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  1. #1
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    Old vs New Track bike for beginner

    I live right by a velodrome and have wanted to start riding at it. I'm not looking to spend a not on a new bike and found this old chromoly fuji on craigslist. They have it listed as 70s but I think it might actually be from the 80s. I'll make sure if I go look but from the description I think it is about the right size for me. Is there a big difference in geometry or something over the years that I might be missing or would this be a good bike to start on? I'm not looking to competitively race. I just thought it would be a nice change to road racing and might be fun to ride in some of the open races during the summer. Thanks for any help

    https://indianapolis.craigslist.org/bik/4678750648.html

    00Q0Q_fwu45eVP4b1_600x450.jpg

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    The bike looks OK to me however you need to check out the bike carefully before you buy it.
    A few things to look for:
    1. Make sure frame size suits you
    2. Check the width between drop-outs. Should be 100 mm front and 120 mm rear. Older track frames may vary from todays standard.
    3. Check wheel condition - if in bad condition you may have to replace them. Also are they size 700? if not make sure a 700 wheel fits with frame clearance.
    4. Check crank bolt circle diameter - if oddball you may have difficulty finding chain rings that fit.

  3. #3
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    If it fits and is in good working order, then it's fine.

    But, remember that it is a 30 or 40 year old machine. Machines that age need TLC.

    It's a great price, but you are assuming some risk.

    Maybe have a shop or knowledgeable friend look at it first before purchasing it...and subsequently riding +35mph on it

  4. #4
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Countdown48 View Post
    I live right by a velodrome and have wanted to start riding at it. I'm not looking to spend a not on a new bike and found this old chromoly fuji on craigslist. They have it listed as 70s but I think it might actually be from the 80s. I'll make sure if I go look but from the description I think it is about the right size for me. Is there a big difference in geometry or something over the years that I might be missing or would this be a good bike to start on? I'm not looking to competitively race. I just thought it would be a nice change to road racing and might be fun to ride in some of the open races during the summer. Thanks for any help

    https://indianapolis.craigslist.org/bik/4678750648.html

    00Q0Q_fwu45eVP4b1_600x450.jpg
    That's certainly a good price for a very pretty bike. A more competition-worthy aluminum race bike will cost you at least 2x that, used, or ~4x that new.

    This is an okay starter bike. You'll (probably) either buy a more modern bike when you get better or more interested in track racing, or you won't. Or you'll stop track racing, and you'll have a very pretty bike that you don't use and can easily sell for what you paid.

    I have a 40 year old steel track bike that I learned to race on. I still have it. I ride it to the park on the weekends to sit in the sun.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  5. #5
    VeloSIRraptor
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    Quote Originally Posted by queerpunk View Post
    I have a 40 year old steel track bike that I learned to race on. I still have it. I ride it to the park on the weekends to sit in the sun.
    With yer moustache, PBR, and guitar?
    Darn hipsters...

    OP- As the others have said, if it is in good mechanical condition- it'll be fine. Get it checked over and then pedal it hard
    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    If it comes down to a field sprint, you probably won't win, so don't let it.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Quinn8it's Avatar
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    I don't know if I would go that route..

    if you end up changing the Saddle/Stem/Bars you are basically in the price range of some off the rack modern bikes and for sure in newer used bike territory..

    Im assuming if you are a road racer that you are pretty out of touch with what a 20+lb bike feels like?

    And there is no such thing as a bike racer that is not looking to be competitive.... IMHO

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    Another item to check are the tires. Track bikes of that era typically used tubular tires (sewups), but eyeballing the pics they look like clinchers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinn8it View Post
    if you end up changing the Saddle/Stem/Bars you are basically in the price range of some off the rack modern bikes and for sure in newer used bike territory..
    +1

    If you haven't ridden track before, your local track should have bikes available to rent pretty cheaply. You may have to (and probably should) take an intro to track course - to keep yourself and others on the track safe (typically intro to track courses include bike rental).

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    I checked and they do offer bike rentals so I will probably try that first. Would I notice much difference between this frame and a modern steel frame?

  10. #10
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    For the most part, modern track bikes are not steel, just because other materials are so much stiffer. That “steel is real” feel doesn’t do you any good on a velodrome. Stiffness is paramount, and steel isn’t that stiff. Still, you’ll be fine on it for a year or two, or if you just want to do it occasionally, for training, or for fun on the weekends, it will be fine. I’ve known some incredibly strong people race steel for years.

    As for a “modern steel frame”, that is rather an oxymoron. Modern track frames are not steel (with very rare execption).

  11. #11
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    As for a “modern steel frame”, that is rather an oxymoron. Modern track frames are not steel (with very rare execption).
    Exactly.

    A "modern steel frame" would be a BikesDirect Kilo TT...which is the foundation for a 30lb tank of a bike. You would not want to train or race on that by choice.

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    By modern steel, I meant something like a Bianchi Pista. There are a couple on my local craigslist for around 450 I think. With those, I wouldn't have to think about switching out the wheels to 700c.

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Countdown48 View Post
    By modern steel, I meant something like a Bianchi Pista. There are a couple on my local craigslist for around 450 I think. With those, I wouldn't have to think about switching out the wheels to 700c.
    Yes, a Bianchi Pista and the Fuji track are currently made models (I think). But, you'd be better off going with aluminum for around the same money. Aluminum is, by far, the best bang for the buck when it comes to stiffness/weight vs cost.

    If you like the bike as a bike enthusiast, then by all means, get it. But, don't look at it as a value. It's like buying a '73 Super Beetle as a daily driver value car. It may be cheaper than a used Civic, but there are lots of trade-offs. But, to a guy into Super Beetles, it's awesome

    If the wheels aren't 700c, then you may have a hard time finding tires because 700c is the modern standard.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Yes, a Bianchi Pista and the Fuji track are currently made models (I think). But, you'd be better off going with aluminum for around the same money. Aluminum is, by far, the best bang for the buck when it comes to stiffness/weight vs cost.

    If you like the bike as a bike enthusiast, then by all means, get it. But, don't look at it as a value. It's like buying a '73 Super Beetle as a daily driver value car. It may be cheaper than a used Civic, but there are lots of trade-offs. But, to a guy into Super Beetles, it's awesome

    If the wheels aren't 700c, then you may have a hard time finding tires because 700c is the modern standard.
    The wheels are 27" tubulars. Would replacing them with 700c wheels cause any problems with spacing? I know there wouldn't be brake reach problems like a road bike but would there be a major difference in how it rides with the smaller wheels? I realize there are going to be differences in performance between steel and aluminum but I really like vintage bikes over new. I like taking a vintage bike and making it my own instead of just buying a new one that anybody can buy off a website or in a shop. I'm willing to sacrifice some performance for a bike I really like taking to the track when I have the time. However, I don't want to be riding a wet noodle around the track so I want to be sure I'm not sacrificing too much performance. Thanks for all the help so far!

  15. #15
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Countdown48 View Post
    The wheels are 27" tubulars. Would replacing them with 700c wheels cause any problems with spacing? I know there wouldn't be brake reach problems like a road bike but would there be a major difference in how it rides with the smaller wheels? I realize there are going to be differences in performance between steel and aluminum but I really like vintage bikes over new. I like taking a vintage bike and making it my own instead of just buying a new one that anybody can buy off a website or in a shop. I'm willing to sacrifice some performance for a bike I really like taking to the track when I have the time. However, I don't want to be riding a wet noodle around the track so I want to be sure I'm not sacrificing too much performance. Thanks for all the help so far!
    I have no idea. You should ask in Classic & Vintage. They can tell you more than you'd think to ask. Classic & Vintage

  16. #16
    Senior Member wens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Countdown48 View Post
    I like taking a vintage bike and making it my own instead of just buying a new one that anybody can buy off a website or in a shop. I'm willing to sacrifice some performance for a bike I really like taking to the track when I have the time. However, I don't want to be riding a wet noodle around the track so I want to be sure I'm not sacrificing too much performance. Thanks for all the help so far!
    If you want to do this because you think the bike's cool and that's what does it for you, cool. I think you should go into it knowing it's not likely to be the most cost effective option though.
    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

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Countdown48 View Post
    The wheels are 27" tubulars. Would replacing them with 700c wheels cause any problems with spacing?
    According to Sheldon Brown, there is no such thing as a 27" tubular, so you should be good to go.

    Back in the 1970s, 622 mm clinchers were very rare in the U.S., and most sporty bikes used either 630 mm (27 inch) clinchers, or standard (622 mm) tubulars.

    The fact that these sizes are so close led to an in-accurate habit of referring to "27 inch" tubulars. This careless nomenclature still causes confusion, and people often imagine that there is a different "27 inch" size in tubulars as there is in clinchers.

    This is not true. THERE IS ACTUALLY NO SUCH THING AS A "27 INCH" TUBULAR.
    Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Glossary Tp--Tz

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by gl98115 View Post
    According to Sheldon Brown, there is no such thing as a 27" tubular, so you should be good to go.



    Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Glossary Tp--Tz

    http://www.classicfuji.com/TrackInte..._1982_Page.htm

    I was just going off of the catalog. It calls the tires "SOYO #45 tubular 27" x 1 1/8" Presta valve". Has the meaning of tubular changed between the 80s and now? I text the lady again today. I had been waiting for a reply for awhile and unfortunately she said it has sold. Thank you everyone for the education. It will give me a lot to think about when looking at another.

  19. #19
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Countdown48 View Post
    http://www.classicfuji.com/TrackInte..._1982_Page.htm

    I was just going off of the catalog. It calls the tires "SOYO #45 tubular 27" x 1 1/8" Presta valve". Has the meaning of tubular changed between the 80s and now? I text the lady again today. I had been waiting for a reply for awhile and unfortunately she said it has sold. Thank you everyone for the education. It will give me a lot to think about when looking at another.
    Damn.

    So, what happens next? Do you buy a bike and become a dangerous, dark, and mysterious Track Racer or are you going back to that old boring roadie stuff?

    Also, as a Track Sprinter you get to eat brownies! (at least that's what I've been telling myself)

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Countdown48 View Post
    I was just going off of the catalog. It calls the tires "SOYO #45 tubular 27" x 1 1/8" Presta valve". Has the meaning of tubular changed between the 80s and now?
    I think the meaning of 27" x 1 1/8" tubular has changed since then. Again deferring to Shelton Brown:

    Full-sized tubulars fit rims of the same diameter as 622 mm (700c) clinchers. This size is sometimes referred to as "28 inch" or "700". It is also, confusingly, sometimes referred to as "27 inch." The "27 inch" designation is inaccurate and obsolete, but you'll sometimes run into it in older printed material.
    Tire Sizing Systems


    And as mentioned in the quote, Continental currently designates its tubulars that fit the 700c rim as 28" x 22mm, for example.

    Continental Bicycle -Sprinter Gatorskin

  21. #21
    Senior Member Quinn8it's Avatar
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    Continental still badges the Steher as "27x1" and it fits a 700c

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinn8it View Post
    Continental still badges the Steher as "27x1" and it fits a 700c
    Likewise Continental labesl their Sprinter as 28" x 22mm and it also fits a 700C.

  23. #23
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    I think I'm more confused than when I started

  24. #24
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Countdown48 View Post
    I think I'm more confused than when I started
    Hahaha, yeah. That's what happens when you buy any old bike and hope to use modern parts.

    It's always little things. Like some older frames call for 27.0 seat posts.

    Unless you are a gear head and know what you are getting into (cars, cameras, bicycles, motorcycles, etc...) it's best to buy something that doesn't need work before you start participating in the hobby.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Giacomo 1's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if the OP is still around, but I would tell him to go for that Fuji.

    That bike looks to be in very nice shape and it is fairly priced to. I don't think he should be scared off by it's "vintage" nature. Vintage bikes are simple and in many ways easier to maintain than more modern bikes. And parts are plentiful on e-bay for such bikes, including 27" tires. Vintage bikes can also be upgraded with modern parts if one prefers going that route. In the end, if you really have problems with the bike, your LBS should have no problem helping you out.

    I'm not trying to come off like a track racer or something, because I'm not. I'm a newbie and like the OP, I'm hoping to do some track riding next season, and since I'm a vintage guy and a sucker for Italian steel, I've recently snagged an older lugged Torelli frame which I'll have fun building-up. It is made from my favorite tubing, Columbus SL, which makes for a very sweet riding road bike, but I realize that sweetness might not translate to the track. It's very light, but not as stiff as aluminum. But it's what I like and I'm sure it will be good for my purposes for awhile.

    I've been lurking for awhile and I've learned a lot! Thanks!
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