East london cruiser to track racer supremo

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  • I've bought a cheap Dolan SS/ Fixed gear bike from Ebay and I want to build it up so I can start riding on the track. This will be my first foray into building up a bike/ and track cycling, but I'm up for the challenge. I'd love YOUR input, as I have no idea what I'm doing, what size gearing I need etc etc.

    I'd like to get all new bits and bobs for it, spray it a fantastic colour (TBC) and hope for the best! Plus I love a mood board and a bit of branding...

    The bike looks like its never been cleaned ever, so I can't wait to give it a real overhaul.

    I've put a new stand-in saddle for the moment.


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  • Have you ever ridden track before? Assuming the cranks are short enough (165mm) and gearing is ok (84" - 88"??) might be worth just swapping out the bars, losing the front break and having a go before building up a whole bike.

    Don't get me wrong, I've built up whole bikes on a whim - I'm sure I'm not alone there... Just a thought :-)

  • This is exactly the kinds of questions I was hoping people would ask!

    I’m not sure about the crank length, the gear is definitely too small currently, and No, I’ve never ridden track, But I’m sure I’d love it and if I don’t do it that often, I will still have a nice bike, so it’s a win win

  • Others will know better, but some tracks might not allow some of the longer crank lengths.

  • I am not also sure about the bottle bosses, can't remember if Herne Hill was funny about them. Might need to take the bolts out for training. Also if you are starting out don't get those deep drop bars like on your mood board, just go for normal shallow drop road bars.

    Beginner track training means for a gear ratio you'll want about 80gi, so like 48x16 or 48x15. You can also sorta get around town on that but it will be bad for your knees over time. If the rear wheel is fixed / fixed you can prob stick a 18t cog on the other side and make it easier to get around. You'll also need to get good take the brake (amd lever) on and off unless you install brakeless. Otherwise it's done, just make sure your chain is new, front chainring bolts are tighten appropriately and your wheels are in good condition. Otherwise you're good.

  • Sweet, thank you. Is the thing about the drops because they’re more challenging to use? It’s currently 46x18 so I’ll sort that out.

  • It's some time since I raced on the track, but isn't 84 GI a better starter gear?

  • The track drops in the ref pictures do have quite a lot of... drop which some find uncomfy to start with. They also don't have much to grab onto other than the drops (i.e no flat top or curve for the hoods where you might want to rest your hands, chill between things). Make sure to get bars that actually fit your shoulders!

  • Courtesy of HH

    The frame must have a bottom bracket height of at least 265mm (from ground to centre) when using 165mm cranks (more if using longer cranks)

    Gearing should be between 82 and 88 gear inches for novice riders. (48 x 15 (86″) is ideal for adult riders); a slightly higher ratio around 88-90 gear inches is preferred for racing.

    Bottle mounts are completely fine btw - just no braze ons

  • Awesome, thanks a lot, that’s brilliant info from all of you.
    The BB has plenty of clearance and the cranks are 165mm, so that’s fortunate. I’ll order some new gears and a new chain and I’m almost there. Then- get her painted up...

  • If you're swapping between street and track gear there's a limit to how much difference there can be depending on available track end length/chain length. With your street gear on try and set the chain length so the wheel is as far forward in the track ends as possible (but with enough movement that you can get the chain off without breaking it) so when you put the smaller sprocket for the track gear on it won't go off the end.

    48-15 is a good starting point for Herne Hill but you'll want to go a little higher eventually, 50-15 or 48-14. For handlebars I'd recommend getting some standard road drops in the shape you prefer (compact or traditional) rather than specific track bars because you'll want to be able to ride on the tops comfortably when not on the track. If you're not used to riding in the drops for an hour +, as a rule of thumb you want your wrist to stay straight to help stop numbness, for me this means using classic curve bars with a flat bottom part tilted down slightly. It may take some experimentation to find the bars you like best so don't drop too much cash on the first ones you try.

  • I stand corrected, aim for 84gi so 48x15. Are you going to rattle can or get someone to do?

    Also just a thought the consensus around here seems to be to not refer to things with a she/her pronoun. I know this forum is sadly mostly full of dudes but I think we all try to aim a little higher than a yacht club.

  • Thanks, that’s a good idea with the track/street gear scenario, thank you.

    I’m used to riding in the drops on my road bike as that’s my usual method, but it sounds very sensible to not get too deep-a drops

  • And fair enough, I like to think I’m a feminist, so I’ll refrain from using that pronoun in future.

    *I’ll get zher painted up

  • Looks great from a reference point. Sheriff star campag/ campag large flange hubs though are technically only good for track use as campag absolved themselves of any liability after a few nasty fails streetside, if it's going to do a bit of both.

  • How are you going to paint it?

  • Good question JT. I'm going to find a powder coating place near me in my post-lockdown abode in Salisbury. I really like the Matt/satin look as I think it just adds a touch of class to the occasion.

    I want something up the side of it as it just finishes it off nicely, but I wont be reinstating the Dolan branding. I was thinking I'd come up with a fun phrase (as putting my name up the side would be too much) but have that fun phrase translated into Japanese as a nod to the Keirin, and I think it will just look quite cool.

    Klein blue, Corally pink or sunshine yellow. And decal colours in contrasting colours. Or just white. Not sure yet, but I'll design something snazzy and get my printer at work to cut the vinyls for me.

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  • All the parts I ordered have arrived now and I've put them in place...

    I got the gearing as suggested 48x15, found a pair of Nitto B123 bars on ebay for £20, so had to go for it at that price and see how I get on. The bar tape is only on as a test.

    I got Miche Pistard wheels with Vittoria Pista Graphene 23mm tyres.

    And a new Velo Orange stem to bring a bit of the classic cycle vibe to round things off.

    I'm not entirely sure what the tension on the chain needs to be, but I'm blaming the red wine for chopping the chain too small- I got away with it...Just.

    Still thinking about colour, but I found a powder coating place near work, so I'll take it there next week!

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  • Looks nice, good work!

    Are you going SPDS, SPD-SL, ie what foot retention?

  • When it’s in street formation- I’ll put the original wheels back on and attach the brake and just keep these pedals, but in track formation, I’ll use SPD-SLs like I have on my road bike.

    I’m going to get the powder coating people to shot-blast the old wheels to make them look less scrappy and inconsistent. And the seat post for good measure.

  • Mock UP! I've taken the frame to be powder coated. I chose RAL 3015 Hellrosa in their "Matt"- which is more like a satin finish. Looking forward to getting it back. In the mean time, I've mocked up the bike with the graphics.

    I had some phrases translated into Japanese by a translator- I asked him to translate not literally, but to come up with reasonable phrases that make sense in Japanese:

    Do not steal this bike!
    This is my bike.

    For ‘fast and loose’ I think maybe
    Means basically ‘it’ll work out somehow’

    “Life is good”
    I think something like
    Alternatively another angle could be
    Which are literally characters to ‘flower, bird, wind, moon’ and refers to the beauty of everything in nature

    Or just
    人生良好 which is “life good” but is a bit vague. I’ve found it in hanging calligraphy wall scrolls though so maybe people would get it

    So I've chosen a few of these for mine.

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  • Fun project!
    Could you share the powder coaters details ? I’m looking for one in Wiltshire. Cheers 👍

  • Vibes

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East london cruiser to track racer supremo

Posted by Avatar for TimothyTyndale @TimothyTyndale