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Old 05-13-13, 06:21 PM   #1
MetalPedaler
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$300 25 lb. Bikesdirect Bike Vs. 19 lb. Klein Quantum

Well, fellers, although I didn't set out on my ride today to do it...I inadvertently did it! That is, I proved what I suspected to be the case: There is virtually no difference in actual performance between my $300 25 lb. Mercier Galaxy(Sora) and my 19 lb. Klein Quantum Race(Dura-Ace).

Today I rode the exact same route as I rode last Thursday, only today I rode the Mericer instead of the Klein. The Mercier has a 28mm Gatorskin tire in the rear and a 25mm Serfas Seca in the front. The Klein has 23mm Michelins. Same tools in the same bag on both rides. Same full weater bottle. Everything, including the air pump and the mirror on both bikes is the same. I wore the same clothes/shoes.

The results?

Klein: 20.96 miles in 01:25:28.
Mercier: 21.08 miles in 01:25:48

Times recorded are for actual rolling time. On both rides i stopped for a break at two turn-around points. No other stops.

The Mercier was 20 seconds slower? No...it was windier today than when I rode the Klein! (c. 13MPH wind for the Klein ride vs. c 18MPH wind today for the Merc)

(I'm not the fastest rider- I'm pretty new to this, and it's constant hills here!)

Yes, the Klein ***FEELS*** faster....but obviously, it isn't.

What say ye?


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Old 05-13-13, 06:45 PM   #2
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you already admitted conditions were different so it's like comparing apples to oranges with out a completely controlled experiment. But I'm curious to see where this goes.
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Old 05-13-13, 06:55 PM   #3
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You'll need more than one data point on each bike to see if there is a statistically significant difference.
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Old 05-13-13, 07:49 PM   #4
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I've found similar results comparing my Bianchi EV Boron and Soma ES. Now what I have found is that while I am not any faster on a short route, the longer the route, the slower I get on the Soma and the more tired. The Bianchi I can do the same 50 mile ride for example and I'm not nearly as fatigued. I ride the Soma more though as it's more practical.
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Old 05-13-13, 07:54 PM   #5
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I think it's time to go out and buy a Mercier Galaxy. . . .
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Old 05-13-13, 07:59 PM   #6
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I've found similar results comparing my Bianchi EV Boron and Soma ES. Now what I have found is that while I am not any faster on a short route, the longer the route, the slower I get on the Soma and the more tired. The Bianchi I can do the same 50 mile ride for example and I'm not nearly as fatigued. I ride the Soma more though as it's more practical.
That's something I was wondering about. On the other hand....the heavier bike (among mine) might prove to be more comfortable...which might negate the extra 6 lbs.

In the end, I think the differences are so small, that it's irrelevant.

I can't even say to myself "Ride the bike that feels better"- because, although in the beginning the differences between them seemed dramatic...after I got used to the more-recently acquired Klein [and perhaps as I am getting more fit] even those differences in perception or "feel" have pretty much equalized.
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Old 05-13-13, 08:19 PM   #7
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In the two experienced group rides that I've been a part of, I used my steel beater. I was barely able to hang on to the pack, but people seemed impressed, and told me I "ride good". I'm not sure if it's because it was my first time, or because it was my steel bike. But one guy pointed out that if I rode clipless, with a better bike, I would be kicking their butt. I can see where they're coming from, considering being able to accelerate really fast plays a big role. but for now, I'll let the engine do all the talking.

Tomorrow, I'm bringing my good road bike (well not really because it's like 23 lbs vs my 26 lbs beater). By next week, my new kestrel carbon bike arrives, and after that, a good pair of road shoes with spd-sl pedals. I'm sure it'll matter one way or another. The question is how much it matters. My take on it is that a good fit is most important.
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Old 05-13-13, 08:24 PM   #8
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In the two experienced group rides that I've been a part of, I used my steel beater. I was barely able to hang on to the pack, but people seemed impressed, and told me I "ride good". I'm not sure if it's because it was my first time, or because it was my steel bike. But one guy pointed out that if I rode clipless, with a better bike, I would be kicking their butt. I can see where they're coming from, considering being able to accelerate really fast plays a big role. but for now, I'll let the engine do all the talking.

Tomorrow, I'm bringing my good road bike (well not really because it's like 23 lbs vs my 26 lbs beater). By next week, my new kestrel carbon bike arrives, and after that, a good pair of road shoes with spd-sl pedals. I'm sure it'll matter one way or another. The question is how much it matters. My take on it is that a good fit is most important.
I'll be interested to know how you make out. (I'm not a believer in clipless pedals, either...)
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Old 05-13-13, 08:32 PM   #9
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I'll be interested to know how you make out. (I'm not a believer in clipless pedals, either...)
well I am. I've never had a bike ride over 20 miles where I didn't feel something weird in my foot while using platform pedals. Because of my shoe's flexible soles, I have to put more effort into each rep. Today, as I was biking back, I could feel my feet cramping. that was a first, but I don't imagine that to happen with clipless systems, with rigid soles
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Old 05-13-13, 08:36 PM   #10
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There are so many variables, no one can make a comparison with just two rides on different days. For starters, your power can vary considerably and you may want one bike to "win". You need to keep power constant on both rides throughout the test. Fit between the bikes can make a huge difference. Rolling resistance between tires can amount to several watts alone. Even with everything else the same, six lbs of total weight (bike plus rider) over twenty one miles definitely makes a difference (go to one of the online models and calculate the time difference.
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Old 05-13-13, 08:39 PM   #11
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But which bike did you feel "awesomer" riding?
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Old 05-13-13, 08:56 PM   #12
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well I am. I've never had a bike ride over 20 miles where I didn't feel something weird in my foot while using platform pedals. Because of my shoe's flexible soles, I have to put more effort into each rep. Today, as I was biking back, I could feel my feet cramping. that was a first, but I don't imagine that to happen with clipless systems, with rigid soles
What difference would "rigid soles" make...make the platform pedals offer a large and solid contact area? Seems it would only be an issue when using miniscule clipless pedals, because of the small contact area they offer. I wear sneakers with platform pedals. Flexing isn't an issue- the support of the solid platforms won't allow it.

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But which bike did you feel "awesomer" riding?
Yes.....THAT is what it's all about. Aesthetics and perception. Although, at first, the difference between the two bikes seemed huge- but less so as time goes on. I definitely do prefer the aesthetics of the Klein, though. Would I pay ten times more for that, though? [The Klein probably costing about $3K in today's dollars if it were still available new]. No.
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Old 05-13-13, 09:02 PM   #13
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There are so many variables, no one can make a comparison with just two rides on different days. For starters, your power can vary considerably and you may want one bike to "win". You need to keep power constant on both rides throughout the test. Fit between the bikes can make a huge difference. Rolling resistance between tires can amount to several watts alone. Even with everything else the same, six lbs of total weight (bike plus rider) over twenty one miles definitely makes a difference (go to one of the online models and calculate the time difference.
Very true- but the thing is: I ride in the real world; and this comparison was done in that world.....and there was not enough difference to be meaningful. I mean, in the real world [we don't ride under perfectly controlled laboratory environments] there will always be slight variations- such as the 12/100ths of a mile difference likely resulting from me taking a different line at some points- but the thin is: With results THAT close, it doesn't pay to worry about it, because the difference would mean so little in the real world. [If we were pro racers, then maybe we could gain a little something by being concerned with such things, to make more critical testing be worthwhile].
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Old 05-13-13, 09:21 PM   #14
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Just six pounds difference all by itself (rider plus bike) makes a difference assuming you have any hills at all. Even with some rolling hills at 3% incline or so should show enough difference they shouldn't be that close.
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Old 05-13-13, 09:31 PM   #15
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Just six pounds difference all by itself (rider plus bike) makes a difference assuming you have any hills at all. Even with some rolling hills at 3% incline or so should show enough difference they shouldn't be that close.
One would think- and there's nothing but hills here (and much greater than 3%- which is why I am still pretty slow).....but in the scheme of things- 25 lb. bike + 183 lb. rider and maybe another 9 lbs for shoes and accessories and stuff....means we're talking 217 lbs total on the heavy bike, vs. 211 lbs. on the light one...not even a 3% weight difference.
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Old 05-13-13, 10:55 PM   #16
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Because the test was subjective the results will be subjective. We don't know how hard you had to work to cruise along at 14.7 or 14.9 Mph. Some people can ride their MTB 20 miles in the dirt in and hour and 25 minutes. I can promise you no matter how simplistic the test might be 20 miles in the dirt in an hour and twenty five minutes takes a lot more effort than the same 20 miles on the road done in the same time. It doesn't prove in the real world anything about which bike is faster to ride with the same effort. Kick the pace up, add some hills, extend the distance and have several people do the same test with the same bikes and then just maybe we can start to compare the value of two bikes in the real world.
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Old 05-13-13, 11:03 PM   #17
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I don't think it's all that. The heavier rider has more leg muscles to sort of compensate for the higher weight, whereas a heavier bike has more dead weight. I would be more interested about the wheels, due to the additional rotational inertia. When I upgraded the wheels on my vintage, I could feel the bike roll faster. If I had tried to do a fast group ride in a old vintage with steel wheels, there's no way I would be able to keep up. That's partly why I bought my carbon bike. The wheelset on that thing is about 400g lighter than any other wheels that I've owned. If there's anywhere you want to lose a pound on your bike, it's the wheels (not the hub, but the rims). That, and additional comfort provided by the carbon fiber, as well as a confident state of mind that I'm not at any disadvantage relative to the other riders.
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Old 05-14-13, 08:28 AM   #18
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Because the test was subjective the results will be subjective. We don't know how hard you had to work to cruise along at 14.7 or 14.9 Mph. Some people can ride their MTB 20 miles in the dirt in and hour and 25 minutes. I can promise you no matter how simplistic the test might be 20 miles in the dirt in an hour and twenty five minutes takes a lot more effort than the same 20 miles on the road done in the same time. It doesn't prove in the real world anything about which bike is faster to ride with the same effort. Kick the pace up, add some hills, extend the distance and have several people do the same test with the same bikes and then just maybe we can start to compare the value of two bikes in the real world.
Add some hills? LOL- there's nothing but hills here. The few stretches where I get some level ground/small rollers, I can do 25 MPH...when there's no wind. Remember: This was a comparison of 2 bikes over the exact same course.

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I don't think it's all that. The heavier rider has more leg muscles to sort of compensate for the higher weight, whereas a heavier bike has more dead weight. I would be more interested about the wheels, due to the additional rotational inertia. When I upgraded the wheels on my vintage, I could feel the bike roll faster. If I had tried to do a fast group ride in a old vintage with steel wheels, there's no way I would be able to keep up. That's partly why I bought my carbon bike. The wheelset on that thing is about 400g lighter than any other wheels that I've owned. If there's anywhere you want to lose a pound on your bike, it's the wheels (not the hub, but the rims). That, and additional comfort provided by the carbon fiber, as well as a confident state of mind that I'm not at any disadvantage relative to the other riders.
I believe that better wheels provide the feeling of going faster- as they may accelerate a bit faster. Do they make one faster or make riding easier? I don't believe so- as what they gain in acceleration, they lose in momentum. To think that 400g/14oz is going to make a difference- even with a light rider....where with the bike and accessories and all, you're still talking about 175 lbs total weight.....well...maybe if you're measuring with a stopwatch- but in that case, what meaning does it have for a recreational rider? Naturally, it's only right that you'd like the CF bike with light wheels better....but I'll bet you'd be surprised if you actually did a ride on an old steel job. Remember...the pros used to race on 'em...and did pretty good...without drugs.

When I first got my Klein, I felt that it was a lot faster. Comparing informal times, it seemed like it was saving a few minutes (which even isn't much) over the same course. But it was just perception. Comparing the actual times over the same course under similar conditions, to me, proves that unless one is riding maybe a 35 lb. behemoth or something, there just isn't that much difference between bikes- as far as performance goes (feel and aesthetics are a different story, of course)- and that it is truly the engine that makes the difference.
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Old 05-14-13, 09:04 AM   #19
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Add some hills? LOL- there's nothing but hills here. The few stretches where I get some level ground/small rollers, I can do 25 MPH...when there's no wind. Remember: This was a comparison of 2 bikes over the exact same course.

I believe that better wheels provide the feeling of going faster- as they may accelerate a bit faster. Do they make one faster or make riding easier? I don't believe so- as what they gain in acceleration, they lose in momentum. To think that 400g/14oz is going to make a difference- even with a light rider....where with the bike and accessories and all, you're still talking about 175 lbs total weight.....well...maybe if you're measuring with a stopwatch- but in that case, what meaning does it have for a recreational rider? Naturally, it's only right that you'd like the CF bike with light wheels better....but I'll bet you'd be surprised if you actually did a ride on an old steel job. Remember...the pros used to race on 'em...and did pretty good...without drugs.

When I first got my Klein, I felt that it was a lot faster. Comparing informal times, it seemed like it was saving a few minutes (which even isn't much) over the same course. But it was just perception. Comparing the actual times over the same course under similar conditions, to me, proves that unless one is riding maybe a 35 lb. behemoth or something, there just isn't that much difference between bikes- as far as performance goes (feel and aesthetics are a different story, of course)- and that it is truly the engine that makes the difference.
I think you're right. In particular, the part I highlighed.

If you're a professional racer, seconds can matter for courses of more than 100 miles. Lighter wheels, etc, can make those kinds of differences. If you're part of the rest of us, these things don't usually make much of a difference.
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Old 05-14-13, 09:09 AM   #20
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I think you're right. In particular, the part I highlighed.

If you're a professional racer, seconds can matter for courses of more than 100 miles. Lighter wheels, etc, can make those kinds of differences. If you're part of the rest of us, these things don't usually make much of a difference.
Exactly. That's what kills me about all the propaganda which is ingrained in today's cycling culture. Not that it's technically wrong.....but rather, just the degree to which it matters is greatly exaggerated. Someone'll go out and spend $1000 on a set of wheels...thinking it'll make him faster- and it might....by 4 seconds! (But of course, those wheels may feel way faster, so the hapless schlepp will say "Whoa, dude, I'm WAAY faster with my new wheels!" )
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Old 05-14-13, 09:40 AM   #21
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Satisfy my curiosity:

If you already owned the Klein, why did you buy the Mercier?
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Old 05-14-13, 09:46 AM   #22
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Satisfy my curiosity:

If you already owned the Klein, why did you buy the Mercier?
No, I started out with the Mercier, and just bought the Klein recently. Love the Klein...but the Mercier is no slouch, and I'm really surprised at how well it holds up in comparison the Klein. I had been riding the Klein almost exclusively lately- but I'm waiting for a new headset top nut to come for it, as the handlebars are creaking...so I thought I'd take the ol' Merc out yesterday....really expecting to be a 1 or 2 MPH slower on it...
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Old 05-14-13, 09:47 AM   #23
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I would expect the difference to become evident on longer rides of about 100miles+ It's been said commuting there isn't much of a difference (20mi.) Were there stops and red lights?
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Old 05-14-13, 09:52 AM   #24
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This one time, I drove my Scion tC faster than the guy driving a Ferrari. Therefore, Scions are faster than Ferraris. QED.
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Old 05-14-13, 09:53 AM   #25
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I would expect the difference to become evident on longer rides of about 100miles+ It's been said commuting there isn't much of a difference (20mi.) Were there stops and red lights?
THAT I would believe.

No- I live in a very rural area (one traffic light in the whole county)- The only stops were at two turnaround points where I like to linger and drink some water. Oh..and I did stop once enroute...on both rides, to give a dog a biscuit (Same dog in the same place, both times).
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