Introduction to Velodrome and Track Bike

Introduction to Velodrome and Track Bike

Many of us are familiar with Velodrome from watching Summer Olympics cycling competition. However, how many of us rode on Velodrome track before and how many know the details of velodrome and the bikes?  This article will provide basic comparison of velodrome versus road bike riding experience plus the details about track bike.


At high velocity – track riders were spotted almost perpendicular to the track wall.


Author warming up on the track.

What is the difference between Velodrome versus road bike racing? Is it simply just the track?

The short answer is “no, it’s not just the track.”

Racing on a velodrome is called “Track Racing”.  Track racing is completely different from road-bike racing.  Not only the racing field is different, the techniques required to succeed on the race are different.

Track racing bicycle is called a “Track Bike”; it is built on a single fixed gear and it does not have a brake.  A single fixed gear bicycle does not allow the rider to coast or freewheel on the bike, which means your bike will go backwards if you pedal your bike backwards.

The nature of track bike is the true challenge for beginner track riders.  First, they cannot coast on the bike.  Second, they cannot stop the bike using a brake because there isn’t any.  Third, when you ride on a track bike with clipless pedal, your feet are attached on the pedal, so there is no quick way to release yourself from the bike.

It requires a good motor control skill to ride a track bike, let alone riding it on the track since you’ll need to maintain a minimum speed on the track.  In addition, you need to pace your speed and space carefully among the riders so you don’t just run into them. Riding a track bike for the first time is similar to learning how to ride a bicycle all over again!

How do you come to a complete stop without a brake?

Riders need to ride a few more rounds on the track to slow down the speed, then apply backward resistance on the pedal until it comes to a complete stop.

The Anatomy of Track Bike


Track Bike Anatomy

Bike seat: Notice that the bike seat is much higher than the handle bar to increase the aerodynamic flow while racing.  For people who are used to riding road bike, the difference is noticeable.

Bike Gear: According to National Sports Center, the size or development of the gear may change according to the rider’s ability or the type of event.  This make sense because you need to use the gear setting that will allow maximum performance on your race.

Bike Tire: Track bike tires can weigh from 4 oz up to 8 oz.  In order to enhance the speed way beyond a typical road bike, the tires can be inflated to high pressures – often as high as 180 psi. The smooth surface on the track allows high pressure on the tires without getting the tire punctured on the track.

To learn more about related topics, please refer to the links below: