Re: fixed gear road bikes, was Re: [CR]A nomenclature question

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From: "jerrymoos" <>
To: "HM & SS Sachs" <>, <>, <>, <>
References: <>
Subject: Re: fixed gear road bikes, was Re: [CR]A nomenclature question
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2004 14:18:41 -0600

I agree with Kim that a fixed gear road bike is not a track bike. Besides the rear-facing dropouts, real track bikes have higher BBs. Round section tubes are also typical, but not mandatory. I think the distiction is clearer to the Brits, with their long tradition of road time trialing, where fixed gear was commonly used. While a track bike could certainly be adapted to that use, in UK it was common to build bikes with track dropouts, but with a lower BB and with drilling for brakes by design rather than as an afterthought. In America, with essentially no time trialing tradition, such bikes are rare as hen's teeth. Although some of the top US builders like Brian Baylis can certainly build a fixed gear road bike for the rare customer who actually wants one, Most fixed gear road bikes in America are accidental. I have one like this, a Yukota bought in 1990 or so from the infamous World Cycles. It is essentially a mid-priced Taiwan-made road frame fitted with track ends, with no other design changes, such as raising the BB. Even with 165mm cranks, the BB was too low for the banks of the Houston velodrome. After kissing the concrete a couple of times as the result of catching a pedal on the banking, this design deficiency became clear to me, and I moved the track gruppo to a proper Tomassini track frame. I intend to convert the Yukota to a single-speed road bike with single-speed freewheel. I heard at the time (early 90's) that the mid-priced Schwinn Madison suffered from a similar problem with a low bottom bracket. This seems odd since this was a purpose-built track bike, and Schwinn certainly knew how to build track bikes, have offered track versions of the Paramount for decades.


Jerry Moos
Houston, TX

----- Original Message -----
From: HM & SS Sachs

<> Sent: Sunday, February 22, 2004 1:29 PM Subject: fixed gear road bikes, was Re: [CR]A nomenclature question

> kim klakow wrote:
> I find it amusing that you frequently find bikes on US eBay that are called
> "track" bikes or were "converted" to "track" bikes. This can only be done by
> replacing the drop-outs, so these bikes, as Sheldon already pointed out, are
> just coasters with a fixed gear. As a learning pedant I must say that this is
> wrong. A track bike is defined by it´s frame (and, too add, ridden without a
> brake!). Just go and watch any fixie messanger in any large city ride their
> bike (straight drop-outs, no freewheel and no brake) and learn. The skidding
> WC holds the record with 224 meters!
> ----------------------------
> OK, guys, in the pure sense there are track bikes (several varieties, indeed, for different events), road bikes, criterium bikes, club bikes, and so-on. We could classify by intended use (track v. road, etc), or by fixed v. fw, but we should recognize that these are different ways of classifying. Round fork blades have been a hallmark of track "iron" but my Roma has elliptical ones (with all the other marks of track bikes, so maybe it was set up for the km?); and in the early 60s I had a Swedish Avanti road bike with round blades (Didn't Herse do a bunch with round blades, too?).
> Going back in time, my '38 and '53 paramount frames both have rear-opening rear drops, but I suspect at least one was never meant for the track. Wasn't this common in GB, too?
> So, I'll keep riding my fixed gear Sears 531 DB "town" bike conversion, until I build an FW wheel, and riding the old paramount with an ASC, and enjoying being able to ride.


> harvey sachs

> mcLean VA