I'd be inclined to believe it.

That said, I've always wondered if it would be possible to rig an internally geared hub fixed, and then run a bar-end shifter to controll the speed. I feel like that would be faster, if you insert it into a track bike.

For a 25m ride, I'd go with a small(er) gear, based only on the fact that I'll do super-informal unsanctioned 1/4 mile drag races on the street, and we get some BMX/Dirt Jump Guys coming, and they can go off the line like nobody's business.

chas58 04-12-13 05:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by David Broon (Post 15503968)
She said that anyone with significant track experience would be faster on a track bike. She's pretty much the fastest standing starter I know, I'd be inclined to believe it.

That said, I've always wondered if it would be possible to rig an internally geared hub fixed, and then run a bar-end shifter to control the speed. I feel like that would be faster, if you insert it into a track bike.

Yeah, she is right (if you are trained on 500m).

no, you can't put that hub there. Track bike has 120mm frame, the geared hubs are 135mm.

Nagrom_ 04-12-13 05:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chas58 (Post 15504227)

no, you can't put that hub there. Track bike has 120mm frame, the geared hubs are 135mm.

Yes you can. Internally geared fixed hubs are available in 120mm.


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