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girlcyclist 05-15-13 10:57 AM

Newbie...Need advice on a track bike.
Hi, I'm 16 years old and have been cycling on the road for 9 months now, after inspiration from the 2012 Olympics. I decided to have a go at track cycling about a month ago, and enjoyed it so much I joined a Junior Track Club in Manchester. I quickly progressed through the groups to my surprise and am now riding in the top group, but still using a rental bike...I've been told I need my own bike to race, and that this will be very soon, I would also like my own bike due to the added benefits of not setting up saddle height every time, having the wrong gearing etc....

Anyway, I've been saving and its my birthday soon so I'm able to get myself a Track Bike. I've had a look around and got advice from other riders, coaches and found that the 'Dolan Pre-Cursa' seems the most popular, and best value for money. (I'm wanting it to last a while and Dolan also seem like a fairly reliable company). This is the bike: Cursa Track Bike?product_id=662

One thing I'm not sure about however, is the sizing/gearing...

I'm 5foot 7inches but have long legs...
There are a lot of different options for size on the Dolan site, but the 3 I'm unsure of are 'Stem Length'- how long should a stem actually be for track?, 'Crank length' and 'Handlebar size'- should the bars be narrower?

Also, the gearing...the rental bikes have '50x16' gearing, I'm guessing the 50 is the chainring size, and 16 the sprocket size? (unsure on the terminology!)
I've found the rental bikes to be slightly high geared, I have a tendency to spin my legs fast, in a smaller gear on the road, (hardly ever coming out of the small chainring) but I can still keep up with men pushing the hard gears and it just seems to work best for me, and I feel I could go faster, and not tire as quickly with a smaller gear on the track,
The options available on the PreCursa are '46T', '48T' and '50T' for chainring size...but nothing mentioned about sprocket size?
I'm unsure of which would be best for me.

Any help would be very much appreciated!

Kayce 05-15-13 02:38 PM

At 16 you are still in the gear restricted range for another year. The biggest gear you can race on is 48x15. But once you hit 17 you totally open to use whatever gear you have.

USAC Rule 1I4a

Just realized you are in the UK. Now I have nothing relevant to add.

Lew. 05-15-13 03:03 PM

Hi, I'm part of a club in the UK too, but we're based in Wolverhampton, not Manchester. The British Cycling guys also rate Dolan incredibly highly here. I wouldn't limit yourself down to just a Dolan unless you like the bike (nothing wrong with that).
I THINK the most we can ride under BC ruling is 48x16, which I think is too small, so it's possibly a good thing you're a spinner. (You're Youth A, right?, I would recommend giving this a quick read (for all riders in the UK, not just Youth/Junior): ) The rulebook gives gearing in meters per crank revolution. (Meters covered by the wheel for every one turn of the crank arm). Everyone in Youth A runs 48x16 or a 46x16 around my track atleast. If you're getting to know people around the track, you could probably borrow a 16t cog for the night?
If you're 17 before January, you're a junior and everything I just said was useless.
The bike fit is all very personal, from what I've read, people go 5-ish mm smaller than their road cranks, although I use the same size.
Handlebars, I can't really comment, I don't know what size I'm using or what the 'norm' is as I'm yet to change mine from when I bought the bike.
I realise I gave a lot of writing and not a lot of information...

queerpunk 05-18-13 10:04 AM

what's up, young lady? i like your enthusiasm.

for starters: a lot of basic track bikes are really high quality - mostly because the demands of track cycling are pretty simple. a light, stiff aluminum frame with a carbon fork can take you to quite a high level.

Stem length, crank length, and handlebar size are all matters of fit and preference. A bike shop in your area, if there is one, would be best suited to give you advice on these, particularly on stem length - you may not need a full fitting, but you probably do need somebody to eyeball how you fit on a frame. there's limits to the advice that the internet can provide.

you're right about 50=chainring and 16=cog. i'd echo what the others say and look up your local governing body's rules about junior gearing/rollout.

if you buy a PreCursa with like a 48 or 50t chainring, and the cog size is wrong, well, cogs are pretty cheap and last a long time, so it never hurts to have a couple extra in different sizes - especially as you get more experience and start changing your gearing for different types of races.

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