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  1. #1
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    Touring bikes weight

    I find it hard to compare popular touring bikes because I could not easily find their standard weight.
    Does anybody has this info?

    Any idea how much the extra weight can affect performance? I would like number answer like "for 1kg extra weight you need 5% extra power on flats everything else being the same" etc. etc. This will help in deciding when to stop spending extra $$$ to reduce the weight of the bike.

    I ask this because my Fuji Touring bike (at 27.75 Pounds advertised weight), although very comfy and nice, feels and rides slower than my road bike.

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    Probably one of the biggest factors is the tires. I know I had changed from the stock, medium weight, high pressure tires on my hybrid (700x28 120psi 400 gram) to some heavier city style tires (700x28 87 psi 570 gram) and it changed the amount of effort substantially (so much so that I took them off after 15 miles and refuse to ride them again).

    Yes, with my bags removed (about 7 pounds of average commuter load) the bike feels better during out of the saddle sprints, but I have not found an actual corresponding change in average speed loaded or unloaded. Though I'm sure in an uphill TT I would like the bike to be lighter.
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    27.75 is not heavy for a tourer. Even the legendary models years ago were close to that; some current models are heavier than 28 from what little I've seen .

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    Tires and body position will have the biggest effect on flats. At high speed, it will be mostly body position (aerodynamics). At lower speed, it will be more the tires. Skinny high pressure tires will be faster on smooth pavement. Fatter, lower pressure will be faster on crappy or unpaved roads. IMO, 23mm and lower tires are ideal on a 700c rim if you have a chase car carrying a spare wheel. Most club riders use a 23, but if I'm doing long rides on unsanitized roads without a team car, I'll be faster on average with a bigger tire that doesn't flat as much.

    As for weight, your effort will be proportional to total mass on a slow steep hill. So, if you, your bike, and your gear weights 200 lbs, then for each lb you take off the bike, you will climb the hill 0.5% faster. If you are touring and your total ride weight is 250 lbs, then you will climb 0.4% slower per lb of extra crap (that is 0.06mph at 16mph).

    On a very hilly ride, your overall speed and ride time might suffer by those percentages. On a typical ride, it will be somewhere between 0 and 0.4% per lb. There are plenty of speed calculators on the net if you want to play around.

    Flip the stem on the fuji, and put your road bike wheels on it (assuming compatible). Then do a few time trials on your favorite loop.

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    Everything is relative my friends . Speed .... weight .... time .

    Think about all the energy we all waste worrying about such trivial things.

    Does it really matter if you use x% more energy? Or the bike weighs Xlbs. more?

    Is the world going to stop rotating?

    It's friggin' madness .

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    None of the major bike manufacturers post weights these days. There are just too many ways to weigh a bike, and they kept cheating so badly in order to beat their competitors that the numbers became meaningless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
    None of the major bike manufacturers post weights these days. There are just too many ways to weigh a bike, and they kept cheating so badly in order to beat their competitors that the numbers became meaningless.
    yeah, like weighing with or w/o pedels, racks...

  8. #8
    Senior Member yeamac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maro View Post
    Any idea how much the extra weight can affect performance? I would like number answer like "for 1kg extra weight you need 5% extra power on flats everything else being the same" etc. etc. This will help in deciding when to stop spending extra $$$ to reduce the weight of the bike.
    For 2.5 years I rode a steel Bianchi Vigorelli with 25c tires that weighed about 24 pounds with everything on it from bike computer to seat bag with tools, but not the water bottles. I want to do some touring so replaced that with a 32 pound Cannondale T2 (sans bottles) with 32c tires and more upright riding position. I expected to ride slower, but found I could finish the same course with identical wind conditions in the same amount of time. I find that overall I am no slower on a flat century on the T2 vs. the lighter Vigorelli. Starting from a stop I do notice a difference -- the T2 takes slightly more time/effort to get up to speed. But once at speed I notice no difference, which is like 99.9% of the time for me.

    If you do a lot of climbing a lighter bike would make difference. But if you are going to load the thing down with panniers and gear, a few pounds between bikes isn't that big a deal, and you probably won't notice it.

    I think tourists, and most cyclists for that matter, do not need to be that concerned with weight. What does it matter if you finish a day's ride 20 seconds or even 20 minutes sooner because of your bike weight? I have found that proper rest and nutrition makes a lot more difference than the weight of the equipment I choose to use.

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    You really need to weigh the options yourself if you care, take a scale to the store, and assume all published weights are bogus. I don't think a pound here or there is important, except on rotating parts or if it is stupid weight. Lighter bikes might be worse and have more shimmy, or then again they might get a light bike right. Not something I care about.

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    i care somewhat about my touring bike weight. I spend a LOT of time getting the load I am carrying down to the least that will support the trip - why would I NOT care about how much my bike weighs? a pound off the bike means a pound more I can lug as baggage...

    that said, i dont get OC about it, though for my custom tourer I had a custom TI frame made - which I selected not only because of ride quality, but because the lighter weight offset some of the other features I wanted on the bike (S&S couplers, avid BB7 disc brakes, front and rear racks, fenders, TI fork, beefier rims and spokes, 8 pound Extrawheel trailer). the bike (not including the trailer) still is a 30 pounder with all of that.
    2009 Custom TI Frame Road Bike, all 2007 Campy Record, Campy Euros Wheelset
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    Many riders that worry so much about that one pound of bike weight could stand to lose much more than that in body weight themselves.

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    The OP has a bike, a fairly good one by all accounts, not heavy either.

    If you're going on a long ride, "touring" for instance and you're packin' 3 bananas. 3 hours into the ride, you eat 2 ... the bike's laiden weight is reduced by 1 pound.

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    My 50cm LHT with 2" r tire, 1.5" f tire, full fenders and f&r racks weighs 29.7 lbs, and right at 37 lbs with f&r deuter panniers (84l). Without fenders, racks and bags it weighs 25.0 lbs.

    Your choice of tires, racks, bags, etc change the total weight radically.
    Last edited by seeker333; 09-26-09 at 01:14 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maro View Post
    I ask this because my Fuji Touring bike (at 27.75 Pounds advertised weight), although very comfy and nice, feels and rides slower than my road bike.
    It might "feel" slower but that might not really mean it is slower. Talking about speed is meaningless without real numbers. What are your typical/average speed? Does your typical riding include real hills? How much does the other bike weigh?

    Extra weight doesn't require very much extra power to run at a constant speed on the flats. It's much more of an issue when climbing (or accelerating) but it's related to the total weight (rider+bike).
    Last edited by njkayaker; 09-26-09 at 05:35 PM.

  15. #15
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    If you ride 75 miles on basically flat roads, carrying an additional pound will use about 18 extra calories.
    bikegpx.us for free touring map routes & gpx files

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maro View Post
    Any idea how much the extra weight can affect performance? I would like number answer like "for 1kg extra weight you need 5% extra power on flats everything else being the same" etc. etc.
    Let's assume your road bike is 20 lbs, your touring bike is 28.

    On the flats, there is practically zero performance difference due strictly to weight.

    On a 5% climb that is 1 mile long, theoretically that extra 8 lbs will add a mere 17 seconds to your climb, and costs an extra 4 calories.

    The more likely explanation for the speed differences, real or perceived, between the two bikes is:
    The road bike is set up for faster turning and responsive handling; the touring bike is designed for stability while carrying a load. That plus the weight difference makes the road bike "feel" zippier without really producing an actual performance improvement.
    The touring bike likely has wider tires with more tread, and are made for comfort and flat-resistance. The road bike almost certainly has skinny tires made for speed. This will produce both an actual (albeit small) and perceptual speed change.
    It's possible, if not highly likely, that the road bike has a more aggressive rider position than the touring bike. If you are more upright on the touring bike, that will increase aerodynamic drag and will slow you down.
    As long as you expect the road bike to be faster, you will always find a reason to believe the road bike is faster. (Expectations and confirmation bias have a very strong unconscious effect.)

    There is a separate issue, in that if the road bike feels faster but has a harsher ride, it is possible that over longer distances (70+ miles) this may slow you down due to increased fatigue.

    Keep in mind that [url=http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/speed-cycling-how-reducing-your-drag-will-improve-your-cycling-performance-41267]"aerodynamic drag increases as the square of velocity; if you double your speed, you will expend 4 times the energy to overcome drag."[/quote]

    I.e. drag, not weight, is the primary mechanical factor that will affect a bicycle's performance.

  17. #17
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    There are a couple of good posts above. Check out www.analyticcycling.com to see how much difference weight can make.
    I think that weight doesn't make as much difference as most people think. Just because something feels slower doesn't mean that it actually is. You need data to really know what's faster.
    I agree with others that good tires can make a big difference, both in feel and actual performance.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    On a 5% climb that is 1 mile long, theoretically that extra 8 lbs will add a mere 17 seconds to your climb, and costs an extra 4 calories.
    I find this impossible to believe, based on my own real-world experience. But it's sure a nice theory!

  19. #19
    Bicycle Lifestyle AsanaCycles's Avatar
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    personally, the deal with weight is pretty much related to how much gear i'm carrying
    and that is directly related to the weather.

    carrying a bunch of gear, makes a bike more cumbersome
    less weight makes the bike easier to move around
    or move around on

    its a lot easier to pedal a lighter bike than a heavier one

    however, its really a bummer to be cold and wet, when all you needed to do was carry the appropriate gear.

    in that light
    summer touring from parking lot campground to the next
    is easy to spin away
    store to store
    no need to carry so much gear, nor the food.
    buy and eat what you need along the way.

    here are two extremes in what I've toured with.
    a Surly Big Dummy
    and a Hunter 29er

    the dummy obviously can carry the kitchen sink
    it rolls relatively well
    it can be slow, and i can also roll it along at 10mph averages for many days, with a bunch of stuff
    but its big

    the hunter is much lighter, and much faster
    its easier to ride it in the dirt
    its easier to hop off of a curb
    easier to walk it inside of a store

    its smaller
    its easier to live with.

    even with panniers, the Hunter has an entirely different feel.

    for me, climbing 1,000ft "bumps" is not a huge deal on the hunter
    on the dummy, its a significant obstacle

    blah blah blah

    my 2 cents...
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    Last edited by AsanaCycles; 09-27-09 at 12:01 AM. Reason: add pics

  20. #20
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    My observation is that small differences in performance due to weight especially weight of the wheels and tires can make a big difference when riding with others and matching their accelerations and speed on the climbs. This is generally much less of an issue when touring because you set the pace at the level of effort you want and a few minutes here or there aren't that big of a deal.

    When riding a fast century with others wheel weight makes a big difference. I notice it on climbs and maybe even more so on accelerations after corners and intersections. After riding centuries with me on both bikes my companions have commented on the difference in what it is like to follow me on my road bike vs my touring bike. Also I am noticeably more tired after a century on the touring bike tan on the road bike when riding with the same companions.

    Still even on tour a few pounds in total bike and gear are noticeable.

  21. #21
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    I find this impossible to believe, based on my own real-world experience. But it's sure a nice theory!
    Here's a commonly used calculator. Have fun interpreting and revising the methodology.

    If you're curious about the parameters I selected, more or less arbitrarily: 160 lb rider, 160 watts (which is about average), total duration of a one-minute climb is around 8 minutes. (A heavier rider with the same power output will ride slower -- but adding 8 pounds to the bike will always only add ~15 seconds.)

    So in this example, 160 lb rider + 20 lb bike = 180 lbs. An 8 lb increase means a 4.4% increase in the weight of the system as a whole; and 30 seconds is about a 4-5% increase over an 8 minute time. So, why exactly are you expecting a huge change in speed, based on a relatively small change in weight...?

    An algorithm may be a bit idealized, but it is unlikely to be off by, say, 1000% without someone bothering to revise it. And subjective impressions are not useful as they do not involve rigorous testing methods. Or do your real-world experiences include multiple runs with the exact same bike on a precisely timed climb with a precisely determined distance, using varied bike weights and a power meter?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    My observation is that small differences in performance due to weight especially weight of the wheels and tires can make a big difference when riding with others and matching their accelerations and speed on the climbs. This is generally much less of an issue when touring because you set the pace at the level of effort you want and a few minutes here or there aren't that big of a deal.

    When riding a fast century with others wheel weight makes a big difference. I notice it on climbs and maybe even more so on accelerations after corners and intersections. After riding centuries with me on both bikes my companions have commented on the difference in what it is like to follow me on my road bike vs my touring bike. Also I am noticeably more tired after a century on the touring bike tan on the road bike when riding with the same companions.

    Still even on tour a few pounds in total bike and gear are noticeable.
    More shocking lack of numbers!

    Note that the orignal poster was talking about unloaded bikes. Carrying a touring load (30-40 pounds) is a huge amount of extra weight.

    =============

    Using the calculator with "hands on the drops" for a 180lb rider and 160 watts.

    Slope Cycle Speed
    0 15lbs 18.7mph
    0 20lbs 18.6mph
    0 30lbs 18.5mph
    0 70lbs 18.1mph

    5 15lbs 6.9mph
    5 20lbs 6.7mph
    5 30lbs 6.5mph
    5 70lbs 5.5mph

    10 15lbs 3.8mph
    10 20lbs 3.7mph
    10 30lbs 3.5mph
    10 70lbs 3.0mph

    It would be interesting to have a break-out of wheel weight in the calculator.

    =================

    One reason hills are so much harder (even considering that one is going slower) than the flats is that you can't take breaks on hills because, if you stop outputing power, you stop. This might mean that the real effect of weight when climbing is greater than the calcuator shows.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 09-27-09 at 11:50 AM.

  23. #23
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    It's silly to talk about weight in a touring forum.

    A bicycle tourist carries luggage which increases their frontal area significantly above the already relatively poor (for a bicyclist) aerodynamic profile dictated by the common upright riding position.

    I would not be surprised to learn that lowering the handlebar 1mm has more impact on distance pedaled per kw input than reducing total bike weight 5% of total.

    On the attached chart, I imagine a loaded touring bicyclist would generate a bar located on the far left.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
    It's silly to talk about weight in a touring forum.
    It's silly to think that calling a question "silly" provides any sort of answer!

    The original poster was talking about a touring bike versus a road bike without any "luggage".

    I suspect that many people with touring bikes usually ride them without luggage. Some of them (like myself) use their touring bikes on "fast" (16-18mph averages) group rides. Which means it's actually reasonable to discuss whether touring bikes are appropriate for these kinds of rides.

    ===============

    Quote Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
    A bicycle tourist carries luggage which increases their frontal area significantly above the already relatively poor (for a bicyclist) aerodynamic profile dictated by the common upright riding position.

    I would not be surprised to learn that lowering the handlebar 1mm has more impact on distance pedaled per kw input than reducing total bike weight 5% of total.
    Who knows! I'd guess you would not see any measurable real-world difference with a 1mm drop. 5% is about 1lb on a 20lb bike (which would not produce any measurable real-world difference).

    Quote Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
    On the attached chart, I imagine a loaded touring bicyclist would generate a bar located on the far left.
    215 watts versus 175watts at 22 mph (which is quite fast). This ends up being somewhat moot because very few tourist (with a load) are that fast at their typical speed.

    Anyway, the calculator also shows a much stronger effect on speed of hands on the top of the bar versus riding in the drops than weight. Your point that aerodynamics is more important than weight is a valid one.

    Even at moderate touring speeds of 10mph, aerodynamics is important. Most riders with dropped bars appear to ride on the hoods (which should have slightly better aerodynamics than on the top) but "racers" typically use a much lower bar height.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 09-27-09 at 01:12 PM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    More shocking lack of numbers!
    I think that any of the numbers I see bandied about fail to capture what I think is the biggest factor for me for trying to use a touring bike for more performance oriented riding. That factor would be the extra effort to accelerate out of corners and at intersections. It is a small factor that becomes a big one when repeated over and over all day.

    I think that for that factor, I can judge it better than it can be calculated since it is more about how it affects the body than energy used and that is hard to calculate.

    While I know that it is easy to calculate that the difference of a few pounds more or less is minor, but I also know that when I send a few pounds home during a tour it makes a very noticeable difference and that riding with heavy wheels on a fast century ride makes the going tougher. I am inclined to think that how I feel during/after a ride is more important than some numbers on a spreadsheet that may or may not be comparing the relevant factors.

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