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Practical advantages of Carbon over Aluminum track frames (beyond aero)?

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Practical advantages of Carbon over Aluminum track frames (beyond aero)?

Old 11-06-18, 01:07 PM
  #26  
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You won’t need different bikes for different tracks. Basically, track bike angles have evolved as the speeds have increased and the move from shallow 333-400m tracks to steep 166-250m tracks happened.

Also, many “sweet street fixies” that are labeled as “track bikes” have a road geometry that pales in comparison to one with a modern track geometry.

The most dramatic thing I’ve seen in terms of multiple bikes is one bike for TTs (with aerobars) and one for mass start or sprints. A more relaxed (“sluggish”) geometry helps with holding a great line. Agile handling is preferred for mass start and sprinting.
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Old 11-06-18, 01:16 PM
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Study cadence, not power.

Modeling cadence, speed, and heart rate over time (preferably every 1/2 second) can tell you 95% of what’s happening with you and your bike. Adding power data only gets you that extra 5%.

Power is gennerally used to monitor fatigue...or make numbers to brag about on forums

Max Speed and Average Speed are what determines who wins and who loses. Cadence is how you get there.

Keeping with the auto theme: Cadence is your tachometer. There exists a sweet spot.
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Old 11-06-18, 07:50 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
You won’t need different bikes for different tracks. Basically, track bike angles have evolved as the speeds have increased and the move from shallow 333-400m tracks to steep 166-250m tracks happened.

Also, many “sweet street fixies” that are labeled as “track bikes” have a road geometry that pales in comparison to one with a modern track geometry.

The most dramatic thing I’ve seen in terms of multiple bikes is one bike for TTs (with aerobars) and one for mass start or sprints. A more relaxed (“sluggish”) geometry helps with holding a great line. Agile handling is preferred for mass start and sprinting.
I would imagine in addition to having two stem/bar sets for different events, one could even modify wheelbase with a longer chain, tune steering response with longer stem, and get a bike with quick handling geometry to somewhat imitate a slower one. I've done this with my road bikes with stems and have been looking at the rear dropouts on the track bike thinking, "Hmm...not only does this give flexibility with gearing, it also gives me some wheelbase tuning capability.". Of course fit and body position has to be balanced within all of this, but the long rear dropouts have got me thinking...

Originally Posted by carleton View Post
Study cadence, not power.

Modeling cadence, speed, and heart rate over time (preferably every 1/2 second) can tell you 95% of what’s happening with you and your bike. Adding power data only gets you that extra 5%.

Power is gennerally used to monitor fatigue...or make numbers to brag about on forums

Max Speed and Average Speed are what determines who wins and who loses. Cadence is how you get there.

Keeping with the auto theme: Cadence is your tachometer. There exists a sweet spot.
It's interesting, looking at the different metrics. I don't look at HR during activities, just retrospectively. There's drift and latency, so HR tends to be a bit counterproductive for me in real-time. Retrospectively, it might tell me that I should've/could've been pushing just a little bit harder across the entire session (averaging 170bpm instead of 164, for example in a TT, falling just short of target time). And then knowing that, training with HR helps get to know better what that effort level feels like. With cadence, it's fun trying to understand how well-matched your gearing was for the particular event. I might average 94 in a road race or crit, but 84 in a road TT with different gearing and different workload. I have zero instrumentation on my track bike so far (other than a Garmin in my back pocket and HR sensor), so I can't even compare cadence or power indicators to road currently, but I can go with RPE, breathing, and pick gearing that seems pretty close to "good". Once I get a left-crank power meter on the bike and can capture cadence, etc, it'll be fun to start testing gearing on track more purposefully than what just sort of feels right. Power has been helpful for me on road. It's taught me what my capacities are for sprint duration, long efforts in TT's, etc, interval training, etc. I don't look at it during TT's interestingly; I know some modulate their effort based on % of FTP, but after experimenting, I've gotten more comfortable with Cadence and target Avg Speed as my working metrics.

There are variables that affect HR and power output on any particular day, but if I know the course and my average speed target to nurture, then it's just up to the cadence I can reasonably sustain that day while keeping the average speed within range. I need simple, and it turns out that those two things are simple and manageable for me; doesn't mean it's applicable to others, it's just what I've settled into. That's on road, but in track we're flying blind in races; that was an interesting realization for me. In training, I'll do some of the basic info monitoring to develop a feel for it. I'm truly a novice in track, so I don't want to get too mired in the data, but having familiarity with basic metrics in training will be a good learning experience. There are so many who are expert with this stuff, super knowledgeable and precise. Part of me wanting to keep things simple is....just having fun. I want to be competitive, but if I get too over-data'd, I'm afraid I'll lose some touch with the simple thrilling experience of riding my bike and going fast among friends who enjoy the same thing. That's actually one of the most important metrics, one which doesn't have measurement or comparison.

Last edited by Super D; 11-06-18 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 11-06-18, 08:09 PM
  #29  
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Super D
Interesting perspective on frames at this site:
Fifty Point One Racing
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Old 11-06-18, 09:01 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by 700wheel View Post
Super D
Interesting perspective on frames at this site:
Fifty Point One Racing
It certainly is, looks like a great approach for custom. And man, killer rear dropouts!

http://fiftypointoneracing.com/asset.../materials.jpg

Last edited by Super D; 11-06-18 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 11-06-18, 09:02 PM
  #31  
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Super, maybe read this thread before you buy a power meter. They are not all the same.

Training and Racing with Power Meters and other computers
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Old 11-09-18, 02:00 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
Because of the *multiple* angled surfaces of the track, different head tube angles and fork offsets have dramatically different effects on handling. And that’s on a single velodrome. If the rider travels to other velodromes of different dimensions, there will be different experiences.

...then factor in rider speed.

I would imagine that this is similar to adjusting caster and camber on a race car. When it’s right, it’s awesome. When it’s not, then confidence plummets.
I've heard that top Japanese Keirin racers have frames with different geometry for racing in the wet. And bikes with different tubing spec for early season and late season racing.

Not sure if those are just superstitions or based in reality.
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Old 11-28-18, 10:17 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
Super, maybe read this thread before you buy a power meter. They are not all the same.

Training and Racing with Power Meters and other computers
Thank you. Also, I've read DC Rainmaker's tests, pretty nicely done. I have been running Stages on my road bikes for several years (multiple versions, haven't had problems other than a battery cover issue and a few firmware updates), and I'm running the Pioneer L/R power crank on my TT bike. Both work well, easy to use, no complaints here. I think on the track bike, it'd be good to have a L/R crank, so I don't have to worry about which wheels I'm running.

Back to frames, any thoughts on what you think the best bang for the buck is in carbon aero track frames if you were to suggest something with the impossible combination of Good, Cheap, and Fast?

I'm realizing after tweaking my cockpit again that I really need a longer top tube. The 58cm Felt aluminum frame I have is just too short for my long monkey arms. I've swapped up from a 130mm to a 140mm stem to get arm and body positioning better for sprints, and it's good now, but the way the bike is set up, it would be about 4-5cm over the limit for endurance events...Not good. If I get a longer top tube, this problem will go away.
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Old 11-29-18, 08:28 AM
  #34  
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depends... for the absolute fastest pursuit frame (barring the new Felt and possibly the new Argon) for reasonable ish money it's the T4. After that everything else is a step down. (again, just in the pursuit world) You're looking at ~$2k used / $4k new

It's not the greatest all around bike though if you want something to do it all.

Budget... the cheapest all carbon option from a "brand name" is probably the Fuji Track Elite. That's what I bought, it tested ok for me in the tunnel, and you're looking at under $2k for a frame, especially if you find a closeout deal. It's a bit more rounded bike that can double duty, but you're giving up some watts to the T4 for certain.

Cheapest budget - the no-name frames that are the same as the Planet X Koichi's seem to be pretty ok. With all the caveats of buying a no name frame. ~$500 on ebay for a frame
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Old 11-29-18, 08:59 AM
  #35  
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The wind doesn't know if a frame is carbon or aluminum.
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Old 11-29-18, 09:55 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
The wind doesn't know if a frame is carbon or aluminum.
While I do totally agree, the truth is there are very few companies that are going to make an aero'd out aluminum frame in this day and age. I'd guess the Fifty Point One is at the top of that list, but I don't think it's in the same league as something like a T4. (aerodynamically)
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Old 11-29-18, 11:14 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Super D View Post
I'm realizing after tweaking my cockpit again that I really need a longer top tube.
Probably would be best to first specifiy the appropriate top tube length (or more accurately reach) and then choose a frame among those that fit that spec.
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Old 11-29-18, 11:24 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Morelock View Post
While I do totally agree, the truth is there are very few companies that are going to make an aero'd out aluminum frame in this day and age. I'd guess the Fifty Point One is at the top of that list, but I don't think it's in the same league as something like a T4. (aerodynamically)
What people often overlooked is that the frame makes up a small portion of the aerodynamic equation, and falls behind rider, helmet, and wheels. Those each contribute more than the frame does. Guess which frame ends up being better if a roumd tubed aluminum frame puts the rider in a more aerodynamic position than a T4?
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Old 11-29-18, 11:30 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Morelock View Post
depends... for the absolute fastest pursuit frame (barring the new Felt and possibly the new Argon) for reasonable ish money it's the T4. After that everything else is a step down. (again, just in the pursuit world) You're looking at ~$2k used / $4k new

It's not the greatest all around bike though if you want something to do it all.

Budget... the cheapest all carbon option from a "brand name" is probably the Fuji Track Elite. That's what I bought, it tested ok for me in the tunnel, and you're looking at under $2k for a frame, especially if you find a closeout deal. It's a bit more rounded bike that can double duty, but you're giving up some watts to the T4 for certain.

Cheapest budget - the no-name frames that are the same as the Planet X Koichi's seem to be pretty ok. With all the caveats of buying a no name frame. ~$500 on ebay for a frame
I'm definitely budget limited, so will use one bike for everything with two cockpit setups. The Planet X doesn't come large enough it appears; I have a 58cm top tube now and they're largest frame stops there. Have looked at that Fuji, interesting option for sure. I'd need their XXL size in order to get a 60cm+ top tube.

Originally Posted by carleton View Post
The wind doesn't know if a frame is carbon or aluminum.
Originally Posted by Morelock View Post
While I do totally agree, the truth is there are very few companies that are going to make an aero'd out aluminum frame in this day and age. I'd guess the Fifty Point One is at the top of that list, but I don't think it's in the same league as something like a T4. (aerodynamically)
The TK alu frames are pretty impressive to me when looking at them closely. The rear stays converging behind the seat tube like a Tri or TT bike, tapered head tube, shaped main triangle tubes, pretty nice job they did really. If the head tube stack was lower and top tube longer, I'd probably not be looking around. Just need something longer and lower.

Originally Posted by gl98115 View Post
Probably would be best to first specifiy the appropriate top tube length (or more accurately reach) and then choose a frame among those that fit that spec.
Yep, I'm looking for 60cm-61cm top tube lengths. Pretty limited selections out there on a budget. Maybe I should just shorten my arms? I have quite a few different types of saws and a dremel tool...
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Old 11-29-18, 11:33 AM
  #40  
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Honestly that strawman argument *should not apply to anyone asking the question about the fastest frame. Nowadays I just assume when people are asking about "the fastest" they've done the bare minimum due diligences, like does the bike fit. I'm sure not all have, but they're not the people the fastest xxx is going to help anyways
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Old 11-29-18, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by taras0000 View Post
What people often overlooked is that the frame makes up a small portion of the aerodynamic equation, and falls behind rider, helmet, and wheels. Those each contribute more than the frame does. Guess which frame ends up being better if a roumd tubed aluminum frame puts the rider in a more aerodynamic position than a T4?
That's really the objective, to get into a good position (and be within the rules). The frame tubing is a small aero factor when compared with my body and goofy long appendages getting into an aerodynamic shape.
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Old 11-29-18, 11:42 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Super D View Post
Yep, I'm looking for 60cm-61cm top tube lengths.
Dixie Flyer BTB Track



Dixie Flyer BTB Frame geometry

BTB Track ? Dixie Flyer Bicycles
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Old 11-29-18, 12:03 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by gl98115 View Post
Dixie Flyer BTB Track

Dixie Flyer BTB Frame geometry

BTB Track ? Dixie Flyer Bicycles
Thanks for sharing that, was reviewing recently on their site. Interesting how their head tube stack shoots up as they get into the 60cm+ top tube frames. I want to keep the head tube short like on a 58 while getting a longer top tube. Will give them a call to discuss.
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Old 11-29-18, 01:34 PM
  #44  
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Take a look at the Dolan DF4. The headtube remains pretty short.
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Old 11-29-18, 09:14 PM
  #45  
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Well...there is "The fastest" and there is "reasonably fast enough".

The "-est" often comes up in cycling when people want to buy stuff. Stiffest, fastest, strongest, lightest, etc... There is only one answer to each of those questions. There is only one stiffest frame. One fastest frame. One strongest frame. One lightest frame.

Let's say that the LOOK 496 (whatever it's called now, T96 for Tokyo 2020?) is the fastest and it's $10,000USD with a 9-12 month lag time after purchase (both are real, btw). When a rider asks, "what is the fastest?", do way say "LOOK 496" and does the rider get that or nothing at all?

It's not that black and white.

Then the question gets modified like so:
- What's the fastest that's less than $4,000? (LOOK 496 does not)
- What's the fastest that I can get this month? (LOOK 496 will not)
- What's the fastest available in my country? (LOOK 496 might not)
- What's the fastest that's UCI legal?
- What's the fastest that comes in size 60cm? (LOOK 496 does not)
- What's the fastest that doesn't have seatpost issues?
- What's the fastest that doesn't have dropout spreading issues?
- What's the fastest that doesn't have a proprietary stem or seatpost? (LOOK 496 does not)
- What's the fastest that has good customer service and support? (LOOK 496 does not)

See what I mean?

It's never really just one simple question.

What if there is another frame that is 95% as fast as the LOOK 496, but is:
- Less than $4,000
- Available this month
- Available in my country.
- Is UCI legal.
- Comes in 60cm
- Does not have seatpost issues.
- Does not have dropout spreading issues.
- Uses standard stems and seatposts
- Has good service and support

How might that sound to said rider?
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Old 11-30-18, 12:17 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by gl98115 View Post
Dixie Flyer BTB Track



Dixie Flyer BTB Frame geometry

BTB Track ? Dixie Flyer Bicycles
I like the numbers on the 60cm
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Old 11-30-18, 04:59 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post

How might that sound to said rider?
I guess if the rider needs 20 hoops jumped through, they need to expand on their requirements past what someone would assume was a reasonable answer. If someone is truly so proportionally unusual that they can't be properly fit to *most* commonly available bikes in offered sizes, they need to pony up a little money to be properly fit before purchasing a bike. There are world class fitters all over the USA, and certainly in other countries as well.
I have met very few people who needed more reach than a 58 T4 provided... fwiw that's giving you very similar (or more) stack reach to a 60cm Felt TK1 or a XXL Fuji Track Elite. Again... all I was saying was that for a bike you could walk into your LBS and say "I want this" and expect it there in a week, the T4 was the fastest (again..pursuit) reasonable option.

but again, I understand you can build a theoretical argument against anything.

Last edited by Morelock; 11-30-18 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 11-30-18, 06:59 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Morelock View Post
I guess if the rider needs 20 hoops jumped through, they need to expand on their requirements past what someone would assume was a reasonable answer. If someone is truly so proportionally unusual that they can't be properly fit to *most* commonly available bikes in offered sizes, they need to pony up a little money to be properly fit before purchasing a bike. There are world class fitters all over the USA, and certainly in other countries as well.
I have met very few people who needed more reach than a 58 T4 provided... fwiw that's giving you very similar (or more) stack reach to a 60cm Felt TK1 or a XXL Fuji Track Elite. Again... all I was saying was that for a bike you could walk into your LBS and say "I want this" and expect it there in a week, the T4 was the fastest (again..pursuit) reasonable option.

but again, I understand you can build a theoretical argument against anything.
My point isn't to make a "theoretical argument against anything". It's to offer insight as to how people really shop for frames having done it myself and watched dozens more do it here on the forum.

Most people who want the "[adjective]-est" frame never get it. My post above explains why.

If everyone could have the "[adjective]-est" frame, we'd all be riding one of maybe 3-4 different frames...kinda like we all ride one of 3-4 different crankset options...because they match criteria like that I've mention above
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Old 11-30-18, 07:26 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Morelock View Post
I have met very few people who needed more reach than a 58 T4 provided... fwiw that's giving you very similar (or more) stack reach to a 60cm Felt TK1 or a XXL Fuji Track Elite. Again... all I was saying was that for a bike you could walk into your LBS and say "I want this" and expect it there in a week, the T4 was the fastest (again..pursuit) reasonable option.

but again, I understand you can build a theoretical argument against anything.
There is a nice article explaining why you should look at reach and head angle (not top tube) dimensions on momnium.com ("what is relevant in track bike sizing part 1"). It has a table for larger sizes of common frame options confirming what Morelock says.

I have noticed that the largest size of the Look Madison frameset has even more reach at 460mm.
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Old 11-30-18, 07:26 AM
  #50  
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@carleton again, I agree with you in practice. It's why I'm on a track elite instead of a T4 despite my interests being mainly on Pursuit. The cost vs. performance upgrade (4x cost vs. not 4x upgrade!) didn't make sense, and I'm a cheapskate at heart despite knowing it was a bit of a tradeoff.
But in cranksets, there's really only the Dura Ace, right?
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