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It ain't the bike. An exception might be if you are climbing mountains during your races.
I guess I'd start with these questions:
1. How much does the bike weigh?
2. Are you above your ideal racing weight, and if so, by how much?
3. How significant are the climbs in the races you expect to do?
4. How many races do you do per year, and what is the mix?
A lot of people race aluminum bikes in crit's, because weight is less of a factor, and they are stiff. When you head up the hill, however, weight trumps most other gear considerations, and going carbon can drop the bike weight significantly. Note that there are decent carbon frames available on eBay, or direct from China, and you can then move your components over.
I have seen a lot of worse shape and older/cheaper bikes at the races. My first races were done on a 10 year old, 28lb steel bike with a triple and I was beating people with better bikes. It is lack of experience that holds you back for a season or two. Develop your race craft and then set a goal and pop for a new bike when you have met that goal or are finishing in the top 10. This plan will make you work hard but there is much enjoyment passing guys on new bikes.
I told my Wife that I wanted a new bike when I was able to contest in the sprints at every race. It's really only there that weight, aero, and energy savings starts to mean much.
BTW, you don't need to shell out $2500 for a decent race bike. Cruise the pits and ask around if anyone is selling or knows of a bike for sale. There is often someone selling a sweet used race bike for realistic prices. For example, I spent $1500 on a Scott Addict w/Rival group and a new set of wheels and tires. The wheels were not anything special but there are plenty of guys who never use the wheels their bikes come with. This is more bike than I had ever imagined having. I did get get a trophy my first race on it but that may have been more from that "new bike" excitement than the fact that it was lighter than my old bike.
If you do a lot of climbing in your races, a lighter bike might gain you a few seconds. Otherwise that bike is OK for most racing. Of course you could spend a lot of money on one of the new 'aero' bikes and maybe shave off a few seconds on even a flat road race. Or not.
Do you do crits? If so you surely wouldn't want to spend a lot of cash on a new bike only to crash it, would you?
A bicycle is extremely efficient in taking power applied to the cranks and delivering it to the rear wheel. Short of having dragging brakes; loose or worn hub bearings; on a wheel so untrue that it's hitting the frame, over 99% of what you put to the pedals arrives at the rear wheel.
One thing a better bike might do is shift better. If your current bike doesn't shift when you want it to, that could slow you down in a race.
1. Bike is about 17lbs with the race wheelset on it and otherwise stripped down to the bare minimum.
2. "Ideal" is a relative term. I'm 6'3.75" and low bodyfat % at race weight, but because of high bone density (DEXA scan measured, not guessing) I can get down to maybe 190lbs without intentionally losing muscle mass to get lower, which I'd have to get a pretty compelling argument to even consider. At the age of 18, when I was in no way athletic, but fully grown, I was 185lbs.
3. How do I answer that question? If I find myself off the back because of a climb, it usually means it's all over for me for that race.
4. Crits and road races, and not very many because I really can't afford to race every weekend.
To reiterate: I'm trying to determine, primarily, whether this bike is soaking up power when I'm trying to sprint, preventing me from reaching >30mph.
Have you ever been fit to your bike?
You're too big to go up hill with the skinny guys regardless.
As far as stiffness, if you're hesitating or cornering timidly because the bike is moving around under you, then yeah, it could be holding you back. Otherwise it's not, or a very small amount.
Saying you average 1000w in a sprint is like saying asking how many existentialists it takes to change a light bulb:
1000w for how long? Satrting from what point? End of the race? Practice?
Sprinting isn't just about numbers. It's about CdA, jump, positioning, and to some degree w/kg. And it's more about when the numbers are than what the numbers are.
Also, what's CdA?
A lot bigger factor in sprinting than a lot of folks realize. One of the reasons Cav is so successful.
http://www.bikeforums.net/images/misc/quote_icon.png Originally Posted by Element GT http://www.bikeforums.net/images/but...post-right.png
I did my first metric this year and it was a blast! The biggest surprise was how much I actually ate through the whole thing at the snack tables.
Is there a point to what you just posted here, or are you just being a jerk?
I'm just trying to optimize my performance, and if the bike really was holding me back, then I make plans to replace it when possible.
What I don't need is a bunch of negativity. Please keep that to yourself.
CdA is a measure of how aero you and your bike are, when riding. If you can generate 1,000w for 15", measured with a PT at the wheel, then power transfer certainly isn't your problem, but you might not be very 'slippery' if you max out at 30mph. Chances are your body is up in the air, which may be enabling you to generate more power, but overall slowing you down. There could be other issues with your technique that isn't transferring that power into speed. If you change your mind about training advice, and want help sorting that out, then speeak up, as there are some people here (no, not me) who have won a lot of races.
As A'Jet said in response to a newbie statement I made long ago about practicing sprints - it's about speed, not power. Fortunately, both can be trained.
And there's a difference between truth and negativity. The former is saying you'll never be a great climber at 190 pounds. The latter would be saying you shouldn't bother improving your climbing.
You took offense at someone's signature. Those are defaulted little things some people use as taglines on ALL their posts. Mostly comments that people find either amusing or uplifting. They are not directed at anyone or relevant to the particular post.
In this case LAJ found something another member posted amusing. You'll see a few of my more pithy stuff floating around quoted by others. LAJ is a very nice person who took the time to answer your question, albeit briefly.