A trained and experienced cyclist can ride a track bike at a maximum speed of about 60-70 mph in Velodrome. That kind of high speed encourages the average rider a lot. Because many novice riders want to know if they can ride a track bike on the road at this speed.
The unique designs and outstanding outlooks transform the bikes into riders’ dream bikes. They are specifically designed to be lightweight and aerodynamic. A low center of gravity makes these bikes more stable. So, these bikes are incomparable for fast riding.
In this article, I’ll explain a lot of things about track bikes. I’ll describe what benefits you will get from these bikes when riding on the road and what difficulties you will face. Let’s get started.
What Is A Track Bike?
It is a special type of bicycle that is suitable for racing on the velodrome or outdoor track. Track bikes are usually available with fixed gear and have no brakes. These bikes, also known as fixed gear bikes, have a single gear ratio and no freewheel. The manufacturers narrow the tires of track bikes to reduce road traction, as well as inflate under high pressure.
People consider track bike racing as a winter indoor game. For this reason, many indoor velodromes have wooden tracks. These types of tracks are more common in Europe, where regular track bike racing is held in the winter.
What Are The Differences Between The Track And Normal Bike?
The purpose of riding a track bike and normal bikes is different. That’s why manufacturers adapt different parts of bikes differently. Below, I’ll present the significant differences between the two bikes through a chart.
|Parameter||Track Bike||Normal Bike|
|Purpose of Use||Track bikes are usually used for racing on designated tracks.||Normal bikes are used for daily riding requirements, getting around, or long rides.|
|Frame||A track bike contains a top tube, a shorter reach, and a shallower fork rack. These help the track bikes get sharp handling at high speeds and feel stiffer.||A normal bike contains a lower bottom bracket, top tube, and a longer reach. These provide the bike a more relaxed look as well as make it more comfortable in different terrain.|
|Gear||Track bikes come with a fixed gear that includes a chainring in the front and a cog in the back.||Normal bikes are available with multiple gears.|
|Brakes||Usually have no brakes.||These bikes usually have disc or rim brakes on both wheels.|
|Wheels||Come with disc wheels instead of spoke rim wheels.||Usually comes with spoke rim wheels, but rarely comes with alloy rim wheels.|
|Tires||Narrower than any other bike and available under high pressure.||A normal bike tire may come in different widths.|
|Handlebars||Come with a simple handlebar.||Most normal bikes have drop handlebars that include a front hood, brakes, and shift levers.|
|Riding Position||More aggressive riding position.||Ensures comfortable riding positions.|
Where Does Track Cycling Usually Take Place?
Track cycling is usually held on an indoor track called Velodrome. Authorities make these indoor tracks of concrete. But we can also see wooden tracks in some velodrome.
Most velodrome’s track lengths range from 133 to 333 meters. These measurements help determine a 10 or 20-km race by calculating the lap during the race. Though they are well-fit on cambered velodromes, so the Authorities cambered the velodromes that help the rider pass through the corner.
Where Track Bikes Are Allowed?
Track bikes are allowed to ride on velodrome tracks. And they are specially built for that purpose.
Track bikes are not simple bikes, so you can’t ride them everywhere if you want to. And they do not have the same gears, frames, handlebars, or braking systems as normal bikes do. That’s why most authorities do not allow these bikes to ride everywhere.
Can You Ride A Track Bike On The Road?
You can’t ride track bikes on every track, trail, or road. Because almost all the authorities disallow a bike without brakes to ride on the road as the brakeless bikes increase the chances of an accident. And it is necessary to know the rules of your state. If the state has no restrictions on track bikes, you can ride your track bike on the road.
Below, I will discuss some advantages and problems of riding track bikes on the road.
❖ Features That Make Track Bikes Convenient On The Road
👉 Aesthetic Frame
The frame of a track bike is quite interesting to look at with the wheels. You will be surely fascinated by the speed of these bikes on the road. Because the frames provide aggressive riding positions that are attractive for bike riding. This aerodynamic position and attractive appearance provided by the frame will encourage you to ride these bikes on the road.
Companies typically use carbon or aluminum to make track bikes. The components make the track bikes stronger as well as lighter. Furthermore, a track bike can weigh 6 kg or less. Riding a bike of this weight on the road can be a fun experience.
👉 Low Maintenance Cost
Track bikes are relatively easy to maintain. These bikes do not have any extra equipment. As it does not include disc brakes, suspension, or derailleur too. So you only need to clean regularly and apply oil to the chain to maintain your track bike.
❖ For The Features, You Should Not Ride Track Bikes On The Road
👉 Missing Brakes
Brakes are an important part of a bike and it plays an effective role in protecting you from accidents. Unfortunately, track bikes do not have brakes. Therefore, riding these bikes on the road is quite dangerous; you could have an accident and go to the hospital.
👉 Highly Aggressive Riding Position
The design of the track bikes forces the rider to stay in a highly aggressive riding position. This position is very suitable for fast riding but not comfortable. When you want to ride for a long time, this aggressive position may cause you difficulty.
👉 High Gearing Options
Track bikes are fitted with fairly high gear and you have no choice as they include fixed gear. That’s why bikes require a high level of power to ride. That means you need to work harder and be skilled enough to ride the bikes. This gear system makes it more difficult to ride the bike uphill and it can cause pain in your knees.
👉 Drivetrain Risk
When using track bikes, any part of your clothing that gets stuck in the drivetrain can cause an accident. For this, track bikers need to choose shoes and clothing very carefully.
With a regular bike, you can stop the bike immediately and solve the problem, but with a track bike, it’s not possible. So you need to be aware of the drivetrain while riding the track bikes.
👉 Missing Fender And Rack Mounts
The lack of racks and fenders is one of the reasons for the difficulty of riding a track bike on the daily route. Missing these components makes these bikes more difficult to ride on muddy and hilly roads. This is because these bikes do not have any effective measures to prevent mud accumulation.
Is It Legal To Ride A Bike On Railroad Tracks?
No, it is illegal to ride a bike on a railroad track in almost all places and is quite risky. Many bikers try to ride a bike on the railroad tracks even after knowing this is illegal because riding on a railroad track is quite an exciting experience.
However, if you are ever caught doing this by the police, you may have to pay a fine. Considering all, avoid this type of risky task.
Do People Illegally Ride Track Bikes?
Track bikes are specially designed for racing, which gives you fast speed, excitement, and fun on the racetrack. But these bikes do not provide a comfortable sense of riding on the road.
In addition, the lack of brakes on these bikes makes them illegal and dangerous on most roads. So, people rarely feel comfortable and safe riding track bikes illegally.
Why Are Track Bikes So Fast?
A track bike has several unique features that enable it to run so fast. Below I’m explaining some features that make track bikes faster on the track.
The frame of the track bikes is made of extremely light and strong material. Moreover, the frames are completely free from additional accessories. It helps a rider to ride in an aerodynamic position. All in all, the frame of the track bike helps a bike to be faster.
Track bikes use disc wheels instead of conventional spoke frame wheels.
In addition, manufacturers use very narrow tyres on the wheels. The disk wheels, narrow tyres, high air pressure, and low traction help the bike move faster.
The fixed gear system of these bikes is 3 times more efficient than the normal bikes. Although these require more energy while riding, it also gives you more speed.
👉 Riding Position:
Track racers maintain an aerodynamic position while riding where the bike assists. This position allows them to withstand low air friction, which provides less obstruction at higher speeds.
The authority makes the velodrome track much smoother to keep track bikes running. These tracks made of concrete or wood rarely cause problems such as slowing down the bike because of friction.
The Bottom Lines
Track bikes are fast and attractive, but you shouldn’t try to ride a track bike on the road. This effort will do more harm than good if you are an average rider. Because these bikes are not suitable for road riding, they are not comfortable as well.
A track bike comes with many features that make them great on the track. Again, there are several features that make these bikes totally unsuitable on the road. Only use track bikes if you want to be a track cyclist. Otherwise, a hybrid or mountain bike is most suitable for you on the road.