Anatomy of a Track Bike

Felt’s TK2, an out-of-the-box track racer: $1,549; feltracing.com.
Felt’s TK2, an out-of-the-box track racer: $1,549; feltracing.com.

Trust me, you don’t want to use your road bike. Anyway, Boulder Indoor Cycling has a full fleet of free loaner bikes, so you don’t have to throw down big bucks to see if you even like the sport. In case you want to know, here’s how a track bike differs from your road ride:

Steeper head angle: Makes for more responsive bike handling

Fixed gear: Track riders were on fixies decades before San Francisco bike messengers made them cool. There’s only one gear and you have to pedal if the bike is moving (no coasting). It’s for your own good—the fixed gear helps you keep your speed up and prevents you from doing anything stupid like stop pedaling, which could result in you falling off the track

No brakes: Again, it’s for your protection and those around you. Sudden slowing or stopping while riding in a pack usually results in bicycle carnage. That’s not to say you can’t control your speed: going higher on the track naturally slows you down. You can apply back pressure on the pedals when exiting the track to come to a complete stop on flat ground.

Higher bottom bracket and shorter crank length: Keeps you from scraping a petal on the track

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