Apr 132010

This is a 650c-wheeled track bike for racing on the San Diego velodrome. I built it to replace my 49 cm Bianchi Pista, which is a great first track bike, but was always a little too big for me. My design goals were to raise the bars to a more comfortable position while maintaining sufficient standover clearance, and to eliminate toe overlap.

I spent a lot of time on the finish work (which is still not quite done). I will be sending it out for paint soon, but I wanted to give it a test-ride before the end of the track season, so I laced up the wheels and built it up. There’s not much to it – Nitto bars, NOS Shimano hidden-clamp stem, Harris track hubs, Velocity rims, and Sugino 75 cranks. It turned out to be very sensitive to chain line due to the smaller distance between the bottom bracket and rear hub.

My first ride was absolutely fantastic. It rides like it was built for me – imagine that! At 60 mm trail, it holds a perfect line without being at all sluggish to steer. I’d describe the ride quality as spirited – I feel every bump and variation in traction, but without any harshness. The 650c wheels spin up faster, and I find myself racing harder because the bike is so responsive – it will go as fast as I want to go, and then some! My only complaint is that I should have left the chainstays a bit longer. My tires are a bit taller than their nominal 23mm width, so if I leave enough chain to remove the rear wheel without deflating the tire, the axle is all the way at the ends of the dropouts. If I switch to 19mm tires and take out a link, it’ll be perfect.

The bike got a lot of attention at its track debut. I kept finding myself telling people how satisfying it is to design and build your own frame. This one isn’t even done yet, and I’m already thinking about my next one, or two, or…

Thank you for a wonderful class!

 Posted by at 2:17 pm