Find a Club

MCF member clubs welcome new members of all levels. Here are just a few.
Behind-Bars/LGR
Contact:  Ryan Marsel
Website:  Little Guy Racing
 
Gopher Wheelmen
Contact:  Matthew Sterling
Website:  gopherwheelmen.org
 

Bike & Fitness/Subway

Contact:  George Odio
Website:  www.bikeandfitnessco.com

 

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Track wheels are built to be stiffer and withstand more torque than road wheels.  So, high-flange hubs, stiffer rims, and beefier spokes are common.  But given the quality of most standard road wheels these days, the differences in strength and stiffness between track and road wheels perhaps aren’t as great as they used to be.  In fact, if you could get rid of the quick release on a front road wheel, you could probably use it on your track bike without a problem.

Why can’t you have a quick release on the front wheel of your track bike?  In the “old days”, quick releases were straight and were liable to poke riders in the event of a crash.  So they weren’t favored for track racing, since a quick wheel change at the side of the road was never necessary.  That convention stuck.  

Perhaps more to the point, you really can’t have a quick release on the rear wheel, so why bother having one on the front?  You’ll need a wrench either way.  For the rear wheel, a quick release would likely not hold the dropout solidly enough to prevent the wheel from pulling on a standing start or hard acceleration.  So you really do need bolt-on axles on the rear wheel; it’s not just tradition.

Of course, the fact that there are no quick releases on track wheels means that the axles are solid (quick-release axles are, of course, hollow), and solid axles are stronger.  Axle strength isn’t the reason track bikes don’t have quick releases, but at least for the rear axle, it’s a nice benefit.

 

One of the items you won’t find on a road bike is a lock-ring that prevents the rear cog from loosening up as you put back-pressure on the pedals.  Given that back-pressure is your only “brake”, it would seem that the lock-ring is pretty important.

And in some cases, it probably is.  As one person told me, if you had a problem and caused a crash, and the race official saw that you didn’t have a lock-ring on the rear wheel, you might be in trouble.  And it doesn’t hurt to have a lock-ring on there; it just takes a little longer to change the rear cog.

Having said all that, track racers rarely use lock-rings.  Once a cog has been tightened onto the rear wheel (a few hard pedal strokes will ensure that), experienced riders seem to figure that it won’t loosen up.

So, if you’re wondering whether to use a lock-ring, use one.

 
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