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Moving to Belgium (from Boston) and want to ride track again.

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Moving to Belgium (from Boston) and want to ride track again.

Old 07-06-19, 01:33 AM
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the_don
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Moving to Belgium (from Boston) and want to ride track again.

L

This is the handsome bike in question.
I can see that there are a few velodromes over in Belgium, but I don’t know anything about what it it like to ride there. Do they have open days to the public?

For a bike i I was looking to buy a track bike before I leave. I am looking at getting a Samson because I used to ride on the Keirin track in Kawasaki, and it is 56cm and most importantly hot pink (like my Vivalo that I had in Japan).

I would assume an NJS certified bike would be sufficient for amateur riding, is that correct? I would only be riding for fitness and fun because I found the track really fun to ride on.
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Old 07-06-19, 02:16 AM
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The bike will be fine. But, understand that a modern bike will offer a few more conveniences, namely:

- A standard steerer tube that uses standard stems. This makes for easy stem and bar changes when you need to adjust.
- Clincher tires for easy changes after flatting. Tubulars feel great, but are expensive and take at least 24 hrs for the glue to cure. Longer if you have to wait for a shop to do it for you.

You may have little issues like:
- Your seatpost may not be 27.2mm.
- Your saddle rails may be more narrow than standard.
- You can't just go down to the local shop and get 25.4mm bars, quill stems, and whatnot.
- Unless specifically built to be really stiff, it may not be. Steel can be stiff or noodly depending on the tubing and design. (I have a steel frame).

There are other small nagging issues that come with riding a vintage bike. It's a lot like having a vintage car. Modern cars really are better. Modern cars did keep the best parts of the older cars and left the other stuff. A vintage car has all of the other stuff and none of the modern stuff. So, if you are OK with that, then cool. But, NJS bikes are rare at local tracks for a reason...and it's not because they are difficult to obtain
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Old 07-06-19, 10:54 PM
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Thanks for the honest reply Carleton, I understand the differences between the new technology and the antiquated NJS regulated bikes. As long as they will let me ride on the track, that is all I care about.

In Japan, they would inspect our bikes and give us a little stamp before we could ride on the track. It was a fun process and I really enjoyed being at the track and meeting pro riders.

Those guys had some huge leg muscles!!!
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Old 07-07-19, 03:29 AM
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'Clincher tires'? Carleton, what are those?
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Old 07-08-19, 08:06 AM
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Thanks for the feedback....

On the fence now... I was hoping to have some nostalgia and have fun on a Keirin bike like I did back in Japan. But the times do a change and so I am potentially open to other bikes I guess.

What is a decent (but cheap) modern track bike? I have a CAAD 10 Di2 that I love, so the CAAD 10 track jumps out at me.
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Old 07-08-19, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by the_don View Post
Thanks for the feedback....

On the fence now... I was hoping to have some nostalgia and have fun on a Keirin bike like I did back in Japan. But the times do a change and so I am potentially open to other bikes I guess.

What is a decent (but cheap) modern track bike? I have a CAAD 10 Di2 that I love, so the CAAD 10 track jumps out at me.
Dolan has arrange of track bikes and frames - several riders at my local velodrome own them.

If you are looking for a used bike I suggest a Ridley track bike - mine is the Oval made in Belgium (now out of production and replaced by the Arena Alloy). The Oval, like the Cannondale, uses some large diameter tubes.

Last edited by 700wheel; 07-08-19 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 07-08-19, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Baby Puke View Post
'Clincher tires'? Carleton, what are those?
Hahaha. I think clinchers are more convenient for daily training. When I was all tubular, I had to have an extra front and rear wheel in case of flats.

Originally Posted by the_don View Post
Thanks for the feedback....

On the fence now... I was hoping to have some nostalgia and have fun on a Keirin bike like I did back in Japan. But the times do a change and so I am potentially open to other bikes I guess.
Baby Puke (commenting above) did (and maybe still does) race Keirin in Japan. Here's his blog: https://keirin-jotourist.blogspot.com

I think even in Japan, the riders who own top-notch Keirin bikes will ride modern bikes if allowed. Maybe Baby Puke can confirm or disprove that for us.

Last edited by carleton; 07-08-19 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 07-08-19, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by the_don View Post
Thanks for the feedback....

On the fence now... I was hoping to have some nostalgia and have fun on a Keirin bike like I did back in Japan. But the times do a change and so I am potentially open to other bikes I guess.

What is a decent (but cheap) modern track bike? I have a CAAD 10 Di2 that I love, so the CAAD 10 track jumps out at me.
Also, you can certainly do that 100%.

It's like if you had a 1980's Porsche 911. It's an absolutely wonderful car. But, if you got a modern Honda Civic, you'll get modern convienences such as:
  • Bluetooth cell phone integration
  • Navigation
  • Backup camera
  • Power windows
  • Power locks
  • Power steering
  • Cup holders

So, it really depends on your goal.
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Old 07-08-19, 04:46 PM
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I would say that if you plan on racing, a modern bike is a lot more convenient for changing set up and all that. But if you just want to ride the track and do some training for fun, an NJS bike is absolutely fine, and of course there are aesthetic considerations. Who doesn't think an old-school steel track bike is more beautiful?

As far as flats go, they are so rare (for me) on training wheels that it doesn't really concern me. The single time in over 10 years of doing this that I flatted a training tire, a friend simply lent me a wheel. Also, on steeper tracks, in the event of a flat while riding I'd be a lot more confident in a tubular keeping some rubber between the rim and a track surface, possibly saving some skin.
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Old 07-09-19, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
It's like if you had a 1980's Porsche 911. It's an absolutely wonderful car. But, if you got a modern Honda Civic, you'll get modern convienences such as:
  • Bluetooth cell phone integration
  • Navigation
  • Backup camera
  • Power windows
  • Power locks
  • Power steering
  • Cup holders
By the 80's they had power windows...

Cup holder is the only thing I really miss in my 84, oh and working air-conditioning would be nice.

Honestly most modern cars are quicker too, but it's nicer to take out the classic. Go the classic the_don if you want to enjoy the aesthetic and if you are willing to compromise speed.

Life is too short to just drive a Civic...
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Old 07-09-19, 12:13 PM
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It's a track bike, and they haven't really changed in the past 20 years. There's really nothing significantly better about modern track bikes compared to a steel NJS bike if you're not racing. Aerodynamics and stiffness are the only advantages. Once you lock in a position, who cares if you're on a quill stem or a more modern system.
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Old 07-09-19, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by tobukog View Post
It's a track bike, and they haven't really changed in the past 20 years. There's really nothing significantly better about modern track bikes compared to a steel NJS bike if you're not racing. Aerodynamics and stiffness are the only advantages. Once you lock in a position, who cares if you're on a quill stem or a more modern system.
Well, that's the rub.
  • What if (s)he wants to try more reach by extending out more?
  • What if (s)he wants to try Scattos?
  • What if (s)he wants to try aerobars?
  • What if (s)he wants to try a different set of NJS bars?


Think about how much new and returning riders tinker with their fit.

One thing that will help is a quill to threadless adapter. That should take care of many/most of the fit issues. But, it might introduce a point of flex if you are on the stronger side.

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Old 07-10-19, 10:57 AM
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I agree, I can have a lot of fun on a steel bike. But for me going from steel to a more modern alloy design was like changing from a 16t cog to a 15t cog. If I was jumping on steel, or trying to close a gap, I could catch the wheel, but I would just fall off from the effort. With a good bike, I can jump a gap and easily hang on a wheel.

As far as Europe goes – you’ll have to wait and see. I lived between France/Belgium/Germany. The Germans could be super strict, but at the same time hands off. With automobiles, there is no tolerance for speeding (or even being too loud or too shiny), but there are spots with no speed limits. In the US, to go on a track, I need a fluid change, a tech inspection, and a SA rated helmet (and possibly a co-rider if I’ve never been on that track before). In Germany, I just need 10Euro. Its just weird going around a track that is literally twice as fast as anything I’ve done in the US, without wearing a helmet (not to mention dodging mini-vans and being passed by professional test drivers at the same time).
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