Track cycling is one of the most prestigious and oldest forms of bike racing. It has been around for more than one and a half centuries, giving it an interesting and rich history. However, after all this time, the technology involved in manufacturing track bikes remains relatively unchanged.
This is not so for mountain climbing and road-going bikes. Most people think of track bikes as a man’s toy; however, you can always find a track bike that women can use comfortably. In fact, in recent years track bikes have become more popular with women than men.
When you take a closer look at this type of bicycle, you will quickly realize it is quite fascinating. As its name suggests, this type of bike is specially designed for use on an arena for track cycling.
The basic list of components for track bikes is the same for all types and it consistent across all three riding styles. These components are the fork and frame, wheels, handlebars, a single chainring on the front, pedals, the chain itself, and one cog secured to the rear wheel hub. While this component list is consistent across all three types of track bikes, the nature of each bike component can vary widely between the three types on offer.
If you are looking to buy a track bike, you need to understand that there are three different types available, each designed for different events. These are pursuit or time trial events, sprint events, and endurance events.
This type of bicycle is more of an all-rounder. Riders typically use it in longer, endurance-based cycling events. A standard track bike’s geometry is somewhat similar to that of a racing road bike. It has an aerodynamic frame shape; however, its aerodynamic features are not the same as those in pursuit or sprinting bikes.
When it comes to the materials used on the frame, aluminum and carbon are the favorite options for most riders. Titanium and steel frames, however, are also available, but most cyclists do not use them for racing. This is because they are heavier.
When it comes to the wheelsets, aluminum, and deep-section carbon are the preferred materials, coupled with tires inflated to more than 180psi of pressure. Additionally, on a standard track bike, gearing tends to be smaller to allow for sustainable power output and a higher pace over a longer distance.
Sprinting track bikes are much more aggressive when compared to standard track bikes. They usually have a shorter head tube to allow for a lower frontal profile, in addition to longer reach figures. This places cyclists in a low and long position. The shape of a sprinting track bike’s frame is usually at the high end of aerodynamic efficiency. The components used are also on the cutting edge of technology.
Track sprinters can accomplish amazing speeds and feats of power. However, stiffness is one of the major complications when it comes to transferring a cyclist’s efforts to the track and propelling him/her forward.
This is why a sprinting track bike’s chain set, stem, handlebars, and wheels tend to be the stiffest available on the market. Some cyclists prefer a carbon disk rear wheel. Others, however, opt for carbon wheelsets with thick bladed spokes made of carbon, which help to maintain their speed.
This type of bike is somewhat similar to a time-trial bike; however, it is specially designed to be extremely aerodynamic. Pursuit races are time-trial cycling events where teams or individuals race over a distance between one and five kilometers. Under UCI, or Union Cyclist International, regulations, cyclists in a pursuit race can use aerodynamic bars to achieve a more aerodynamic and lower position.
Pursuit track bikes almost always have disk wheels at the rear, coupled with a full disk or deep section front wheel. Riders also scrutinize their bikes’ gearing. Most prefer a larger gear than that used in an endurance event bike. When it comes to racing against the clock, small differences can make a huge difference in a racer’s performance. These differences include temperature, density, air pressure, tire pressure, wheel depth, and the height of the handlebar.
From a distance, there two types of bikes seem to look the same. However, there are several noteworthy differences between the two, starting with the geometry. A track bike tends to have a shorter top tube, shallower fork rake, and shorter reach than a typical road bike. These features allow for better handling at high speeds.
The bottom bracket on a typical track bike is also higher than on other types of bikes, allowing cyclists more pedal clearance on banked corners. Track bikes tend to be stiffer to improve power transfer and acceleration. Furthermore, their aerodynamic component is a critical design feature.
Finally, the selection of the gear ratio, without gear shifting, is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a track bike. However, your choice will also depend on the specifics of race events and/or your training objectives. Generally, however, you should go for a lower gear ratio, which will allow for higher cadence efficiency during training. It will also help you in races that require frequent accelerations.
If you are looking for a track bike to use for practicing standing starts and sprint techniques, however, you should choose one with higher gear ratios. Once on top of the gear, you will find it easier to maintain high speeds.
Whether you are looking for cheap track bikes or more expensive ones, you can always find a good one that will meet your specific needs. If you choose to spend your money on the best track bike on the market, you should expect greater comfort, increased durability, increased stiffness, and less weight.
Essentially, as the price increases, the materials used to manufacture the bike’s fork and frame will also increase in quality. Other components of the bike will also follow the same progress.
If you do not know where to find or how to choose the right track bike, this page should give you some awesome ideas and shopping tips.
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