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Upgraded bike is slower for me, why?

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Upgraded bike is slower for me, why?

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Old 10-13-15, 03:04 PM
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NYMXer
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Upgraded bike is slower for me, why?

Hi, newbie member asking for input and advice. I have been riding on my road bike for about 3 months and am pretty fast on it. I ride the upper "B" group and hold 18-19 mph over rolling terrain of the Catskill Mountains. Most elevation changes are 2500 feet in a typical 2 hour ride.

My bike is an internet bought Mercier Galaxy AL with a triple up front and 8 in the rear. It's a 58 cm and about 22 pounds. A buddy wants to sell his Cannondale Ssix Evo with the Hi-Mod carbon frame. It's a 56 and probably the right size for me at 5'-11". It has a compact set up front and 10 in the rear. Weight is about 15 pounds. Both bikes now have 25's on them and all adjustments are as equal as I can make them, meaning seat height, reach, etc. Geometrically, they are pretty evenly matched and other than weight, the same fit for my body.

Here is the problem, on certain timed rides (using Garmin), I am considerably slower on the Cannondale than the Mercier. By considerably slower, I mean a 52 minute loop around a local reservoir takes an additional 4 minutes and I don't understand why. I am trying equally as hard on both timed runs, bike set up is consistent, and the gearing is close but I did order a 11-28 rear cassette to replace the stock 12-27.

When I ride the Cannondale, other than the seat, which is not comfortable and is an easy fix (replace it), the rest of the bike feels great. It is a bit more twitchy and stiff riding but that doesn't slow me down any. There are some climbs that seem like they take more effort, hence why I am changing the rear cassette but 4 minutes is a lot of time to give up.

Since I am new to road biking, and more a mountain biker, I am puzzled by the time difference between the two bikes. Looking for genuine responses and suggestions. I tried up upload pictures of both bikes, but they are too large and I don't know how to make the file smaller. Here is the Cannondale Ssix EVO with the High-Mod frame

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Old 10-13-15, 03:22 PM
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Why don't you try swapping the seat from the Mercier to the C'dale? An uncomfortable seat is not going to help you faster. Neither will a "twitchy and stiff riding" bike. Don't discount the influence of discomfort on performance.

You say the gearing is close, but it's not really if you compare a compact double to a triple. Do you use the granny up front? If you do, not having the lower gearing with the double would account for your greater perceived hill-climbing effort. Bigger difference than 27 vs 28 at the rear.
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Old 10-13-15, 03:23 PM
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some bike have a dead feel to them , which take more time to get from point A to point B . other bikes have more of a live feel to them and seem to go faster , or easier to climb with . No matter what you do it wouldn't change the feel of the bike . There few things might help is air pressure in the tires and the adjustment of the cones in the hub and the type of tires you are using .
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Old 10-13-15, 03:29 PM
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The Mercier may have lower available gearing, being a triple. Are you using the inner chainring on climbs with the Mercier? And having to use higher gears on the same climbs with the Cannondale?

Check the Cannondale for anything dragging on the wheels - brakes, stays. Make sure the wheels spin freely. Also the crank.

Same pedals on both?. Same tire inflation?. Similar tires?

We can't see the Mercier, and you say the setup is identical, but any chance the Mercier has more saddle to bar drop?. The Cannondale's bars are a little high. Try moving stem spacers.

Don't discount your own variation from day to day. You can be stronger one day and weaker the next, which would throw off the comparison.

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Old 10-13-15, 03:40 PM
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Tires and pressure are identical, Michelin Dynamic Sport 700x25. Not sure what you mean by cones in the hubs but they are both properly tight and adjusted. As with any bike I ride, I did take the hubs apart and use light teflon grease on the bearing surfaces. My bikes do tend to roll faster downhill than the other ones and I think this is part of the reason why. The other part would be my weight, more = faster typically.
The Cannondale has anything but a dead feel to it, if anything, it is too "alive" with the stiff and twitchy ride but it's noticeable, not unnerving.
Thanks for the input, it's exactly what I was hoping for.
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Old 10-13-15, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by NYMXer View Post
Not sure what you mean by cones in the hubs but they are both properly tight and adjusted.
The last part of your sentence makes the explanation perhaps not useful, but...

Many high-precision bearings (e.g in machine tools) use what are called annular contact bearings. The older Campy Nuovo record, and the recent Shimano DA 9000 use this type of bearing. They have two cups in each hub into which you put grease and loose balls. The threaded axle (which has a keyway slot running lengthwise) has cones (nuts with a very precise cone shape on the inboard end. You screw one cone onto the axle, stick it in the hub till the cone contacts the balls on one side, then screw the other cone on. Then comes a bit of art and practice. You get the cones nearly snug, with no play, and you put washers with keys that fit into the axle slot (so they won't rotate) and tighten the lock washers using cone wrenches. Then you realize you've overtightened and you have to tweak around until you get the axle running pretty free, but with no play. Then you realize that the skewer shortens the axle by compression, and you have to loosen the cones up even more. Very slight more. The result is a bearing that gives good resistance to both axial and radial stress and rolls with very low friction. The amount of tightness you originally get is called "pre-load", and it can affect rolling resistance and play in the wheel. Too much tightness OR too loose a bearing will slow you down.

Some cartridge type bearings, used in many modern wheels, use what are called deep-grove radial bearings. These don't require or allow much adjustment. There are cartridge designs that are similar to angular contact, too. The SuperSix Evo is supposed to have Chris King bearings, which have a great reputation. They have a spacer setup to ensure proper preload. So as long as they are put together solidly, your bearing adjustment shouldn't be the issue.
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Old 10-13-15, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by NYMXer View Post
The other part would be my weight, more = faster typically.
No; just ask Galileo (or a physicist)...
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Old 10-13-15, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by rmfnla View Post
No; just ask Galileo (or a physicist)...
You are wrong unless he found a hill in a vacuum. His greater weight will more easily overcome wind resistance, as weight tends to increase faster than frontal area.
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Old 10-13-15, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by rmfnla View Post
No; just ask Galileo (or a physicist)...
Assuming all things are equal like bike rolling resistance and rider air drag/resistance, a heavier rider will gain more speed downhill due to the lessened effect of frontal pressure against him. The opposite effect happens when going up hill, the heavier rider requires more effort (energy) to get up the hill, or even to stop at the bottom of the hill, etc.
We are not talking about free falling, terminal velocity or mass acceleration. It's complicated but there is a slight, albeit, measurable advantage to heavier riders going down a hill (assuming they are both coasting).
That was why I added the 'typically' part, there are rules governing the principles of aerodynamics. Also, frontal area has less of an effect on aerodynamics than does rear drag. You don't have to believe it but I thought I would try to explain anyway.
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Old 10-13-15, 05:23 PM
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do you found what make you slower on the cannondale? I have one older cannondale R300. with my bike i have pass carbon fiber bike and titanium bike. I have stop ride this bike for now because i want to upgrade i not have deside yet to keep the downtube shifters or i put ultegra 6500 groupset. In my other road bike i is bianchi strada lx maybe 1987 i have put before crank 53/39 and 9 speeds cassette 12-25. i change to 50/40 and 8 speeds cassette 12-30 with that setup in hilly trail is feels faster. with the first setup i do the 10 miles in around 45 minutes. I want go ride again and see if i be faster with the second setup
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Old 10-13-15, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by WizardOfBoz View Post
So as long as they are put together solidly, your bearing adjustment shouldn't be the issue.
Thanks Wizard, that was a great explanation an what I was trying to say but didn't get in depth with my reply. The Mercier has the old (cheap) roller bearings but the Cannondale has the cup design but both are properly adjusted. I know this because the Cannondale had an irritating squeal to it, almost like the brakes were slightly dragging. It turned out to be the front axle, hence why it was greased and adjusted. Squeal gone, wheel spins for several minutes on the stand and a short ride confirmed it was the axle and proper adjustments have been made.

I will try again with a different seat when the new cassette gets here. Mathematically, the new cassette puts the overall gearing between the two bikes nearly identical. It sure is a trial and error process to get a bike properly set up and that's why I asked for help from this forum. Thanks everyone, but keep the ideas coming.
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Old 10-13-15, 05:30 PM
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Not yet bobby1966, but I now have some good ideas to follow up on. I will post in about a week some timed run data and see if any differences have been revealed.
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Old 10-13-15, 05:30 PM
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Not sure I agree rmfnla. In a vacuum, you're right. But heck, in a vacuum there'd be no ultimate velocity and you'd just keep accelerating. Of course, your blood would boil and your eyes would explode first. Anyway, the major source of resistive force on a bike is wind-drag. Assuming that folks are more or less equal size, they will have the same wind drag at any given speed. On a down-hill, a heavier person has more downward force. (F = m*g*sin(theta), ignoring the relatively minor effects of rolling resistance). So a heavier person's steady-state velocity on a downhill will be higher than a lighter person's. Granted, a lighter person might have a lower coefficient of drag (because they're smaller), but I suspect the effect of higher avoirdupois overwhelms this difference.

So a heavier person going downhill will even out at a higher speed than a lighter one. At least that's what I tell myself as I grunt and sweat UP the hill. "Larditude", I tell myself, "Larditude, even though going up the hill is harder for you than the skinny little bastards now passing you, and the image of you in Zeppelin-sized lycra stretch shorts scares little children, and sours the stomachs of beautiful women and strong men, at least you get the satisfaction of going faster downhill than the anorexic whippets now taunting you". Please don't take that one solace away from me...
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Old 10-13-15, 05:34 PM
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Thanks for the chuckle Wizard, it came at a good time.
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Old 10-13-15, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by NYMXer View Post
T I know this because the Cannondale had an irritating squeal to it, almost like the brakes were slightly dragging. It turned out to be the front axle, hence why it was greased and adjusted. Squeal gone, wheel spins for several minutes on the stand and a short ride confirmed it was the axle and proper adjustments have been made.
It's nice when you can figure out an issue and solve it. One thing you might want to try is to put the bike in a rack and spin the wheels (rear one with the chain off) with the skewers tightened. Or if you can tighten skewers on the stand, that'd be easier. I've had it happen, where the preload off the bike is perfect, but the skewer adds additional preload. Good luck. Please keep us posted: this is an interesting problem.
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Old 10-13-15, 05:42 PM
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Quickie test:
Swap the wheels from the C'dale with the Mercier's and vice versa.
Same time results?
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Old 10-13-15, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
Quickie test:
Swap the wheels from the C'dale with the Mercier's and vice versa.
Same time results?

I don't think the rear derailleur would work right. Cannondale has 10 in the rear and the Mercier has 8. Any thoughts on that? It would certainly answer the gearing question...
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Old 10-13-15, 06:57 PM
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This is a picture of the Mercier from the web site. It is actually a very good bike for the money and even has carbon forks. The brakes are junk but overall, this bike rides well.
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Old 10-13-15, 07:19 PM
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Have you considered just keeping the Mercier? If it is more comfortable and you are faster on it, does it really matter which bike is "supposed" to be faster?
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Old 10-13-15, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by NYMXer View Post
........Here is the problem, on certain timed rides (using Garmin), I am considerably slower on the Cannondale than the Mercier. By considerably slower, I mean a 52 minute loop around a local reservoir takes an additional 4 minutes and I don't understand why........
How many runs did you use to get an average?
My 6.25 mile "timed run" varies 6 minutes or about 20%.'Same time in the evening, but quite a few potential stop signs/lights and variable traffic.
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Old 10-13-15, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
Don't discount your own variation from day to day. You can be stronger one day and weaker the next, which would throw off the comparison.
I assume the 52 minutes is a solo effort.

How many loops have you done? Have you kept detailed records of every loop (not just your PR)? A headwind may not affect you the same way in a circular course depending on where you hit it and how strong it is. Do you have a speedometer on both bikes? Oh, and are the speedometers calibrated the same? Having it off by one or two percent could throw off your whole ride. If you have a set distance for the ride, you can check to see if they come up to the same distance. Oh, temperature and time of day might also influence performance.

Strava also has some "compare" options. As far as I can tell, at least the free version just gives the option to compare any ride to one's personal record, but that might be enough to see where some of your lost time is going.

Repeatedly people say, "it's not the bike, it's the engine". So, any expected improvement from a new bike would be moderate at best.
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Old 10-13-15, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by bengreen79 View Post
Have you considered just keeping the Mercier? If it is more comfortable and you are faster on it, does it really matter which bike is "supposed" to be faster?
I like the bike, but it is a cheap bike using cheap components that will need to be replaced on (about) a yearly basis. Things like the crank bottom bracket are already showing signs of wear in 3 months (about 1,000 - 1,200 miles)
I would hate for something to just "let go" during a group ride and spoil things for not just me, but everyone. I will keep the Mercier as a back up, and that's why I adjusted them to be as identical as I know how.
I do like how you are thinking and trust me, I am not hopping on any bandwagon. I was having a blast keeping up with the expensive bikes but now see why they cost as much as they do. The cost of quality components adds up very quickly.
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Old 10-13-15, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
How many runs did you use to get an average?
My 6.25 mile "timed run" varies 6 minutes or about 20%.'Same time in the evening, but quite a few potential stop signs/lights and variable traffic.
Good point but I was comparing identical rides using not only the Garmin but the "Sport Tracker" app on my phone. Both confirmed what I am posting on several identical rides.
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Old 10-13-15, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I assume the 52 minutes is a solo effort.

How many loops have you done? Have you kept detailed records of every loop (not just your PR)? A headwind may not affect you the same way in a circular course depending on where you hit it and how strong it is. Do you have a speedometer on both bikes? Oh, and are the speedometers calibrated the same? Having it off by one or two percent could throw off your whole ride. If you have a set distance for the ride, you can check to see if they come up to the same distance. Oh, temperature and time of day might also influence performance.

Strava also has some "compare" options. As far as I can tell, at least the free version just gives the option to compare any ride to one's personal record, but that might be enough to see where some of your lost time is going.

Repeatedly people say, "it's not the bike, it's the engine". So, any expected improvement from a new bike would be moderate at best.

All good points but the timing was using GPS, not a speedometer. The program on my phone (Sport Tracker) and the Garmin both break the ride down as low as 1/2 mile segments. I broke it down to 1 mile sections, and could see little difference but after 18 miles, it came out to be about 4 minutes. I guess a few seconds here and there add up to minutes.
I can also ghost ride and see where the time lost/gained are and again, it is marginal for the first few miles, but after a while, it becomes significant and frustrating for me. I hope to see the box from UPS containing the new cassette sitting by my front door each day I come home from work. I have already changed out the seat and adjusted it, checked the brakes and axles and they all seems perfect.
Thanks for all the input. The suggestions and ideas give me new insight on things to check over. I am certain this too shall pass...
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Old 10-13-15, 08:28 PM
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Why is one bike faster and another slower.

1 - Gearing
2 - Friction in bearings or drive train
3 - Weight (on climbs)
4 - Handling and brakes (only if tricky descents)
5 - Body position: aero drag
6 - Body position: ergonomics
7 - Aero drag of the bike
8 - Flex of frame in sync with rider power

1 should be resolved with the new cassette. You've eliminated 2, i think. 3 should favour Cannondale. 4 doesn't matter unless you are puckering up on fast scary curves. 5 is a big deal. 6 is a big deal. 7 is pretty minor. 8 is something called "planing", idea is a bike can flex just right and store energy during part of your pedal stroke then return it, rather debatable if this is actually a thing, and a low end aluminum frame (Mercier) wouldn't seem likely to have that mythical magic flex anyway, it is something that steel bike guys talk about.

In my view, 5 and 6 are the main factors. If your upper body position is lower, back flatter, elbows in and head down, riding in the drops, that is all more aero. And little things like how much your legs extend, how far behind the bottom bracket you are seated, how much your butt hurts, how firmly you are clipped into the pedals, can make a difference to how much power you put out.


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