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  1. #1
    Senior Member trmcgeehan's Avatar
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    The heavier your bike, the better your workout?

    I have a 1985 Ross road bike, originally built in that hotbed of cycling, Allentown, PA. Ready to roll, it weighs 34 pounds. I feel that my old tank gives me a better workout (especially on the hills) than the latest 18 pound $3,000 state of the art carbon fibre bike. This makes me feel better, 'cause I can't afford a new road bike. Or am I just kidding myself? Wadayathink?
    Last edited by trmcgeehan; 12-20-02 at 01:36 AM.
    "I am a true laborer. I earn that I eat, get that I wear, owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness, glad of other men's good, content with my harm." As You Like It, Act 3, Scene 2. Shakespeare.
    "Deep down, I'm pretty superficial." Ava Gardner.

  2. #2
    serial mender
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    You are right about getting a better workout, at least as far as hills and acceleration is concerned. On at a constant speed on flat terrain, however, weight only plays a role in rolling resistance, which stays pretty small in comparison to wind resistance, at least for speeds over, say, 15-20 Kmh (9-13 mph).

    Go hit a couple of long 6% climbs. You'll eventually be as strong as an ox.

    Cheers,
    Jamie

  3. #3
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    I found that riding old heavy bikes increased my strength, but not speed.

    With lighter bikes, I tend to top out on the rpm. I just can't get my legs to go any faster and the next higher gear isn't right either.

    It seems that he heavy bike training made me stronger for climbing, but not for speed on the flats or sprinting.
    Mike

  4. #4
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    I ride a mid 80's steel Fuji with a rear rack which I load down with more water than I'll ever drink and other junk even on the shortest ride.I find this helps me avoid losing muscle and "tone" it up and just seems more of a challenge .Like others say it helps with strength particularly on uphills but if speed or aerobic efficiency is your goal this is not the way to train.I myself just lose to much hard earned muscle otherwise.

  5. #5
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    When I take out the heavy hybrid, I really feel tired. It is about 25 pounds. I think that also. I must be working harder.

  6. #6
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    I ride a very old steel hardtail, definitely over 20kg. I'm not that sure of the exact weight, but it weighs really heavy. I'm only 55kg.

    It does give a good workout. However, think about it again. Do you feel better when you ride it? I don't think so, I don't at least.
    What speeds can you reach, it is so heavy, it takes long to accelerate.

    However, you can ride at a speed of 20kph on a 20kg and recieve greater benefits than when you ride a bike that is less 10kg at 20kph. You do a lot more work riding a heavier bike because you have to use more strength to get it rolling.

    Also, it is very easy to overtrain on a heavier bike. You do more work, but to achieve a high speed, think about the amount of work you do. If you like speed, you will surely go out hard in order to satisfy your thirst for speed. Then, you are more likely to cause injuries on yourself and tired yourself out.

    If you are riding a heavier bike, watch what you are doing, don't let your thirst for speed destroy your interest in cycling.

  7. #7
    Member MoonBear's Avatar
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    Originally posted by oxologic
    If you are riding a heavier bike, watch what you are doing, don't let your thirst for speed destroy your interest in cycling.
    Agreed. When I started back riding I tried to use my old Schwinn Continental. It wasn't as much fun as I remembered. So off to the local LBS to find a new ride. Hey, my second "real" bicycle in 30+ years I think I deserved it. The new bike has kept me motiviated to ride daily in almost any weather. Rain is no fun.

    I think I'll be seeing a new road bike next year.

    Don

  8. #8
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    My commuter bike is one of those old Kabuki (Bridgestone) Submariners - it's made of the stainless steel and I don't know how heavy it is, but... it's really heavy. My ride to work is pretty hilly, and riding at a reasonable speed up them with that bike definitely has improved my strength. It makes pedaling on my road bike feel like a really trivial endeavor.

  9. #9
    Senior Member trmcgeehan's Avatar
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    Follow up to my original post: I think you have a good idea. If you have two bikes, a tank and a lightweight, when you get on the lightweight, you'll think you're flying! Many moons ago, I went to Marine Corps boot camp in Parris Island, SC. For the first six weeks, we wore heavy high topped boots everywhere. Even ran 15-20 miles a day in them. Then they issued to us our dress shoes. With the lightweight dress shoes, it felt like I could jump over a building!
    "I am a true laborer. I earn that I eat, get that I wear, owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness, glad of other men's good, content with my harm." As You Like It, Act 3, Scene 2. Shakespeare.
    "Deep down, I'm pretty superficial." Ava Gardner.

  10. #10
    aka old dog greywolf's Avatar
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    in a simular vane, i took my tool kit out of my bak-pak & put it in one of my bottle cages, lost the bak-pak & carry my keys , wallet ,reading glasses ect in a bumbag, this seems to have made a big positive diff. to my ride, i think maybe i can breath better without the bak-pak ?
    :D
    dont worry be happy ????

  11. #11
    We drive on the left. Dutchy's Avatar
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    I have a reasonably lightweight Cannondale MTB with 26x1.5 tyres. It is about 2 kilos (4pounds?) heavier than my road bike, so not a huge difference but enough to notice especially with the wider tyres. After riding to work on the MTB I notice my legs feel heavier than when I ride the road bike, like they have done more work. On weekends when I get on the road bike it feels like I am riding on a sheet of glass, smooth, no resistance and very fast.

    So a slightly heavier bike probably does help to build strength and some speed but it can't be too heavy.

    CHEERS.

    Mark
    I'd rather be riding.

  12. #12
    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    i'm no expert here, but just because you sweat more with a heavier bike- it doesn't mean that you are getting a better workout.
    wouldn't a better workout be a function of your wattage as a measure of power output?

    i consider a workout good if i do things that specifically make me better at my prescribed goal (which is always to cruise at 20 mph in a group ride for an extended period of travel)

    so a ride that allows me to go 16 mph into a strong 18 mph wind over 2+ hours ulmimately helps me travel faster.

    the only thing that is frustrating is that fitness is fleeting. i've got to have health, rest, endurance, fitness and power all cranking at the top of its game to achieve what i like to achieve. that is a tall task in today's life.
    I have enough words to get me into trouble, but not enough to get me out of trouble.

  13. #13
    xc AND road WoodyUpstate's Avatar
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    Sorry, but a heavier bike doesn't make you more or less fit.

    For example, let's say you and I are of equal fitness, but you ride your 34 lb. bike, and I ride my 18 lb. bike. up the same hill. For the sake of this example, lets also say that you and I weigh the same.

    Generally, you and I will produce the same "power" ascending the hill. I will get to the top faster because I'm moving less mass, but we're both whipped at the top. Why? Because we produce the same power. Your power brought more mass up the hill, but my power was used to bring less mass to the top of the hill faster.

    If I want to make my feel bike heavier, I just change gears.

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