Do Track Bicycles Steer? (Steering Explained)

Whether track bikes steer or not is something that many cyclists, especially those new to the sport, wonder about. Track cycling is an exciting and fast-paced discipline that requires a significant amount of skill and control. Therefore, understanding how track bicycles handle is crucial for both safety and performance. In this blog post, we will explore the mechanics behind how track bicycles steer and what factors affect their handling.

Do Track Bikes Steer

Do Track Bicycles Steer?

Track bikes, just like normal road bikes, do steer but there is a difference in the amount of steering input required.

Different Steering Input for Track Cycling

In track cycling, the steering input required is different from that of road cycling. Track bicycles have highly responsive steering, meaning that even a small input can cause a noticeable change in direction. This is due to their steep head tube angles and low trail.

A novice cyclist might find it difficult to control the bike at high speeds and tight turns without proper training.

Experienced track cyclists use their body position and weight distribution to steer the bike, in addition to the handlebars.

They also require quick reflexes and precise timing to maneuver their way through the race.

Neutral steering is the baseline for handling in track bicycles, but it can be adjusted to suit the rider’s preference and the track conditions.

Understanding the different steering inputs required for track cycling is essential in achieving success on the velodrome.

Fixed-Gear and Lack of Brakes in Track Bicycles

One of the main features that sets track bicycles apart from road bicycles is that they have fixed gears, which means that they cannot coast. This lack of freewheeling makes track bicycles ideal for racing in velodromes and built for maximum speed and efficiency.

The absence of brakes is also a significant feature of track bicycles. This aspect of track bikes is derived from their origins in velodrome racing, where the use of brakes is strictly prohibited.

However, it is important to note that while fixed-gear and brakeless bicycles may not be suitable for everyone, they are still a popular choice for track cycling enthusiasts.

The fixed-gear and lack of brakes in track bicycles may be seen as limitations for some, but for those who understand and appreciate the benefits of these features, they can greatly enhance the riding experience.

Neutral Steering as Baseline for Handling in Track Bicycles

One unique aspect of riding a track bicycle is the baseline for handling, which is called neutral steering.

Unlike road bicycles, which can feel twitchy or sluggish, a track bicycle should handle neither. This ensures the most precise and efficient handling possible, especially when riding or racing on the banked tracks found at velodromes.

Neutral steering also plays a role in determining the rider’s center of gravity, which is crucial for maintaining balance and stability at high speeds.

While track bicycles lack the gears and brakes found on road bikes, their simple design and adherence to the principles of physics and mechanics make them ideal for the power, strength, speed, endurance, and strategy required for track cycling.

Requirements for Power, Strength, Speed, Endurance, and Strategy in Track Cycling

Track cycling demands specific physical and physiological attributes that are key to success in the sport.

Elite track cyclists must possess exceptional levels of power, strength, speed, endurance, and strategy to excel in their events.

While sprint events require explosive power and speed, endurance races demand stamina and the ability to execute tactical maneuvers effectively.

A well-rounded training plan should aim to develop all of these essential attributes.

In this way, track cyclists can confidently face the challenges that come with racing on challenging and unpredictable banked and cambered tracks while achieving maximum speeds and safety.

Riding and Racing in Cambered and Banked Tracks at Velodromes

The steeply banked oval tracks in modern velodromes demand exceptional skills in handling a specially-designed track bicycle.

The cyclist’s speed must be proportional to the angle of the slope and the turn radius of the turn for successful riding. This means that there is a specific steering input for track cycling that differs from the requirements for road cycling.

The cambered track also provides additional challenges, such as altered steering input due to the influence of other riders on the track.

Nevertheless, track cyclists thrive in these conditions, relying on their power, strength, speed, endurance, and strategy to gain an edge over their opponents.

With maximum speed and safety in mind, riders push themselves to achieve the highest level of performance on the velodrome.

Designed for Use on Velodromes (Less Than Ideal for Road Use)

it is possible to ride a track bike on the road, it can be an uncomfortable and even dangerous experience, as these bikes lack the gears, brakes, and handling capabilities required for road riding.

Instead, track bikes have narrow tires and stiff frames that are optimized for maximum speed and efficiency on smooth, flat surfaces.

For this reason, track bicycles are best suited for use in competition at velodromes, where their unique design can help riders achieve the high speeds and tight turns required for success.


Track bicycles do steer, but in a different way from road bicycles. The fixed-gear and lack of brakes in track bicycles require a different steering input when compared to road bicycles. The neutral steering is the baseline for handling in track bicycles, and the rider actively steers to obtain a desired steering angle. While track bicycles are designed for use on velodromes, they are less suitable for road use due to their limited gear ratio and lack of brakes.


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