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Choosing a Track Frame(11 posts)

Choosing a Track FrameTonyR
Mar 7, 2002 2:01 PM
OK I know that track threads tend top get buried, but here goes.
How do you choose the right track frame? Unlike a roadbike, you can't test ride them. I've seen frames from Spectrum (great rep), Javelin, Russ Denny (San Deigo area frame builder), Campbell-Cunefare (ditto Russ Denny)that all looked very good. More importantly, I've seen people ride fast on all of them, and the riders I spoke with were all happy with their respective bikes. Seeing as this is no small investment, I want to get it right. The bike would be used mainly, though not exclusively, for Kilo and Pursuit.
Feel free to suggest any other builders I should consider, though I would appreciate sound reasons for buying said product.
Oh yeah, and don't suggest Corima, Bike Technologies, or even Calfee as they are out of my price range.

Thanks,
Tony
Should I post this on the components board as well?
re: Choosing a Track Framebrider
Mar 7, 2002 2:27 PM
You probably won't go wrong with any of them. You really don't put a lot of miles on the track bike, so small position discrepancies aren't as big a deal. As you said that you plan on using it mainly for TT type events, you might consider getting one size smaller than you normally would (for the low TT position). Go with a quill type stem and go with a second stem/bar combo (upward sloping stem ala MTB) for the other events -- that would allow you to swap out the bars wasily for specific events or even at the meet if needed. The thing about going with a builder you can talk to is that you can tune the ride characteristics of the bike (though this tends to increase price dramatically). Have you considered a mass-produced (KHS made a track bike a few years ago that had SHORT chainstays, you might be able to find a Cannondale track bike floating around). I'm assuming this is your first track bike, from the sounds of your post. Best bet is to buy used and find out what you really like/dislike about a particular bike, then trade around or go custom.
re: Choosing a Track FrameTonyR
Mar 7, 2002 2:49 PM
Thanks for the great input brider!

Yep, first track bike. My logic in spending a bit more is twofold.
1) If I get it right from the start, I think it will be a more rewarding/enjoyable experience. Hence I will be likely to stick with it. I want this to be my primary middle-age (ie:masters) fitness/stress relief activity. Prices I've seen quoted from these builders varies from $1200 to $1700. Alot of cash, but not as much as alot people I know spend on garage ornaments. If I spend that much, I will feel an obligation to ride it.
2) A decent used or mass-produced frame is still likely to cost $300-400. Then I have to go through the hassle of selling it when I upgrade. Also related to #1, if I buy something cheap(er), I may not feel as obligated. Wierd psychology I know, but I'm trying to be realistic.

As an aside, I think that KHS makes a couple of track frames as does Fuji, which are reasonably priced. To be totally honest, I haven't ruled out going in this direction, especially if I can't make decision.

Thanks again.
check out the Bianchi PistaTig
Mar 7, 2002 7:28 PM
For $599, its a good bike to get into the sport without investing too much. The street SE version is $100 more.
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/bianchi01/pista.html
re: Choosing a Track FramebestT
Mar 7, 2002 7:30 PM
You should check out Simo cycles, http://www.Simocycles.com/ He has built many custom track bikes in steel and aluminum, and has a good idea of what works and doesn't. He built me a kilo bike with a 26" front wheel and 80 degree seattube (not legal with the new rules) that has won >3 world masters championships under 3 different riders!
My 2 centstuffnick
Mar 7, 2002 10:55 PM
I'm a track sprinter in Canada and have a fairly long list of credentials including a berth on the national development team and numerous medals/championships as a junior to my credit in a relatively short career so I hope you can take my opinion as someone who knows fairly well what they are talking about.

Heres the wisdom I have to pass onto you:
-track bikes either come very expensive or very inexpensive. Theres very little middleground.
-this said the rider makes the bike... I rode a KHS for the first bit of my career and it served me very well.
-however sometimes what you get is what you pay for - KHS bikes tended to be a bit more finicky and they were communal bikes so the dropouts got SCREWED.
-screwed up dropouts ruin your day very fast so be very careful overtightening the bolts. I learnt this the hard way.
-if you go to a custom frame $1700 US for a custom frame is wayyyy to much. For example Cramerotti, www.cramerotti.com makes the Bladerunner for around $1290 US I believe. My weapon of choice for 2002, I love it!
-sound advice for getting the Cramerotti you ask? Fairly inexpensive, great frame and they make them completely custom... you can probably get a complete package from the manufacturer.
-that said my recommendation is go aluminum especially for TT's... aluminum frames are very nice nowadays and they are far more aero and lighter than steel frames.
-the bike I rode last year was a Cyclops (made in Toronto) and was a steel bike... $1350 Can with nice paint job and very stiff with shaped seat and chain stays but still a lot heavier than my new bike.
-stems... this goes against other posters opinions but I'd recommend staying away from quills... its a lot harder (and expensive) to find a quill stem in a certain size than a threadless since with a 1 1/8" you can go with road or mountain.
-if you don't cut the steerer you can use spacers and stem angle to adjust height of bars depending on the event.
-getting one set of bars for pack/sprint events and one for TT's is an excellent idea and makes life easy at races... I'd recommend the ITM CX2 Aheadset or bullhorns with a lot of drop and clipon aerobars. Don't make the mistake of getting bullhorns though with no drop... this will slaughter your start since you can't get any leverage.
-I'd recommend a Dura-ace track groupo... beautiful group and stiffer than Campy.
-finally... don't even bother with clips and straps and get Dura-ace or Ultegra pedals for the track. Tighten these up and you'll never clip out... loosen them off and they keep your feet firmly in on the road.

Hope this helps... if you got any other questions I'd be glad to answer them.

-Nick
www.podiumbound.ca (podiumbound.ca/test/ for a sneak peek)
The quill stem recommendation...brider
Mar 8, 2002 8:40 AM
was based totally on ease of swapping out the stem/bars for events (there may be times when you have pursuit and mass start on the same day or evening). With the threadless, the stem actually tightens the headset. I'd rather not fiddle with headset tightness every time I swap out the bars. I got my set-up before threadless became the norm, and I find it VERY easy to swap set-ups. Granted, quill stems are probably harder to find now, but I think it would be time/money well spent.
Threaded/threadless adaptertuffnick
Mar 8, 2002 9:01 AM
I've never thought of this problem and you bring up a very good point... but at the same time track bikes aren't exposed to the weather (k well aren't normally... we won't get into the race where I finished and then the skies opened up on me :) ), are ridden for relatively short distances and tend not to be abused like a mountain bike so even if swapping the stem threw out the headset tightness how detrimental would it be to the frame? Mountain bikes use threadless and its becoming the norm on all road bikes so I think this says a lot.

All this aside on my old Cyclops I needed to get a threaded/threadless adapter which is made by Profile and there are probably a number of other companys out there making them so I could use threadless stuff on my bike. So if you get a threaded fork this is the solution but this then rules out a bike like the Cramerotti which normally is threadless although I'm sure if you talk to Giuseppe (owner) this can be changed.

Just my 2 cents!

-Nick
www.podiumbound.ca (podiumbound.ca/test/ for sneak peek)
re: Choosing a Track Frametarwheel
Mar 8, 2002 6:59 AM
You might want to check out Dean, which makes a track frame for a reasonable price ($749) and can customize the geometry.

http://www.deanbikes.com/index2.html
My Sincere ThanksTonyR
Mar 8, 2002 2:17 PM
Wow, this generated more opinions than I expected. Thank you. Each of you provided something valuable.

Tuffnick, thanks most of all for your lengthy and valuable post, and best of luck this season. The website looks good too. I checked out Cramerotti's website; great looking bikes, and a couple of the sale bikes caught my attention. Are they in B.C. as their area code would indicate. I go their a couple of times a year so purchasing from them may well make sense.

Thanks again all,

Tony

BTW: Do you guys think I should post this at the VeloNews site, or would that be redundant?
Cramerottituffnick
Mar 8, 2002 10:40 PM
I'm glad to help. Track racing is a lot of fun so if I can help any one else enjoy it I'm more than happy to.

I'm not sure exactly where Cramerotti is located but its somewhere in Vancouver. You probably saw this on the website but the frames are handmade in Italy. Giuseppe is a great guy to deal with as well.

Also since you are in the BC area a couple times a year you should consider visiting the Burnbaby velodrome. Its the only indoor velodrome in North America (maybe even the America's) but has unfortunately been on the brink of closing for a number of years now and I think just reopened so definitely ride it while you have the chance. Its located on the Barnett highway in the Harry Jerome Sports Center and is a 200 m track with near 45 m radius corners with 50 degree banking which are a blast to go through.

Also my site should be completed by early next week. Then I leave for 3 weeks to race in Trinidad so look for updates!

Cheers,
Nick
www.podiumbound.ca (podiumbound.ca/test)