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#42008 - 11/26/08 05:59 PM track bike
phlan Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/11/00
Posts: 2778
Loc: Gardiner, NY
just bought (yet another) bike... my friends all think I'm nuts for owning so many. herewith I have succumbed to the single speed fad. I hate fads and trends but I was into the minimalist beauty of these way before they became cool. what's interesting is I got what looks like a fantastic deal. only like 350 from bikesdirect.com. I have not ordered from them before but they seem reputable. so here's the bike.

http://bikesdirect.com/products/mercier/kilott.htm

color I ordered: Orange Crush!!
what's also cool is that the bike can be used for commuting, touring, grocery getter, around town, whatever. we have lots of gently rolling to flat rides around here so I think I'll use it a lot. it can be converted from pure fixie to a regular single speed. I also plan to convert to bullhorn bars.
don't have the bike yet... but will post an update once I do and once I ride it...
I saw a lot of great reviews online.
over n' out.
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#42010 - 11/26/08 07:00 PM Re: track bike [Re: phlan]
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4276
Loc: Poughkeepsie
Personally I think folks who ride in urban traffic (not you really Phlan) without brakes are crazy. But then I guess I don't fit the mold of the urban assault bike rider i.e. I stop for red lights. But I totally see the appeal of a simple drivetrain. My son wasn't in Boston for 2 weeks before some clod got his bike tangled in Scott's bike on a bike rack, and totally mangled the rear derailleur.

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#42012 - 11/26/08 08:17 PM Re: track bike [Re: phlan]
Mark Heyman Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1123
Loc: South Jersey (Pinelands)
 Originally Posted By: phlan
I have succumbed to the single speed fad. I hate fads and trends but...


Is it really a fad? I thought it's been going on for years. Perhaps since I since I haven't kept track of cycling for so long I'm menatally linking last time it was a fad to this time!!!


Edited by Mark Heyman (11/26/08 08:20 PM)

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#42014 - 11/26/08 11:15 PM Re: track bike [Re: Mark Heyman]
pitfall Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/01/00
Posts: 1165
Loc: Albany
They can be fun, but I'll have to agree with the use of brakes, or at least a front brake. Nothing like cruising down a hill when a light turns red to make you want brakes in a hurry. I have an old schwinn I converted for something fun to ride around on and it's a blast, especially the first time you try to rest and coast! I have a flip flop hub that was single speed configuration once but it's much more fun as a fixie.
I did see a lot more of them around SUNY this year than I have in the past few..does that help it qualify as a fad?
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#42028 - 11/29/08 02:08 AM Re: track bike [Re: pitfall]
redtag Offline
journeyman

Registered: 06/26/07
Posts: 98
at 350 the mercier is a good deal. maybe the best deal out there right now on a pre-built stock 'track' bike. the reynolds frame makes it worth it. the parts are all crap, but the wheels are 'fine' and everything else will roll for a little while. the frame should last and is easily upgradeable at any point with quality parts.

i put 'track' in quotes for a reason. this isnt really much of a track bike. i dont remember all the details anymore - too many years away from the shop now - but this bike doesnt really have the geometry for anyone to want to ride it on the track. _maybe_ theres a youth program somewhere, or a rental program, where some velodromes use these, but real track riders arent riding mercier kilo tt frames. this bike is more well suited to street riding - and would be more appropriately labeled as a fixed/ss road bike, not a track bike.

that is a good thing though, since i highly doubt that you'd want to ride a track bike on the street unless you already knew what you were getting into. the geometry on a real track bike is aggressive, very aggressive. the head tube angles are steep, and steering on the street can be twitchy. you might also have toe overlap, and a pretty steep body position that wouldnt be comfortable for most people. on the other hand one of the things that a track bike does give you is a higher bottom bracket - something that might help you keep from striking a pedal in a turn - something that you really dont want to have happen while riding a fixed wheel...because you'll probably end up on the ground...i dont know what the stock cranks are, but many people riding fixed on the street will run 165 instead of 170 for crank length giving you just a little extra clearance in corners

now as far as riding fixed goes - i think its fantastic - and i've been riding fixed wheel bikes for a long time. i've gone with and without brakes, and i can say two things for sure: 1) you should absolutely ride with a brake and 2) no matter what any hamheaded messenger or clueless poseur hipster tells you there is no way in hell you can stop faster or as fast without a hand operated rim/disc brake than you can with them. end of story.

at the moment i'm riding brakeless, but at the moment i ride in a very friendly place where i'll almost never have to stop short. i also take it easy these days (most of the time) and so dont usually have to stop short. and i've been doing this a long time and have no problems skidding, skipping, doing either while seated, or in the blink of an eye. however i also have no illusions that i'll be able to stop in a blink of an eye if i need to - only a 'real' brake would let me do that.

if you're going to ride flip-flop and go single-speed (with a freewheel) sometimes, then you absolutely should put both front and rear brakes on.

if you're only going to ride fixed, then a single FRONT brake will do. remember, like a car, or motorcycle, the stopping power is in the front brake, not the rear...and with a fixed rear wheel, you can already stop the rear wheel.

some benefits of fixed riding include, better power transfer, less maintenance, strength building, improved spin, aesthetics, silent riding, and better traction in bad weather.

the downsides are obvious, but in the end a large part of it is mental - if you have lots of gear ratios to choose from you'll often choose the easiest one to pedal - if you dont, then you'll just get stronger to deal with hills instead of shifting.

the other downsides are that it is in fact a trend these days, and you may be unsuspectingly lumped into negative stereotypes now building amongst non-fixed riders because of all of the assclowns that now ride around on their $1000 track frames with blinged out deep v's and super-low chrome track drops. these morons are mostly the same assholes that would ride a tricked out SUV with oversized rims and/or spinners.

there are good people riding around who ride deep v's for the fact that they're strong and take abuse and lots of weight (touring, clydesdales, messengers). there are similarly good people riding expensive road/track frames set up as street fixies that do so because they can and because there is a real difference in ride quality and aesthetic enjoyment. they're also suffering from the bad image built by the trend.

if you want to avoid getting lumped into the trendiness here are some ideas for your new mercier:
1) brakes front and back
2) fenders for bad weather
3) a basket for market day
4) a bell
5) blinkies
6) anything but chrome pista bars or super short chopped straight bars
7) anything but colored velocity or weinmann deep v's
8) a brooks saddles
9) one of those matching leather saddlebags
10) clipless pedals
11) or you can just wear spandex - no real hipster or wannabe would be caught dead running a fixie as a full kit spandex warrior


Edited by redtag (11/29/08 02:14 AM)

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#42033 - 12/01/08 02:36 AM Re: track bike [Re: redtag]
empicard Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/29/01
Posts: 2956
Loc: LI, NY
good luck on your first "OH GOOD GOD" turn! man, if that pedals in the wrong place you're in TROUBLE. WEEEEEEEEEEE smack.
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#42035 - 12/01/08 06:54 AM Re: track bike [Re: empicard]
pitfall Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/01/00
Posts: 1165
Loc: Albany
The cure for that is 160 cranks. Short cranks are nice on fixies. They also help the overlap issue.
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#42051 - 12/02/08 12:41 AM Re: track bike [Re: pitfall]
phlan Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/11/00
Posts: 2778
Loc: Gardiner, NY
hey guys. thanks for all the comments. yeah I'm not buying it to ride on the track. just to get my feet wet with the single speed thing and have some fun.
so the mods will include for sure, front brake and also a little bell (passers by appreciate it and will usually give you a smile in return, this is well worth a few grams in weight) and perhaps even fenders. removable fenders are very nice as I have experienced on my other bikes.
pedals are gonna be someting to tink about. I'd like to kinda go with flat plain ones? as i've done on another bike that i rode a lot last summer and am gonna keep that way. couple of my other bikes remain clipless of course. but pedals are so easily interchangeable anyway no use to debate.
here in shawangunk on the roads i ride it's usually very friendly also. almost always no need to stop short.
just wondering what do you mean by deep v's? am showing my ignorance here but would like to know.

phlan
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#42194 - 12/05/08 10:25 PM Re: track bike [Re: phlan]
redtag Offline
journeyman

Registered: 06/26/07
Posts: 98
160 is kinda short...i've very rarely grazed 165s on road frames, with the higher bb of a 'track' frame you wont need 160s....

if you're going to ride fixed then you _should_ have pedals that keep your feet on them. that means clipless or cages....flats are not recommended, even with brakes...not that this doesnt stop people from riding them....even brakeless....but those guys tend to be messengers who live on their ride and are more than strong enough to skid one legged....

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#42242 - 12/08/08 11:06 PM Re: track bike [Re: redtag]
phlan Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/11/00
Posts: 2778
Loc: Gardiner, NY
the kilo tt has arrived...!
fit and finish, workmanship and quality are very nice indeed, the bike was very well protected for shipping, my expectations are actually exceeded. so this was a very good first experience with bikesdirect.com.
the orange is a very cool color, and the paint job first class. didn't even take an hour to get it together, put on the pursuit bars (which look great) and it's on the trainer for the winter. makes a very nice bike for that and it sure feels like it will be fun on the road.
hope to get some pictures when the brake (or brakes, not sure if I want to have two) gets installed and then post them.
by the way saturday was actually warm enough to ride the rail trail, which I did, combined with lots of errands in town, and then a beautiful ride home. stopped at the new Gardiner Library on the way back which is worth a post of its own under "local information" perhaps.
saw a couple of road bikers who looked like they were a bit
on the too cold side.

cheers
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