As cycling gains popularity, more and more of us are looking to customize our bicycles to fit our specific needs. In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between track bikes and road bikes, and take a closer look at what it takes to transform your track bike into a road-worthy machine.
Can You Turn a Track Bike into a Road Bike?
You can definitely convert a track (fixie) bike into a Road bike by doing a few adjustments.
Differences between Track Bikes & Road Bikes
The differences between track bikes and road bikes are significant, and they make it challenging to turn a track bike into a road bike.
The most noticeable difference is that a track bike is a fixed-gear bicycle, while road bikes typically have multiple gears.
Track bikes lack freewheels, brakes, and other components that are essential for navigating the streets.
Track bike tires are also specialized and designed for indoor use on a velodrome. On the other hand, road bikes are built with versatility in mind and can handle various terrains and riding styles.
While some parts of a track bike might be useful for a road bike, it’s far easier and more affordable to purchase a road bike rather than converting a track bike.
Parts of a Track Bike that can be used on a Road Bike
Building a safe and reliable road bike from a track bike requires careful selection of compatible and reliable parts.
The frame of a track bike can be used for a road bike as both have a similar geometry designed for speed optimization.
The wheels can be modified with a fixed gear cog and lock ring for use on the roads.
Certain components like pedals, handlebars, and brake levers can be transferred from a track bike to a road bike, provided they are compatible.
However, it’s important to note that not all parts of a track bike can be used on a road bike, such as the chainring and chain.
Exceptional Parts That Cannot Be Used for Road Biking
While some parts of a track bike can be used for road biking, there are a few exceptional parts that cannot be used.
Track bikes do not have brakes, which can be extremely unsafe for road biking. A suitable braking system is a must-have for any road bike.
Additionally, track bikes do not typically have multiple gears. The fixed gear setup of a track bike is good for racing on a velodrome, but on a road bike, it can be difficult to tackle hills and varying terrains.
Rear Hub Spacing and its Importance
Track bikes typically have a narrower rear hub spacing of 120mm, while road bikes usually have a wider hub spacing of 130mm.
This difference can have a significant impact on the wheel’s bracing angle and rigidity, as well as its clearance between the frame tubes.
However, with the use of spacer washers, it is possible to adjust the spacing of a conventional threaded axle for a wider spacing, although it may not be ideal.
Tips for Building a Safe and Reliable Track Bike for the Road
1- Make sure the bike has adequate lighting and a horn to comply with road regulations.
2- Consider installing brakes if the track bike doesn’t have them.
3- Choose tires that are suitable for both track and road use.
4- Check the condition of the bike’s frame and components to ensure they are in good working order.
5- Consider adding accessories such as fenders and a comfortable seat to make the bike more practical and enjoyable for everyday use.
By following these tips, riders can ensure their converted track bike is safe, reliable and enjoyable for both the track and road.
Why Converting a Road Bike Is Preferable to a Track Bike?
Converting a road bike is often a more preferable option than turning a track bike into a road bike. While both can be done, the process of converting a road bike is often simpler and more cost-effective.
Road bikes are designed to handle various terrains and riding styles, making them a more versatile option for the road.
On the other hand, track bikes are specifically designed for the velodrome and may be uncomfortable or difficult to ride on other surfaces.
Using a Track Bike for the Road: Will it be Enjoyable?
It’s not impossible to use a track bike for road biking, but it might not be the most enjoyable ride.
Track bikes are designed for short, intense bursts of speed, whereas road bikes are built for longer, more comfortable rides.
The aggressive geometry of a track bike might not be conducive to a comfortable ride on the road, and the lack of gear options could make uphill climbs difficult.
However, if properly converted, a track bike can make for a unique and enjoyable road experience.
It’s important to consider factors such as saddle position and handlebar height to make the ride more comfortable, and to ensure that the brakes, which are minimal on a track bike, are properly installed and functional for road biking.
Turning a track bike into a road bike is possible, but it depends on several factors. While some parts of a track bike can be used for the road, exceptional parts must be avoided. Rear hub spacing is also important for safe and proper functioning. Using a track bike for the road might not be as enjoyable compared to using a road bike.