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  1. #1
    Senior Member Revracer's Avatar
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    What do I need to change to race a road bike on the track?

    My 13 year old son has participated for the last two months in a youth track league that provides a Fuji steel house bike and it has served him well. I had picked up a Matsuri road bike with an unusually high bottom bracket that is in his size with 165 cranks. There are really only two reasons I am considering build the Matsuri as a track bike. First, I think that his clipless pedals might provide better performance for him (solid sole, firmer clamp) than the clip pedals (I think the track stopped the bring-your-own-pedals after enough crank arms stripped). Second, it would be a bike that he could tool around the neighborhood with and get more familiar with the bike (assuming I put on a front brake).

    While he would love a TK3 or maybe a Dolan, I am hoping for him to build a little more track record (pun not really intended) first. I read the threads for newbies, but I still have some questions about the gear/bike. So the specific questions on rules or faux pas on track racing:

    1) Dropouts - The bike has nice horizontal rear dropouts. Must a bike have track dropouts to be legal?
    2) Axle Nuts - The front wheel currently has a quick release. I understood that track bikes must have nutted wheels. Are there any issues with converting this wheel to nutted?
    3) 27" wheels - Since this is a vintage steel bike, it has 27" wheels and I have converted another 27" bike to a fixed gear. Is there anything rule-wise or faux pas wise that I should not use 27"?
    4) High flange hubs - I read up on the physics and I understand the value at a higher competition level. Any issues with racing on low flange hubs?

    The bike is likely to come in at 21lbs, so it is not a featherweight, but I am guessing it is a similar weight to the Fuji.

    Any input appreciated.

  2. #2
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    I would strongly consider comparing the cost of the conversion with the cost of a the entry-level off the shelf bike. If the prices are close, go with buying a new bike that way you have 2 bikes (road and track). As soon as you convert the Matsuri from road to track configuration, you no longer have a road bike.

    Your profile location says Eastern, PA. Even if you convert the bike now, you won't be able to get on the track till April at Trexlertown (7 months from now). He could ride that road bike through the winter on training rides of appropriate distances (weather permitting).

    My suggestion is to keep the road bike and use it as is and try to find a used or new track bike in his size.

    Also, to answer your question about wheel size. The rules only state that front and rear wheels must be the same diameter. So, as long as they match, they can be any size (650c, 700c, 27"). For example, you can't have 700c rear and 650c front, which was a common high-end pursuit bike setup in the 90s.

  3. #3
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Sorry. I didn't answer all questions. Let me try again:

    1) Dropouts - The bike has nice horizontal rear dropouts. Must a bike have track dropouts to be legal?
    I can't quote a particular rule, but I *think* that the dropouts have to be rear-facing to be legal in the strictest sense (like Jr. Nationals). But, many local track directors will allow it if the bike is safe and well-maintained.


    2) Axle Nuts - The front wheel currently has a quick release. I understood that track bikes must have nutted wheels. Are there any issues with converting this wheel to nutted?
    Yes, quick release wheels are not allowed (but are sometimes permitted on front wheels). I'm not sure if it is possible to convert a wheel from skewer to nutted. It may be easier to buy a 700c set for $200 or less. Plus you have lots of tire options. 27" tires are not easy to find.

    3) 27" wheels - Since this is a vintage steel bike, it has 27" wheels and I have converted another 27" bike to a fixed gear. Is there anything rule-wise or faux pas wise that I should not use 27"?
    Technically, no. But, the standard is 700c. It's easier to find tires, tubes, and a loaner wheel in a pinch if you go 700c.

    4) High flange hubs - I read up on the physics and I understand the value at a higher competition level. Any issues with racing on low flange hubs?
    High-flange means shorter spokes, which means less spoke twisting under high torque. It's a fine-tuning thing for stronger riders. Low-flange is fine.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    I would strongly consider comparing the cost of the conversion with the cost of a the entry-level off the shelf bike.
    Agreed!

    Revracer - If you live anywhere near T-town, Sleeping Dog Cycles in Topton had a 54cm TK3 in the showroom the last time I was out there. It may have been a leftover, not sure.. So, if the frame size is right it might be worth giving John a call as his price might be close to or even better than your conversion cost.

    Also, the fall flea market is this Saturday at T-town. Good for scrounging parts for your conversion, if you decide to go that route. Or, you might find a nice used track rig at a good price... Good luck.

    Mike

  5. #5
    A little North of Hell
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    $

    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    I would strongly consider comparing the cost of the conversion with the cost of a the entry-level off the shelf bike.
    +2

    save yourself the headache.

    +/- $500 new

    or, $500 on a good used bike.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Revracer's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback everyone. I had gotten to the point where I could really low budget build for about $150. My son has another road bike he can use for winter training. It was more a question of whether the Matsuri is useful for this purpose or if I should try to sell it at the fall flea market this weekend.

    Tempting to check out Sleeping Dog, but I know there is only two more weeks of racing this season. Hard to see it sit for a winter.

  7. #7
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    I can't quote a particular rule, but I *think* that the dropouts have to be rear-facing to be legal in the strictest sense (like Jr. Nationals). But, many local track directors will allow it if the bike is safe and well-maintained.
    I've never seen such a rule, and just checked the UCI rule book and couldn't find anything. They're generally much more strict about equipment than USAC, so it's at most a local rule. My first track races were at Blaine on a converted Panasonic that was one of the track rentals. It had forward horizontal dropouts and 170 mm cranks. I bet it's still in their fleet...


    Yes, quick release wheels are not allowed (but are sometimes permitted on front wheels). I'm not sure if it is possible to convert a wheel from skewer to nutted. It may be easier to buy a 700c set for $200 or less.
    For mass start racing, no QRs are allowed, front or rear. The general method for converting QR wheels is with a hex skewer, like these:
    hex skewers

    For TTs you can use QRs wherever you want. They can be plenty tight-- I rode half the furnace creek 508 on a converted road bike that had QRs for both front and rear. The bigger risk is that they'll get pulled open by close contact-- I've seen plenty of bike contact on the track close enough to do that.

    Technically, no. But, the standard is 700c.
    650c and 24" are common for kids bikes. I think Fuji makes versions with both. Tubes and tires are pretty easy to get, but you have to make sure you have your own supply.
    Track - the other off-road
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  8. #8
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Thanks for the corrections!

  9. #9
    Senior Member taras0000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post


    Yes, quick release wheels are not allowed (but are sometimes permitted on front wheels). I'm not sure if it is possible to convert a wheel from skewer to nutted.
    It's easy enough. You just need to get a solid axle and remove the hollow, skewer axle.
    Taras - :noun. 1. Typically an overweight has-been that can sometimes be seen pootling around a velodrome on an old Look KG 233.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    Locking skewers like the ones bitingduck posted are easier and just as secure. Lots of national level riders use them.
    If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him

  11. #11
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kayce View Post
    Locking skewers like the ones bitingduck posted are easier and just as secure. Lots of national level riders use them.
    Yes, but to clarify, I'd only recommend them for front wheels, not rear.

  12. #12
    A little North of Hell
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    skewer2nutted

    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post

    I'm not sure if it is possible to convert a wheel from skewer to nutted.
    Quote Originally Posted by taras0000 View Post
    It's easy enough.
    You just need to get a solid axle and remove the hollow, skewer axle.

    Depends on the type of hub. Not this one!

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  13. #13
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Yes, but to clarify, I'd only recommend them for front wheels, not rear.
    For a big guy like you doing standing starts, I tend to agree. For mass starts for most people, and even standing starts for smaller riders they're generally not a problem. With any type of axle it's always a good idea to give it a good stomp after changing to see if you can pull it.
    Track - the other off-road
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  14. #14
    Senior Member taras0000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soil_Sampler View Post
    Depends on the type of hub. [COLOR="#FF0000"]Not this one!]
    True. If it has endcaps to accommodate a specific type of axle you may be out of luck. Any hubs that come from an era where the road bikes have horizontal dropouts (not rear facing like cervelos and the like) should be an easy swap. Generally if you see cone nuts on the axle, the swap is easy. Just unscrew the cones on one side and pull the axle out from the other side.
    Taras - :noun. 1. Typically an overweight has-been that can sometimes be seen pootling around a velodrome on an old Look KG 233.

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