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Looking for a Track Bike for steeply banked track

Old 01-31-12, 10:53 PM
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Shuke
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Looking for a Track Bike for steeply banked track

I race track on a steeply banked track. I do all of the events (timed and mass start, sprint and endurance). I'm looking for a dedicated track bike to race. I want it to be super stiff, doesn't need to weight-weenie, shouldn't have brakes, should have a decent build kit or else be cheap enough to allow for a decent build. All for around $1400 or less. I want a track geo (not a track-ish or street-fixie geo). Ideas?

The cheaper the better honestly. I would love to have some money left over to put towards a set of race wheels.

Last edited by Shuke; 01-31-12 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 01-31-12, 11:36 PM
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carleton
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A few from the major manufacturers:
- Felt TK2 or TK3
- Trek T1
- Fuji Track 1.0 or Track 2.0
- LOOK 464
- Cervelo T1
- Bianchi Super Pista

They all have pros and cons. It also depends on how strong you are. Stronger guys with more torque will need stiffer frames.

Of the currently available bikes, I like the Felt TK2. If I had the same budget and had to get a bike today, that's what I'd probably get.
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Old 02-01-12, 01:20 AM
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All of the above, plus Giant Omnium

which track?

Also, look around for used-- people move up to new bikes faster than new people come into the sport in a lot of areas, so there are often a lot of decent used bikes and/or frames around that will work fine and save you a lot of money.
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Old 02-01-12, 11:12 AM
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National Sports Center in Blaine, MN. I borrowed a TK2 for a week and liked it. I saw one of the guys I know was riding a Dolan Champion at some point as well as a Cinelli Vigorelli (?). The Dolan is super attractive price wise, are they decent? I had the T1 and 464 on my list too.
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Old 02-01-12, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Shuke View Post
National Sports Center in Blaine, MN. I borrowed a TK2 for a week and liked it. I saw one of the guys I know was riding a Dolan Champion at some point as well as a Cinelli Vigorelli (?). The Dolan is super attractive price wise, are they decent? I had the T1 and 464 on my list too.
I did my first races there (20 years ago) on a converted Panasonic road bike with 170 cranks that was part of their rental fleet. Not recommended, but at least useful information about what you can ride without dying. I've also tapped a pedal there in the corners on a Gitane Kilo with 165 cranks without sliding, so there's some advantage to higher BB/shorter cranks-- on the conversion I'd have probably lifted the rear wheel and gone for a slide.
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Old 02-01-12, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Shuke View Post
National Sports Center in Blaine, MN. I borrowed a TK2 for a week and liked it. I saw one of the guys I know was riding a Dolan Champion at some point as well as a Cinelli Vigorelli (?). The Dolan is super attractive price wise, are they decent? I had the T1 and 464 on my list too.
Yes the Dolan Track Champion is a good bike and so are the Vigorelli. I didn't mention them because they are sort of boutique bikes that aren't as easy to get as those from the major manufacturers.

You want to pay particular attention to head tube angles and fork rake. Those affect how the bike tracks a straight line and responds to steering input. 30-40mm of fork rake is customary. 73-74 degrees head tube is also customary.

Others:
Van Dessel Drag Strip Courage
Argon 18 Electron

You'll find that *most* of the aluminum entry level race bikes are pretty much the same. Once you get down to 2 or 3 candidates maybe you can make a post asking what might be the difference between them. Right now, rating the pros/cons and relative difference between a dozen frames would be exhausting.
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Old 02-01-12, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Shuke View Post
National Sports Center in Blaine, MN. I borrowed a TK2 for a week and liked it. I saw one of the guys I know was riding a Dolan Champion at some point as well as a Cinelli Vigorelli (?). The Dolan is super attractive price wise, are they decent? I had the T1 and 464 on my list too.
Note that sizing on the Trek T1 is a bit off. For example, if you normally ride a 56cm frame, the Trek T1 58 would be the one for you. Pay close attention to the Effective Top Tub Length.
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Old 02-07-12, 11:21 AM
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Lots of Bare Knuckles out at Alpenrose (43 degree bank). The owner of the local trackie shop swears by them. I have one myself; very well balanced frame, and the fork, from a geometry perspective, is actually made to go with the frame, so the handling is superb.
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Old 02-07-12, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
Note that sizing on the Trek T1 is a bit off. For example, if you normally ride a 56cm frame, the Trek T1 58 would be the one for you. Pay close attention to the Effective Top Tub Length.
T1 also comes with an FSA crank in your personal favorite 130 bcd.

Having said that, the Trek is one of the very, very few that comes off-the-shelf in gigantor sizing.
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Old 02-07-12, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
A few from the major manufacturers:
Of the currently available bikes, I like the Felt TK2. If I had the same budget and had to get a bike today, that's what I'd probably get.
I've known some people who traded in a Felt TK2 for a Jamis Sonik - the Jamis handles very well on a steep track. For 2012 it looks like Jamis decontented the bike and lowered the price a lot. If you can get a used one (pre 2012) off of Ebay or something, it is a good value.
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Old 02-07-12, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
Lots of Bare Knuckles out at Alpenrose (43 degree bank). The owner of the local trackie shop swears by them. I have one myself; very well balanced frame, and the fork, from a geometry perspective, is actually made to go with the frame, so the handling is superb.
BK's a great bike from a geometry perspective. The BB drop is sky high (if my measurements were right, it's a 45mm drop) and the front end handles as good as any track bike I've ever owned. It's stiffer than most other steel bikes and soaks up vibration well.

With that said, for a big power guy and those who appreciate stiffness, I'd say aluminum/carbon (or at least custom steel, but the OP wants cheap and probably isn't going to buy a Speedvagen any time soon) is the real way to go. The stiffness/weight/expense ratio of aluminum is just hard to beat IMO. Dean @ BC can love his BK's all he wants, but his main exposure to track, at least in the last half decade, is riding a red moped around for the keirins

Obviously some of this also comes down to preference, and for some people out there, a little bit of flex is not only acceptable but even preferable for feedback and dampening. I look forward to racing my BK at least one day out at Alpenrose this year, but for the majority of the races I'm gonna be on ol' faithful - my Pista Concept. (BTW, the BB drop on a Concept is 55mm - great insurance for pedal strikes on steep tracks.)
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