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Questions on track worthiness and fender compatability(21 posts)

Questions on track worthiness and fender compatabilitySwat Dawg
May 16, 2003 3:05 AM
Sorry to anybody that is tired of me asking all these questions. I feel like I am past my question asking quota for the week, but (ir)regardless, I've got another....

If track racing and winter fender compliance are the most important things, what frame would you choose? Options: Steamroller, Soma Rush, Bianchi Pista, something I haven't thought of, but you did.

Ok, so orignially I was thinking I wanted a bike that would be FG and CX compliant, well that's out the window, and in the door is the idea that I should get a good FG with track geometry. This summer, I plan to spend some good time racing at the Lehigh Velodrome, so a more track specific frame would be a better investment than something more laid back. I will also train on this bike, however, and I don't want it to be so track specific that come the winter time I have to put 20c tires on the thing to fit fenders. The short list on frames is: Steamroller (lots of clearance, questionable as track bike), Soma Rush (28c, maybe 25c with fenders, have been told however that it is not fender compliant?, good track geom.), Bianchi Pista (slim tire clearace, good rep and track geom., cheap). Considered Fuji, Road Bob, and Cross Check, but (hate on me if you like), especially in the case of the Fuji, I like the aesthetics and my personal conception of coolness is higher for the other bikes. Those are the options unless you can think of something else. So, if track racing and winter fender compliance are the deciding factors how would you choose? Thanks for your help, and when I get this all sorted out I'll post pics, and answer some questions instead of just asking.

Swat Dawg
SS-NYC you have good experience, any thoughts?Swat Dawg
May 16, 2003 3:09 AM
I do!ss-nyc
May 16, 2003 4:21 AM
I have only seen a Soma Rush but not been able to ride it since my LBS has not built it up yet but it seems to have clearance that is not as tight as the Bianchi and Fuji but not as much as the steamroller. If Fenders are a must than "I know" the Bianchi and Fuji are no longer options. When I rode the fuji I was amazed that they even got a 23mm tire to fit and the Bianchi is similar.

The steamroller can use fenders and "I think" it is the clip-on version in which the actual bracket mounts to the same hole as the brake so you can remove them without too much trouble.

If track racing is important you can still build a nice bike with the steamroller but have something that is fun to use at other times.

Just remember that you will need different reach brakes depending on which bike you get and tires you use. Fuji and Bianchi need short reach (39-49mm), I have been told that if you stay below a 700x30 you can use short reach on the steamroller but if you want a 700x32 or 700x35 you need long reach (49-59mm). I am not sure about the Soma.

I am torn...
I ride a steel Fuji geared bike and love it so when I rode the track bike (which has the most road like geometry of off-the-shelf track bikes) I was really happy to have them same feel and know the geometry was almost indentical to my road bike. But, I am not going to ever use it on a track so fender clearance and big tires are more important to me since it will be a commuter. So, I am actually going to get the Country Road Bob and use 700x35s, fenders, and a rear rack with it and the wheelbase is longer so it should be a more comfortable ride. I would rather get the steamroller for a commuter but it does not have rack mounts and/or full fender mounts (it can use clip-on fenders - see my note above).

If the CRB seems to be heavy when I want to use it as a winter training bike I may just break down and buy the Fuji on sale in December if I can find one.

Anyway, do not go crazy. I would suggest (as I think most others would on this board) to get what will be fun and you will use most of the time. If you want to try out track racing most tracks have loaner bikes and beginner races to help people get acclimated to the sport. If you get serious then you can step-up and get a full-on track bike with no brakes and tight geometry.

2002 Steamroller set up as an around town bike with 700x30s - from

2003 Steamroller built up to be used as a track-only bike - picture from my LBS -
Loaner Bikes! I might have to call and check that out. BTW...Swat Dawg
May 16, 2003 4:56 AM
That brown Surly wins my best looking surly award, and the grey one fastes looking surly award. If I go this route, I'll repaint it black and use yellow deep-V rims, yellow bar tape, and if I can find one cheap, a yellow saddle. Then I might have to take back my own prize.
Nice (yours, not the 2003)Steve_0
May 16, 2003 5:39 AM
I've got those same bar's which I swap when my bike is doing dedicated-urban warfare.

Found 'em in the basement of the LBS; thought I had the only pair. You know the make?

I deteset surly for dropping the quill in 2003. Sellin out, IMO.
not mine - it belongs to "creepy" on
May 16, 2003 6:12 AM
I contacted him once and he said the bars were syntace from that bar/stem combo they had a few years ago.

I am sad about the threadless fork too, I really wanted a Surly with the quill stem. That and the reasons I mentioned in my other posts is why I am getting a Country Road Bob.
sewisee; my bad. thanks for the info. nmSteve_0
May 16, 2003 6:18 AM
May 16, 2003 7:52 AM
the tops ones mine-in full winter mode sans fenders. I was kind of looking for that pic as I got a new laptop and didnt save my old bike pics. thanks for digging it up.
no problemo...I covet your quill style
May 16, 2003 11:20 AM
I like the "classic look" not the new threadless MTB stlye fork. It may be chaeper to manufacture threadless but I think you loose the advantages of threaded headsets and the adjustability of a quill style stem.
another tough oneSteve_0
May 16, 2003 3:19 AM
generally, track bikes have very tight tolerances, which dont lend themselves to fenders.

The steamroller has generous clearances. But I dont believe it (or any trackframes i know of) have fender eyelets.

BTW - I dont know why you saythe steamroller is questionable as a track bike; are you planning on going out on the track for fun, or winning meets your first season?
I know the intention starts as fun with no objectives, but...Swat Dawg
May 16, 2003 4:19 AM
I know myself, and when I start competing, I don't just want to play, I want to play to win. Just my nature. I say the steamroller is questionable because, in comparison with track specific frames, the geometry is more slack, the wheelbase is extremely long, and the frame/fork combo is about 1.5-2 lbs heavier. I am going to use the track time primarily as training, but I want to participate in the tues night amateur race series, and having a good bike would be nice, but if the steamroller is the only thing that could possibly work, then I guess that's the only way to go. If the steamroller is too boat like on a track, however, I won't be content competing on it, and won't have the funds to get something else.
fair enough, but...Steve_0
May 16, 2003 5:46 AM
I was kinda thinking along the lines of SS-NYC. Get a bike you KNOW you'll be using frequently for now. It will certainly get you started on the track.

You might find out that you dont have the physical capacity to hang with the big boys. Conversly, you might find out youre MORE capable than the competition, despite your ride. You might find our you despise riding in circles. Who knows!?!

99 percent of your time is your legs, lungs, and heart, NOT the bike. When you know youre serious enough and competitive enough, then buy a track-specific bike.

my $.02
I know its the engine, I'm just looking for the best compromiseSwat Dawg
May 16, 2003 9:00 AM
I know its the engine. The fixed gear is being bought for the purpose of making me stronger for the road and mtn racing. I know it's not the bike, or else I wouldn't be looking for something compatible with fenders that's cheap. I'm just trying to balance the equation and think it would be the most fun to have something as close to a track bike, and still winter sufficient as possible. I mean whatever is the most fun, I'll ride the most, and I thinking racing is one of the most fun ways to train, so to me it is really all about maximizing my fun while maximizing the engine. I also don't have a lot of money, and don't forsee a making much of it that I can spend freely in the next long while, so I buy now buy one later isn't a freedom I count on. I try to get it as close as possible first time up. If something changes, THANK JESUS! That would be beautiful, but unlikely.
Is there a principled objection to clip-on fenders? nmdzrider
May 16, 2003 4:23 AM
No problem with clip-ons, but don't I need a rear brake holeSwat Dawg
May 16, 2003 4:49 AM
And I don't think the Soma is drilled for a rear brake, neither is the Bianchi, but from what SS-NYC wrote, the bianchi is out anyway. Is there another way to attach full fenders if the bike doesn't have eyelets and no brake hole?
The Soma has a rear-brake
May 16, 2003 4:55 AM
From my LBS...

Soma Rush track frames $425.00 (Taiwan/San Francisco)
2003 models available in black or forest green.
Reynolds 631 tig-weld butted frame and fork,
120mm track dropouts, 1" threadless brazed chromoly fork,
track-compatible bracket height and 68mm width, 27.2 seatpost,
fits up to 700 x 28 tires, drilled for caliper brakes front and rear,
double bottle cage mounts. Sizes measured seat tube (center to top) x top tube (center to center)
53cm x 53.5cm (shown), 55cm x 55cm, and 57cm x 58cm, 59cm x 57.5cm.
And the rear brake hole is where you setup full fenders NMSwat Dawg
May 16, 2003 4:58 AM
May 16, 2003 5:09 AM
Full fenders usually need eyelets near the rear drops and a mounting hole which is the same as the brake.

Some clip-on fenders attach the "mounting bracket" to the brake hole but the actaul fenders can be removed from the mounting bracket at anytime without much effort but the bracket remains attached.
I use an SKS rear fender that clips on the seat post.dzrider
May 16, 2003 5:47 AM
It's not perfect, but it does keep the stripe off my back and it goes very quickly from bike to bike even with differing seat post diameters. There are also front ones that clip on the down tube but I don't have one to comment on.
I use an SKS rear fender that clips on the seat post.dzrider
May 16, 2003 6:32 AM
It's not perfect, but it does keep the stripe off my back and it goes very quickly from bike to bike even with differing seat post diameters. There are also front ones that clip on the down tube but I don't have one to comment on.
soma chime intrackmike
May 16, 2003 6:04 PM
i can attest to the soma's track riding, the geometry is sweet for the track the bottom bracket is a little low, but then again the track here (alkek) is steeper than most velos. i've ridden a surly at the velodrome and it sucks, steers like a boat. it's not worth your time.

have you thought about renting, i know at my velodrome it's free to rent on practice times, and 5 bucks for race day if you plan on racing.

the soma holds its own on the track and on the street, it's an all around awesome bike and it definatley turns some heads, and everybody that has ridden mine has had nothing but good things to say.

i've never tried to put fenders on it, when it's wet, i just get wet. but i would say even if you can't fit them on just get one of those back scratcher fenders that clip onto the seat post, and one of those downhill fenders that clip onto the downtube. or go cheapie and cut up a 2 liter bottle and tape it on!

the bianchis are okay, but everybody seems to end up replacing stuff on them after some serious riding.