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  1. #1
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    Do the bikes really matter?

    Yep, does the fact that Astana rides Treks have anything to do with their performance? Or Cancellara on a Specialized TT bike. I've always been a skeptic of bike improvements on a minuscule scale. Some things do matter, of course, but seriously, does a specially designed top tube really make a difference at the highest level?

  2. #2
    Lance Hater Laggard's Avatar
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    I've never once heard that any team had a advantage 'cause they were riding any particular bike.
    i may have overreacted

  3. #3
    Ride for Life wearyourtruth's Avatar
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    i don't think that the little changes here and there make any real advantage to one team or another, but all those changes over a period of time (many years) can add up to large improvements in the sport as a whole
    before posting, a "noob" should always ask themselves "could this have been answered by first visiting Sheldon Brown

    -Tim-
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  4. #4
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    For the road races, I don't think it makes any difference. They're all the same basic design, mostly use the same quality of components, are the same weight, and all need to conform to UCI standards.

    It's possible that one TT bike might provide a small advantage over another, but I don't know how you could definitively prove that the bike itself was a critical factor. Even wind tunnels, which are an excellent tool for determining aerodynamic factors, are still an artificial tool that will not necessarily reflect what really happens in real-world riding conditions.

  5. #5
    tcs
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    Quote Originally Posted by wearyourtruth View Post
    i don't think that the little changes here and there make any real advantage to one team or another, but all those changes over a period of time (many years) can add up to large improvements in the sport as a whole
    Compare last year's Tour average speed to the average speed of the 1960 Tour. Then allow for what you feel is the difference of better training, better nutrition/hydration, real time biometric monitoring, better support, aerodynamic kit, the use of race radios and computers, increased specialization, far better roads, better tires, and basically all the thousand and one other things that have changed (even things like air conditioned team buses/cars/hotels). The difference you're left with is the difference better bikes have made in the last 50 Tours.

    Just a thought,
    tcs
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  6. #6
    Senior Member kwrides's Avatar
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    Yes, Trek's have secret little EPO and transfused blood dispensing compartments. They can get a shot on the fly.
    Quote Originally Posted by dewaday View Post
    I'm 50 years old. My parents find cycling 6-8 hours completely incomprehensible and self indulgent. Of course they're right, but I continue to ignore them as a form of rebellion.

  7. #7
    Senior Member kwrides's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcs View Post
    Compare last year's Tour average speed to the average speed of the 1960 Tour. Then allow for what you feel is the difference of better training, better nutrition/hydration, real time biometric monitoring, better support, aerodynamic kit, the use of race radios and computers, increased specialization, far better roads, better tires, and basically all the thousand and one other things that have changed (even things like air conditioned team buses/cars/hotels). The difference you're left with is the difference better bikes have made in the last 50 Tours.

    Just a thought,
    tcs
    You left out one key ingredient
    Quote Originally Posted by dewaday View Post
    I'm 50 years old. My parents find cycling 6-8 hours completely incomprehensible and self indulgent. Of course they're right, but I continue to ignore them as a form of rebellion.

  8. #8
    tcs
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwrides View Post
    You left out one key ingredient
    I'm guessing from the context of your previous post. Consider:

    “I was one of the best British time trialists and I was beaten by 14 minutes over 50km by the European pros. I had to ask myself what was going on. I got dropped in the world championship road race and this Dutchman came up and offered me a handful of pills. He said, “Make you go fast!”” Dennis Talbot, about racing in Europe in 1955.

    Anyone who thinks the racing was clean in whatever they consider the golden era to be is naive.

    tcs
    Last edited by tcs; 07-13-09 at 11:23 AM.
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcs View Post
    I'm guessing from the context of your previous post. Consider:

    “I was one of the best British time trialists and I was beaten by 14 minutes over 50km by the European pros. I had to ask myself what was going on. I got dropped in the world championship road race and this Dutchman came up and offered me a handful of pills. He said, “Make you go fast!”” Dennis Talbot, about racing in Europe in 1955.

    Anyone who thinks the racing was clean in whatever they consider the golden era to be is naive.

    tcs
    The new "pills" are much better. Advances you know!

  10. #10
    pluralis majestatis redfooj's Avatar
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    if one bike results in even seconds of difference over 200km, which adds up over the course of a full tour, wouldn't the top contenders be on them (surely purse & publicity from a win >> sponsorship from 1 manufacturer).

    i dont think it makes a difference.

    but your average fred surely thinks so (this cervelo will make me much faster than a trek!)

  11. #11
    Senior Member thehammerdog's Avatar
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    I would say NOPE......
    It's the engine BABY!

  12. #12
    Senior Member icelemmings's Avatar
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    Comparing current rides, I would say no. Comparing modern equipment with vintage tour equipment, yes. But, even then, marginally so. The comfort of riders, I think, matters much more. Slight variations in design between a handful of modern companies may make the rider feel better, in turn, helping that rider ride better in the end. Whether that specific bike is any better or worse than a comparable model? I doubt it.

  13. #13
    Ride for Life wearyourtruth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcs View Post
    Compare last year's Tour average speed to the average speed of the 1960 Tour. Then allow for what you feel is the difference of better training, better nutrition/hydration, real time biometric monitoring, better support, aerodynamic kit, the use of race radios and computers, increased specialization, far better roads, better tires, and basically all the thousand and one other things that have changed (even things like air conditioned team buses/cars/hotels). The difference you're left with is the difference better bikes have made in the last 50 Tours.

    Just a thought,
    tcs
    well maybe i should have said "many, many years" and "noticeable improvements." i'm not so much talking about weight or aero tubing, but i don't think anyone can deny the improvements of deraillers, brifters, clipless pedals, and things like TT bars for the time trials. there are also more minute things like double-pivot brakes (over center pull) and improved brake surfaces for decending and better tires, as you already mentioned. bikes didn't improve near as much over the past 50 years as they did the 50 prior to that, but over those 100 combined we have a completely different machine.

    i don't think anyone could say that if you put astana on a fleet of these that they would still be the team to beat.
    before posting, a "noob" should always ask themselves "could this have been answered by first visiting Sheldon Brown

    -Tim-
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  14. #14
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Having been raised in Europe, the professional riders in Belgium in the late 1930s had a secret ingredient in their bidons (water bottles): Beer and 2 raw eggs. Whatever's legal and works for you!
    Is a new Trek any better than a new Huffy . . .

  15. #15
    Señor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wearyourtruth View Post
    ...
    Sweet. Is that yours?
    The search for inner peace continues...

  16. #16
    Ride for Life wearyourtruth's Avatar
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    ^ i wish, i'd take that over a full carbon s-works
    before posting, a "noob" should always ask themselves "could this have been answered by first visiting Sheldon Brown

    -Tim-
    www.velocipedebikeproject.org

  17. #17
    Senior Member kwrides's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcs View Post
    I'm guessing from the context of your previous post. Consider:

    “I was one of the best British time trialists and I was beaten by 14 minutes over 50km by the European pros. I had to ask myself what was going on. I got dropped in the world championship road race and this Dutchman came up and offered me a handful of pills. He said, “Make you go fast!”” Dennis Talbot, about racing in Europe in 1955.

    Anyone who thinks the racing was clean in whatever they consider the golden era to be is naive.

    tcs
    I agree, but taking an amphetamine is not the same as getting a fresh day's worth of highly oxegenated blood.
    Quote Originally Posted by dewaday View Post
    I'm 50 years old. My parents find cycling 6-8 hours completely incomprehensible and self indulgent. Of course they're right, but I continue to ignore them as a form of rebellion.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Gotte's Avatar
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    I read somewhere, I forget where, that drugs in the old days were mainly for fooling the body into not hurting as much as it should. Of course, that still gives you an advantage over a clean rider, as you don't fade with pain. I guess the difference now is that the dope actually increases on your natural ability.

    That's what I read, anyway.

  19. #19
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Some changes to the bikes do make a significant difference. Think of the first aerodynamic positions. Heck, even Floyd's "praying mantis" position was good for maybe seconds.

    But with the weight limit, there's not much else that can be done, especially mechanically.
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

  20. #20
    Ride for Life wearyourtruth's Avatar
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    i just found this reading about lance's wind-tunnel work with trek in '99

    "Final wind tunnel testing of the OCLV-HC TT frame proved that the aero shape alone could save 10 to 15 seconds in a 40-kilometer time trial over last year's bike."

    even if they are exaggerating the results to make their product look better, that was just with one season of development.
    before posting, a "noob" should always ask themselves "could this have been answered by first visiting Sheldon Brown

    -Tim-
    www.velocipedebikeproject.org

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