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  1. #1
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    Road training for track: FG or Geared Road?

    Hey guys! I just had a question that I thought i'd run by all of you. Basically, long story short, through an unexpected series of fortunate events I now have around $1350 to blow on any bike-related things I can think of. Pretty cool, huh? Anyway, I'm trying to determine how to most wisely spend this money. The two main courses of action i'm considering are:

    1.) Using this money to buy the tools/chainrings/cogs/other odds and ends for my track bike i'll need to start the season this spring, as well as upgrading my street fixed/commuter bike with a new frameset (most likely an All-City Big Block or Soma Rush) and wheels (which are the only two things left over from what it originally was, an SE Draft Lite... *shudder* it's a much better machine now but still needs improvement in those areas as the wheels are POS and the frame is hi-ten steel with a misaligned rear triangle...)

    or...

    2.) Buy a decent entry level road bike, such as a Felt F85 or something similar.

    Now first of all, the 1st option seems like a better value to me at the moment. But I also will probably have time to get all the odds and ends I still need for my track bike over time with my normal work wages, before the season starts. So this leaves me kind of torn. And the reason i'm even considering the 2nd option is because I could use it to commute as well, but really a big factor in my decision will be the info you all provide me with your answers to the question in the heading: What's better for training on the road for track, a geared road bike, or fixed gear road or track bike? Or does it even matter that much?

    And I know that there's definitely more to track training than just doing training rides on the road or track, and for that I have a gym and a set of Tacx Galaxia rollers that I picked up recently. But it seems important enough to carefully weigh these two options before I start spending left and right.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Please list what you have already.

    Which:

    - Track Frame
    - Wheels
    - Chainrings
    - Cogs
    - Track-specific Tools
    - Any trainers/rollers
    Last edited by carleton; 01-21-14 at 02:18 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member wens's Avatar
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    Sprinter or enduro?
    Do you think we're gonna make it? / I don't know unless we try \ you could sit here scared to move / or we could take them by surprise

  4. #4
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    My initial thoughts are:

    - Don't throw good money after bad. Don't upgrade a bike that has low-end parts to one with mediocre parts.
    - Don't buy a steel frame to race. Aluminum is the best bang for your buck.
    - Maybe keep your current bike as your commuter and buy a new/used track-only rig.
    - Buy quality used bike or components for the best value.
    - Riding fixed-gear on the road will not improve your track racing. Just use a road bike.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Please list what you have already.

    For example:

    - Track Frame
    - Wheels
    - Chainrings
    - Cogs
    - Track-specific Tools
    - Any trainers/rollers
    The track frame i'd be using/racing at the track would be an Unknown PSX frameset (aluminum frame, carbon/alloy fork), wheels being used are Velocity Deep V track wheelset (Velocity Rims, Velocity hubs, DT Swiss Comp 14/15 Spokes. There's a picture on the "show off your track bike" thread, it should be on the 37th page. In option 1, I was actually talking about replacing the frameset and wheels on my street fixed (which is an SE Draft Lite with only the frameset and wheelset still stock), not my track bike. As far as chainrings go right now I have 2 46t All-City chainrings, and a 46t FSA Pro Track ring, which is currently on the Unknown. The only cogs I have is the a ****ty 15t that came on my SE Draft wheels, and a Dura Ace 15t cog which is on my Velocity wheelset. I have most of the tools I need, I have almost everything I'll need except for a proper lockring wrench/pliers and a proper 15mm spanner (I only have one of those Trixie multitools for this, they kinda suck if you have to use it often at all.) I don't have bottom bracket tools or tools for installing headsets/forks but for that kind of stuff I take it to a shop anyway. For training, I have a Tacx Galaxia roller and as a student at the University of Minnesota, I have full access to the University's rec facilities, which are quite comprehensive and the equipment is high-quality. In addition to this, I ride as hard and often as I can on the road with my track bike. Haven't ridden much during this winter though, as it's been brutally cold up here this year and I don't have the proper clothing for serious, deep-winter cycling. So this winter has been mostly me getting the hang of the Tacx Galaxia indoors and hitting the gym, as I haven't had it for very long and had never previously ridden on a set of rollers.

    So basically, what I still need for the season is a few cogs (i'm thinking 14, 15, & 16t), a bigger chainring or two (probably 48/49t), and a few tools. If there's something else i've missed do please let me know.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by wens View Post
    Sprinter or enduro?
    Don't know yet, this will be my first season. Sprinting looks more fun to me but I have no experiential knowledge to base that on so who knows what events i'll actually end up preferring.
    Last edited by ETN612; 01-21-14 at 02:41 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member wens's Avatar
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    I'd take option c, used road bike, 14 and 16 cogs, use the rest of the money for race entries, track time, and stuff you break.
    Do you think we're gonna make it? / I don't know unless we try \ you could sit here scared to move / or we could take them by surprise

  8. #8
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ETN612 View Post
    The track frame i'd be using/racing at the track would be an Unknown PSX frameset (aluminum frame, carbon/alloy fork), wheels being used are Velocity Deep V track wheelset (Velocity Rims, Velocity hubs, DT Swiss Comp 14/15 Spokes. There's a picture on the "show off your track bike" thread, it should be on the 37th page. In option 1, I was actually talking about replacing the frameset and wheels on my street fixed (which is an SE Draft Lite with only the frameset and wheelset still stock), not my track bike. As far as chainrings go right now I have 2 46t All-City chainrings, and a 46t FSA Pro Track ring, which is currently on the Unknown. The only cogs I have is the a ****ty 15t that came on my SE Draft wheels, and a Dura Ace 15t cog which is on my Velocity wheelset. I have most of the tools I need, I have almost everything I'll need except for a proper lockring wrench/pliers and a proper 15mm spanner (I only have one of those Trixie multitools for this, they kinda suck if you have to use it often at all.) I don't have bottom bracket tools or tools for installing headsets/forks but for that kind of stuff I take it to a shop anyway. For training, I have a Tacx Galaxia roller and as a student at the University of Minnesota, I have full access to the University's rec facilities, which are quite comprehensive and the equipment is high-quality. In addition to this, I ride as hard and often as I can on the road with my track bike. Haven't ridden much during this winter though, as it's been brutally cold up here this year and I don't have the proper clothing for serious, deep-winter cycling. So this winter has been mostly me getting the hang of the Tacx Galaxia indoors and hitting the gym, as I haven't had it for very long and had never previously ridden on a set of rollers.

    So basically, what I still need for the season is a few cogs (i'm thinking 14, 15, & 16t), a bigger chainring or two (probably 48/49t), and a few tools. If there's something else i've missed do please let me know.
    Dude. That is a block of text.

  9. #9
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    So, correct where I am wrong:

    - Unknown PSX frameset (aluminum frame, carbon/alloy fork)
    - Velocity Deep V track wheelset
    - 2x 46t All-City chainrings, and a 46t FSA Pro Track ring
    - Dura Ace 15t cog
    - Trixie multitool
    - Tacx Galaxia rollers
    - Access to University of Minnesota rec facilities


    You really gotta focus on your message if you want us to process what you are asking

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Dude. That is a block of text.
    Hahaha, my bad, i'll condense:

    - Track Frame: Unknown PSX Frameset (picture on page 37 of "show off your track bike" thread)

    - Wheels: Velocity Deep V Track Wheelset
    - Chainrings: 46t FSA Pro Track Chainring
    - Cogs: 15t Shimano Dura Ace
    - Track-specific Tools: a pretty full array of hex wrenches, Trixie fixed-gear multitool, Park Tool 1/2" x 1/8" chainwhip (forgot to mention that)
    - Any trainers/rollers: Tacx Galaxia, UMN Rec Center membership (they also do have proper spin bikes with a wide range of adjustable resistance, I don't own a resistance trainer but i'm looking into one eventually)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    So, correct where I am wrong:

    - Unknown PSX frameset (aluminum frame, carbon/alloy fork)
    - Velocity Deep V track wheelset
    - 2x 46t All-City chainrings, and a 46t FSA Pro Track ring
    - Dura Ace 15t cog
    - Trixie multitool
    - Tacx Galaxia rollers
    - Access to University of Minnesota rec facilities


    You really gotta focus on your message if you want us to process what you are asking
    Yes that's all correct, I just posted a condensed version of said text block and added a couple things and took off a couple things that I didn't think were relevant. And I seriously ramble so hard all the time, I need to work on that, lol.

  12. #12
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    re: "sprinter or enduro" - don't even worry about answering that question until you have two or three seasons under your belt.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by queerpunk View Post
    re: "sprinter or enduro" - don't even worry about answering that question until you have two or three seasons under your belt.
    Figured that's the case, thanks for the confirmation though! One less thing to worry about for the time being.

  14. #14
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    re: what to buy -

    For starters, get the track gear you'll need. Bare minimum: road pedals and shoes, and a 49t chainring (you can warm up on 46x15 and race on 49x15; or you can spin a 16 onto the other side of your hub and warmup on the 16 and race on the 15).

    Secondly, since you're asking on the Track Racing forums, you're gonna get a Track Racing answer, which is that a road bike is going to be a lot more useful to you than buying another street fixed gear.

    Personally, I'd just let that money sit in your savings account until you figure out what you want. If you want to get better at bike racing, you'll need a road bike at some point; if you want to dally around at the track and have fun, and are fit enough to do that, then maybe you're better off saving a thousand bucks.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  15. #15
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by queerpunk View Post
    re: "sprinter or enduro" - don't even worry about answering that question until you have two or three seasons under your belt.
    I disagree with that.

    That's like saying that a college freshman shouldn't pick a major.

    Many people (especially adults) come into track racing with some athletic history and some idea of how they might be predisposed (sprint, enduro, or all-around).

    Remember, many people go through a "filtering" and "sorting" of their abilities in HS (and some in college). A very good question to ask is: What sports did you play in HS? What position/event?

    Guys who were long distance or cross country runners turn out to be good enduros. Guys who were middle-distance runners turn out to be good Omnium or mass start racers. Guys who were running backs and track & field sprinters turn out to be good sprinters.

    This is no different than a person being asked "Are you good at math and science?" or "Are you good reading and comprehending literature" or simply "What interests you?", when picking a major. It's just a starting point. We can all change "majors" as we progress

    Just my 2 cents on the matter.

    I remember Scott (owner of Fixedgearfever) saying that no beginner track racer should do any timed events for a whole year. I thought that was absolutely absurd for him to suggest that I train blindly for a year. In contrast, British Cycling times totally untrained school kids on Wattbikes to ID talent...and it works.
    Last edited by carleton; 01-21-14 at 03:38 PM.

  16. #16
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    Don't agree with Carleton on this one, as I think having a dedicated track bike for rosd training is beneficial for doing explosive efforts and starts. A road bike is better for over-geared sprints, hill repeats (duh). And any interval type work. Though if you're an enduro I'd just get a decent roadbike.

  17. #17
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baby Puke View Post
    Don't agree with Carleton on this one, as I think having a dedicated track bike for rosd training is beneficial for doing explosive efforts and starts. A road bike is better for over-geared sprints, hill repeats (duh). And any interval type work. Though if you're an enduro I'd just get a decent roadbike.

    When I hear people speak of using a fixed-gear on the road to prep for track racing, they usually talk about doing long work like group rides or 2 hour spinning sessions through town. This would be better done on a road bike.

    You are referring to standing and rolling sprint work. I think this is best done at a track. I've seen guys do "balls out" sprints on track bikes in the city and it's scary. Dude, you can go from 0 to nearly 35mph/55kph within 100 meters.

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    To answer ETN's question:

    My suggestion would be to:

    - Look for a quality used complete aluminum track bike similar to a Felt TK2 in terms of level of components
    - Keep your current bike as a commuter
    - Work towards buying a quality used road bike. Nothing fancy. A 10 year old road bike that has been sitting in a garage is 99% as good as a new one.
    - Ultimately work towards two separate bikes. One for track racing only and the other for road commuting/training.

  19. #19
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    I disagree with that.

    That's like saying that a college freshman shouldn't pick a major.
    You do raise a bunch of good points, and we can agree to disagree.

    I find that a decent sprint in beginners is a bit more common than natural enduro abilities, and that predisposition early in one's experience with track racing is not a good determinant of where one's natural abilities will lie once they're developed. So I like to encourage people not to limit themselves - mostly because I've heard too many Cat 4's declare themselves to be sprinters when I really think it's way too soon to say.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  20. #20
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by queerpunk View Post
    You do raise a bunch of good points, and we can agree to disagree.

    I find that a decent sprint in beginners is a bit more common than natural enduro abilities, and that predisposition early in one's experience with track racing is not a good determinant of where one's natural abilities will lie once they're developed. So I like to encourage people not to limit themselves - mostly because I've heard too many Cat 4's declare themselves to be sprinters when I really think it's way too soon to say.
    I think the difference is what we conceive the problem to be. I think you are saying that picking a focus limits the rider and I'm saying picking a focus gives the rider some direction...that may be changed at a later date.

    I think that the ambiguity may be more side-tracking than spending time focusing on the wrong thing. More importantly, your argument hinges on that initial assessment being wrong.

    I think that people should do what keeps them interested first. If a guy is turned on by sprinting, let him do that. If a girl is excited by burying herself in a pain cave of a 3K (not sure why anyone would do that), more power to her. If a rider loves the mind game of a points race, go for it!

    I think the best advice might be a mix of both of our approaches: Pick a "major" but take other "classes" too...you may be surprised and enchanted by something else along the way.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    To answer ETN's question:

    My suggestion would be to:

    - Look for a quality used complete aluminum track bike similar to a Felt TK2 in terms of level of components
    - Keep your current bike as a commuter
    - Work towards buying a quality used road bike. Nothing fancy. A 10 year old road bike that has been sitting in a garage is 99% as good as a new one.
    - Ultimately work towards two separate bikes. One for track racing only and the other for road commuting/training.
    Here's the thing: My "commute" is barely a commute at all, at least for the time being. In fact, if i'm willing to accept a travel time of 30-40 minutes, my commute is walkable. However this will probably change in 1.5 years as after I graduate I'll probably move a bit farther away from campus and probably won't have the same campus job by then. So for the time being, my ****ty SE Draft will do.

    Is my Unknown really not worthy of the track in it's current state? I have gotten road shoes and pedals (Mavic Avenge and SPD-SL 105's) since the last pic of it was taken. So if all I need to do is maybe get a new crank or something, would it make more sense to upgrade it a bit and get all my other odds and ends together, and then put the remaining money towards a used road bike? Or would you still recommend getting a track-only bike in addition to the Unknown?

    It just seems like from a training standpoint that I might get more benefit if I got a used road bike for training and just updated the components a bit on my Unknown first, before getting a track-only complete bike (which I was kind of considering doing after a few seasons so I could buy a bike that's suited specifically for the event specialty i'll have chosen by then). Unless you really only need a road bike once you're more experienced and know very specifically what you need to train for, is that the case with training with road bikes specifically?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    When I hear people speak of using a fixed-gear on the road to prep for track racing, they usually talk about doing long work like group rides or 2 hour spinning sessions through town. This would be better done on a road bike.

    You are referring to standing and rolling sprint work. I think this is best done at a track. I've seen guys do "balls out" sprints on track bikes in the city and it's scary. Dude, you can go from 0 to nearly 35mph/55kph within 100 meters.
    Agree with everything you've said here. Not sure of the benefit of long rides on a fixed gear as I've never tried. I know it's "old school", but I personally don't have the time.

    However, many people, myself included, have limited track access. The best I can do is twice month off season, and in season I flirt with the wife's white-hot fury by going once a week. This is not enough if you are doing specific track work, especially as a sprinter. A road bike is very difficult to set up close enough to a track sprint bike to be useful for the efforts I mentioned above, and if it is, becomes useless for the things you want a road bike to do. In this case, I find it awesome (and myself lucky) to have a track bike that's set-up is identical to my race bike for starts and all-out jumps. AND IT HAS A BRAKE ON IT.

    Then the challenge becomes finding a safe spot to do this, and Carlton I fully agree that this is not safe on just any ol' city street. You've got to scout and search for spots that will work, and this is not easy in some cases. San Francisco sucks in particular for this due to traffic congestion and hills (curse them).

    Again, if you can be at the track twice a week or more, or are an enduro just get a nice road bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    I think the difference is what we conceive the problem to be. I think you are saying that picking a focus limits the rider and I'm saying picking a focus gives the rider some direction...that may be changed at a later date.

    I think that the ambiguity may be more side-tracking than spending time focusing on the wrong thing. More importantly, your argument hinges on that initial assessment being wrong.

    I think that people should do what keeps them interested first. If a guy is turned on by sprinting, let him do that. If a girl is excited by burying herself in a pain cave of a 3K (not sure why anyone would do that), more power to her. If a rider loves the mind game of a points race, go for it!

    I think the best advice might be a mix of both of our approaches: Pick a "major" but take other "classes" too...you may be surprised and enchanted by something else along the way.
    All good info, thanks you guys! And carleton, to answer your question about the sports I played in high-school... the answer is... none? Hahaha. I would've offed myself if I played sports in high-school, I went to a bland suburban high school where the jock mentality reigned supreme in the athletics departments and I was (and kinda still am) an angry, iconoclastic kid who definitely would much rather circlepit at a hardcore punk show than do football drills. I am 6'5" with pretty long legs in comparison to my torso length (probably a rather lucky disproportion now that i've gotten sucked into cycling as my main source of entertainment and fitness), which caused the basketball coaches to fruitlessly try to recruit me on many, many occasions. Before high school, I played hockey, which of course involves explosive, short efforts (hockey shifts average around a minute, maybe two minutes for middle-school-aged kids. In the NHL the shifts can get as short as 30-45 seconds) with lots of quick stopping and starting. But I don't really know what, if anything, any of that says about my natural athletic tendencies.

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ETN612 View Post
    Here's the thing: My "commute" is barely a commute at all, at least for the time being. In fact, if i'm willing to accept a travel time of 30-40 minutes, my commute is walkable. However this will probably change in 1.5 years as after I graduate I'll probably move a bit farther away from campus and probably won't have the same campus job by then. So for the time being, my ****ty SE Draft will do.

    Is my Unknown really not worthy of the track in it's current state? I have gotten road shoes and pedals (Mavic Avenge and SPD-SL 105's) since the last pic of it was taken. So if all I need to do is maybe get a new crank or something, would it make more sense to upgrade it a bit and get all my other odds and ends together, and then put the remaining money towards a used road bike? Or would you still recommend getting a track-only bike in addition to the Unknown?

    It just seems like from a training standpoint that I might get more benefit if I got a used road bike for training and just updated the components a bit on my Unknown first, before getting a track-only complete bike (which I was kind of considering doing after a few seasons so I could buy a bike that's suited specifically for the event specialty i'll have chosen by then). Unless you really only need a road bike once you're more experienced and know very specifically what you need to train for, is that the case with training with road bikes specifically?
    Your "unknown" bike is just that...unknown. It's probably a inexpensive street fixie.

    The short answer is, YES, you can race it if you want. The long answer is, NO, you should not invest more money into a cheap bike.

    You started the thread with:

    I now have around $1350 to blow on any bike-related things I can think of. Pretty cool, huh? Anyway, I'm trying to determine how to most wisely spend this money.
    The wisest thing to do is to not throw good money after bad. Do not invest into anything that you do not plan to keep or that you cannot sell later. There isn't much market for "unknown" bikes.

    The best thing to do is to buy a good all-around bike and use it till you need something specialized. Take the TK2 or 2009 Fuji Track Pro. You can do enduro or sprint on these. Any bike that is more specific will be carbon fiber and the frame will start at around $1,500.

    Buy a quality frame with quality components now. If you do want something fancier later, move those quality components to the new fancy frame.

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    About the road bike:

    Maybe put a freewheel on your street fixie and use it for road work till you can find an quality used road bike.

    Others may feel differently.

    Dude, we can't make this decision for you. If you think you'll get more practical use out of a road bike (like if you don't own a car) then focus on that.

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