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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 01-09-14, 03:45 PM   #176
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I also don't know if I would lose many spots in crits if I were racing on that 40 lb Schwinn Varsity. I did some races on a 23 lb 80's road bike a few years back, with downtube shifters. I didn't do too badly.?
This brings the question... how do you contest a sprint with downtube shifters? I tried going against a friend of mine and needless to say I failed since I started in too high of a cadence. I'm assuming you'd have to be comfortable doing 60-120rpm at full wattage!
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Old 01-09-14, 03:53 PM   #177
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This brings the question... how do you contest a sprint with downtube shifters? I tried going against a friend of mine and needless to say I failed since I started in too high of a cadence. I'm assuming you'd have to be comfortable doing 60-120rpm at full wattage!
Same way as with no shifters:
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Old 01-09-14, 03:56 PM   #178
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Same way as with no shifters:
yeaa.... that is why I lost the sprint. maxing out at 140?
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Old 01-09-14, 04:05 PM   #179
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yeaa.... that is why I lost the sprint. maxing out at 140?
I had to go and check, but in actual race sprints it seems I tend to top out in the 120s. In drills I can get close to 160, but on flat finishes I tend to upshift a couple times during a sprint.

But what do I know, my only wins have been on uphill finishes.
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Old 01-09-14, 04:14 PM   #180
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Considering that my current FTP is the same, my weight has dropped 12#s, the bike is 3.5#s less, stiffer and more aero, at the beginning of the ride (instead of the end). Would I be able to break that 20 second gap?

Just taking rider/bike weight into account to start, that is going to save you about 4 seconds on the course...

5% decrease in total (bike + rider) aero drag would save you a further 1.5 seconds... (probably very optimistic if your riding position is the same).

The fatigue/power part is difficult to gauge... 10% more average power is going to save you a further 7 seconds...

That cuts 12.5 seconds off your time.... that's assuming the wind is the same.... make sure you do the course with the wind at your back and it'll help...

If you can tell me your current best 2 minute mean maximum power we could use that to determine how much more power you can develop when you are fresh and get a better estimate....
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Old 01-09-14, 04:34 PM   #181
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I have no idea. I don't, to this point in time, do well in climbing-heavy races anyway, but if I were climbing Mt. Washington I would be slower on this bike than one 4 lbs lighter. Do you deny this?

I also don't know if I would lose many spots in crits if I were racing on that 40 lb Schwinn Varsity. I did some races on a 23 lb 80's road bike a few years back, with downtube shifters. I didn't do too badly. But I prefer my current race bike both to that 80's roadie and to the Schwinn. It's certainly faster than both of them, but not by so much that I would do substantially worse on either.

But you still haven't answered my question: why are you riding a 20 lb modern road bike instead of a 40 lb Schwinn Varsity? You're not any less likely to get dropped on the newer, fancier bike and it isn't going to help your Strava times anyway, so why waste the money?

No. I do not deny it.

You are comparing two bikes that have substantial weight differences. In my comparisons, I am comparing the extremes of my current bikes which range from ~17 to ~22 pounds.

Ironically I had a 1976 Schwinn Varsity up until this summer. I didn't bother with a cyclocomputer on it or take it on any serious rides. I had to thin my bike herd since I had added an additional motorcycle to my collection. On flat rides, I could probably keep up with anyone I could on a lighter bike.

I am riding a 20 pound modern road bike because the incremental difference in efficiency is FAR greater than the comparison on a ~20 pound bike compared to a ~15 pound one. I am just as capable and competitive on an entry level road bike as I am on a $2000 bike that is x pounds lighter. None of my bikes are equipped with anything better than Shimano 105... In my last race which was a crit I placed 2nd. The outcome had nothing to do with bikes. Everyone was on modern road bikes ~20 pounds or under. Tactics and bike handling played a much greater role in the outcome than a few pounds of bike material did.

Again, I am not disputing that a lighter more expensive bike can possibly give you an advantage. I am just disputing the actual amount which is nearly zero in my opinion. You could also have a lighter more expensive bike that has more relaxed geometry and it is then "slower" than a heavier bike that has the rider in a more aero position... To sum it up when comparing modern road bikes...it's not the bike. Engine and aerodynamics.
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Old 01-09-14, 04:37 PM   #182
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No time to really react fully to this, but I think you're getting into some very interesting territory here. We know that what we think about things affects our experience of them - wine is a great example. If a bottle of wine is more expensive, we perceive it as tasting better than the same wine in a bottle marked with the label of a "lesser" vintage. There are questions about to what extent this is a good thing that we can use to hone our enjoyment of our experiences and where it becomes snake oil and fraud, but I don't think the answers are simple. It's a pretty fascinating element of human psychology, and it definitely plays into how we feel about our bikes, too.
No argument from me on that, and the psychology is very interesting. Confirmation bias is definitely prevalent in cycling, no matter how objective you may think you are. I remember being absolutely convinced that my GP4000s were allowing me to hold a given speed for longer than my prior gatorskins. Although that was probably true to a very small degree, I don't think it's a difference that I would have "felt" if I'd been given the same pair of GP4000s labeled as Gatorskins.
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Old 01-09-14, 04:52 PM   #183
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I guess the op has to decide that winning the sprint to the stop sign on his A ride is worth the very large outlay of cash for a flash bike.

I honestly don't think it matters a whole lot, especially when we are talking about group rides.


That thread from roadbikereview that was posted a little bit back was very telling.
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Old 01-09-14, 05:07 PM   #184
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I'll confide in you guys, I got the 15 pound S-works because of it's obscenely light weight. Does it make me any faster, sure incrementally, mainly it's a lot easier to carry then a 25 pound bike when I breakdown a zillion miles from anywhere!
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Old 01-09-14, 06:09 PM   #185
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Originally Posted by lsberrios1 View Post
This brings the question... how do you contest a sprint with downtube shifters? I tried going against a friend of mine and needless to say I failed since I started in too high of a cadence. I'm assuming you'd have to be comfortable doing 60-120rpm at full wattage!
You've already got the learn to spin a higher cadence answer.

Second answer is shift with your knee.
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Old 01-09-14, 06:34 PM   #186
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Old 01-10-14, 08:40 AM   #187
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No. I do not deny it.

You are comparing two bikes that have substantial weight differences. In my comparisons, I am comparing the extremes of my current bikes which range from ~17 to ~22 pounds.

Ironically I had a 1976 Schwinn Varsity up until this summer. I didn't bother with a cyclocomputer on it or take it on any serious rides. I had to thin my bike herd since I had added an additional motorcycle to my collection. On flat rides, I could probably keep up with anyone I could on a lighter bike.

I am riding a 20 pound modern road bike because the incremental difference in efficiency is FAR greater than the comparison on a ~20 pound bike compared to a ~15 pound one. I am just as capable and competitive on an entry level road bike as I am on a $2000 bike that is x pounds lighter. None of my bikes are equipped with anything better than Shimano 105... In my last race which was a crit I placed 2nd. The outcome had nothing to do with bikes. Everyone was on modern road bikes ~20 pounds or under. Tactics and bike handling played a much greater role in the outcome than a few pounds of bike material did.

Again, I am not disputing that a lighter more expensive bike can possibly give you an advantage. I am just disputing the actual amount which is nearly zero in my opinion. You could also have a lighter more expensive bike that has more relaxed geometry and it is then "slower" than a heavier bike that has the rider in a more aero position... To sum it up when comparing modern road bikes...it's not the bike. Engine and aerodynamics.
The point of the extreme example was to get to the realization that things like weight, friction, etc. DO matter. And you can't have it both ways; either the bike can make a difference or it can't. You can't say that the difference between a 20 lb modern bike and a Varsity is real enough to matter and the difference between a high end bike and an entry-level bike isn't. They both have to be true.

With that said, of course the differences are very, very small. But in bike racing, fractions of a second are often the difference between winning and losing. So small differences in equipment matter there. The question is whether we think it's worth paying for those differences. And the changes in equipment that make the most difference might not necessarily be about what's lighter or more aerodynamic, to be fair. The switch from downtube shifters to integrated shifters is a perfect example. Even holding weight the same, being able to shift immediately, while under full power if desired, is going to make you faster. Not a lot faster, but enough to matter sometimes.

Outside of bike racing, of course there's nothing at stake, but the differences are still there. Some people like the idea of being on the best, fastest stuff they can get their hands on, even if it will never make a competitive difference for them. Nothing wrong with that.

I just think that both extremes of this argument are stupid. It's stupid to think that getting a flashy new bike is actually going to make you lots faster. But it's also stupid to deny that differences in equipment matter. They definitely do! Even if it's just in how warm and fuzzy we feel about riding.

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No argument from me on that, and the psychology is very interesting. Confirmation bias is definitely prevalent in cycling, no matter how objective you may think you are. I remember being absolutely convinced that my GP4000s were allowing me to hold a given speed for longer than my prior gatorskins. Although that was probably true to a very small degree, I don't think it's a difference that I would have "felt" if I'd been given the same pair of GP4000s labeled as Gatorskins.
GP4000s are definitely faster tires than Gatorskins, but you're right, what you feel usually is an exaggeration of the actual differences. I ran Maxxis Re-Fuse tires all winter last year, and hated them compared to my usual GP4000S. They felt very slow and heavy. And they did slow me down. But even without a real speed difference, the superior ride and road feel of the nice tires is worth the price difference to me. That they are actually faster is a nice bonus.

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Second answer is shift with your knee.
I tried that, once. Aimed a bit too low. Hitting the pivot point of the shifter with your knee REALLY HURTS!
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Old 01-10-14, 09:22 AM   #188
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The point of the extreme example was to get to the realization that things like weight, friction, etc. DO matter. And you can't have it both ways; either the bike can make a difference or it can't. You can't say that the difference between a 20 lb modern bike and a Varsity is real enough to matter and the difference between a high end bike and an entry-level bike isn't. They both have to be true.

With that said, of course the differences are very, very small. But in bike racing, fractions of a second are often the difference between winning and losing. So small differences in equipment matter there. The question is whether we think it's worth paying for those differences. And the changes in equipment that make the most difference might not necessarily be about what's lighter or more aerodynamic, to be fair. The switch from downtube shifters to integrated shifters is a perfect example. Even holding weight the same, being able to shift immediately, while under full power if desired, is going to make you faster. Not a lot faster, but enough to matter sometimes.

Outside of bike racing, of course there's nothing at stake, but the differences are still there. Some people like the idea of being on the best, fastest stuff they can get their hands on, even if it will never make a competitive difference for them. Nothing wrong with that.

I just think that both extremes of this argument are stupid. It's stupid to think that getting a flashy new bike is actually going to make you lots faster. But it's also stupid to deny that differences in equipment matter. They definitely do! Even if it's just in how warm and fuzzy we feel about riding.



GP4000s are definitely faster tires than Gatorskins, but you're right, what you feel usually is an exaggeration of the actual differences. I ran Maxxis Re-Fuse tires all winter last year, and hated them compared to my usual GP4000S. They felt very slow and heavy. And they did slow me down. But even without a real speed difference, the superior ride and road feel of the nice tires is worth the price difference to me. That they are actually faster is a nice bonus.



I tried that, once. Aimed a bit too low. Hitting the pivot point of the shifter with your knee REALLY HURTS!
You need to go back and read my posts. I never stated that a lighter or more efficient bike would not help at all. I am just disputing how much of a factor a new "better" bike is. You do make a good point with integrated shifters, but it does not apply to what I was talking about since all of my bikes have them and that was what I was using for a comparison. All that I am saying is for those who are looking for very noticeable gains going from a new entry level road bike to one that is 4 times more expensive will be disappointed once the placebo effect wears off and they are completely honest with themselves. But on the other hand I do appreciate high end bikes too.
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