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Old 03-28-12, 07:40 PM   #1
BikeArkansas
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Can a lighter bike help a " cyclist?

Each time I see or participate in a thread concerning cutting the weight of a bike there are always a number of comments about losing weight before cutting the weight of the bike.

Therefore, I am beginning to wonder if a "less than skinny" cyclists should bother with riding a lightweight bike. Are riders that carry any weight at all regulated to 20 plus pound cruisers?
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Old 03-28-12, 07:46 PM   #2
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That depends on your wallet, not on the opinons of others.
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Old 03-28-12, 07:58 PM   #3
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Therefore, I am beginning to wonder if a "less than skinny" cyclists should bother with riding a lightweight bike. Are riders that carry any weight at all regulated to 20 plus pound cruisers?
Ride any type of bike that you like and enjoy doing so.
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Old 03-28-12, 08:04 PM   #4
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As I understand it, and I think this is correct, that so long as your bike has good quality, low friction components and good tires and wheels, and a good fit, a few extra pounds on the bike are irrelevant. The difference between a good quality bike and a top of the line bike is minimal - the motor is way more important than the bike.
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Old 03-28-12, 08:08 PM   #5
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Anyone can benefit from a lighter bike. To some it's important, to others it's not. As already said, it's up to you. You're going to get all kinds of opinions. Many will say you should lose weight first. Who cares? If you have the cash you can have a better bike now. Takes a while to lose weight.
If you get a bike you like to ride more, that will help you lose weight. Either way is fine.
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Old 03-28-12, 08:53 PM   #6
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Anyone can benefit from a lighter bike.
Agreed.

Losing body weight will also help.

Basically, ANY weight reduction is good, IMO - and if you can get weight (especially spinning weight) off the bike, do it. (IMHO)
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Old 03-28-12, 09:26 PM   #7
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I think, for most of us, a lighter bike will enable us to ride up hills faster by a small margin. The tipping point is if that small margin of efficiency enables us to make it up the hill with out walking or getting to the top a little sooner. If racing then, yes a lighter bike is a factor.
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Old 03-29-12, 12:59 AM   #8
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If you're not riding it, the bike's not going to help in the slightest. Ride the bike you enjoy riding, because you'll ride it more.
As others have said, losing weight anywhere will help but, 1kg off the bike is probably only 1% off the total package (less in my case). It's healthier and easier to lose significant weight off the body.
On the other hand, if you can afford a better bike, and it makes you smile as much or more than what you have now, why not?

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yup, THAT one - still riding fixed and still riding that Europa (though she's got gears and shares the duties with my fixed Hillbrick)
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Old 03-29-12, 01:19 AM   #9
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Since I don't have a car, anything that makes my bike less miserable to ride is good!
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Old 03-29-12, 01:30 AM   #10
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Seems the opinion is split.

Hills are where it is noticed most and to an extent it is the motor. By improving that you will perform better and if in improving that you also lose weight then so much the better. But there comes a point where the motor will not improve any more. That is when lighter parts come into it but it is not the weight loss of those parts that improves performance. It is the quality of those parts that perform better.

So get fitter and you will cycle better and hopefully there will be a weight loss to go with it When the motor stops improving- then look at the components.
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Old 03-29-12, 08:21 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt Erlenbach View Post
As I understand it, and I think this is correct, that so long as your bike has good quality, low friction components and good tires and wheels, and a good fit, a few extra pounds on the bike are irrelevant. The difference between a good quality bike and a top of the line bike is minimal - the motor is way more important than the bike.
Every scientific analysis I've seen on bicycles over the last 40+ years agrees with this. However, cyclists have been voting with their pocketbooks for lighter bikes since 1878, so there must be something that science isn't including in the analysis.
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Old 03-29-12, 09:53 AM   #12
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Does a "lighter" bike help a cyclist? Well, as Kurt said, as long as you have a good quality bike, a few pounds is not going to matter. I am assuming that this is for recreational use and not competition. I recall years ago riding routinely with a bunch of "A" riders. The strongest cyclist in the bunch rode the cheapest bike in the bunch. At even a that kind of level, individual conditioning trumps the $$$$ spent on the bike.

Also think about it. Say you weigh 200 lbs. Your bike and water bottles and tools weighs 22 lbs. Your total is 222 lbs. You go out and improve the situation by getting a bike with gear that weighs 18 lbs. Your new situation is 1.8% lighter. You might notice the difference on a climb. I doubt that you would notice any difference on the flats. Now, if like most of us, you could stand to train a bit more often and lose 20 lbs, you would see a 9% improvement just from weight loss and probably more from conditioning.

I have seen riders try to "buy" performance by getting a lighter bike and it almost never works. I will say that it does often work for the ladies. For some odd reason, bike shops tend to put ladies into heavy bikes. If a 140 lb lady switches from a 32 lb bike and gear situation to an 18 lb one, then she will probably notice the 10% improvement.
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Old 03-29-12, 10:09 AM   #13
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If you have to carry your bike up 3 flights of stairs every time you finish riding, a lighter bike will be a lot more enjoyable.

While bike weight makes almost no difference once you get rolling, every single ride starts at 0 MPH. The more often you accelerate from 0 to 10 MPH, the better you'll appreciate a light bike.

We're always looking for the threashold of reliability. At the extreme end, lightweight bikes are going to break more often.

What about pride of ownership? Lighter bikes are almost always just nicer to have.
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Old 03-29-12, 10:15 AM   #14
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I'm sorry, but as I read the thread title, the first thing that came to mind...

Can anything truly help a cyclist? A good therapist? Prayers? A 12 step program? I'm just not sure.
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Old 03-29-12, 10:18 AM   #15
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I've seen far more change from losing weight and getting stronger. I do find when I take my mountain bike for my 12-20 mile evening ride, that my average speed over the ride is perhaps 1 mph or so less, and acceleration is not as snappy. In addition, when I take the MTB, I'm usually toting the extra weight of my big-boy camera and often a cable lock.

The performance between two good road bikes of a couple of pounds difference will be even less.

So, I'd say it makes a difference for a racer, or perhaps if you struggle to keep pace with a faster group. For a recreational rider like myself, the main difference is that I enjoy the sportiness of the road bike more.
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Old 03-29-12, 11:03 AM   #16
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I think the best bike for an overweight under conditioned cyclist is one he or she rides long, often and vigorously. If a ten ounce change in bike weight or for that matter paint color is what it takes to get the bike on the road then it's worth it.
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Old 03-29-12, 11:12 AM   #17
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I know whan i ride my commuter bike, a converted Mt. bike with heavy, but slick tires and panniers I go a TON slower than when I ride my road bike. The aero factor, the tire factor and the weight factor all add up to a much slower experience. And a much less fun experience.

How much of this is the bike's weight on my flat commute I can't say, but the overall effect is huge.
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