Old 08-16-12, 10:38 PM
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Bikes: More than 1, but, less than S-1

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Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
Having actually done both, it may sound odd but I'd say 5 pounds off the bike. I can be in good training within a ~10-pound range, I don't think my W/kg ratio is necessarily varying that much. But the bike doesn't get more efficient when it's 5 pounds heavier, it's a bike.

The most eye-opening illustration would be to switch my winter training bike from its studded tires and tubes to its road tires and tubes. That's a 3.8 pound loss at the edge of the wheels, and the difference is amazing. I've also tried ditching weight at the base of a specific hillclimb that I do frequently, which resulted in demonstrably better results on Strava. So based on my subjective and objective results, I'd lean towards the bike weight, provided the rider is actually in training. If you're not in training, then sure, the training required to lose 5 pounds is probably going to be a win-win for you.
I don't doubt that ditching 5 pounds at the base of a climb would result in an improvement. The question remains, if you could have ditched that weight from "you" instead of the "bike" would it have made more or less of a difference. "That" unfortunately is a hard one to prove either way. I suspect that a "fit" rider of greater than 10% body fat would see less improvement through weight loss than an "unfit" rider with the same body fat.

Loosing 5 lbs from wheels or other rotating mass alone is realatively difficult unless making wholesale changes in the very nature of the type of bicycle, i.e. steel wheeled cruiser to aluminum rimmed road bike. So, at the point one is including the weight loss from static components, frame, brifters, etc. I would contend that while the bike may "feel" different, the actual performance gain wouldn't be any more than when the same weight is lost from the rider.
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