Friday, July 1, 2011

zero clearance

I saw this bike parked outside my office a week or so ago, and ran back upstairs to grab a camera,  only to find it gone by the time I returned.   So I was very happy to come out and find it parked outside again 

I tried to tilt the camera to show the seat/ handlebar angle accurately- yowsa!

ZERO clearance at the fork-  The rider actually came out while I was snapping photos, and said that he had matching tires, but had to swap out the front one for a lower profile one because it was rubbing.  He said that he had now switched out the wheels, and that it had just come that way,  but I wonder if this frame originally had smaller wheels..

Not much clearance at the back either

Well hello there !

I find the curve of these handlebars unspeakably elegant:

 Too bad this is just a sticker headbadge- because it  has a nice retro charm to it


  1. Not much need for clearance on a track bike, no tread, no fenders, no brakes. It was built for tubular rim/tires not the clinchers being run on it, but as you can see from the scallop in the fork crown in the last pic, there is probably not much clearance with tubulars either. The clearance at the seat tube looks mighty (insert Whitey Bulger joke here)tight too.
    He must have felt comfortable leaving his bike there, just look at the bike locking method. I usually don't see that unless their are other messengers around.

  2. Real track bikes (like this one) are not really suited for urban riding, mostly because of the tire clearance. As the previous commenter noted they are meant for sew-ups, usually track specific ones that were 18-21c tops. Frame builders would show off skill by having crazy/needlessly tight clearances.

    When Russ Denny made my bike I asked for room for 25c, even though I was only going to use it on the track. Why limit my tire choices just to look cool?

  3. The tight clearances are only one of many reasons track bikes are poorly suited to street use. Those beautiful handlebars will seem less so on the street and it isn't drilled for brakes and the list goes on.

  4. The comments made so far are accurate. Track bikes aren't built for much else besides riding on a velodrome, although they've been used for all sorts of urban riding by messengers and other cyclists.

    Three decades ago, there was a bike called Rigi. Although it was a road (criterium) bike, it had even tighter clearances than the bike in the photos. In fact, the seat tube was "split": Instead of being one tube, it was a pair of twin parallel tubes, much like the "top tube" of a mixte frame. And the rear tire ran between those parallel tubes!

  5. Very nice aesthetics! Always admired these types of bikes for their simplicity...

  6. I agree with Ben, there's something very elegant about the simplicity of this bike...

  7. btw, I believe that the unofficial category for drop bars with a sharp curve at the tops and steep drops are Major Taylors after the old Worcester legend.