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bicycle weight for a heavy guy

Old 05-08-12, 07:57 PM
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evand
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bicycle weight for a heavy guy

I am 6'3 and 250lbs. I am not going to be dropping much weight. I lift weights and am not looking to looking loose much weight.

With this much weight does the weight of the bike make much of a difference for long rides. I was considering a steel road bike over 20lb's vs a carbon bike under 17lb's. Would I even notice the difference?
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Old 05-08-12, 08:19 PM
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OK, I say yes, you will notice.

Having said that, if you get a top notch custom steel frame with top of the line components, it may not be a difference worth niggling about. If you buy a production steel bike that's nothing to write home about then yes, noticeable.
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Old 05-08-12, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by evand View Post
...With this much weight does the weight of the bike make much of a difference for long rides. I was considering a steel road bike over 20lb's vs a carbon bike under 17lb's. Would I even notice the difference?
What do you consider a "long" ride? Are you talking centuries, double centuries or longer? The difference will be small on short rides and the longer you go the more it will be noticeable. In addition, the carbon frame will give you better road vibration dampening but for that to be really noticeable you need to be riding 200+ miles none-stop. If you are truly going to be riding long distances I'd pic the carbon bike hands down. If you're just looking at 100 miles or less then pic the one that suits your fancy.

Beyond the frame, wheels and tires will make a big difference as well. You need to look at the bike as a package not individual parts.
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Old 05-08-12, 10:54 PM
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Purely in terms of weight, you're not going to notice much difference. Weight matters most when you're climbing, but you are talking about a difference of less than 2% in the total weight you'd be hauling up the hills. That isn't totally insignificant, but it isn't huge, either. On the flat it will barely matter.

There'll be more noticeable differences in the ride. Homeyba has mentioned that CF tends to dampen road buzz better than steel (or aluminium), but much also depends on the geometry of the individual frame, the choice of tyres and so on. Some steel bikes will be less fatiguing over long distances than some carbon bikes. For doing long distance stuff (bear in mind I don't ride the sort of huge distances that Homeyba covers) I'd be inclined to choose the bike I felt more comfortable on, rather than insisting on a specific material or worrying about a pound here or there. Other things being equal, obviously I'd go with the lighter option.
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Old 05-09-12, 01:09 AM
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Your weight probably fluctuates more than 3 pounds day to day. Get whatever is the most comfortable.
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Old 05-09-12, 06:03 AM
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If it's the only bike you ride, no, you won't notice. But if you do a side-by-side comparison, yes, you will.

The advantage of steel: very comfortable, (somewhat) easily repaired. Downside: flexy (especially for big guys).
Carbon: very comfortable, very stiff (puts your power into forward movement). Not easily repaired.
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Old 05-09-12, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
If it's the only bike you ride, no, you won't notice. But if you do a side-by-side comparison, yes, you will.

The advantage of steel: very comfortable, (somewhat) easily repaired. Downside: flexy (especially for big guys).
Carbon: very comfortable, very stiff (puts your power into forward movement). Not easily repaired.
You know, I have always been sceptical of the notion that the flex in a steel frame wasted energy that would otherwise move one forward. Obviously you don't want a noodly frame. But assuming the frame is strong enough, and merely flexes as steel frames do, I'd have thought it was a closed system - the energy that goes into flexing the frame will be released as it springs back, and go into assisting the next pedal stroke.

I'm not engineer, however, so this is purely my speculation.
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Old 05-09-12, 08:23 AM
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I don't know anything about actual watts saved, etc., nor where the energy goes. For me, it's a feel & trust thing. If it feels squishy, I'm not going to trust it to take my full power. I'm gonna feel funny on the climbs. When it's solid under me, I pedal, it moves. It's a nice feeling. I've actually been on a bike that was so flexy, it shifted my rear derailleur (the cable ran under the bottom bracket). And it was aluminum!

That being said, I've lost track of how stiff steel is over the years since they went away from their numbering system. Reynolds' 533 was good, 753 was better, etc... Now it's all just weird names & stuff. I have no idea what's the top of the line and how it compares to CF.
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Old 05-09-12, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
I don't know anything about actual watts saved, etc., nor where the energy goes. For me, it's a feel & trust thing. If it feels squishy, I'm not going to trust it to take my full power. I'm gonna feel funny on the climbs. When it's solid under me, I pedal, it moves. It's a nice feeling. I've actually been on a bike that was so flexy, it shifted my rear derailleur (the cable ran under the bottom bracket). And it was aluminum!

That being said, I've lost track of how stiff steel is over the years since they went away from their numbering system. Reynolds' 533 was good, 753 was better, etc... Now it's all just weird names & stuff. I have no idea what's the top of the line and how it compares to CF.
The top of the line Reynolds tubing is now 953. It's stainless, and they claim a strength-weight ratio as good as Ti. I've not been fortunate enough to ride one (it's on my wish-list for a custom frame, one of these days) but the reviews I have read of 953 bikes have been overwhelmingly positive.

I agree with you about noodly frames. I too have been on a bike that shifted gears when I went hard on a climb. Not good. But it isn't confined to a particular material, as you point out.
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Old 05-09-12, 11:38 AM
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My Steel IF is very stiff. It's built with tubing sizes that take into account the weight and riding style of the rider it's designed for. And it has a gusset between the chainstays for extra rigidity. If it's flexing, it doesn't "show," unlike the Trek 660 I once owned in the late 80s/early 90s when I was but 175 lbs. at the same height I am now. If I hammered up an incline in the big ring, you could feel the bike flex, and the big ring would hit against the inside of the FR cage on the downstroke of the right crank arm. This was exagerated a bit because I was running Campy Nuovo Record (remember that with it's straight RD?), which had a relatively narrow FD cage.
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Old 05-09-12, 11:53 AM
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In general, a lighter bike rides faster. I think you'd notice a difference between a sub-17 lb CF bike and a 23 lb decent steel road bike for a guy your size. And 3lbs of that weight is probably directly attributable to the frame/fork weight. And the 3 lbs is probably due to components, with the CF bike having significantly higher-end stuff which is likely to ride better.

I'm pretty sure that the CF bike is going to also result in better performance overall, if geometry and fit were all equal. But the reduction in weight comes usually with a significantly higher price tag and CF is somewhat less resistance to fatigue and crashes.

But in the realm of "long rides" and comfort, it really depends on what one means. Most of my "long" rides over 70 - 100 miles has been done on either a drop bar MTB, or on a touring bike. Both steel frames, and both heavy, like over 35 lbs when loaded with bags, racks, tools, first aid kit, water bottles, pump, tube, etc. My wheels are also not light and geared for strength and durability, rather than light weight. Consider, however, that I don't race, and on the rides I've done, they are either solo rides or with a small group of like-wise touring cyclists. For me, comfort primarily comes from setting up any one of my bikes with proper handlebar/stem/seat/seatpost/frame geometry, and then next with the right wheel/tires. The actual frame material, like steel, is a small order effect. Case in point is that my last 3 rides over 50 miles were done on a single speed, steel, flat bar bike, base cost was like $140. It's really comfy and the route was relatively flat so I didn't need more than one speed. Part of my comfort was also knowing that when our group rode to the In-N-Out burger, my bike was probably at much less risk of theft than others. :-)
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Old 05-09-12, 12:04 PM
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1 lb bike = 10 lb rider. That's what someone told me. When you climb, gravity doesn't care where the mass comes from, just how much of it there is. I think handling has a lot more to do with geometry than bike weight, although it can be easier to move a lighter bike underneath you.

My carbon bike is very comfortable, partly because the material doesn't like to vibrate. (That's why CF tripods deliver sharper photos for their weight.)
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Old 05-09-12, 12:16 PM
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Just a note from someone who's mass challenged on the light end- my bike collection weighs between 27 and 30 pounds each and I don't notice added weight much until it gets up to 5 pounds or so, roughly 4% of my weight. 2 or 3 lbs. would be barely noticeable for a person of standard size, I would think.

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Old 05-09-12, 12:25 PM
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I would at least add Ti to your list of options. I'm not going to say it's the holy grail for everyone, but it's at least worth a consideration. If you have a few minutes and want to make a new friend, call Don Erwin at Lynskey (www.lynskeyperformance.com). No pressure, but he'll answer your questions and give you a good education. Then, use that info to help make your decision. If you don't buy one, fine, but you are just that much more educated when you decide. Have you set a budget?

I'd also look at wheels that will hold up under the weight. Boyd, Williams, and Soul all have offerings designed for those of us who will never be 180 or less. Also there are custom builders like PSIMET on the Road section.

I have a Lynskey on order with cheap FSA RD60 wheels. I started at 238 lbs a few weeks ago. I'm down to 234 now. I think I'll set a goal - maybe 215/220 and reward myself with a new set of Boyds. I think the Lynskey and Boyds would play well together!
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Old 05-09-12, 01:48 PM
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Maybe we should put this into a little perspective.

On a 5km 7% grade 5lbs is going to cost you about 30 seconds. Assuming you are putting out the same wattage. So you can probably safely say that 2.5lbs will cost you around 15 +/- seconds. For most of us, that's not really a big deal. Therefore, if you are doing shorter rides it doesn't really matter a whole lot unless you're racing your buddies or yourself to the top of a climb or whatever. Where it becomes more of a big deal is when your ride mileages start adding up. If you are riding long distances those seconds add up to minutes, the minutes add up to hours and the hours can even add up to days (in some of the events I do).

So the simple thing to ask is does the time/effort matter to me. If it does, go with less weight, if it doesn't, don't worry about it!
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Old 05-09-12, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
Maybe we should put this into a little perspective.

On a 5km 7% grade 5lbs is going to cost you about 30 seconds. Assuming you are putting out the same wattage.
Sweet! What does the calculation say about having to carry my bike up and down the stairs at the beginning and end of every ride?
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Old 05-09-12, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Sweet! What does the calculation say about having to carry my bike up and down the stairs at the beginning and end of every ride?
Don't you ride your bike up and down the stairs???
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Old 05-12-12, 03:11 PM
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If you're "cruising" at a steady speed, a few pounds isn't really going to make a difference.
The difference is climbing hills or accelerating.
Most my riding is in the city with a lot of stops/slowing down for intersections. My lighter bike is much less miserable to ride under these conditions.
Keep in mind, a lot of us think we're "cruising", but in reality are speeding up/slowing down a "few" MPH on a constant basis. Especially if there are varying winds.
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Old 05-13-12, 06:04 PM
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The key to riding and keeping riding is to be happy to do it. Yes you will notice the difference, but it will be really marginal and more placebo than anything. The more important thing is that you will constantly ride and wonder what a lighter bike would have been like. Having that constantly in the back of your mind may stop you from getting out from time to time. Go with what you will truly be happy with.
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Old 05-16-12, 09:21 AM
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What do you want to do with this bike, fun,race, or just a slick road bike. If its a slick road bike IMHO I'd go for a light touring bike like the trek 520 or surly.
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Old 05-16-12, 02:00 PM
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Bike design will have more to do with how a bike handles than what the frame is made of or the weight of the bike. I have two Litespeeds - a Blue Ridge and a Solano. The Blue Ridge (cyclocross / light touring design) is an all day comfortable bike but it is not twitchy or super responsive. I ride it in the spring to get my legs back. Then I switch to the Solano which is more traditional race design. It's like driving an SUV and a sports car - very responsive and about 2 mph faster. Both bikes have Titanium frames and are less than 2 pounds different in weight.
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