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Frame Upgrade

Old 05-12-19, 11:59 AM
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Frame Upgrade

Hey all,

I'm interested in upgrading my track frame and wondering if you all think it will be worth it, and if it can be done for ~$500 USD or less. I ride a Dolan Precursa with Omniums and some unbranded alloy high-spoke tubulars laced to Dura Ace hubs. A pretty simple rig.

About me:
I have been a road racer for a bit over 10 years, track for about half of that. By track, I mean weekly ATRA Tuesday night series (TNR), Men's "A" the last couple years. I can score points and make a mark on a race, but no way I'm winning many of those with the talent here. But I have fun.

I've been particularly dedicated with training and racing on the road this year, and just earned my last remaining category 2 upgrade points. I'm ready to switch to weekly track racing, training only if I want to and otherwise coasting for a few months. Long term, I see myself focusing on Master's criterium racing, USAC track racing or even XC MTB. I'm engaged, and with marriage and children on the radar, I see my available time for this going down for a while fairly soon. I'm 32.

My participation in track this year has been limited to Thursday night Madison training sessions and some volunteering. I'm looking forward to starting TNR in a couple weeks; I'm faster than usual. So some of this is me just wanted to treat myself to something nice .


What I want:
Something that is faster, cooler or just more fun to ride. Just more enjoyment. I recently purchased some lightweight 50 mm carbon tubulars from a friend at the recent SDVA veloswap, and ordered some aero road bars for it as well (Bonty Aluminum VR-CF aero). It's really only a hop, skip and jump away from a whole new rig at this point. The Dolan works (cannot be faulted for that), but just doesn't bring me any joy, in a Marie Kondo sorta way.

I was close to winning a bid on a used Stradelli last week but got sniped. I know that these are branded, open mold frames that are available from Alibaba under a multitude of different trade names (Dengfu, Tideace). Are those reliable frames? I'm worried about the non-round seatpost and other potential QC issues.

I'm not tied to carbon, and would purchase a Fifty-One Point Racing custom if money was no object. I'm tempted by the Bianchi Super Pista frames, but wondering if it would be a big enough difference, performance wise and enjoyment wise.

Thanks,
Tmonk
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Old 05-12-19, 03:27 PM
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I think you're going to be hard pressed to find anything noticeably better in that budget.

You could probably find a used Specialized Langster Pro, Felt Tk2/3 Bianchi, Cinelli, Fuji, or a Planet-X/Stradelli/re-branded carbon, but I'm not sure how much, if any, difference you'll notice, other than a better paint job. (Of all those, I'd probably opt for the Langster Pro.)

That said, given your stated interests, I'd suggest you look for a Dixie Flyer BTB, but again, I don't you'll find one in your budget.
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Old 05-12-19, 03:54 PM
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Yeah, that's what I'm starting to think. I'll keep my eyes peeled. I don't expect a frame upgrade to make me faster, I just want something I like more.
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Old 05-12-19, 09:27 PM
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Stay away from stradalli and similar frames. Most are just hopped up fixies with bad geometry for mass start track racing. Your Dolan us a pretty rock solid frame (even if it doesn't excite you). I would hold onto it until something you really like, that fits properly, from a track bike manufacturer pops up. To jump ship for something sexy but not properly track oriented will most likely leave you more disappointed/dissatisfied after the switch.
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Old 05-13-19, 02:35 PM
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General advice:

- Don't buy new problems that you don't have with your current frame. For example, if your current frame doesn't have a slipping seatpost but your new one does. I did this when I went from a Tiemeyer to a 1st generation TK1 (the seatpost is now on its 3 iteration and much improved now)

- Understand that the point of diminishing returns is very near. A world class frame that you'd see in the olympics doesn't make any rider noticably faster. Maybe at the speeds at which they ride they save fractions of a second. But, to pay $10,000 to maybe save 0.1" on a flying 200 may not be worth it for normal folk. (BTW, most of them don't pay for their frames anyway.)

- Fit trumps everything. I was faster on a properly fitting aluminum Tiemeyer than my 3cm too small LOOK 496.

- A Bad Ass frame will make you feel faster and be a lot of fun. Not to mention that it may intimidate some opponents (human nature is human nature).

- 50.1 seems to be hitting the sweet spot that Tiemeyer left open...provided that you can get a frame that fits you. That's the only difference, Mr. Tiemeyer offered off-the-rack sizes as well as custom options.
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Old 05-13-19, 05:24 PM
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Thanks for the pro-tips @carleton. I think I will park my new frame pipe dreams for now and keep my eyes peeled for a special deal or save for a 50.1. With new wheels and bars my bike should feel a bit different anyways.

-Tmonk
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Old 05-16-19, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by TMonk View Post
Thanks for the pro-tips @carleton. I think I will park my new frame pipe dreams for now and keep my eyes peeled for a special deal or save for a 50.1. With new wheels and bars my bike should feel a bit different anyways.

-Tmonk
I say budget at least $2,000 a top tier frame used or new and be ready to hop on a deal when it shows up. I got by TK FRD for near half of MSRP on EBay from a guy who flips equipment for sponsored athletes who get them for free. The bike wasn't "new". It was used in a bike fit and the athlete chose the smaller size and sold the one I got. I got my IO/Comete wheelset used for more than half off of MSRP from a guy who was getting out of the game.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of waiting and luck involved in the whole process of getting a smoking deal. But, they are out there.
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Old 05-16-19, 02:43 PM
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Thanks, that's what I'm beginning to learn. Not the biggest market compared to road, mountain etc.
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Old 05-16-19, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by TMonk View Post
Thanks, that's what I'm beginning to learn. Not the biggest market compared to road, mountain etc.
Your profile on the right says San Diego. You are in a much bigger track market than most people.

Maybe when you get your funds together, find the popular forum for your area (velodrome message board, FB, whatever) and post a Wanted ad. Something like, "High-end track frame wanted. Size approximately 56-58cm (or whatever your size is +/- a few cm)."

You'd be amazed at how well that works. There are people who have frames in their garages that don't want to deal with the hassle of posting an ad and dealing with randoms. Or pros who would't post an ad. But, they would easily reply directly to you.

I got my LOOK 496 from a guy who didn't post his for sale. I knew he had one and also knew that he stopped racing for a year or two and asked around and got his email address from a teammate. Basically, he was planning on getting back into the game, but it never happened. I was able to convince him to sell it to me. The guy was in NYC and I was in ATL.
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Old 05-17-19, 06:18 AM
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I'll second Carleton's suggestion. I got my DF4 through a guy I raced with. We were chatting, and he mentioned he had a DF4 sitting in his garage that happened to be my size. He loaned it to me to try it out for a few months and then I bought it from him.
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