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  1. #1
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    Pound for pound what makes more of a difference?

    For all of us that are more then 10% body fat. What makes more of a noticeable difference? Shaving 5lbs of the bike or 5lbs off the rider?

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    Senior Member lsberrios1's Avatar
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    Im gonna take an uneducated guess...From what ive seen apparently it doesnt make much of a difference to shed weight on the bike if you are overweight. So I say rider first bike second. If I have to guess what comes after the rider it would be wheels. I know in motorcycling dropping 3 pounds of unsprung weight in your wheels will make a huge difference in acceleration, turn in and braking. Not really sure if it is the same on a bicycle.
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    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wait For Me View Post
    For all of us that are more then 10% body fat. What makes more of a noticeable difference? Shaving 5lbs of the bike or 5lbs off the rider?
    I would imagine shaving off your own weight makes the difference at all kinds of performances, not just the bike.

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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wait For Me View Post
    For all of us that are more then 10% body fat. What makes more of a noticeable difference? Shaving 5lbs of the bike or 5lbs off the rider?
    Depends. 5 lbs off the wheels would make a huge difference and would probably be more important than body weight.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Depends. 5 lbs off the wheels would make a huge difference and would probably be more important than body weight.
    The issue of "rotating weight" is greatly exaggerated. Anyway, it would be quite hard to be able to remove 5 lbs off of the wheel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garfield Cat View Post
    I would imagine shaving off your own weight makes the difference at all kinds of performances, not just the bike.
    +1.

    Unless one is talking about surgery, removing 5 lbs from the rider will usually be associated with improved conditioning.

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    when i carry my bike up and down stairs, 5 lbs off the bike is definitely appreciated no matter my body weight
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    Senior Member Aeolis's Avatar
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    Well my bike weighs 18 pounds and I weigh 160. I'd rather take 5 off the bike.
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    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Losing 5 lbs from your body would result in almost negligible performance gains. Seconds on a long hill climb. Losing 5 lbs from the bike would make it handle noticeably quicker, which would make it less tiring to ride. So I'll vote for the bike.

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    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    If you are in anyway over weight, concentrate on losing body weight. It will pay all sorts of dividends. Than, when you reach your target weight, reward yourself with a lighter bike. It's a win win. If you also reward yourself with a bottle of singlemalt it's a win win win. I weighed 230 something in late 2005. I weigh 160 something now. My life is better for it.
    Last edited by rebel1916; 08-16-12 at 08:31 PM.

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    "If the ride is over 10% body fat."

    The healthier diet and increase in exercise to loose the 5lbs from the rider will hands down result in more improvement than a 5 lb lighter bike.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfred View Post
    "If the ride is over 10% body fat."

    The healthier diet and increase in exercise to loose the 5lbs from the rider will hands down result in more improvement than a 5 lb lighter bike.
    Unless you happen to ride a sixty pound, single speed, Swiss Army Bike.
    The best thing about a bicycle is that it uses no gasoline, therefore the chance of fiery death is greatly reduced.

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    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Having actually done both, it may sound odd but I'd say 5 pounds off the bike. I can be in good training within a ~10-pound range, I don't think my W/kg ratio is necessarily varying that much. But the bike doesn't get more efficient when it's 5 pounds heavier, it's a bike.

    The most eye-opening illustration would be to switch my winter training bike from its studded tires and tubes to its road tires and tubes. That's a 3.8 pound loss at the edge of the wheels, and the difference is amazing. I've also tried ditching weight at the base of a specific hillclimb that I do frequently, which resulted in demonstrably better results on Strava. So based on my subjective and objective results, I'd lean towards the bike weight, provided the rider is actually in training. If you're not in training, then sure, the training required to lose 5 pounds is probably going to be a win-win for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    Having actually done both, it may sound odd but I'd say 5 pounds off the bike. I can be in good training within a ~10-pound range, I don't think my W/kg ratio is necessarily varying that much. But the bike doesn't get more efficient when it's 5 pounds heavier, it's a bike.

    The most eye-opening illustration would be to switch my winter training bike from its studded tires and tubes to its road tires and tubes. That's a 3.8 pound loss at the edge of the wheels, and the difference is amazing. I've also tried ditching weight at the base of a specific hillclimb that I do frequently, which resulted in demonstrably better results on Strava. So based on my subjective and objective results, I'd lean towards the bike weight, provided the rider is actually in training. If you're not in training, then sure, the training required to lose 5 pounds is probably going to be a win-win for you.
    I don't doubt that ditching 5 pounds at the base of a climb would result in an improvement. The question remains, if you could have ditched that weight from "you" instead of the "bike" would it have made more or less of a difference. "That" unfortunately is a hard one to prove either way. I suspect that a "fit" rider of greater than 10% body fat would see less improvement through weight loss than an "unfit" rider with the same body fat.

    Loosing 5 lbs from wheels or other rotating mass alone is realatively difficult unless making wholesale changes in the very nature of the type of bicycle, i.e. steel wheeled cruiser to aluminum rimmed road bike. So, at the point one is including the weight loss from static components, frame, brifters, etc. I would contend that while the bike may "feel" different, the actual performance gain wouldn't be any more than when the same weight is lost from the rider.
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  15. #15
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    Do you really have to ask this?

    Take it off of the rider. Not only is that 5 lbs you are no longer carrying up a hill, it f less pounds of strain on your heart and lungs which will allow you to recover better both during and after a ride.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    If your bike already weighs 15 lbs, then you might not be able to shave off too much more.

    Shaving off 5 lbs from a rider means very little or very much, depending on how the rider takes advantage of that weight loss. On a hot and humid day, a rider can lose a lot of weight. So what.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbacon View Post
    Unless you happen to ride a sixty pound, single speed, Swiss Army Bike.
    A 55lb bike wouldn't really be measurably faster.

    Somebody who could stand to loose 5 extra pounds is likely going to be stronger and in better condition after losing it. The issue of the mere weight is a secondary benefit.

  18. #18
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    The issue of "rotating weight" is greatly exaggerated. Anyway, it would be quite hard to be able to remove 5 lbs off of the wheel.
    Not really. Check here for a nice simple explanation. You can test this at home if you like. Put a set of steel rims on your bike and go for a ride. Then put on a set of aluminum rims. The steel rims take much more energy to get moving and keep moving than the aluminum rims.

    Edit: I just saw MechbGon's post on winter tires. This is a much easier demonstration to accomplish then a steel vs aluminum wheel comparison. I have a front studded tire and will only use it if I absolutely have to. The damned thing is difficult to get rolling and significantly impacts my commuting times.
    Last edited by cyccommute; 08-17-12 at 08:42 AM.
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    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Makes no difference where weight is lost (save in rotating parts) as far as the weight loss benefits goes.

    The question is what else is lost. Or for that matter gained.

    If you ride more and lose weight odds are you have lost fat and possibly even gained muscle mass in the legs. If you lose body weight by starving yourself you are going to lose muscle as well as fat . Possible net loss in cycling ability.

    If you start with a good bike and try to trim weight you may sacrifice stiffness or other thigns. Possible loss. Start witha crappy bike and replace mild steel with a better material you may lose weight and gain stiffness.
    Perish any man who suspects that these men either did or suffered anything unseemly.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Not really. Check here for a nice simple explanation. You can test this at home if you like. Put a set of steel rims on your bike and go for a ride. Then put on a set of aluminum rims. The steel rims take much more energy to get moving and keep moving than the aluminum rims.
    Thanks for posting that. It's clear enough even for me to understand
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

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    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    I resent the often less-than-subtle implication that we who are over our target weight somehow are not deserving of a lightweight bike. I happily lose weight from my bike when I can afford to do so. If the OP can afford to drop five pounds from his bike instantly, he should do it. He'll enjoy riding that much more, and he'll lose the body weight in the long run anyway. The right answer then, is to lose weight from both the bike and the body.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Not really. Check here for a nice simple explanation. You can test this at home if you like. Put a set of steel rims on your bike and go for a ride. Then put on a set of aluminum rims. The steel rims take much more energy to get moving and keep moving than the aluminum rims.

    Edit: I just saw MechbGon's post on winter tires. This is a much easier demonstration to accomplish then a steel vs aluminum wheel comparison. I have a front studded tire and will only use it if I absolutely have to. The damned thing is difficult to get rolling and significantly impacts my commuting times.
    You are about 15% correct in that post.

    HEavier wheels/tires will impact the effort required for acceleration, but not for cruising at a constant speed. On level ground at constant speed, weight of bike, wheels/tires, and rider, play no role.
    The switch from studded tires to street tires may make a big difference, but it is impossible to say if it is from the weight, or from the added rolling resistance of the thicker rubber used to keep the studs in place and not poking the tube, and possibly the extra flex in the rubber caused by the rigid studs hitting the pavement. All of these doubtless play some role in slowing you down, but it is impossible to say how much is caused by the weight.
    Last edited by DCB0; 08-17-12 at 11:52 AM. Reason: tie-po's

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
    I resent the often less-than-subtle implication that we who are over our target weight somehow are not deserving of a lightweight bike. I happily lose weight from my bike when I can afford to do so. If the OP can afford to drop five pounds from his bike instantly, he should do it. He'll enjoy riding that much more, and he'll lose the body weight in the long run anyway. The right answer then, is to lose weight from both the bike and the body.
    Don't pile your insecurities on us, man. Nobody said us fatties aren't deserving of a lighter bike, just that there are more useful and sensible ways to get faster than throwing money at a perfectly good bike when the same improvement can be had by skipping a third desert.

    When racing as a younger person, I was regularily beaten by much fitter people on much heavier bikes.

  24. #24
    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
    I resent the often less-than-subtle implication that we who are over our target weight somehow are not deserving of a lightweight bike. I happily lose weight from my bike when I can afford to do so. If the OP can afford to drop five pounds from his bike instantly, he should do it. He'll enjoy riding that much more, and he'll lose the body weight in the long run anyway. The right answer then, is to lose weight from both the bike and the body.
    Somebody call a waaaaaaaaaaaaambulance

  25. #25
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCB0 View Post
    Don't pile your insecurities on us, man. Nobody said us fatties aren't deserving of a lighter bike,
    At least a couple of the earlier responses said just that.

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