Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 10-22-11, 08:53 AM   #1
xizangstan
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
xizangstan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Colorado-California-Florida-(hopefully soon): Panama
Bikes: Vintage GT Xizang (titanium mountain bike)
Posts: 1,061
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The most efficient bike available

We seem to always be searching for ways to increase the efficiency of our bikes. Weight reduction is one way, better gearing and faster tires is where so many of us spend piles of money. The commercial manufacturers seem to have gotten the state of the art carbon or titanium bikes down to less than 20 lbs. but more than 15.

What is the most efficient bike you've ridden? What feature about it impresses you the most?
xizangstan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-11, 09:31 AM   #2
stapfam
Time for a change.
 
stapfam's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: 6 miles inland from the coast of Sussex, in the South East of England
Bikes: Dale MT2000. Bianchi FS920 Kona Explosif. Giant TCR C. Boreas Ignis. Pinarello Fp Uno.
Posts: 19,915
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
That Boreas I have is about as efficient as I can get it----For me. 15 1/2 lbs- Wheels that stay true and coupled with the tyres roll well- Bars that fit perfectly whether I am in the drops- hoods or on the flats. Brake levers that just fall naturally for the hands and the change levers are just natural. Saddle and 50 milers and I don't even feel it and the crankset is just right on Crankring difference for my cadence and Crank length is perfect. All I have to do is get me working efficiently and it would be perfect.

So why is it that the TCR- that is set up with the same components- same position and setup just doesn't work quite as good?
__________________
How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


Spike Milligan
stapfam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-11, 09:38 AM   #3
johnny99
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Northern California
Bikes:
Posts: 10,600
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
Check out the human-powered vehicle races. Those guys can go a lot faster than regular racing-style bikes because they are free of the UCI restrictions (especially for aerodynamics, which is more important than weight most of the time). 80mph has been achieved over short distances.
johnny99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-11, 09:48 AM   #4
PatW
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Bikes:
Posts: 313
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You can focus on this aspect too much. Bikes are very efficient. I recall reading an article in Scientific American about Bicycle Physics years ago. They had the then standard professional racing bike. With their standard rider (a certain weight and certain horse power), the bike went something like 32 mph. The most tricked out bike available at that time went 33 mph with the standard rider. The perfect bike which was weightless, frictionless and had no wind resistance went 34 mph.

The biggest limit on bicycle top end speed is wind resistance and most of that is caused by the rider. Putting the rider into a faring and prone is about the best thing to do, but it does not seem to be very practical for riding on the road.

Some years back, I used to ride with a fast group. Almost every bike in the group was Dura Ace with a few Campys. I was riding 105 which was viewed with disdain. The guy who was easily the strongest rider in the bunch was riding Tiagra.

Training and keeping your weight down will have far greater effects then spending $$$$$$$$ on the bike.

Now if you are an elite cyclist and are competing against other elite cyclists, the small gain you get from a really high end bike is well worth it. I don't bother because I sort of suspect that if I have not made the Tour de France by now, it ain't happenin.
PatW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-11, 11:35 AM   #5
VNA
Senior Member
 
VNA's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Bikes:
Posts: 767
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 21 Post(s)
The rider will be the most important factor to improve efficiency: training, diet, weight, life style, etc.
VNA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-11, 12:18 PM   #6
Looigi
Senior Member
 
Looigi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Bikes:
Posts: 8,951
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
What's most efficient will depend on the test criteria. On the flat being more aero at the expense of weight is more effective. Going up hill, lighter is more efficient. Look at what the pros ride; light climbing bikes, TT bikes... Those are the most efficient bikes within the technical constraints of the sanctioning bodies.
Looigi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-11, 12:20 PM   #7
Daspydyr 
Pedals, Paddles and Poles
 
Daspydyr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Btw the Mohave desert and AREA 51
Bikes: Santa Cruz Tallboy, Ridley Noah, Scott Spark 20
Posts: 5,353
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Yup, as above, its the Indian, not the Arrow!
__________________
I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

I can't even find my bike when I'm on drugs. -Willie N.
Daspydyr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-11, 12:38 PM   #8
BikeWNC
Climbing Above It All
 
BikeWNC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Basking in the Sun.
Bikes:
Posts: 4,146
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I like the Specialized Tarmac in SWorks trim for efficiency. As a climbing bike I can't think of a better production frame. I don't have one though I may be getting an SL4 soon. It's not the bike that makes me go but every bit helps. I agree the lower trimline groupsets shift quite well. I do believe that DA does have a better tactile feel, smoother, with slightly less effort required to activate. But as far as moving the chain, there isn't too much between the low end and the fancy stuff.

I was most impressed with deep carbon wheels I borrowed for a century ride. I'd love to have a set though I find the cost prohibitive.
BikeWNC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-11, 01:02 PM   #9
DX-MAN
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Bikes:
Posts: 4,789
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
"The most efficient bike" will have to propel its rider the most distance on the least fuel; so, it must be light AND sturdy. Light, to take less energy to pedal; sturdy, to last long enough to to recoup the initial investment.

Bicycle: $80-15,000.
Food/Fuel: variable, anywhere from $0.15 for a pack of ramen noodles to $1000 for a political fundraiser.
Joy of riding: BEYOND priceless!

So, my answer is, my Jamis Dakar XLT 1.0; 34 lbs., 5.7" suspension travel, 27 speeds, dual discs, and never less than 2.0 wide tires. For over four years, it carried me through joy and pain, sunshine and rain, everywhere I needed and wanted to go. When the frame died, I cried.
DX-MAN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-11, 08:14 PM   #10
B. Carfree
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Bikes:
Posts: 6,302
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 86 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by DX-MAN View Post
"The most efficient bike" will have to propel its rider the most distance on the least fuel; so, it must be light AND sturdy. Light, to take less energy to pedal; sturdy, to last long enough to to recoup the initial investment.

Bicycle: $80-15,000.
Food/Fuel: variable, anywhere from $0.15 for a pack of ramen noodles to $1000 for a political fundraiser.
Joy of riding: BEYOND priceless!

So, my answer is, my Jamis Dakar XLT 1.0; 34 lbs., 5.7" suspension travel, 27 speeds, dual discs, and never less than 2.0 wide tires. For over four years, it carried me through joy and pain, sunshine and rain, everywhere I needed and wanted to go. When the frame died, I cried.
I may come up with a different answer, but your reasoning is flawless, IMO.
B. Carfree is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-11, 07:19 AM   #11
bruce19
Senior Member
 
bruce19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Lebanon (Liberty Hill), CT
Bikes: MASI Gran Criterium S, Colnago World Cup CX & Guru steel
Posts: 4,513
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 75 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by VNA View Post
The rider will be the most important factor to improve efficiency: training, diet, weight, life style, etc.
In the motorcycling world young guys are constantly asking what modification will make their bikes faster. The answer is always "learn to ride it." Nothing better than a track day for motorcyclists. +1 on the training, diet, weight, life style thing.
bruce19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-11, 07:28 AM   #12
Barrettscv 
Have bike, will travel
 
Barrettscv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Edwardsville, Illinois
Bikes: Colnago Nuova Mexico, Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra, Pinarello Gavia, Schwinn Paramount, Motobecane Grand Record, Peugeot PX10, Serotta Nova X, Simoncini Cyclocross Special, Origin8 monstercross, Pedal Force CG2 and CX2
Posts: 10,591
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 68 Post(s)
To answer the question, a time trial bike is the most efficient bike that can be purchased at retail. Some recumbents are also very efficient. However, you give up very important performance and comfort needs to get a small gain in efficiency.
__________________
When I ride my bike I feel free and happy and strong. I'm liberated from the usual nonsense of day to day life. Solid, dependable, silent, my bike is my horse, my fighter jet, my island, my friend. Together we will conquer that hill and thereafter the world.
Barrettscv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-11, 07:47 AM   #13
rydabent
Senior Member
 
rydabent's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Lincoln Ne
Bikes: RANS Stratus TerraTrike Cruiser
Posts: 5,746
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 154 Post(s)
As someone pointed out the most efficient bike CANNOT be restrained by rules set up by the UCI and other cycling organizations. They only hold back and cater to big money in the manuf arena. The simple fact is that the most efficient bike is a recumbent streamliner.
rydabent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-11, 09:56 AM   #14
bradtx
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Pearland, Texas
Bikes: Cannondale, Trek, Raleigh, Santana
Posts: 6,693
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 58 Post(s)
xizangstan, What a simple question, but one that could branch off in a dozen or more directions.

Just another way to look at the question:

If one's looking to convert X amount of power into speed, an aero'd trike is hard to beat.
If one needs to haul large and heavy loads, then an extended tail utility bike has to be near the top of the list.
If one is looking to go downhill in the shortest amount of time an engineless hybrid mix of a motorcross motorcycle/mo ped, sans engine, is the formula.
When constrained by some set of rules, then it's the rider that has to become more efficient... which is is the best path to follow anyways.

As diamond frame bicycles and recumbent bicycles are basically an engineering compromise on the two wheeled theme, perhaps the most efficient bike is that middle of the road CX bike. It can carry a load, perform roadie duties and work well on non technical off road romps.

Brad
bradtx is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-11, 10:15 AM   #15
Hermes 
Elite Rider
 
Hermes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Bikes: Too Many
Posts: 9,806
Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 52 Post(s)
IMO, there are two manufactures who have public information that does a good job of framing the answer to the question - Cervelo for frames http://www.cervelo.com/en_us/enginee...presentations/ and HED for wheels http://www.hedcycling.com/aerodynamics.asp .

On the Cervelo link click on the aerodynamics. They discuss their aero and climbing bikes and discuss the tradeoff. I own a Cervelo R3. For my terrain and power, a lighter bike is better than a more aero bike. What is interesting is the break point where lighter bicycles are better than heavier more aero bicycles. For professional and elite cat 1,2 cyclists it is an 8% grade. For 250 watt cyclists, it is a 5% grade. Since most riders here are under 200 watts, the climbing advantage will be greater on shallower grades.

Therefore, a lighter and more aero bicycle will provide the weakest riders with the most advantage on a percentage basis. The same is true for wheels. Which is why I think recreational cyclists feel more impact from better equipment.

IMO, I have the most efficient bicycle for my terrain and riding style and I put on different wheels depending on the conditions to further optimize the results.
__________________
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle

Cat: Killer
Hermes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-11, 10:55 AM   #16
Nightshade
Humvee of bikes =Worksman
 
Nightshade's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Bikes:
Posts: 5,363
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by xizangstan View Post
We seem to always be searching for ways to increase the efficiency of our bikes. Weight reduction is one way, better gearing and faster tires is where so many of us spend piles of money. The commercial manufacturers seem to have gotten the state of the art carbon or titanium bikes down to less than 20 lbs. but more than 15.

What is the most efficient bike you've ridden? What feature about it impresses you the most?
The find "The most efficient bike available" it is necessary to design a bicycle with the least rolling, mechanical, and wind resistance possible.

That said, I envision a bicycle that is not to comfortable to ride. Humans don't bend like that!
__________________
My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
Nightshade is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-11, 12:16 PM   #17
AzTallRider 
I need speed
 
AzTallRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Bikes: Giant Propel, Cervelo P2
Posts: 5,550
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
Therefore, a lighter and more aero bicycle will provide the weakest riders with the most advantage on a percentage basis. The same is true for wheels. Which is why I think recreational cyclists feel more impact from better equipment.

IMO, I have the most efficient bicycle for my terrain and riding style and I put on different wheels depending on the conditions to further optimize the results.
Based on the Cervelo white paper, I should be on an S series, as the toughest climbs here average no more than 4%. But nothing will have near the impact of increasing my FTP/Weight. I raced this past year at 195-197#. I'm thinking I will keep myself under 190# for next season, and that I'll still be able to increase power while doing that.
__________________
"If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."
AzTallRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-11, 12:34 PM   #18
Wogster
Senior Member
 
Wogster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Toronto (again) Ontario, Canada
Bikes: Norco Bushpilot (out of commission), Raleigh Delta
Posts: 6,941
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by xizangstan View Post
We seem to always be searching for ways to increase the efficiency of our bikes. Weight reduction is one way, better gearing and faster tires is where so many of us spend piles of money. The commercial manufacturers seem to have gotten the state of the art carbon or titanium bikes down to less than 20 lbs. but more than 15.

What is the most efficient bike you've ridden? What feature about it impresses you the most?
That depends on the road, on a baby bottom smooth freshly paved road, the most efficient bicycle looks very different then it does on a muddy cow path, and that looks different from a bike that is built for gravel or chip seal.
Wogster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-11, 03:33 PM   #19
Hermes 
Elite Rider
 
Hermes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Bikes: Too Many
Posts: 9,806
Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 52 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
Based on the Cervelo white paper, I should be on an S series, as the toughest climbs here average no more than 4%. But nothing will have near the impact of increasing my FTP/Weight. I raced this past year at 195-197#. I'm thinking I will keep myself under 190# for next season, and that I'll still be able to increase power while doing that.
Duh.... But we are not talking about rider weight. This is about bicycle efficiency. IMO, lowering rider weight and improving the engine is a given and obvious.
__________________
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle

Cat: Killer
Hermes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-11, 04:18 PM   #20
doctor j
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Central Louisiana
Bikes:
Posts: 2,890
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Where is Blazing Pedals?
doctor j is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-11, 05:16 PM   #21
trackhub
Senior Member
 
trackhub's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Watching all of you on O.B.I.T.
Bikes: Gunnar Street Dog
Posts: 2,039
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by xizangstan View Post
What is the most efficient bike you've ridden? What feature about it impresses you the most?
My Gunnar Street Dog, that I had built eleven years ago. The fixed gear is very efficient, but I will agree with anyone who says it is not for everyone. As I have stated before, I don't get to ride as much as I would like, and riding a fixed gear gives me a workout that I would get from a multi-gear drive train.

I know, I know,,, I'm tempting the "fixie bashers". So be it.
trackhub is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-11, 05:32 PM   #22
Mithrandir
Senior Member
 
Mithrandir's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Buffalo, NY
Bikes: 2012 Surly LHT, 1995 GT Outpost Trail
Posts: 2,400
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatW View Post
With their standard rider (a certain weight and certain horse power), the bike went something like 32 mph. The most tricked out bike available at that time went 33 mph with the standard rider. The perfect bike which was weightless, frictionless and had no wind resistance went 34 mph.
That makes no sense. With no friction and no wind resistance there is no practical limit to a bikes speed except gearing and cadence, because there is no resistance slowing the bike down you can basically accelerate nearly effortlessly until you run out of gears.
Mithrandir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-11, 05:47 PM   #23
Barrettscv 
Have bike, will travel
 
Barrettscv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Edwardsville, Illinois
Bikes: Colnago Nuova Mexico, Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra, Pinarello Gavia, Schwinn Paramount, Motobecane Grand Record, Peugeot PX10, Serotta Nova X, Simoncini Cyclocross Special, Origin8 monstercross, Pedal Force CG2 and CX2
Posts: 10,591
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 68 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
That makes no sense. With no friction and no wind resistance there is no practical limit to a bikes speed except gearing and cadence, because there is no resistance slowing the bike down you can basically accelerate nearly effortlessly until you run out of gears.
You still have the aero drag of the rider, which is the largest single factor at speeds above 15mph. However, the 32, 33, 34 data points are questionable.
__________________
When I ride my bike I feel free and happy and strong. I'm liberated from the usual nonsense of day to day life. Solid, dependable, silent, my bike is my horse, my fighter jet, my island, my friend. Together we will conquer that hill and thereafter the world.

Last edited by Barrettscv; 10-23-11 at 06:46 PM.
Barrettscv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-11, 06:26 PM   #24
irwin7638
Senior Member
 
irwin7638's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Kalamazoo, Mi.
Bikes: Byron,Sam, The Hunq and that Old Guy
Posts: 2,878
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by VNA View Post
The rider will be the most important factor to improve efficiency: training, diet, weight, life style, etc.
Me too! Improving the power to weight ratio of the engine is the best way to improve efficiency.

Marc
irwin7638 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-11, 06:38 PM   #25
AzTallRider 
I need speed
 
AzTallRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Bikes: Giant Propel, Cervelo P2
Posts: 5,550
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
Duh.... But we are not talking about rider weight. This is about bicycle efficiency. IMO, lowering rider weight and improving the engine is a given and obvious.
Of course... no argument.. and you are the expert when it comes to any type of efficiency. I'm just saying I have a ways to go before the decision between whether my bike is a bit more aero, compared to being a bit lighter, will be a big factor. The percentages gained in either area are very small for me, as I weigh comparatively a lot and am not yet very aero. My size probably gives even more of an edge to aero over weight. I believe I can increase my aero efficiency a greater percent than I can decrease bike weight as a percent of my total weight. The paper points out how small the percentage gains are compared to rider influences, but I'm not saying they aren't important. If you want to win, then any advantage or disadvantage is important. And the paper doesn't take into account the amount of time a rider might spend in the wind compared to the average. If you get dropped a lot, you need aero!

And I have a week to decide whether to participate in a team buy. Big discounts on either the Scott Foil, the Cervelo S5 (or R5), or an ultralight Guru Photon in team paint. The Cervelo geo suits me better, but of course I wouldn't get a chance to ride any of them in a size close to what I need.
__________________
"If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."
AzTallRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:11 PM.