TRed’s all-new SpeedWay Kartodrome completely reimagines their classic Manaia track bike for the unique flat go kart track racing that’s growing in the urban fixie racing scene. With huge volume tires and totally reshaped geometry built for flat, high-speed cornering, the SpeedWay Kartodrome debuted with a win and a podium at the Italian Fixed Gear National Championships last weekend, and could be coming to your indoor asphalt racing scene or even city streets soon…
TRed SpeedWay Kartodrome flat track cart racing fixed gear
Italian-made T°Red bikes has long made championship-winning fixed gear bikes – or rather, more traditional track bikes – with their stiff scandium alloy Manaia Pista. They then adapted that light, stiff fixed gear racer into a crit race bike adding gears for the special edition Manaia Nera FA. And more recently, TRed even took it to another wild extreme in their modern aero alloy Horkokhan stayer bike for motor-paced track racing.
But none of those were really suited to modern urban fixie racing on a flat karting track at superhigh speeds with incredibly tight turns. And taking inspiration from the Rad Race format we’ve seen in Berlin over the past five years or so (often dominated by Italian racers, as I recall) that’s just what this year’s Italian Fixed Gear National Championships had in store…
Never shy to develop a niche race bike for a unique challenge, TRed’s Bianca Lab experimental development team set out to figure out what would make the perfect go kart track racing fixed gear bike for their Factory Racing team riders.
In fact, it seems that the men’s prototype bikes had been stolen a few weeks earlier, so only Francesca Selva had a chance to train a bit ahead of the main event, on a separate Affi kart track since the race venue wasn’t open to ride in advance.
Fixie Karting-specific Tech Details
The first thing we noticed about this odd karting track bike is the large volume rubber.
Inspired by the wide flat tires of racing go karts, TRed developed the bikes around large-volume René Herse 38mm front & 44mm rear tires with the goal of getting as much rubber on the road as possible for the tight <10m radius turns (much larger than the 28mm slicks many competitors raced.) The idea being that the larger lateral tire footprint would allow for much greater lean angles and faster cornering.
To make that fit (and even a tire up to 50mm wide up front), the bikes get a wide & relatively long 397mm axle-to-crown carbon fork. A 12mm thru-axle provides stiffness, and 43-50mm adjustable rake via an eccentric at the dropout allows adjustment of the bike’s handling, tailored to a specific track or riding style.
To get the 10° greater lean angles than traditional fixie competitors which TRed says they saw in racing, the bike needed a much higher bottom bracket since fixed gear riders can’t freewheel through the turns. So the bottom bracket was raised by a full 4cm vs. a regular track bike resulting in a very minimal 25mm drop. Likely not a bike for high-speed alpine descending, but nice and twitchy fast for karting.
Those small 30-35mm diameter butted chromoly steel tubes were also specifically chosen to give the bike a more springy, less stiff ride to lean into the tight turns and jump out of them without losing grip, rather than the harsher-ride of an alloy frame.
The resulting relatively low front end from the combination of the smaller front tire, the super high BB, compact geometry, and flat toptube also means a pretty dramatic rise to the stem (not unlike on the Horkokhan stayer, where aero performance also rules). The tapered 1.5″ internal headset is topped by a 140mm long 20° rise stem to get Francesca Selva’s ideal kart racing position, paired to a 50cm wide compact reach alloy gravel handlebar with big 12° flare for plenty of leverage (70mm reach, 110mm drop.)
The complete bike is finished off with an eclectic mix of tough components:
- Rotor Aldhu 165mm alloy cranks with Track 30 spindle, 140mm Q-factor & BSA BB
- Rotor Direct Mount 36 or 38T MTB chainring with 42.5mm chainline
- Izumi Super Toughness 1/8″ track chain & Royce 13T titanium track cog
- TOOT high-profile carbon rims – 87mm deep rear, 61mm front
- Trabocchi P70 Madison alloy rear track hub made in Argentina
- Industry 9 alloy front hub made in the US
- laced in Italy by PippoWheels with 24 aero spokes & red alloy nipples
- Selva raced with a 0mm offset Deda seatpost, while the men raced a setback post
- Dash Stage 115x245mm saddle
But there’s no denying that this is a very unique bike, adapted specifically for a very niche style of racing. The question is what it might be like to ride outside of a go kart track?
TRed SpeedWay Kartodrome kart racing fixie – Real availability & options?
The new bike was ultimately ridden to a decisive Italian Fixed Gear Championship win by Selva in its debut race (and a second place in the men’s race by Alessandro Mariani in his first day riding the new bike!)
Now, does any consumer really need a flat track kart racing fixed gear race bike? TRed thinks there could be a real (but admittedly small) market for the SpeedWay Kartodrome, so they do plan to make it available to consumers later this summer.
They have three variations in the works to make the unique bike more real-world-usable to a wider range of urban cyclists…
The core TRed SpeedWay Kartodrome will be a brakeless fixed gear race bike just like Selva raced to the championship win above. Then, a TRed SpeedWay UrbanFighter version will add in a front disc brake for more street riding versatility, plus the option to have a fixed or singlespeed freewheel rear wheel, or even the power-regenerating e-bike rear wheel tech we saw in their BestiaNera Hybrid a few years back! Lastly, this autumn a SpeedWay DirtyFighter will be added too, likely with off-road tires suitable for gravel flat track racing or a bit of junkyard cross? Only time will tell on that one.
How much it will actually cost is still up in the air, but TRed says the price will be “nothing crazy” so we expect it somewhere closer to the ~2000€ alloy Manaia track frameset, rather than the more complete ~4000€ alloy Horkokhan stayer frameset & cockpit kit.