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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 02-05-08, 10:06 AM   #1
tabnlu
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New Seat, new pedals, now what?

I have a 2000 Trek 1000 bike. I really like the frame on this bike and it has always ridden very smoothly for me. I, however, can't seem to keep up with other bikers in the area that have better equipment, though my cadence seems to be the same as theirs. What would the next upgrade be? Chainring, bottom bracket, cassette?

I just started researching this and I already have tired head.

Thanks!
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Old 02-05-08, 10:18 AM   #2
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Just keep riding, with weekly basic maintenance, until things start wearing out and then think about upgrades. By that stage you should be fit enough to leave the non-clydes suffering in your wake.

Edit: Just spotted the bikes age - if you haven't replaced your chain regularly you may need to replace your drive train (cassette, chain, chain rings, jockey wheels) but only if it's showing a lot of wear.
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Old 02-05-08, 10:43 AM   #3
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If your cadence is the same as theirs and you're losing ground, it means they're spinning a higher gear than you are.

If your chain, rings, cassette, etc. are in good condition, then the next upgrade is the motor. Keep riding. Ride farther, ride faster, push harder. Eventually you'll be keeping pace with those guys.
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Old 02-05-08, 10:56 AM   #4
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That's the point! I'm in a high gear already. Does a new chainring and or cassette make that much of a difference?
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Old 02-05-08, 11:30 AM   #5
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That's the point! I'm in a high gear already. Does a new chainring and or cassette make that much of a difference?
In a word, no. The primary reason to replace your chain is that a worn out one is at risk of breaking. Murphy's law says this will happen at the most inopportune time, such as when you're 15 miles from home standing up while climbing a hill. To avoid this inconvenient, and potentially painful, event, a new chain is in order. Since other parts of the drive train also wear, when you replace the chain, those should also be checked and replaced as needed. If these components are ok, no replacement is needed.

If you plan to do the work yourself, consider buying a book on bike maintenance, or do some searches to find some of the online guides. If you don't plan to do the work yourself, find a bike shop that you feel you can trust to tell you what's really needed instead of one that will just sell you lots of new parts for the sake of making money.

It's not uncommon for someone to think "if I had better equipment I'd be faster". In reality, as has already been said, the condition of the motor is way more important than the newness or cost of the bike you're on. Something I like to keep in mind when I'm tempted to buy the latest gadget or bike is that if Lance and I swapped bikes, he'd still kick my butt. If your bike fits you well and is mechanically sound (bearings are good and well lubed, shifts smoothly, wheels true, brakes good, cables don't stick, etc) then you're good to go.

What will make a difference is a training schedule that focuses on increasing your strength, speed, distance, or whatever other goal you have. To get faster, you have to ride faster. To ride farther, you have to ride farther. I know I've come across some really good online articles on increasing your speed. They usually have a number of components. The pieces I remember start with strength training for your legs and core. On the bike work includes intervals, recovery rides, and rides at pace.
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Old 02-05-08, 11:42 AM   #6
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That's the point! I'm in a high gear already. Does a new chainring and or cassette make that much of a difference?
Unless you're spinning out your highest gear (can't spin any faster, can't get any higher gear) then your gearing has little to do with things.

I've got a 36/48 crank mated to an 11-25 cassette, and even on my 48-11 going downhill I can't max it out.
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Old 02-05-08, 12:58 PM   #7
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Thank all of you for your insight. My head is less tired now.
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Old 02-05-08, 01:08 PM   #8
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Thank all of you for your insight. My head is less tired now.
Upgrades should almost always go in the order of wheels first then anything else. Wheels are rotating weight and have much more effect on the bike moving down the road than frame weight. Don't go stupid light, like 5 spokes and 3g wheels...you are a clyde after all...but something reasonably light will improve your performance.

Oh, and ride more. That improves performance more than a set of wheels does.
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Old 02-05-08, 02:07 PM   #9
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+1 on the wheels, but another thing to consider are the tires also. Going from a wire bead to a floding kevlar beaded tire can take a bit off the bike. Also, a belted tire that has kevlar in it to stop flats or reduce them is nice insurance to have. The Bontrager Hardcase tires are very good for this while still maintain some performance.

A second thing to really look at are your wheel hubs. Have they been serviced lately? Are they properly adjusted to get the most out of them? So many bikes come with cones slightly out from where they need to be. Then when things are tightened by the skewer, it binds up the bearings just slightly and causes some added drag. If someone has a bike nearly close to yours, do a coast-down test side by side and see which one coasts better and then try and figure out why? Does one tire have MORE air pressure that the other? A LOT of little things can make a difference.
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Old 02-05-08, 03:42 PM   #10
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Upgrades should almost always go in the order of wheels first then anything else. Wheels are rotating weight and have much more effect on the bike moving down the road than frame weight.
Rotating mass: what does it cost you?

There's a current debate over the rotating mass theory of wheel-weight vs. performance. My view on wheel upgrades isn't to go for lighter weight, but rather stronger wheels. I'll suffer with some excess rotating mass if it means I don't have to true my wheels every weekend.
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