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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 01-04-14, 01:14 PM   #101
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I'll never race, I'm starting late in cycling, but I absolutely love to compare my times over the same routes on strava to see an improvement in speed. Don't know for sure, but I'm guessing the bulk of people riding road bikes as opposed to hybrids etc. Are interested in the speed. If just riding for riding why bother with a road bike at all and the trade-offs entailed?


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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, 02:17 PM   #102
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I'll never race, I'm starting late in cycling, but I absolutely love to compare my times over the same routes on strava to see an improvement in speed. Don't know for sure, but I'm guessing the bulk of people riding road bikes as opposed to hybrids etc. Are interested in the speed. If just riding for riding why bother with a road bike at all and the trade-offs entailed?
All well and good, but does it really make you or anyone else feel better to buy a little speed instead of making greater gains through training?
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Old 01-04-14, 02:54 PM   #103
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and why can't you do both(ie buying speed and making training gains) and be equally satisfied? Additionally, at least for me, throwing a leg over a really nice bike (which is far superior to any ability I'll ever have) encourages me to put more miles on. That's just me and can't speak for anyone else on this.


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All well and good, but does it really make you or anyone else feel better to buy a little speed instead of making greater gains through training?
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Old 01-04-14, 03:05 PM   #104
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i cycle for fun, the joy of being outsoors and getting around, and partly for fitness. even on my cross-check my average speed on my routes is about 13.5-14.5mph depending on how windy it is here in flat Houston. but it's also a result of that fact that i am not a huge muscular person. i'm 5'5", i weigh about 130, and i don't have strong legs and never will. i may over time get my legs to endure longer rides, but i'll never be able to bulk up to the point where i could power speed for a long way. and that's fine with me. i have no interest in racing.

i have a garmin edge 200 gps (the base model gps) and while i don't compare my times on each ride, my goal is to make it 30 miles in 2 hours. that's about all I go for.

my cross-check is new and while i have seen an improvement in my time and speed on it, it's not a huge margin over my old steel, heavy as a battleship, mid 90's hardtail MTB
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Old 01-04-14, 03:31 PM   #105
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You're late. Orange is the new black
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Because it's easier to see orange?
Nah, because no one messes with you if you've got crazy eyes.
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Old 01-04-14, 03:35 PM   #106
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Old 01-04-14, 03:38 PM   #107
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I'm digging this thread, especially all of the people saying an expensive bike won't make you faster.

I have nothing but cheap bikes, and have always though that someday I would buy an expensive bike. Now I have to wonder -- why? If it won't make me go much faster, why spend $5,000 on a bicycle? Are there other benefits that justify the expense?
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Old 01-04-14, 03:49 PM   #108
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I'm digging this thread, especially all of the people saying an expensive bike won't make you faster.

I have nothing but cheap bikes, and have always though that someday I would buy an expensive bike. Now I have to wonder -- why? If it won't make me go much faster, why spend $5,000 on a bicycle? Are there other benefits that justify the expense?
As an owner of a perfectly fine 2011 Giant Defy (Aluminum with 105), I can only tell you that I didn't need a new bike. That was until I bought my TCR Advanced SL4. Now the Defy sits in the corner of the apartment, and I'm about to convert it to a grocery getter. The improvement in handling, comfort, precision operation (Ultegra 6700) has increased my enjoyment in training, both on AND off the bike. Even if I had paid full retail (as opposed to half price), I feel like this would have been a good investment.
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Old 01-04-14, 04:06 PM   #109
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...why spend $5,000 on a bicycle?
Because you cannot afford more?
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Old 01-04-14, 04:56 PM   #110
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I have always ridden used bikes. Now those bikes have always been good quality components and frames, but I just have never bought a new road bike. After a long hiatus from cycling due to family, I decided I needed to get back on the bike. For fitness and for stress relief. I rode my 30 year old steel framed bike. It's a frame made in the Colnago factory with Shimano 600 components. We did several centuries together and my plan was to get back on the bike and ride one this year. I came across a 2008 James Xenith pro frame and built it up with ultegra components. It is a carbon frame and I have to say is more comfortable than the steel bike and the frame is way more stiff in the bottom bracket. The new bike feels completely different and it does show on my times. But if times were exactly the same I would say the CF is way more comfortable.
So in my car a new old bike has made a difference. Though I won't be getting rid of my Steel frame though I will upgrade to 9 speed.
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Old 01-04-14, 06:02 PM   #111
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All well and good, but does it really make you or anyone else feel better to buy a little speed instead of making greater gains through training?
Man, I'm so with you. All these people having fun and enjoying their hobby - ugh, it drives me crazy! Don't they realize that they could have less fun and do it your way instead? What idiots!
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Old 01-04-14, 10:33 PM   #112
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Man, I'm so with you. All these people having fun and enjoying their hobby - ugh, it drives me crazy! Don't they realize that they could have less fun and do it your way instead? What idiots!
Not misinterpreting me at all there. If a new bike makes you happy and makes you ride more, great. My opinion that I offered was that it's more satisfying to see gains through training, but if it makes you happy to buy speed that's fine and if someone gave me a pair of 404s or a Venge, I wouldn't turn them down but I also wouldn't feel particularly proud of myself for a personal best on a ride that was due to the gear rather than hard work.
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Old 01-04-14, 10:34 PM   #113
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Man, I'm so with you. All these people having fun and enjoying their hobby - ugh, it drives me crazy! Don't they realize that they could have less fun and do it your way instead? What idiots!
The way I see it, he is trying to appeal to peoples' common sense, where as you are trying to be funny with nonsense.
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Old 01-05-14, 02:44 AM   #114
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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.
Hi, thanks!

I'm 76kg and 6 foot 2 inches... not ideal for a racer, and I hardly ever ride "on the drops".
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Old 01-05-14, 03:16 AM   #115
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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
The reason for creating my program was to allow you to quantitatively asses the benefits of X versus Y... which might be training vs. a new bike; both are covered on the program.

Interestingly three of the biggest improvements come at very low cost; riding on the drops (free), riding on Aerobars (£40 / $60?) and interval training (free, although it isn't "instant" like the other two).

I personally see the program being used in two ways: some people will look at it and see that X improves their time by 2 minutes over 20 miles and think "excellent, now I know it'll save me 2 minutes I'll buy that" whilst others will think "Now I know it will only save me 2 minutes in an hour there's no point in me buying that". Both are valid conclusions depending on your point of view and I'm not here to judge which applies to anybody, just to present the data so that you can make your own mind up.



Are there any scenario's I've not covered that people would like me to look into?
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Old 01-05-14, 04:16 AM   #116
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Not misinterpreting me at all there. If a new bike makes you happy and makes you ride more, great. My opinion that I offered was that it's more satisfying to see gains through training, but if it makes you happy to buy speed that's fine and if someone gave me a pair of 404s or a Venge, I wouldn't turn them down but I also wouldn't feel particularly proud of myself for a personal best on a ride that was due to the gear rather than hard work.
Are you proud of your personal best on your current bike over your personal best on say a hybrid? You know that the time difference between the two is equipment related and not your hard work? Why not get a beach cruiser and just train harder? I am sure there is the guy out there on the Walmart cruiser saying if someone gave him your bike, he would take it but wouldn't be proud of a personal best time on it.

I am a couple miles an hour faster on my carbon road bike versus my steel touring bike. obviously I get no personal satisfaction out of those gains. However it is a fact that the carbon road bike makes me faster.

why do we ride the bikes that we do? My guess is budget, intent, seriousness and common sense.

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Old 01-05-14, 08:37 AM   #117
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I have two nice carbon road bikes. I have not totaled up costs on both, but the fancier one probably costs about 2 to 3x the less fancy one.

The more expensive one is couple pounds lighter, I'm told measurably stiffer, made of better stuff and has better components. I suppose one could do some inter web based power/speed prediction analysis and find that "it" is some fraction faster than the other one. For me though that is not the thing. Riding it just feels better and it makes the ride more fun. I could try and quantify that with the sort of BS you see in magazine reviews, but bottom line is it just feels better.

It is just unfortunate it costs so damn much that I do not want to do all of my racing / riding on it.
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Old 01-05-14, 09:02 AM   #118
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Because you cannot afford more?
pretty much nailed it!
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Old 01-05-14, 09:05 AM   #119
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Because you cannot afford more?
So far I haven't been able to afford $5,000. From this thread it sounds like I shouldn't bother trying.
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Old 01-05-14, 09:10 AM   #120
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So far I haven't been able to afford $5,000. From this thread it sounds like I shouldn't bother trying.
Ride what ever works for you.
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Old 01-05-14, 10:13 AM   #121
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I thought I'd chime in here with a personal experience. I have a buddy who just got into cycling…guy is in great shape and works out often (imagine a well built, muscular fella). He got into cycling late June and busted out a 13 year old steel Bianchi he bought new years ago (I believe it has a carbon fork). At our recommendation, he replaced the saddle, chain, grip tape, tires and got a general tune up at a LBS…and that's it.

…then he proceeded to bust his ass and landed up handing us ours. That dude flat out flies. From July up until today he has laid down 3700 miles (take in mind that before July…he didn't ride at all), set a ton of KOMs on Strava (at times beating some seriously talented riders in our area), slimmed down considerably (LOL…something I warned him about) and all around proved that the bike doses not make the rider.

New bikes are fun…upgrading is fun…but it won't make you faster.
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Old 01-05-14, 10:25 AM   #122
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Are you proud of your personal best on your current bike over your personal best on say a hybrid? You know that the time difference between the two is equipment related and not your hard work? Why not get a beach cruiser and just train harder? I am sure there is the guy out there on the Walmart cruiser saying if someone gave him your bike, he would take it but wouldn't be proud of a personal best time on it.

I am a couple miles an hour faster on my carbon road bike versus my steel touring bike. obviously I get no personal satisfaction out of those gains. However it is a fact that the carbon road bike makes me faster.

why do we ride the bikes that we do? My guess is budget, intent, seriousness and common sense.
I am not proud of time gains because of equipment. I don't own a hybrid or an MTB, only two road bikes (one old aluminum, one new carbon race bike). My times on the same routes between the two bikes are within a variance I can attribute to weather/day to day differences in performance, so it is negligible. If I didn't race, I would probably be perfectly content to have a hybrid and train hard for fitness' sake and enjoy my improvements. However, I got involved in cycling because I wanted to compete, so I have a race bike and the related equipment needed to get me to a basic level of parity with the people I'm racing against. I agree with you on why we ride the bikes we do. I'm only saying that, for me, there is a different satisfaction that comes with improving because I work hard versus riding something faster. I objectively appreciate the aerodynamic and rolling resistance advantages of road bikes, but I wouldn't use the word "proud" to describe any performance difference because of those advantages. I care about my performance relative to myself over time and relative to those that I compete against. All satisfaction I derive from the sport comes from those two comparisons.
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Old 01-05-14, 10:30 AM   #123
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The reason for creating my program was to allow you to quantitatively asses the benefits of X versus Y... which might be training vs. a new bike; both are covered on the program.

Interestingly three of the biggest improvements come at very low cost; riding on the drops (free), riding on Aerobars (£40 / $60?) and interval training (free, although it isn't "instant" like the other two).

I personally see the program being used in two ways: some people will look at it and see that X improves their time by 2 minutes over 20 miles and think "excellent, now I know it'll save me 2 minutes I'll buy that" whilst others will think "Now I know it will only save me 2 minutes in an hour there's no point in me buying that". Both are valid conclusions depending on your point of view and I'm not here to judge which applies to anybody, just to present the data so that you can make your own mind up.



Are there any scenario's I've not covered that people would like me to look into?
Your program is interesting and I appreciate it, I wasn't criticizing you and it does highlight some things that are lost on some cyclists- why buy deep carbon aero rims if you never ride in the drops? People can feel however they want about cycling, I was just expressing my personal viewpoint that buying bits to improve speed in a non-competitive environment or in lieu of personal fitness gains is a waste of money, but if it makes that person happy then good for them.
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Old 01-05-14, 10:37 AM   #124
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buying bits to improve speed in a non-competitive environment or in lieu of personal fitness gains is a waste of money
I think that's where many people are in error. It's not in lieu of personal gains, it's in addition to personal gains. Buying a new bike can jumpstart your cycling, pushing you to go faster, longer, harder in order to justify the bike or simply because it's more fun to ride a new bike.
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Old 01-05-14, 10:53 AM   #125
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I think that's where many people are in error. It's not in lieu of personal gains, it's in addition to personal gains. Buying a new bike can jumpstart your cycling, pushing you to go faster, longer, harder in order to justify the bike or simply because it's more fun to ride a new bike.
Right, and that's great when new bits inspire someone to ride more and try harder. To be honest, I could have started racing a year before I actually did and achieved the same results, but it took the gift of my carbon bike from my fiancée to finally convince me that I was ready. My point is aimed at someone who changes nothing in terms of training but brags that his Zipps knocked 5 seconds off of a strava segment. Congratulations to your wheels, sir.
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