Upgrading a Track bike: The wheels

Everything about building wheels, glueing tubs, etc.
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LouisN
Posts: 2343
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 3:44 am
Location: Canada

by LouisN

What would be the best place to improve on the "basic" track bike like the Felt TK3 ?
I was thinking about an upgrade on the wheels:
- Deep section, carbon tubular rims (wich depth, width would be best for "omnium" ? ).
- With decent track or fast rolling tubs ( wich models the best ? ).
- Generic hubs ( how many holes for 110 lbs rider ?)

Thanks for your help :beerchug:

Louis :)

istigatrice
Posts: 793
Joined: Sat May 12, 2012 8:32 am
Location: Australia

by istigatrice

disk rear & 5 spoke front.
I write the weightweenies blog, hope you like it :)

Disclosure: I'm sponsored by Velocite, but I do give my honest opinion about them (I'm endorsed to race their bikes, not say nice things about them)

11.4
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Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 4:33 am

by 11.4

A disc rear and 5-spoke front, whether Mavic or FFWD or another brand, is a good professional-level solution but may be more than you need. And do be careful of some of the less expensive versions -- they don't offer the benefits that the Mavic Io/Comete combination have made famous.

Dura Ace and Phil Wood make superb track hubs with traditional threading and cog designs. The Dura Ace are very smooth and the hubs are stiff; the Phil's can be upgraded from the factory with low-friction bearings, but frankly, hub bearing resistance is the least of your issues here. Don't get anything more than 32 hole and consider something more like 24/28 as workhorse track wheels. I'd tend to steer clear of some of the fixie-oriented hubs because they either use nonstandard cog designs or are designed more with cosmetics than FEA-like design criteria to be sure they're bulletproof. People have criticisms of the traditional threaded track cog, but on the track it works and additionally, on the track you want to be able to borrow a cog as needed and most people will have traditional threaded cogs. Used equipment is also much cheaper that way as well, and you'll be compatible with discs or 5-spokes that only come with threaded cog setups.

On rims, don't go too high in profile. You'll find that on steep banking they tend to flex a bit across the sidewall, and that's quite unnerving. You have to buy high quality or track-specific high-profile tubular rims, but even then it's not necessarily as useful as something that is stiffer with a more moderate profile. And if your track isn't indoors, you can run into a crosswind every lap and high profile rims will give you handling problems.

At this point in your track career, you don't need to upgrade wheels like you might want to on the road. Track tends to be raced -- short of the elite level -- on pretty basic equipment, and fast wheels can look more poseur than appropriate.

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LouisN
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Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 3:44 am
Location: Canada

by LouisN

Thanks for the answer 11.4 :).
For events like the pursuit, I guess it's still Nice to have a fast wheelset and tubs...

Louis :)

istigatrice
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Joined: Sat May 12, 2012 8:32 am
Location: Australia

by istigatrice

Even for a pursuit I still don't think it matters, I don't think anything short of a well designed disc/5 spoke (or double disc) will actually be 'faster' than the stock wheels that came on your Felt.

@11.4 can I ask why you recommend 24/28 rather than 32/32 for the wheels? Is it based on LouisN's weight? All the track wheels I've seen at my local training sessions/races are usually either 32/32 or some variant of the Campy Shamal or Mavic Ellipse...
I write the weightweenies blog, hope you like it :)

Disclosure: I'm sponsored by Velocite, but I do give my honest opinion about them (I'm endorsed to race their bikes, not say nice things about them)

11.4
Posts: 1106
Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 4:33 am

by 11.4

LouisN was looking at deep section carbon rims and at omnium. The omnium next year has had pretty much all of the power events removed, so it's really just endure events. With carbon rims one doesn't have to go to 32 spoke on the track unless one is very heavy or is deeply into power events. Even then, most of the world cup circuit is ridden on 24/28 or even 20/24 Reynolds, Enve, Zipp, or similar wheels.

There are lookalike five-spoke front wheels and many disc wheels around, but there are unique properties to the Mavic Io and Comete that make them such a lasting part of track cycling. They are extraordinarily durable, the Comete is lenticular rather than flat (which really helps on the track), and the Comete alloy tire bed is superior for gluing. And they simply never fail. I've seen them go through incredible crashes and survive. Can't say that about any other wheel sets out there.

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