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  1. #1
    Junior Mint jimn's Avatar
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    Using a heavier/slower training bike

    Here's one I've wondered about for a while - does anybody use a bike for training that is heavier, or has more rolling resistance, to build up certain kinds of strength or endurance?

    OK, you may ask, why do this?

    I can think of at least one reason: I live in a dense urban area (NYC - Brooklyn). Where I ride is often full of joggers and other recreational cyclists, so I push myself less because it's just not safe to go super fast near so many other people. I was thinking of getting a touring bike (instead of my road bike) because at the same power output, I'd be going slower and therefore be a bit safer.

    Thoughts? Is this utter madness? Should I do it anyway?

    Jim

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    Now with tartar control.. TheAnalogKid's Avatar
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    I once found a HEAVY bike (older, 70s road bike) that was seemingly made of steel/iron and a little lead. I thought about buying it for training rides, but I did not like the guy selling it so I said NUTS TO THIS!

    My wife doesn't understand the light-weight bike coolness factor, and says that heavier bikes should be better for training, especially if you are not a racer. But she isnt a cyclist, so there.
    Live simple, Bike often

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    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    The touring bike has a longer wheelbase and maybe some other differences. If you want heavier, just add some pig iron to the road bike. Strap on some weight to the bike. Then when you want a road bike, just take off the pig iron and presto, you have a nice lighter bike when you're out of the urban areas.

    In So Calif, everything is spread out. So its common to have an SUV and take the bike with you to different places to ride, away from the urban areas.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ldesfor1@ithaca's Avatar
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    yah, my CX bike with studded tires is SLOW!!

    Changing geometries dramatically from your road bike is not too wise, though... but some really slow tires may help to slow you down... specialized armadillos?? schwalbe marathons, if they fit. Also, wearing a baggy jacket and having panniers slows down a bike a ton.
    Teammates-on-Podium O'meter: 0/n (n=total # of teammates I get to race with)
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    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    Consider getting only a heavier/sturdier set of training wheels with cushier tires for your existing bike. Costs less, takes up less space, and lets you stick to your existing riding position. Shifting back-n-forth on different positions can be hard on your knees.) Also, having another bike to clean & maintain can erode your time in the saddle.
    I have a spare set of training wheels (32 heavy-gauge spokes, cushy 28mm-tires & Mr.Tuffy tire liners) that I usually ride, but I don't know if they actually provide any real training benefit. Sure feels like I'm flying when I put the original wheels back on.
    -CCinC

  6. #6
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    I train on a heavier bike than I race on. The main reason is that I don't like to use my campy record equipped bike with zipps when riding in the rain, slush, and snow. I prefer to use a slightly cheaper bike that still performs well. I also like to have the same geometry on both bikes so that when switching over to the lighter bike for race day I don't feel uncomfortable.

    For my race bike I have a Fuji SL1 with campy record and zipp 404's. Total weight is 14.2 pounds.

    For my training bike I have a Fuji SL1 with campy centaur with a power tap rear wheel with a chorus / rr1.1 front wheel. I also keep the seat bag on it. Total weight is 19.1 pounds.
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

  7. #7
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimn View Post
    Here's one I've wondered about for a while - does anybody use a bike for training that is heavier, or has more rolling resistance, to build up certain kinds of strength or endurance?

    OK, you may ask, why do this?

    I can think of at least one reason: I live in a dense urban area (NYC - Brooklyn). Where I ride is often full of joggers and other recreational cyclists, so I push myself less because it's just not safe to go super fast near so many other people. I was thinking of getting a touring bike (instead of my road bike) because at the same power output, I'd be going slower and therefore be a bit safer.

    Thoughts? Is this utter madness? Should I do it anyway?

    Jim
    The difference between my 16 lb. racing bike and my touring bike on a flat surface is only about 1.5 -2 mph on a flat surface. More on the hills. It does not make a huge difference. You can do the same training by using very high or very low gears on the road bike.

    The trike in my sig is 100 lbs with the dog in it. That helps my leg strength on hills, or when I ride at the same pace as a friend on a bike. But to train on a flat surface I still need lots of room and little traffic.

    If you ride alone without a training plan in your head you will put about the same effort into the heavier bike, and just go slower. Most people that train hard use the same bike, because the handling and speed reactions are the same all the time.

    You could make either way work for you. Heavier bikes are less bumpy, they cause the tire to take more of the bumps instead of sending it up to you.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  8. #8
    Killing Rabbits
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    Quote Originally Posted by LowCel View Post
    I train on a heavier bike than I race on. The main reason is that I don't like to use my campy record equipped bike with zipps when riding in the rain, slush, and snow. I prefer to use a slightly cheaper bike that still performs well. I also like to have the same geometry on both bikes so that when switching over to the lighter bike for race day I don't feel uncomfortable.

    For my race bike I have a Fuji SL1 with campy record and zipp 404's. Total weight is 14.2 pounds.

    For my training bike I have a Fuji SL1 with campy centaur with a power tap rear wheel with a chorus / rr1.1 front wheel. I also keep the seat bag on it. Total weight is 19.1 pounds.
    Your beater bike is still nicer than my "a" stuff

  9. #9
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Some folks believe that if you train on a heavier, slower bike you get real good at riding heavy slow bikes.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

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    If you were to drop a five pound weight down your seat tube on your race bike, I don't believe it would make any difference to your top cruising speed ON THE FLATS at a given watt output. You would accelerate and decelerate slightly more slowly, but cruise at about the exact same top speed. The best way to significantly slow yourself down is to make you and/or your bike less aerodynamic. For example, sitting upright with your hands on the tops of the handlebars versus riding in the drops in a more aerodynamic position, can potentially mean the difference between 23 mph and 20.5 mph for a 160 pound rider generating 250 watts. I would imagine that wide, non aerodymanic cyclocross tires with knobbies to increase rolling resistance would help slow you down as well. A mountain bike where you are sitting more upright and using even wider knobby tires would be even better.

    Wear a coat that catches the wind like a sail. Or how about inserting your helmet in to a cheesehead hat with the square edge facing to the front?

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    Last edited by Skewer; 02-06-08 at 01:48 AM.

  11. #11
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    Pull a trailer for more effort at lower speeds.
    I don't even use the offensive term "Fred." -- Sheldon "All Cyclists Are My Friends" Brown (1944-2008)

  12. #12
    Junior Mint jimn's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the responses. The cheesehead idea is intriguing. Because, you know, just wearing lycra shorts isn't silly enough for me.

    In all seriousness, the issue of different geometry, as raised by ldesfor1@ithaca and calamarichris, might be a good one. I guess it depends. For me, I don't think bike handling is one of my weak points. Also, the geometry won't be that different. Is switching geometries really bad for your knees? I'd think a variation would be good, if anything, as long as both bikes actually fit.

    I'd be curious to hear more about the disadvantages of training on a different geometry than I race on. It's not like I'd stop riding my road bike except when I'm racing. I'd go back and forth.

    Others noted that a touring bike might not be that much slower. In some cases, this is true. I have a touring frame that will fit pretty big tires, though, and I know it's a good deal slower at the same amount of effort. I can also add weight to it easier than adding weight to the road bike. This won't make a difference on flats, but might improve my hill climbing. Again, I welcome thoughts on whether this will really help climbing.

    Adding aerodynamic drag was suggested by Skewer. I don't want to have to change my riding position too much, but maybe I could add something to the wheels that would slow me down a bit. Unfortunately, my racing bike's frame is too tight for larger tires.

    This reminds me of another reason for training on the touring bike: it has room for fenders. That means, in all practicality, that I will have many more possible training days. Especially in winter. This alone could be a reason for using it.

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    In my humble opinion, it is perfectly fine to train on older, heavier bikes, or non race bikes. It won't necessarily make you faster than you would be training on your race bike, but in some cases it can. For example, if it forces you to tax your system more by working harder on a climb than you normally do with your light, race bike, or it forces you to make harder accelerations to keep up with your fast ride group, then your body should hopefully respond by developing more power at a faster rate than it was going to do with you making easier efforts on your race bike, assuming you recover correctly and so forth. At bare minimum, however, there is no reason you shouldn't be able to spend the same amount of time in various training zones on a non race bike as you do on the race bike.

    As far as training on the exact same frame as you race on, it may be nice to work the muscles in the same precise manner as you will be doing on race day, but having two identical frames may be impractical for most folks, and I really don't think it is critical. As long as you are riding your race bike enough to be reasonably comfortable with its handling and riding it enough to know you are comfortable riding it for the distances you need to race, the most important thing is getting your training in at various training zones (exertion levels) and training lengths to increase your power, regardless of which bikes you are riding.

    If you want to get a little more nitpicky, however, and you can easily do it, you can try to get your cockpit position somewhat close on your training bike with your race bike---for example, saddle to handlebar length, the drop from saddle height to handlebar height, and the saddle setback. This could potentially entail you using a different stem and even different handlebars on your touring/training bike when you are using it as a race, training bike versus when you are using it as a loaded touring bike, but I wouldn't worry too much about using the touring bike as it is with a substantially different cockpit either. You can still use the touring bike with an entirely different cockpit setup than your race bike to increase your sustainable power in a way that will be mostly transferable to increased speed on your race bike when you jump back on it. And if you are getting in more, high qaulity training days altogether by having the touring bike as an option for training rides, then for sure you are way ahead of the game versus having fewer, high quality training days limited to your race bike. Just my opinion.
    Last edited by Skewer; 02-06-08 at 02:44 PM.

  14. #14
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthalpic View Post
    Your beater bike is still nicer than my "a" stuff
    What, my cheap 'ole fuji?
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

  15. #15
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimn View Post
    This reminds me of another reason for training on the touring bike: it has room for fenders. That means, in all practicality, that I will have many more possible training days. Especially in winter. This alone could be a reason for using it.

    Exactly.

    Possibly less flats, depending on tires. More convenient to carry a load if you need to. The fenders will cut down on chain maintnance. That frees up a little time. You might not worry so much if it's dirty. And the maintenance on the race bike is less. And it is so nice to have another bike always ready to go as a back up.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimn View Post
    Here's one I've wondered about for a while - does anybody use a bike for training that is heavier, or has more rolling resistance, to build up certain kinds of strength or endurance?

    OK, you may ask, why do this?

    I can think of at least one reason: I live in a dense urban area (NYC - Brooklyn). Where I ride is often full of joggers and other recreational cyclists, so I push myself less because it's just not safe to go super fast near so many other people. I was thinking of getting a touring bike (instead of my road bike) because at the same power output, I'd be going slower and therefore be a bit safer.

    Thoughts? Is this utter madness? Should I do it anyway?

    Jim
    Well, I have a nice light bike and rain bike that is 10 pounds heavier and with heavier wheels.

    I do get a better workout on the rain bike - at a given speed - but frankly, riding that bike is pretty soul-crushing, so I don't do it very much.
    Eric

    2005 Trek 5.2 Madone, Red with Yellow Flames (Beauty)
    199x Lemond Tourmalet, Yellow with fenders (Beast)

    Read my cycling blog at http://riderx.info/blogs/riderx
    Like climbing? Goto http://www.bicycleclimbs.com

  17. #17
    Fear no hill
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericgu View Post
    Well, I have a nice light bike and rain bike that is 10 pounds heavier and with heavier wheels.

    I do get a better workout on the rain bike - at a given speed - but frankly, riding that bike is pretty soul-crushing, so I don't do it very much.
    Not as soul crushing as riding the spinning bike for hours on end. I have my heavey rain bike being built as we speak. I am really looking forward to be able to get out there again. Of course Later in the season that Lemond will be a real joy to ride after several months on the rain bike.

    Randy
    Last edited by Fixitman; 02-09-08 at 11:12 AM.

  18. #18
    Junior Mint jimn's Avatar
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    So maybe that's another advantage of training on a beater - makes the light one more fun. Though as 2manybikes makes me realize, "beater" is a relative term. (My nice bike is also cheaper than his beater.)

    The other side is, the beater can have big tires and fenders, and you can carry more crap if you don't care about weight, so maybe the beater can end up being the more fun one.

    I know that saying these things is roadie sacrilege. I promise to suffer.

  19. #19
    Mad Town Biker Murrays's Avatar
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    A few comments:

    I'll add a +1 to the statement that weight won't slow you down, make you work harder on flat courses. On hills, you're already slowed down going up and more weight will make you faster going down. So how would adding weight be of any benefit unless you're doing acceleration intervals??

    Fatter tires actually have lower rolling resistance at the same pressure, though you can run them at lower pressures with less chance of getting a flat.

    If you really want to slow yourself down, put a kid in a Burley behind you. It's not so much the weight, but the wind drag created by the trailer is huge. I'd say that would slow you down by 20-30%.

    -murray
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  20. #20
    Fear no hill
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    I'll add a +1 to the statement that weight won't slow you down, make you work harder on flat courses. On hills, you're already slowed down going up and more weight will make you faster going down. So how would adding weight be of any benefit unless you're doing acceleration intervals??
    Strap on a backpack with 10 pounds of weight in it, do a 3 mile 1400' hill and see if you still feel this way. The more you haul up that hill the harder you work.

    Fatter tires actually have lower rolling resistance at the same pressure, though you can run them at lower pressures with less chance of getting a flat.

    Most fatter tires have a lower max pressure rating to start with. So you cannot run them at the same pressure as skinny road tire unless you reduce the pressure in the skinny road tire, but that aside ... More surface area in contact with the road surface = more rolling resistance.
    Randy

  21. #21
    Mad Town Biker Murrays's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fixitman View Post
    Strap on a backpack with 10 pounds of weight in it, do a 3 mile 1400' hill and see if you still feel this way. The more you haul up that hill the harder you work.
    Yes, you will do more total work, but your watt output won't necessarily change, you'll just go slower. You could accomplish the same thing by simply going up a longer hill.

    Again, if you read the OP, I don't think there are any 1400' in Brooklyn


    Quote Originally Posted by Fixitman View Post
    More surface area in contact with the road surface = more rolling resistance.
    Randy
    I'll agree for the most part, but what dictates surface area in contact with the road? If you say tire width, you'd be wrong, it's tire pressure.

    -murray
    "I feel more now like I did than when I first got here"

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murrays View Post
    I'll add a +1 to the statement that weight won't slow you down, make you work harder on flat courses.
    How hard anyone chooses to work is, of course, just a matter of choice for the rider; but for the same equipment on a flat road, increasing weight most certainly will slow you down. The rolling resistance force increases linearly with weight and there are no off-setting effects to counteract this.

  23. #23
    Mad Town Biker Murrays's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
    How hard anyone chooses to work is, of course, just a matter of choice for the rider; but for the same equipment on a flat road, increasing weight most certainly will slow you down. The rolling resistance force increases linearly with weight and there are no off-setting effects to counteract this.
    Ok, I should said "won't slow you down much at all".

    Plugging in an extra 20 lbs (doubling the weight of most bikes) to a resistance calculator netted a loss of .4 MPH. A negligible amount and not worth the effort of using a different bike IMHO, certainly not enough to get the result (slow down for safety around joggers) the OP was looking for.

    Another thought for the OP, get a generator that powers off the wheel to increase the resistance

    -murray
    "I feel more now like I did than when I first got here"

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