Can You Put Brakes on a Track Bike?

For those new to the world of track cycling, one question that often comes up is whether or not track bikes can have brakes. It seems counterintuitive – after all, aren’t you supposed to go as fast as possible on these bikes? However, safety is always a concern, and there are a few different options for adding brakes to a track bike. If you’re considering track cycling or just curious about the sport, read on to learn more about the debate over brakes on track bikes.

Can You Put Brakes on a Track Bike

Can You Put Brakes on a Track Bike?

You can put brakes on a track bike but it will have safety concerns speed limitations. By taking the necessary precautions and protecting the track frame, riders can safely add brakes to their track bike.

Track bikes do not come equipped with brakes due to their origins on velodromes, where it is not necessary to come to a sudden stop.

Additionally, the absence of brakes promotes a smoother and more controlled ride on the track.

However, this does not mean that track bikes cannot have brakes added to them. It is important to carefully consider the potential safety concerns and explore alternative options before deciding to add brakes to a track bike.

By understanding the one gear ratio of a fixed-gear track bike and the importance of a rear brake for maximum braking, riders can make informed decisions about adding brakes to their bike.

Safety Concerns with Adding Brakes to a Track Bike

Adding brakes to a track bike may seem like a logical safety measure, but it’s not without its own risks.

First and foremost, track bikes are designed for racing on velodromes, which means they have a fixed gear and no brakes.

Installing brakes on a track bike may affect its handling and cause the rider to lose control.

Additionally, the added weight of the brakes and cables may compromise the bike’s aerodynamics and overall performance.

Despite these concerns, some companies offer fork drilling services to install brakes on track bikes.

However, riders should carefully consider the potential risks before making any modifications to their track bikes.

Alternatives to Brakes for Slowing Down a Track Bike

For those who are hesitant about adding brakes to their track bike, there are alternative options available to slow down or stop the bike.

One alternative is using a reverse pedal braking system, where the rider can quickly stop the bike by pedaling backward.

Another option is using a fixed-gear flip-flop hub, which allows the rider to switch between fixed gear and freewheel mode. In freewheel mode, the rider can use a rear brake to slow down the bike.

Additionally, using skid stops, where the rider locks up the rear wheel and skids to a stop, can also be effective for slowing down a track bike.

Companies That Offer Fork Drilling for Brakes on a Track Bike

If you’re considering adding brakes to your track bike, you may be wondering where to turn for help with drilling your fork.

Fortunately, there are several companies that offer this service, allowing you to safely and securely add a brake without damaging your frame.

When looking for a company to work with, it’s important to choose one with experience working on track bikes specifically, as they will have a better understanding of the unique needs and specifications involved.

Some popular options include Erik’s Bike Shop, Cycle Monkey, and Sycip Designs.

Keep in mind that drilling your fork will void any warranty you may have on your frame, so it’s wise to proceed with caution and choose a reputable provider with a solid track record of success.

Brake Options for Fixie Bikes with a Front and Rear Wheel

The most common brake options for fixies (track bikes are fixed gear) are caliper rim brakes or V-brakes. These brakes work by squeezing the wheel rim to slow down the bike.

Another option is to install a front and rear disc brake system. This will require a specific disc-compatible fork and frame, as well as disc brake calipers and rotors.

It’s important to note that adding brakes to a fixie bike may add weight and alter the aesthetic of the bike.

However, for those who value safety while riding, brakes can provide peace of mind on the road.

Understanding the One Gear Ratio of a Fixed-Gear Track Bike

Understanding the one gear ratio of a fixed-gear track bike is key to selecting the appropriate gear for your riding style and terrain.

Fixed-gear bikes are single-speed, and a derailleur for gear selection would introduce chain slack, interfering with braking.

Therefore, it’s essential to choose a gear ratio that complements your riding. A singlespeed bike gives you a single gear ratio with a freewheel, and if you put it one way around, the gear is fixed, but if you flip it, the gear ratio will change.

While it might seem limiting, it’s essential to understand the gear ratio’s importance, as it can make or break your ride.

The Importance of a Rear Brake for Maximum Braking

The front brake is the primary means of stopping a track bike, but that doesn’t mean the rear brake is irrelevant. In fact, the rear brake plays a significant role in staged braking, which allows for smoother and more controlled deceleration.

Additionally, the rear brake can help prevent wheel lockup and provide stability during hard braking.

Using only the front brake can cause the bike to pitch forward, leading to an unstable and dangerous situation. Therefore, a properly functioning rear brake is essential for maximum braking performance on a track bike.

Purchasing a Separate Brake Lever for Riser, Straight, or Bullhorn Bars

When it comes to adding brakes to a riser, straight, or bullhorn bar on a track bike (Fixie), purchasing a separate brake lever is essential.

These types of bars don’t typically have space for brake levers, so a separate lever must be installed. There are plenty of options available to choose from.

It’s important to remember that not all brake levers will work with every type of handlebar, so it’s crucial to research and choose a compatible option.

Additionally, riders should choose a lever that is lightweight and durable.

With the right brake lever and handlebar combination, adding brakes to a track bike is a safe and practical option for riders.

How to Protect Your Track Frame While Adding Brakes?

When considering adding brakes to a track bike, it’s important to take steps to protect the integrity of the frame.

One option is to consult with a professional bike mechanic who is experienced in drilling the fork for brakes.

This will ensure that the job is done correctly and that the frame remains structurally sound.

Another option is to use brake adapters that attach to the bike without drilling into the frame. However, it’s important to note that these adapters may not be as effective as drilling the fork.

Final Thoughts!

While it is true that track bikes are traditionally designed without brakes for safety reasons, some riders may feel more comfortable with the added security of brakes. There are companies that offer fork drilling services to install a front brake on a track bike. Additionally, riders can opt for a rear brake, which can significantly improve braking performance. It’s important to note that adding brakes to a track bike can require some modifications, such as purchasing a separate brake lever and protecting the frame from damage.


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