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Eddy 53:11
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm considering buying a new track/fixie. I now have two bikes. A Specialized Epic w/downtube shifters and a Merckx Team SC.

The Epic doesn't give me the full-blown hard workout I desire or need. After I ride it, it hardly feels like I've done any riding at all. The Merckx is a dream to ride and is constantly challenges my hardest efforts.

But recently, I have found the need to have another bike when my Merckx is in the shop for ANY length of time. I though about a nice used "beater" Trek for such a task but, why not a track bike?? New, less maint., simplier, cooler, and I'll never really need to buy another one.

Since I have never actually ridden a track bike (yet), what are your thoughts and opinions about having my second bike/back-up bike as a track bike????? Why should I consider a track/fixie bike? Will it be able to fill the workout void of a back-up bike??
 

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JetSpeed said:
The Epic doesn't give me the full-blown hard workout I desire or need. After I ride it, it hardly feels like I've done any riding at all.

No idea what the above means.
You can't get a hard workout on a bike? Doesn't it fit you and you can't ride hard because of that?
Fixed riding will give you a good workout, but you ought to be able to get a hard work out on any bike.

Put in a gear you like and don't shift for a few weeks - that will give you an idea if you like riding with one gear.

Have fun and ride hard. :)

edited for spelling and clarification
 

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Don't do it. You'll never ride the Specialized again and the Merckx will sit idle alot, too. Once you get to riding centuries fixed you'll only need the Merckx for a few fast group rides. Fixed is just plain a fun way to ride... The simple drive train, the improved spinning, blah, blah, blah, it all pales in relation to the simple joy of riding fixed. Get a fixed that is a bit versatile, like one that has water bottle bosses and maybe room for fenders if you bike commute. It doesn't need fancy-pants components, just a good fit.
 

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Yo, Jet. When you say, "after I ride [the Epic], it hardly feels like I've done any riding at all," either you aren't riding it fast enough or long enough or uphill enough, but it isn't the bike that's failing the workout.

That said, you'll find a fixed gear makes you work harder, both uphill and down, but especially up. And like someone else said, you may buy it as your second bike, but chances are it will become your only bike. It's an addiction.
 

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No Cheating

JetSpeed said:
Why should I consider a track/fixie bike? Will it be able to fill the workout void of a back-up bike??
This not really scientific but a metric on my fixie is like a century on my road bike. I get the same workout in 2/3 the time. It is all so simple-- No Coasting!

And you really feel the power through the drive train on the fixie.

TT
 

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Eddy 53:11
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
When I say the Epic doesn't give me a full-blown workout, what I mean is that is doesn't FIT me like my Merckx does. It was my first "off the shelf" roadbike. It feels awkward and frequently blows the chain off the chain ring because the shifting is not as precise as what I'm riding. I kinda' have to feel-out/hunt for the proper shift. Ever experience THAT feeling??? The bike no longer feels like an extension of my body but, rather something that I do battle with.

Anyway, I'm looking at the Bianchi Pista Concept 2005. Ready to go, sexy, and a real track bike.
 

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JetSpeed said:
I kinda' have to feel-out/hunt for the proper shift. Ever experience THAT feeling???
Never!

JetSpeed said:
Anyway, I'm looking at the Bianchi Pista Concept 2005. Ready to go, sexy, and a real track bike
If this is your first fixed gear, I'd opt for one with a brake option, not that you asked. I'd also opt for something less "real track" if you're riding predominately on the road. IMO, track geometry can be steep to the point of discomfort on long rides, esp on bad roads.
 

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PdxMark said:
Don't do it. You'll never ride the Specialized again and the Merckx will sit idle alot, too. Once you get to riding centuries fixed you'll only need the Merckx for a few fast group rides..
I couldn't agree more. :D

After recently purchasing a Lemond Fillmore, my geared bikes get less road time. The lighter weight, the simplicity, etc. just makes the bike more fun to ride. It was a leap of faith to move to one gear, but for everything but very steep and sustained climbing (of which there's very little where I live), it's perfect.

I'd second the recommendation to try a SS/Fixed bike with road geometry rather than track geometry. I tried the Pista and it felt odd; I preferred the road geo. of the Fillmore, and the Langster wasn't bad, but the aluminum was stiff, stiff, stiff.

Just be sure to test out a few different bikes to find which geo. you prefer, also, I found it helpful to try a few different sizes for each bike. Don't be hesitant to ask your shop to switch out stems, etc. as the right fit makes all the difference.

I won't bash gears, because there are times when I find having gearing extremely helpful, but I find riding SS much more satisfying.

Good luck.
 

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I hope you take the plunge into the world of fixed gear fever.

Some things to consider.

A track geometry doesn't have the same feel as a road geometry fixed gear. If you are riding on the road I would recommend the more relaxed geometry.

A fixed gear can give you a harder workout in the same amount of time.

A fixed gear can give you a different perspective about cycling. It no longer is about how much your performance is improved by your bike, it becomes how much your bike improves your performance.

If you are going to try to use the fixed to replace the geared bike on real fast group rides forget it. It just doesn't work.

If you want to increase your power base, ride fixed part of the time and during the off season.

If you really want to feel as if the bike and you are one get a fixed gear.

If you want to smile more while riding get the fixed gear.

If you want to improve your pedal stroke, ride a fixed gear.

If you want to beat me in a sprint, .........well I don't think the fixed gear will help you on that LOL
 

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Aluminum or aluminium

Steel is real. I don't think you want to ride an aluminum track bike on the road. The steel Pista is much more forgiving. But it is still a track bike which makes long rides more uncomfortable. If you are riding on the road, go to steel, save some money, and get more comfort.

TT
 

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Eddy 53:11
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Why (exactly) would a track bike be uncomfortable on long rides? I'm very comfortable w/alumimum as a road bike, so would a track bike be all that different? Also, how (exactly) does a fixie differ from a true track bike as far as geometry??

Sorry, I'm an "FNG" to this stuff, I just kinda' got the bug here recently.
And "BIGRIDER," I'd never try . . . . . . . . . .
 

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JetSpeed said:
Why (exactly) would a track bike be uncomfortable on long rides?
Track bikes (as opposed to road bikes) are generally stiffer and transmit a lot of vibration to the body. This is due to geometry and tubing.

JetSpeed said:
I'm very comfortable w/alumimum as a road bike, so would a track bike be all that different?
Maybe. Every bike is different, we're all making generalizations and the only way to find out specific answers is to test ride different bikes. A lot of people cite the Pista, but I've never ridden it. It's made from relatively heavy tubing with a track geometry. I've ridden three fixies; one was an old converted Peugeot which was heavy and long. Very stable, but the heavy tubing wasn't all that smooth. The other two were road-geometry fixtes. The one with heavier, shaped tubing and short chainstays rides rougher than the longer, lighter Gunnar.

JetSpeed said:
Also, how (exactly) does a fixie differ from a true track bike as far as geometry??
Pista

Gunnar

The biggest difference is in seat tube and head tube angles. Chainstay length also comes into play. I would look for geometry that matches your current bike, as you seem to be comfortable with that. Or not. There are enough different geomtries out there that you can pick the one you like the best.
 

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Exactly what overstuffed said. It is not just about material. The whole track bike is built with one purpose, to race on a track.

It is built to be stiff so you can sprint. It is built for speed and for a smooooth track.

It has steep angles which makes you feel every bump on tar and chip roads.

Check out those links and the geometry.

Also,

If you don't want to plunge in too deep too fast you should try one out first. What size do you ride? I could get you a 56 or a 58 to try out just for you to get a feel.

Also, I heard that there may be fixed rides only coming on warm Sunday afternoons this Winter in your local area.
 

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Re: track bike discomfort

On my track bike, the rear wheel is so close to the seat tube, you can't slide a tortilla in between 'em. Every jolt and bump is transmitted right to the seat.

Same story on the front end: the front wheel rides very close to the down tube ( I have almost an inch of toe overlap). The round fork legs chatter on rough pavement, and it all goes right up through my arms. Plus, the steep seat tube pitches me forward more than a road bike, so more weight ends up on my hands, where all that road vibration is.

Now, don't get me wrong; it's no problem for an hour or so. But day after day, mile after mile, it starts to get old. So I bought a Surly (not exactly a slack geometry, but a little more mellow) for those long days in the saddle. See, the thing is, I initially thought I'd just use a fixie for commuting, but it turns out that I got the bug, sold everything, and now only ride bikes that don't coast. The "pure track" bike rarely gets any use at all anymore, and until they build a 'drome here, it probably won't. So I suggest you consider the collective wisdom of this board and look at something besides the Pista Concept, even though it's a really nice bike. There's also the brake thing to think about.
 

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JetSpeed said:
Why (exactly) would a track bike be uncomfortable on long rides? I'm very comfortable w/alumimum as a road bike, so would a track bike be all that different? Also, how (exactly) does a fixie differ from a true track bike as far as geometry??

Sorry, I'm an "FNG" to this stuff, I just kinda' got the bug here recently.
And "BIGRIDER," I'd never try . . . . . . . . . .
Any fixed gear bike could be called a "fixie"--could be a road frame, a track frame, an mtb, or a cross bike.

Although folks have attachments to particular materials, I think people here are right to focus on design. The fat that you are comfortable on an aluminum road bike does not mean that you would be comfortable on an aluminum track bike. Track bikes are no one specific thing. There are, of course, special purpose track bikes which can stray quite far from what you think of as a road bike. Generally, however (and not always), "all purpose" trackies will have a steeper seat tube angle, a steeper head tube angle, shorter chainstays, and a shorter head tube than what you are used to in a road bike. For short fast sprints on a track, that works. For short sprints around town, or six block messenger dashes, that can be fun too. But they are made to go quick and fast on very smooth surfaces. For longer rides over varried terrain, I think you'll find several "comfort" advantages to a road frame. You'll get a longer wheelbase and you'll get get a slacker seat tube angle. The fork should help too. Also, most road bikes offer more clearance than most track bikes--anything from a little bit to a lot. This allows greater flexibility in tire selection (and, in turn, greater flexibility in tire pressure selection). Over varried terrain, you might really prefer the handling and stability of a roadie, too. You might also like luxury add-ons such as water bottle bosses (no need for these on a trackie).

The degree of difference varies, and how much it matters on the road depends on you, how you plan to ride the bike, and the roads that you have. A bianchi pista is an entry-level track bike that has some eye towards the road/fixed market. Angles are a little steep but not super steep. The fork is drilled for a brake. And there's clearance for road tires--at least for 23s. Lots of folks love these. It's sort of a nice in between design with a cool paint job and it doesn't cost too much. Still, I'd rather ride a road bike on the road. My current fixie is a 10 year-old serotta I converted. It's just a much nicer ride on the road--better road design, better pipes. It cost more, but you can find really good deals on used, and even NOS, high-quality steel road frames if you look (and on whole bikes, which may have 90% of what you need for a conversion). You can also score a deal on an alloy frame if that's what you want, or use something you have. A bianchi pista concept, as opposed to a budget pista, is a true track bike--my guess is that you'd find it harsh and twitchy on the road, and maybe bouncy or sketchy in rough corners.

As to why you might want any sort of fixed gear bike: If you want to race on the track, you need a track bike. Fixed gear training for road riding has serious adherents, and I think it's really helpful in its place, but there's a fair bit of disagreement about it and I think everyone knows some super strong riders who have never trained on a fixed gear. For just riding: I'm not a convert or anything--I have gears too and will continue to have them--but I like fixed gear riding for several reasons. First, I like the fact that, when I have limited time (which is often the case these days), I can ride for an hour or so and be pedaling the whole time. I like the feeling of being coupled to the drive train and I like the simplicity of it. Easy as pie to keep the drive train clean. Also, it's fun. YMMV.
 

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Discomfort on my track bike is not much of an issue for me, since I don't usually have an opportunity to ride for very long. I live in NYC and rarely leave Manhattan/Brooklyn, and can get to most places I need to go within 20 minutes. I love the track bike for short sprints around town but would probably want my road conversion for anything over an hour or two.
 
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