Track Bike built for City Streets, Raw Speed

Last month, in anticipation of a few competitive street races and alleycat events coming up, we set out to build an ultimate urban machine.

This fixed-gear track bike is built on a scandium frame from LA-based Wabi Cycles and assembled with components picked to balance both rideability on city streets as well as pure speed.

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GearJunkie’s “Ultimate Urban Machine”

The result is a capable urban rocket that can leap from a standstill to 25mph in a few pedal strokes, swerve past potholes in traffic, skid to a stop with back pressure on the cranks, and take in the bumps of the road. Below is a breakdown of the parts and components on our ultimate fixie’s frame. —Stephen Regenold

Crankset: SRAM Omnium. Super strong, super stiff, the Omnium Crankset offers a 5mm-thick chainring and smooth performance as you crank up to speed. We went with a 48-tooth gear for extra power (matched on back with a 16-tooth cog). Mates with 1/8” chain. $256.

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48 teeth on the burly SRAM Omnium Chainring

Chain: The Shadow Conspiracy Interlock V2. Half-link style 1/8” chain originally developed for the BMX world. Extra tough design for responsiveness and mission-critical strength during deceleration and braking at high speed. A no-brainer upgrade, the Interlock V2 costs about $30.

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Extra stout chain has roots in BMX world

Rear Cog: Surly Fixed. Chrome-plated steel gear for track hub on rear wheel. 1/8” tooth thickness. We went with the 16-tooth version (available in 13- to 22-tooth setups). The Surly Fixed cogs cost about $25.

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Cog from Surly

Frame: Wabi Lightning. Made of scandium, this lightweight frame is four years old but still one of our favorites ever made. It came as a complete build from Wabi Cycles of Los Angeles, a boutique fixed-gear builder that concentrates on track-style bikes made for racing and road rides. In our hands, the Lightning frame has stood up to thousands of miles of urban riding and dozens of races. Our original build is reviewed here. Sadly, the scandium frame is now discontinued.

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Badged for a bike junkie

Pedals: Crank Brothers Eggbeaters Ti. Mountain biking pedals are tough and versatile. The Eggbeaters Ti are also light as a feather, weighing a miniscule 174 grams per pair. Made of titanium and stainless steel. Built to last for years (our last pair cranked for eight years of hard use) but not cheap. $425 for the pair.

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Eggbeaters pedals

Handlebar: Specialized Pista Track. No bar tape on these ultra stiff drop handles means bike gloves are a requirement with the Pista Track. Made of a burly aluminum with a deep drop position for sprints and hills. Comfortable wider hand grip on top. We mated the Pista bars to Specialized’s Pro CLP aluminum stem, a road or mountain-bike compatible part that makes for a bomber cockpit setup.

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Gloves are requisite for tape-less track drop bars

Saddle: Specialized Romin Pro. A carbon-reinforced shell with thin foam padding gives stiffness and durability (and light weight). Contoured channels on the Romin Pro, which costs $200, maximize blood flow and thus comfort and performance on long rides.

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Carbon seatpost and race-ready Specialized saddle

Carbon rails on the saddle connect to the seatpost, for which we picked Specialized’s Pro Road Carbon 2 Bolt. This “race-ready” post offers a carbon mast with a two-bolt head assembly with aluminum cradle. Weight is 215 grams. Seatpost is $145.

Tires: Continental SuperSport Plus. Glass and debris are realities of the urban road. As such, we bank “super heavy duty,” as the company puts it, on our tire choice. This SuperSport Plus tire has an extra-thick casing rubber and a purported “flat-proof” belt. So far, that claim has stood up after more than 100 miles of riding. Advertised for messengers, hardcore commuters and fixie riders. 700 × 25C size. $45 apiece.

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Tough rubber on Continental SuperSport Plus tires to prevent flats on the urban road

Wheels: Mavic Ellipse Track. Balancing speed for races and workaday durability and performance for city streets, the Mavic Ellipse Track have low-drag aluminum rims and bladed steel spokes. Flip-flop rear hub for freewheel or fixed. 30 mm deep welded rim. Low spoke count (20 front and rear). Not the lightest at 1895 grams a pair but solid for all-around use and not a bad price either. $550 for the set.

—Stephen Regenold is the editor and founder of GearJunkie. He wrote recently on the track bike trend in the post “The Fixie is Dead, Long Live the Fixie!”

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Finished build weighs a lightning-fast 16 pounds

Posted by Andrew - 10/13/2012 06:39 PM

I wish people would stop calling frames “scandium”. They are aluminum with a tiny amount of scandium added for its metalurgical benefits. A frame actually made of this somewhat rare metal would probably cost more than a Rolls-Royce.

Posted by Editor - 10/15/2012 07:36 AM

Andrew, good point. But really it’s a different feel than most aluminum frames. Lighter and perhaps a bit more forgiving on bumps compared to similar aluminum rigs we’ve ridden. Love this frame!

Posted by Plinko - 10/15/2012 05:29 PM

Final weight?

Posted by Nick - 11/12/2012 11:45 AM

Since the frame is discontinued, what frame would you recommend as a replacement?

Posted by Editor - 11/12/2012 11:06 PM

Weight is about 16 pounds.

Frame… Wabi has other frames we’d look at still in production. Honestly, there are so many of great track frames on the market, so it’s often price and personal choice. In the GJ office, we have a Surly (CrossCheck), an All City (Macho Man), a Kona (Paddy Wagon), and more.

Posted by shyam dhruv - 12/21/2012 01:13 AM

how long are the crank arms? i like the half link and the egg beaters. i have 160cm crank arms with egg beaters i love egg beaters!

http://www.pedalroom.com/bike/leader-721-tr-2338

Posted by lkmhaqer - 08/06/2013 09:27 AM

Does the half link chain wear faster or slower than a normal chain? How much more than a regular 1/8” KMC?

Also looks like you guys pictures a freehub cog, but [try to] link to fixed gear cogs :S

http://surlybikes.com/parts/drivetrain/fixed_cogs

Posted by Editor - 08/08/2013 10:01 PM

Good catch on the cog, we swapped out that pic.

Chain wear… not sure yet. This 1/8’‘ is still going strong a few months out and lots of riding.

Posted by Junior Rahman - 03/14/2014 10:45 AM

Would you recommend the Lighting SE since the scandium frame is no longer available? If not, which frame set would you recommend? I’m looking for something with no branding.

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