Why no geared bikes on the track?

Discussion in 'Track Racing' started by DancenMacabre, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. DancenMacabre

    DancenMacabre New Member

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    Why is it that geared bikes are not allowed on the track?

    So I went to a track a few weeks ago, maybe months now that I think about it, and they said I had to rent a track bike. Fine, no problem. Yet when I asked if you could ride a geared bike, they laughed and said 'sure, in the parking lot'.

    Why is that?

    The people at the track at this newbie session kept saying how unsafe geared bikes are and how brakes, etc are dangerous. People use brakes + pedal force/cadence to control their speed in tight pacelines on the road. I know, because I have been learning to do just that.

    They said if you want to race on the track then you need to buy a track bike. Almost sounds like a way to sell more bikes. Could be the skeptic in me...

    Maybe other tracks are different or are they all 'no geared bikes allowed'?
     
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  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    The basic problem is safety as you were told.

    Track racing bikes have no brakes and they do having gearing it's just that it's a single gear choice for each race and the gear is fixed meaning it' not possible to coast. If the rear wheel is turning, your legs are turning and if you want to slow down or control your speed you do it through your legs. That means that riders can't just coast and slow down suddenly when they get tired or nervous in a group and don't have any brakes they can slam on all of the sudden.

    Fixed gear track bikes and freewheel road bikes don't mix well as all it takes is a road bike rider who taps their brakes or coasts suddenly to cause a big pileup. Some tracks allow open access and anyone can ride during open training but even then etiquette holds that the road bikes and fixed gear bikes give each other a lot of room. It's real spooky to be hammering along in the sprinter's lane on a fixed gear bike and to hear the ratchet of a freewheel, that'll make most track riders flinch.

    Some tracks don't have open training times and don't allow any road bikes, others are more flexible, but it sounds like your local track has a pretty clear policy. Many tracks have a track bike loaner or rental program, usually associated with beginner track clinics. You might want to check into that, there's a few things to learn if you want to be safe and race effectively on the track and it's a great place to develop speed and race tactics.

    -Dave
     
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  3. DancenMacabre

    DancenMacabre New Member

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    Oops!!! Sorry Dave for missing this response a few days ago. Thanks for telling me the basics, good stuff as usual :) Ha ha, you know Hellyer pretty darn well because it is like you say, a tight ship. Do you or anybody else reading this post, have advice on a starter track bike?? I see people at the track with super tricked out expensive bikes & beater bikes or the rentals...plenty of variety out there. Guess the frame is usually different on a track bike. Trying to save lotsa cash (maybe get a PM for the track bike later) but still be able to get out there & try my luck on some events.

    Thinking I am too slow for the pure sprints & 500m but maybe OK for points races, miss-n-out, keirin type events.
     
  4. Navynuke

    Navynuke New Member

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    Fuji Track Comps are pretty rad, even Langsters arn't bad (just dont buy a fruity themed one unless you wanna be mistaken as a hipster.
    You don't need a fully custom track bike just remember its just like a roadie make sure its a super stiff and a perfect fit.
     
  5. vecchiopisto

    vecchiopisto New Member

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    Bikes with brakes slow down faster than the people behind can react when drafting at race or training speeds. That is why they are not allowed on most tracks during training sessions and races. You can buy used track bikes cheaply if you are interested in starting to race...but then I can't imagine anyone that is interested in racing balking about buying a new bike? You can make a track bike out of many horizontal dropout bikes....but it would be a compromise of considerable proportions. Something racers are not generally looking to do.

    Fixed gears on the track have been a tradition on the track since the nineteenth century before there were gears on bicycles. Shaving your legs is another cycle racing tradition. I am not certain, but I do not believe it was designed to sell more razor blades? While I can't say that I am either pro or con on traditions in general: In pack cycling, it helps identify the newcomers from those that have been around long enough to be safer and respected as fellows.

    So some traditions are helpful. Incidentally, a fixed gear is a lot faster than a geared bike for track cycling. Even roadies that are attempting the hour record use a fixed gear.



     
  6. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    They probably wouldn't let you on the track with the coffee cup holder on a Langster Seattle. But seriously, the Langster has a road geometry and you'd probably clip the pedals on the banking.

    Look for a lightly used Bianchi Pista in your size on craigslist and ebay. A lot of hipsters bought these before they figured out that they didn't want a real track bike.
     
  7. Jonny_D

    Jonny_D New Member

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    What track was this?
     
  8. DaBones

    DaBones New Member

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    If you want to get a serious track bike get a Felt tk3 it is and entry level bike and its pretty good but if you want to look really good on the track racer get a felt tk2 it is a very good racer with very good geometry. And if you live in PA go to the Trexlertown Velodrome open track allows anyone with a bike to ride on it free of charge.
     
  9. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Quote:

    Why is it that geared bikes are not allowed on the track?
    FWIW. This is NOT the definitive reason why "geared bikes are not allowed on the track" ...

    But, I reckon that ONE OTHER REASON may be because it was originally mandated as a safety issue ...

    Imagine someone shifting to successively smaller cogs on the rear as they accelerate up to speed ... and then, mis-shifting!?!

    The chain on a Single Speed or Fixed Gear bike won't come off the cog-or-chainring unless the bike wasn't set up properly.

    On the other hand, the chain on a mulit-gear Road bike (probably, more so in the past with friction shifters than now) can inadvertantly shift off the chainring(s) or fail to engage cleanly on one of the cogs with the result undoubtedly being a nasty crash + otherwise unnecessary damage to a(n indoor) velodrome's planking (some tracks are not wood, of course).

    Also, in the past, a Road frame often had a head tube angle of 72º, or slacker + a longer wheelbase ... undoubtedly, the Road geometry would probably result in lugubrious-and-possibly-dangerous handling on the banked portion of a tight velodrome when compared with the handling of the other bike(s) which may be on the track.

    .
     
  10. dougmcbride

    dougmcbride New Member

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    I have seen road bikes on some of the shallower tracks -- San Diego is less than 30 degrees and road bikes are allowed at certain times (i'm not sure if its the same time as the race bikes though) -- the various converted go kart tracks around the land also have shallow angles too .

    But on a steeper track (33 degrees or above) the lower bottom bracket height and longer cranks would be a hazard at slower speeds in the turns
     
  11. steven300

    steven300 New Member

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    When I go on track i was like wow that track was realy amazing n awsome for race i had a full greared bike but when i go on track i use rent bike becoze track was realy easy
     
  12. nuliajuk

    nuliajuk New Member

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    When I first started racing on a 400 meter velodrome years ago, everyone had to take the one week beginners course before they were allowed into week night league racing. The first few days of the course were done on road bikes, so presumably the banking wasn't all that steep. After we got the hang of shoulder checking and going up and down the bankings, we were put on the rental track bikes for the last few and taught to use a fixed gear.

    I suspect the biggest safety risk with road bikes is the brakes. On a track bike, it's hard to come to an abrupt dead stop. You wouldn't want to anyway if you were on the steepest park of the banking because the sudden loss of centrifugal force would cause you to be less perpendicular to the track, and to slide down into the infield. With a road bike, it would be all too easy to slam on the brakes in a panicked moment, slide down, and take half the field with you.
     
  13. Reid2

    Reid2 Member

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    It is a fascinating topic,isn't it? Track bikes were made 110 years ago identical in purpose to today's bikes, and quite competitive if you had one today.
    Google book search and marvel at the perfection of early bikes and riders. Bike riding was so much more important then, as there were few other pursuits for young men.
    You could read, or write or ride. You could not play WOW. Bikes were serious business for hundreds of thousands more young men.

    Track bikes were and are elemental and cool.
     
  14. Reid2

    Reid2 Member

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    We are on a board track behind the great Zimmy,
    master of all upon his 1893 eighteen pound steel steed.
    [​IMG]
    http://www.dvrbs.com/people/camdenpeople-AAZimmerman.htm

    http://www.memoire-du-cyclisme.net/dossiers/dos_chm1893.php
     
  15. Reid2

    Reid2 Member

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    We are on a board track behind the great Zimmy,
    master of all upon his '96 sixteen pound steel steed.
    [​IMG]
    http://www.dvrbs.com/people/camdenpeople-AAZimmerman.htm

    http://www.memoire-du-cyclisme.net/dossiers/dos_chm1893.php




    The Horse must fall away and fast
    Behind the Man of Now You're Passed






    Tires are cream,
    Gearing, tall,
    Japan is black.
    Such is all.







    the blackest-black in the world, recreated from raw materials by the author





    We must look into a mirror
    To see our past and prior error.






    .




    Our prior is our father plus our mother.
     
  16. Reid2

    Reid2 Member

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    double post error, please excuse
     
  17. Reid2

    Reid2 Member

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  18. Reid2

    Reid2 Member

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  19. Not Sure

    Not Sure New Member

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    The track's steep bank IS the gear, and the brakes.
     
  20. Not Sure

    Not Sure New Member

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    The way these boards are so baren shows how many are dedicated to use of the internet as a means of info exchange.

    The rest are only interested in facebook, and watching video, of themselves and their "friends". Go to any public library and there they'll be. Looking at and listeing to the machines as if they were televisions or radios.

    You give them a tool equivalent to a crystal ball and all they use it for is to look at their own reflection.

    Those who abandon the boards and IRC for facestbook and twitter should be syphoned off into their own separate, limited pool of bandwidth.



    "LOOK AT ME-!

    LOOK AT ME--! "


    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/nonono2.gif
    Scotty, beam me up.
     
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