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Track Wheels - In search of top speed

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Track bike wheels are specifically designed for peak performance in velodromes. The main questions surrounding these wheels concern their aerodynamics, the stiffness required for sprints, the best rim size and width for top performance, manufacturing materials, the suitability of disc wheels for competition, and spoke tension management. Other common questions include the choice between fixed and freewheel setups, the impact of spoke count on speed, and best maintenance practices.
Why is aerodynamics so crucial for track bike wheels?
In the competitive environment of velodromes, every fraction of a second counts. Aerodynamic wheels reduce air resistance, allowing the rider to reach higher speeds with less effort. Profiled rims and solid wheels with lenticular flanges are often preferred to minimize resistance and optimize speed.
How important is wheel stiffness in track sprints?
Stiffness plays an essential role during explosive sprints. A rigid wheel efficiently transfers pedaling power into the track, without any loss of energy due to bending of the wheel. This enables rapid acceleration and maintenance of speed. Materials such as carbon are often chosen for their combination of stiffness and lightness.
Fixed wheels vs. freewheels: what's the difference on the track?
On velodromes, bicycles are fitted with fixed-gear wheels, which means that the pedals are always in motion when the wheel is turning. This configuration gives the rider total control, allowing rapid speed adjustments and a better connection with the bike. Freewheeling allows the pedals to remain stationary even when the wheel is in motion, which is a feature not favored in the track context.
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