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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 02-06-09, 04:06 PM   #1
lunam0th
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Bike weight vs. Body weight

Hello,

I am new to bike racing and have decided to buy a new bike since my old one weighs so much. Besides being confused by the difference between a bike that weighs 16.5 lbs and 13.5 lbs I'm wondering how much my own weight effects how fast I will go. If I weigh 130lbs but could lean down to 120lbs is that like shaving 10lbs off the weight of a bike weighing 25lbs down to 15lbs? Just curious because I'd rather shave the weight off my body than pay a extra 2k for a bike that weighs 5lbs less. Is this a stupid question??

Thanks,

Laura
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Old 02-06-09, 04:25 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by lunam0th View Post
If I weigh 130lbs but could lean down to 120lbs is that like shaving 10lbs off the weight of a bike weighing 25lbs down to 15lbs? Just curious because I'd rather shave the weight off my body than pay a extra 2k for a bike that weighs 5lbs less. Is this a stupid question??
Your total weight (including bike) will have the biggest impact on hills and quick accelerations. The best (and least expensive) option is to first lose any excess weight. Not only will you benefit by spending less energy getting up the hills you will also become more efficient as you won't be wasting as much effort lifting up the dead weight on your legs 90 times a minute.
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Old 02-06-09, 04:50 PM   #3
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Lose any excess fat first, then start lightening the bike.

Cycling is one of those sports where it is easy to slip from healthy concern over body weight to unhealthy obsession. Besides health concerns from anorexia, if you try to get too light you will lose muscle and therefore power, and end up slower. It's power to weigh ratio that makes one fast up hills, not just light weight. On level ground it's just power, so if you are planning on racing many flat road races or crits, you may want to be a little heavier if that allows you to put out more power.
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Old 02-06-09, 04:59 PM   #4
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If ya buy a good bike the overall weight is a nonissue..lighter wheels always help do not become a weight weenie and remember stay fit, lean and a good shat will save more than $500 seat post
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Old 02-06-09, 05:03 PM   #5
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Lot's of people oversimplify by saying "lose weight on the body instead of on the bike." This may apply to people who wouldn't be hurt by shedding a few pounds, but for those of us who are already on the really light end of the scale, the bike is the only place (though it can be quite expensive) to target. In my opinion, just get to the lowest weight without compromising performance. Shedding some pounds off of a 20 pound bike never hurt anyone.
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Old 02-06-09, 05:17 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the info. That really helped and is probably going to save me $1500.00 on a new bike and whatever amount I spend on eating cheese each year!

Laura
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Old 02-06-09, 10:13 PM   #7
Richard Cranium
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Is this a stupid question??
Yes. And it reveals the fact that any bike models' differences in your choice are pointless with respect to performance, - you're too ignorant to use a given bicycle's best traits.
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Old 02-07-09, 08:23 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
Lose any excess fat first, then start lightening the bike.

Cycling is one of those sports where it is easy to slip from healthy concern over body weight to unhealthy obsession. Besides health concerns from anorexia, if you try to get too light you will lose muscle and therefore power, and end up slower. It's power to weigh ratio that makes one fast up hills, not just light weight. On level ground it's just power, so if you are planning on racing many flat road races or crits, you may want to be a little heavier if that allows you to put out more power.
Yes, I went through this a few years ago. Lost too much weight, became anorexic (clinically, not by BMI), and really screwed up my health for a while. I still make sure I am not carrying "excess" weight but I don't obsess over it. For me to try to get down to an "optimal" body weight could possibly throw me back into a spiral leading down that path again and I don't want to go there. I am a little heavier (5 pounds) right now than I was at my peak last season but I am significantly more powerful. For me, it's far easier, cheaper, and healthier to pinch grams on my bike than it is to obsess about it on my body.
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Old 02-08-09, 03:33 AM   #9
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Sensible advice here, however, the biggest impact will be through training.
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Old 02-08-09, 06:42 AM   #10
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There's a similar thread on the road cycling forum, asking if 1 lb extra on the bike is equal to 1 lb extra on the body. The answer is "yes and no" - bike weight is effectively static weight, while body weight is potentially dynamic in that "good" weight can help you propel the bike forward faster. The trick, of course, is knowing the difference between good body weight and bad body weight. The answer to that is not as simple as muscle = good and fat = bad. There is such a thing as too much muscle and too little fat on a cyclist. The ideal weight is going to vary by person.

If you're racing, there's an assumption that lighter is better on both the bike and the body. Certainly true about the bike but not necessarily true about the body if you're giving up some of that "good" body mass. So to me, the answer is: lose the fat that's clearly "bad" first, but don't try to be anorexic and don't let your muscle mass waste away in an effort to just reduce the weight on the bike. Once you have your physique where you can generate the maximum power and speed regardless of the bike, then you have to start reducing the weight of the bike.
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