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  1. #1
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    Old frames as decent track bikes (newbie question)

    Basically, I love ornate old bikes, but recently decided that I want to try out my hand on the velodrome. I want to build a track bike from the bottom (long process awaiting), but I was curious if anyone has experience/opinions on older frames as track bikes.

    Here's a picture of the frame, and I'm just wondering what you guys think. I am not looking to break the Hour Record or anything, just trying to get a solid bike that I like and could ride on the velodrome sometimes.

    00707_aGWzN6HyMHM_600x450.jpg

  2. #2
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinachface View Post
    Basically, I love ornate old bikes, but recently decided that I want to try out my hand on the velodrome. I want to build a track bike from the bottom (long process awaiting), but I was curious if anyone has experience/opinions on older frames as track bikes.

    Here's a picture of the frame, and I'm just wondering what you guys think. I am not looking to break the Hour Record or anything, just trying to get a solid bike that I like and could ride on the velodrome sometimes.

    00707_aGWzN6HyMHM_600x450.jpg
    That's a road bike frame (as I'm sure you know).

    I'd suggest that you start with a track frame with proper track ends to make gear changes easier. The more you participate in the sport, the more Function becomes more important than Form.

    You can find an old, ornate track frame, too

  3. #3
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    Before you invest any effort into adapting this, or similar, road frame to track use check with your local velodrome to see if they will allow you to ride it there.

  4. #4
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I raced on an old track frame this year. I came in last place in every race, and if I had used a more modern frame, my standing would not have been any better.

    But I'd like the experts to tell me why a road frame might be disqualified. It's not as if stuff juts out from it.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  5. #5
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Because almost every velodrome requires the use of a track with a rear wheel seated in track ends, rather than a road bike with horizontal or vertical dropouts.

    track ends.JPG
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  6. #6
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    Additionally, the geometry is a bit off. Namely, the bottom bracket is lower on road bikes than track bikes. This could lead to a greater chance of pedal strike in the turns, though how much of an issue this really seems to be is open to debate.

    That said, I probably spend half my race time on a steel track bike. No complaints here.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkWW View Post
    Additionally, the geometry is a bit off. Namely, the bottom bracket is lower on road bikes than track bikes. This could lead to a greater chance of pedal strike in the turns, though how much of an issue this really seems to be is open to debate.

    That said, I probably spend half my race time on a steel track bike. No complaints here.
    I didn't think that was open for debate at all (at least not for steep tracks - but I'm a newb). Out of curiosity, I looked up some BB drops for 56cm TT bikes:

    Road bikes:
    CAAD10 69 mm
    Pinarello Dogma F8 72 mm
    Focus Cayo Evo 70 mm
    Trek Domane 6.2 78 mm

    Track bikes:
    Hoy Fiorenzuola 45 mm
    Argon Electron 45 mm
    Cervelo T1 50 mm
    Planet X Pro Carbon Track 57 mm
    CAAD 10 Track 58 mm

    The BB drop difference from the smallest road and largest track BB drop is 11 mm, which doesn't seem that significant, but at lower speeds could be the difference between a pedal strike and not.

  8. #8
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurtleRacer View Post
    I didn't think that was open for debate at all (at least not for steep tracks - but I'm a newb). Out of curiosity, I looked up some BB drops for 56cm TT bikes:

    Road bikes:
    CAAD10 69 mm
    Pinarello Dogma F8 72 mm
    Focus Cayo Evo 70 mm
    Trek Domane 6.2 78 mm

    Track bikes:
    Hoy Fiorenzuola 45 mm
    Argon Electron 45 mm
    Cervelo T1 50 mm
    Planet X Pro Carbon Track 57 mm
    CAAD 10 Track 58 mm

    The BB drop difference from the smallest road and largest track BB drop is 11 mm, which doesn't seem that significant, but at lower speeds could be the difference between a pedal strike and not.
    This is a street fixie. Don't count this one.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    This is a street fixie. Don't count this one.
    Yeah, I know. I just thought it would be an interesting comparison point against the CAAD10 (non-track). The Planet X BB drop is just 1mm less though!

  10. #10
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    This is a street fixie. Don't count this one.
    You say that about every track bike that doesn't have sprint geometry.
    Street fixies are a thing, but so is enduro and pursuit geometry.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  11. #11
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by queerpunk View Post
    You say that about every track bike that doesn't have sprint geometry.
    Street fixies are a thing, but so is enduro and pursuit geometry.
    No. I say that about every frame that has a slack head tube and a road fork.

  12. #12
    Senior Member wens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by queerpunk View Post
    You say that about every track bike that doesn't have sprint geometry.
    Street fixies are a thing, but so is enduro and pursuit geometry.
    I'm too lazy to look up geometry tables, but from pictures those track ends look like they're on the short side.
    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

  13. #13
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    Old frames as decent track bikes (newbie question)

    I started racing at the Northbrook velodrome on a converted 70's Motobecane road bike. I had no problems with it. Only thing was I had to run 1/8" chain on my 3/32" chainring. The chain danced around a lot and made a horrible noise. That was 40 years ago, yikes.

    Today parts are available to make a nice conversion to fixed gear properly. That all said, for $300-400 you can get a nice new proper track bike from BD. Dig your Mercier though.

  14. #14
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    No. I say that about every frame that has a slack head tube and a road fork.
    Okay, I get that.
    And I know that there are a lot of companies doing lazy geometry design.

    But I'm sure you'd agree that the handling demands of enduro racing vary from the handling demands of sprint racing.

    There are plenty of high level bikes with front ends that look like 72-73deg/40mm. And that means that a bike with 74/74 with a 28mm fork isn't track geometry, it's sprint geometry.



    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  15. #15
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    For me, 40mm offset is the cutoff for a "track" fork. The TK1 uses 40mm.

    The Cannondale CAAD10 Track uses a 45mm offset fork. To put that into perspective, the Specialized Tarmac uses a 43mm offset fork.

  16. #16
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Is the Cervelo T4 a street fixie?
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  17. #17
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by queerpunk View Post
    Is the Cervelo T4 a street fixie?
    No. It just has bad geometry.

    The fork offset is not listed.

    Bobby Lea seems to be the only person who likes that frame. I've seen T3/4s on blowout sales at shops like Richardson Bike Mart.

    Cervelo took their road TT frame and slapped some track ends on it and called it a track bike. LOOK and Felt did the same thing with the 496 and TK1, but those worked. Not so much with the Cervelo T3/4.

  18. #18
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    It's 45mm.

    So, my point here is that there's something else between "street fixie" and "74deg/28mm."

    I agree that the T4 has... questionable geometry. And I wouldn't be too jazzed to race something with 72.5deg/45mm. But 73/40 isn't that far away from it. While some companies definitely do lazy-ass design and slap track ends on TT frames, there are also a ton of enduro track bikes designed for both mass start and pursuit use and so they do have slacker headtubes and 40-45mm forks.

    Because the handling demands of sprints differ from the handling demands of long mass-start races and pursuits.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    The whole geometry is a bit of a black art. It isn't just about fork trail, or fork rake, or headtube angle, and most riders and get used to most anything.

    I've ridden lots of different combos. The best, for any event, IMO, is a steep headtube combined with long trail. This is from my experience at Alpenrose, possibly the track most sensitive to bike geometry in the US.

    But besides frame geometry, handlebar position relative to tire contact point has a huge roll to play as well. If your hand position is too far back (behind the tire contact point), the bike is unacceptably twitchy. If too far forward, it is slow. Also handlebar height (or more accurately, weight distribution between the wheels) has a role. The more weight on the front wheel, the more responsive at low speed and more stable at high speed. Too little weight on the front wheel and the bike becomes less responsive at low speed and more twitchy (sometimes to the point of oscillation) at high speed.
    Last edited by Brian Ratliff; 10-06-14 at 01:54 PM.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
    "If you’re new enough [to racing] that you would ask such question, then i would hazard a guess that if you just made up a workout that sounded hard to do, and did it, you’d probably get faster." --the tiniest sprinter

  20. #20
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by queerpunk View Post
    ...

    Because the handling demands of sprints differ from the handling demands of long mass-start races and pursuits.
    I agree with most of your point, but understand that with modern track racing, the demands of sprint, mass-start, and pursuit have basically melded. My Dolan Forza was designed as a pursuit bike, marketed as a mass-start, and has the geometry (and stiffness) of a sprint bike. Watch the six day races, and lots of people in the Madison are on sprint geometry bikes such as the Dolan DF3/4. In fact, I got my Forza cheap because nobody could really tell the difference between it and the DF3 sprint bike, so the following model year, Dolan melded the two and came out with the DF4. The DF4 is basically the do-everything bike now, and has the stiffness and sprint geometry of a sprint bike and the aerodynamics of a mass-start/pursuit bike.

    Understand that track bikes are a real nichy business and there is very little volume. The triathlon market is much much much bigger. Cervelo has a name in the tri/TT market, and some of those guys ride pursuit and mass-start at their local track, so they put track ends on their TT bike and called it a pursuit bike because they have some name recognition they want to address, but they are not about to buy a whole new set of molds just for that niche market.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
    "If you’re new enough [to racing] that you would ask such question, then i would hazard a guess that if you just made up a workout that sounded hard to do, and did it, you’d probably get faster." --the tiniest sprinter

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by 700wheel View Post
    Before you invest any effort into adapting this, or similar, road frame to track use check with your local velodrome to see if they will allow you to ride it there.
    To add to my post the Manchester, UK, velodrome (for example) has additional requirements for track bikes:

    Track bikes must have a fixed wheel, 165mm cranks, and 280mm (11") bottom bracket height (measured from floor to centre of bottom bracket), no braze ons, and must have track ends
    Safety Information - National Cycling Centre

  22. #22
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
    Understand that track bikes are a real nichy business and there is very little volume. The triathlon market is much much much bigger. Cervelo has a name in the tri/TT market, and some of those guys ride pursuit and mass-start at their local track, so they put track ends on their TT bike and called it a pursuit bike because they have some name recognition they want to address, but they are not about to buy a whole new set of molds just for that niche market.
    Oh for sure - I mean, I think that's a large chunk of the reason that "enduro geometry" is a thing. Elia Viviani posed with the CAAD10 track prototype but he was racing his bastard Slice track all winter and at the WCs.

    I was really skeptical about non-sprint geometry for the track, until I tried a bike with it. My main bike now is a Langster Pro. It has a 73deg headtube. I was casually looking for a 40mm fork instead of the 45mm one. I was really, really surprised that I like how it handles more than I liked my TK2, and that I don't have a problem with "road geometry" on the track. Let alone a 250m/43deg.

    Anyhoo. I appreciate talking about this with more nuance and depth than before.

    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

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