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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 01-03-14, 08:24 PM   #76
StanSeven
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Originally Posted by gsa103 View Post
This ^.

I had a 1998 Specialized and the hubs had lot of rolling resistance. With my new bike I easily gained 3 mph just because I had less drag.
It's the chain lube
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Old 01-03-14, 08:33 PM   #77
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Old 01-03-14, 08:34 PM   #78
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It's the chain lube
I think you're on to something.
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Old 01-03-14, 08:40 PM   #79
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There was a nice video I watched of a racer testing on a track (I imagine optimal surface condition to test for speed), he saved like a second from riding steel and riding latest and greatest carbon.

Last edited by zymphad; 01-03-14 at 10:41 PM.
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Old 01-03-14, 11:37 PM   #80
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Yes, but black is faster.
You're late. Orange is the new black
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Old 01-03-14, 11:49 PM   #81
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You're late. Orange is the new black
Because it's easier to see orange?
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Old 01-04-14, 12:09 AM   #82
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The interesting thing is that whilst the above is true, because the slower ride spends more time on the course he/she will save more absolute (as opposed to relative) time from the aerodynamics than the faster rider, despite travelling slower... take the overshoe example; a rider travelling at 17.5miles in an hour saves 33 seconds, whilst a rider travelling the same 17.5 miles in 45 minutes saves just 27 seconds.... the same effect can be seen with riding on the drops... a more aero bike, etc....

Don't take my word for it.... the nice guys at Cervelo have written a nice page on the effect here:

http://www.cervelo.com/en/engineerin...st-riders.html
And while that is true, it forgets one thing: watts are energy spent. there's only so long you can put out certain amounts of watts, so saving more watts will allow you to go longer and faster before tiring out. the cervelo example assumes the rivers are not affected by the greater requirement of watts, only by time. in the real world that wouldn't hold up.
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Old 01-04-14, 12:16 AM   #83
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Upgrades from hybrid or mtn bike to pure road bike are HUGE time savings. Undeniable.

Upgrades from a 30lbs old-school bike to a 20lbs racing bike is also significant. 10lbs is enough to feel it on climbs as well as accelerations, which are really important for fast group riding where they repeatedly accelerate hard to try and drop riders.

Upgrades from a $695 intro road bike (like the one the OP has) to a $5000 road bike yield almost no advantage. At this level, it's 98% rider.
What is the reason behind this, is it mainly because mountain bikes and hybrids use wider tires, hence more rolling resistance?
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Old 01-04-14, 12:18 AM   #84
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I know this is an old thread, but I thought the topic seemed appropriate...

I'm a mechanical engineer by trade and "a bit" geeky. Like a lot of other people I wanted to know how much faster "x" would make me on my bike so I wrote a little program and began gathering as much real-life data as I could... both from my own testing and other people's testing.

Once I'd written the program it seemed a waste to keep it to myself so I registered a little web domain and put it on the web... I hope nobody is upset if I post a link here.... it's totally free to use; just fill in your data hit "calculate" and it'll tell you how much faster "x" would make you on your bike over the same ride:

CYCLE SPEED MARGINAL GAINS CALCULATOR

Because the gains are presented relative to one of your actual rides then the results should be a very good indicator of what you'd expect to see -as long as you put in the same effort and the wind conditions are the same!

Any feedback appreciated!
Thanks for posting this, it's really awesome. I just like to point out as someone else did that it's confusing when you reduce the speed and find the time savings have increased.
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Old 01-04-14, 12:22 AM   #85
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Is it possible that a new bike might make a person *faster* if it leaves you feeling less fatigued? "Endurance" bikes, like the Trek Domane and Specialized Roubaix, are relatively new to the cycling world and the technology they use to provide the improved comfort wasn't even possible until the use of carbon frames. Obviously, an 'endurance' bike won't make you jump from 17 mph to 20 mph in an instant, but perhaps it'll help you average a higher speed for longer?

Regardless, having the OP dump his current bike for an endurance bike prol'ly won't get him from B+ to A.
That's what I thought too, between using two light bikes of equal weight the one made of carbon will enable you to go faster in long routes because it's more comfortable to ride (less fatigue) than the aluminum bike.
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Old 01-04-14, 12:32 AM   #86
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I'm actually going to disagree with some posters and say a better bike (stiffer, lighter) will probably make you faster (though I doubt it would be as much as 2 MPH). It sounds like you've put in the hard work fitness wise so you know 2 things

1) You like riding, and you're going to be doing a good deal more
2) As far as fitness goes, you're now at the point of diminishing returns. It's like you've knocked down the low lying fruit (fitness, bike handling, group riding etc) so I see a new bike as totally justifiable if you want it
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Old 01-04-14, 03:49 AM   #87
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And while that is true, it forgets one thing: watts are energy spent. there's only so long you can put out certain amounts of watts, so saving more watts will allow you to go longer and faster before tiring out. the cervelo example assumes the rivers are not affected by the greater requirement of watts, only by time. in the real world that wouldn't hold up.
You have raised an interesting point... lets put some numbers to it and investigate the effect: below is a graph showing my personal "mean maximum power output" for times from 1 minute to 60 minutes...



Over 60 minutes my mean maximum output is 280 watts. If I were to go from an upright position to an aero position I might save 4 minutes over a 20 mile ride that originally took an hour.

My mean maximum power output for 56 minutes is 281 watts (the curve is very flat at that point). I've plugged this into my calculator (You could double check on something like Analytic Cycling) and I find that this 1 watt increase in power would reduce my time by a further 3 seconds over the same 20 mile course, so the total improvement over the course would be 4 minutes and 3 seconds.

Essentially; whilst the effect you describe does occur, it is very small compared to the main time saving (certainly it would be very difficult to measure it in real life).
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Old 01-04-14, 03:58 AM   #88
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Thanks for posting this, it's really awesome. I just like to point out as someone else did that it's confusing when you reduce the speed and find the time savings have increased.
Thanks!

It does seem counter intuitive doesn't it?! But it is a totally real effect.... it essentially boils down to the fact that a 5% improvement on 60 minutes (3 minutes faster) is higher than a 5% improvement on 45 minutes (2.25 minutes faster).

It is great news for people like me who aren't particularly fast: we actually gain more from an expensive bike than someone who is faster :-D

... although we will still be ultimately slower. :-( !
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Old 01-04-14, 04:51 AM   #89
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Yes, but black is faster.
Wooooow dangerously close to getting flagged Mr.!
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Originally Posted by zymphad View Post
Because it's easier to see orange?
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2372162/
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Old 01-04-14, 09:53 AM   #90
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I wonder if getting a thinner tire than 23mm would increase speed. Do they even make tires thinner than that?
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Old 01-04-14, 10:08 AM   #91
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Very interesting reads.

I've been biking for a year now after suffering a couple of nasty femur breaks. I recently sold my dirtbike (which caused said breaks), and have around 3k to play with, and was looking at upgrading from a Trek 1.5 to a Madone 5 series. Now I'm not so sure that's very smart to do w/my money.

Any input? I plan to stick w/cycling and do a century this summer. Should I spend my money at all? Maybe just look at a 4-series?

Thanks ahead.

P.S. love the sight.
you broke both femurs at once?
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Old 01-04-14, 10:58 AM   #92
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A nicer bike absolutely will absolutely go very much faster especially under extreme conditions. 4 minutes shaved off a 20 minute ride. I Have Personal Experience. There's a hill by my house. Had to walk it with my blue/chrome '75 Sekine. I rode the hill with my nicer red/black bike with 105/Ultrega/Triple front CR, and carbon seat post.

Making sure there wasn't other critical factors invalidating the test, I wore the same shoe/pedal combo and the same helmet.

Proof, riding is faster than walking. I can't believe this thread has been around 3 1/2 years and nobody figured that out. Did I mention there is less power robbing friction from the chain in that little tiny front chain ring?
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Old 01-04-14, 11:19 AM   #93
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This is all so asinine. "2 minutes over bla bla bla distance" and such... Why do you care? Are you doing time trials on your road bike and losing by a few seconds? If so, train harder. If you're racing or riding in a pack, the drafting will effectively eliminate any advantages of the "nicer" bike until you're in an all out sprint for the finish, and then the nice bike will only matter if you are losing by half a wheel. The solution to that is also to train harder. I know this has already been said and I don't have to post in these threads, but I feel like people forget that drafting/strategy are far more important in racing than the bike, and people that obsess over the bike are often not racing at all, in which case the only thing that matters is how the bike feels to you because time savings are pointless unless you're competing. /Rant.
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Old 01-04-14, 12:08 PM   #94
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nice posts Machin.

also (if you don't mind sharing), how heavy are you? you humbly mention that you're not fast, but if you're on the lighter side, a 280w 60min puts you well in the middle range of competitive amateur cyclists.
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Old 01-04-14, 12:36 PM   #95
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It is great news for people like me who aren't particularly fast: we actually gain more from an expensive bike than someone who is faster :-D
I've never understood the logic that "slow" riders (and a 280W+ FTP doesn't sound slow) should celebrate small power savings. Because if you're slow you are going to lose races. If you don't race than who cares?
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Old 01-04-14, 12:50 PM   #96
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If you don't race than who cares?
Apparently people like going faster even if they aren't competing. Strange and disturbing, I know, yet it appears to be true.
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Old 01-04-14, 12:57 PM   #97
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Strange and disturbing, I know, yet it appears to be true.
Celebrating a few seconds of time savings over 20 miles on a training ride is dumb.
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Old 01-04-14, 01:05 PM   #98
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Celebrating a few seconds of time savings over 20 miles on a training ride is dumb.
Thinking that enjoying a faster bike is about shaving seconds out of a training ride is much dumber.
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Old 01-04-14, 01:07 PM   #99
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great job Machin, this is very interesting stuff!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Machin View Post
I know this is an old thread, but I thought the topic seemed appropriate...

I'm a mechanical engineer by trade and "a bit" geeky. Like a lot of other people I wanted to know how much faster "x" would make me on my bike so I wrote a little program and began gathering as much real-life data as I could... both from my own testing and other people's testing.

Once I'd written the program it seemed a waste to keep it to myself so I registered a little web domain and put it on the web... I hope nobody is upset if I post a link here.... it's totally free to use; just fill in your data hit "calculate" and it'll tell you how much faster "x" would make you on your bike over the same ride:

CYCLE SPEED MARGINAL GAINS CALCULATOR

Because the gains are presented relative to one of your actual rides then the results should be a very good indicator of what you'd expect to see -as long as you put in the same effort and the wind conditions are the same!

Any feedback appreciated!
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Old 01-04-14, 01:13 PM   #100
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It might be dumb for people who do road races and aren't competitive for the podium. Racers are quick to point out: it's not about being fast, it's about crossing the line first. If you're not a few seconds away, or a few tenths of seconds, the small incremental speeds are not important. But that's racing. Makes perfect sense for you, I wouldn't dream of arguing.

But as for the rest of us who aren't racing, many of us do like to go faster and every few seconds is cause for celebration! And the slower we are, the more important are those few seconds, or minutes as the case may be. (the voice of experience LOL)

BTW, when I started cycling later in life, the single piece of equipment that resulted in the most improvement was a $12 Bell cyclocomputer showing me just how slow I really was. I immediately improved by leaps and bounds! No doubt a power meter would do the same, only better, because it's harder to delude yourself about intensity with actual, real numbers. Yet, if I can kick my performance up with equipment, however I may judge and compare, you bet I'm all in on that.

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