Bike racing is an exciting sport and the excitement of the riders spreads among the spectators as well. The biggest feature of track bikes is their fast speed. But we often wonder how riders control the bikes since the track bikes have no brakes.
Track bikes are special types of bikes that are used on certain types of race tracks. These tracks are called velodrome tracks. And track bikes include only one gear and a locking mechanism on the rear wheel. Besides, the bike does not have any brakes like regular bikers. Track bikes are lightweight and fast.
In this article, I will discuss the braking system of the track bike. If you are interested in these bikes, then this article is for you. I hope you will get the answers to many of your questions.
How Fast Can You Ride A Track Bike?
The average speed of track bikes is 45 miles or 72 km per hour. Some advanced models of these bikes can run at speeds of up to 50 miles or 80 km per hour.
The reason they can run fast is that these track bikes weigh very little, less than 40 pounds. The low center of gravity, just one gear makes these bikes quick and responsive.
Manufacturer Companies design track bikes to be fast-moving. So these bikes are usually made to run on specially-made tracks. The surface of the tracks is smooth and consistent.
Although track bikes are used on specially-made tracks, any cyclist can also use them on other smooth racing tracks. However, the speed of the bikes depends a lot on the experience and skill of the individual rider.
Do Track Bikes Have Brakes?
As you are already concerned Track bikes have no brakes or even rear flywheels. So, a biker can consider these as basic bikes compared to the bikes used in road races. Because of the lack of a rear flywheel, the rider cannot slow down by pedaling.
In addition, track bikes contain only one gear (like Cyclocross Bike or Racing Bike). So a cyclist can’t ride them on the road fluently like other bikes. Because in most places riding a bike without brakes is illegal and you may need to pay a fine.
In terms of brakes, gearing, tube size, etc., track bikes are completely different from other bikes, such as Mountain Bikes, Commuter Bicycles, Gravel Bikes, Road bikes, Cruiser Bikes, BMX, or Hybrid Bikes. You can consider track bikes to be the purest form of cycling. But you can customize its wheel, gearing, or frame.
How Can You Stop Your Faster or Speedy Track Bike?
Usually, we use the brakes to stop the bike. But if there is no break, isn’t it hard to stop? But you have to keep in mind that track bikes run on special types of tracks. Where you do not need to follow any signals or there is a risk of an accident with a pedestrian or other vehicle. So all you have to do is stop pedaling. The bike will gradually lose its speed and stop at one point.
However, the rear wheels of track bikes contain a special locking mechanism. This locking mechanism is the only braking method for track bikes.
Furthermore, if you want to control or stop the speedy track bike, then stand on the bike and shake it to one side. If the pedals are horizontal, the wheels will skid and the bike will stop quickly.
What Are The Differences Between Track Bike And Road Bike?
There are several structural and characteristic differences between track bikes and road bikes. Besides, the purpose of using both bikes is also different. I am presenting the differences between these two types of bikes through the chart below.
|Criteria||Track Bike||Road Bike|
|Purpose of Use||Made for the purpose of racing on special types of tracks.||Suitable for riding on all types of roads.|
|Gears||There is only one gear.||Available with multi-gear. Using the chain derailleur. So, a rider can set the gear at his/her convenience.|
|Brakes||No brakes.||There are usually brakes on both the front and rear wheels.|
|Frames||Contain a shallow fork rack, short reach, and top tube.||Contains a lower bottom bracket, long reach, and top tube.|
|Comfortability||It is less comfortable than the road bike.||More comfortable.|
|Wheels and tires||It usually has narrower wheels and tyres that are lighter and less durable.||Available in all types of wheel and tyre combinations.|
|The Riding Position||It is much more aerodynamic than the road rider, i.e., more front and further down.||It ensures a comparative comfort position.|
|Durability||Less durable.||More durable than a track bike.|
|Weight||Lightweight, less than 40 pounds.||Heavier than a track bike.|
Do Flat Track Bikes Have Brakes?
Yes, flat-track bikes usually have rear brakes. And, they differ greatly from ordinary bikes. So that riders customize flat track bikes to race on a flat, round racing surface. These bikes run fast on flat tracks and do not stop for anything. That’s why cycling a flat track bike requires a lot of practice for the rider.
The braking system of these bikes has a lot of stopping power. This is because a heavy bike has to brake and stop at a very short distance when needed. Though in most cases riders do not get the scope to use brakes on the track. Flat track bikes are called single-speed bikes because they include only one gear.
Why Don’t Track Bikes Have Brakes?
A track bike does not have brakes, primarily for safety reasons. It has crowded the track with cyclists since the start of the race. If a rider use brakes, it can cause suddenly slow down the bike and cause an accident.
We often see that if a cyclist in front of the race has an accident, everyone in the back also gets into trouble. If track bikes contain brakes, this type of incident rate can increase a lot.
Secondly, there will be no need for brakes on the track. Here you need to focus on riding the bike at maximum speed on a smooth surface. And you don’t need to stop for anything.
Therefore, brakes are an unnecessary feature on these bikes. Another reason is- the brakes add extra weight to the bike which is definitely not good for racing types of cycles.
- And, the Flat-track bikes also haven’t any brakes considering these two issues.
Can You Put Brakes On Track Bikes? Is it Legal?
Many riders install brakes on track bikes for cycling on the road. Here, riders usually use single-speed track bike brake sets to reduce the speed of the bike. You can also install these on the front or back of your choice.
Installing brakes on track bikes can be a bit tricky.
- First, the bikes hold no mounting holes. So you may need to make a mounting hole separately.
- Another problem is that track bikes do not hold a cable stopper.
These two issues make the process of installing brakes on a track bike a bit more difficult.
Besides all of these, riders often install brakes on track bikes to paddle them on the road. Because you can’t ride a bike without brakes on the road, it is illegal in most of the country around the globe.
Similarly, you cannot use brakes on a track bike while riding a race track. That too will be illegal.
The Final Words:
Manufacturers make a track bike as lightly as possible. Because the brakes add an extra 140 grams to 188 grams of weight to a track bike which a track cyclist never desires. Therefore, these bikes do not have any brakes, and it is totally unnecessary as well.
But you can install the brakes on the front or rear wheels of the track bike for hit down on the local road if you want. But the process is tricky and expensive. Because there is no feature like adding brakes while manufacturing them.
Many people want to buy track bikes because they are attractive and very fast. But these bikes are quite expensive and not long-lasting. Always keep in mind that- ‘Track bikes are suitable for the specially-made track/racing track (like Olympic Track Cycling/Racing), but the General or Local Road’.