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will bike weight make a difference to an old guy like me?

Old 08-31-20, 07:11 AM
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jpjuggler
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will bike weight make a difference to an old guy like me?

HI,

I'm almost 60.

i want a bike that I can tour with but will be mostly used day rides as I ride every day weather permitting.. The Surly Long Haul Trucker is 30lbs and I love the riding position on the 58cm bike I tried. The riding position I would say is the most important factor for me, as I've tried other bikes now and then and the reach from seat to handlebars feels too short, or I'm too bent over, (aggressive road bike position) for my comfort level.


The all city space horse is a light touring bike at 25 lbs. and I can't try it yet because of the bike shortage in my area.

The long haul trucker is 30lbs and is available now and has the super low granny gear that i would also like.


So... at my age and so so fitness level, do you think I will enjoy the lighter bike in the sense that the bike will accelerate faster and be faster in general? I like fast. (fast for me that is, )

OR...will it not be that noticeable? My 22 year old son says I wouldn't be able to notice.


An apples to apples comparison isn't available as i can't try the lighter bike because all the shops are sold out.


But I'm very interested to hear your thoughts.

JP
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Old 08-31-20, 08:13 AM
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I am ten years older than you. Three years ago I went from a from a 19 pound road bike to a 34 pound touring bike as my daily rider. It definitely effected my speed and acceleration.
I am talking at least three miles an hour.
My legs are stronger than ever and I am very fit. It would take a big strong man to be fast on my touring bike.
I recently finished a custom build of a similar fitting bike on a non suspension mountain frame and got most of the speed back.
I went to the heavier bike because of wrist issues and multiple surgeries. I have no good cartilage in my left wrist and had to go more upright to continue riding a diamond frame.
Not to dis your son but he has no idea what being your age is like.
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Old 08-31-20, 08:19 AM
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If you ride flat route with little elevation change, weight's not a big deal unless you have to do a lot of stop and go.

If you ride rolling terrain of any sort, then weight will make a difference. Even with just 20', 40' and a very few 100' climbs on the routes around me, a five pound difference in old to new bike left me with much more energy.

Being able to climb hills faster means that I don't get as hot since I can now keep a decent speed to keep airflow cooling me. In general, having a lighter bike made thing more effortless and more enjoyable.

However you did use the word "tour". So if you are riding with panniers and loaded for long distance multi-day stuff, then it probably is a different story. I only ride for fitness, and don't carry much more than anything to drink on my rides.

Last edited by Iride01; 08-31-20 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 08-31-20, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
If you ride flat route with little elevation change, weight's not a big deal unless you have to do a lot of stop and go.

If you ride rolling terrain of any sort, then weight will make a difference. Even with just 20', 40' and a very few 100' climbs on the routes around me, a five pound difference in old to new bike left me with much more energy.

Being able to climb hills faster means that I don't get as hot since I can now keep a decent speed to keep airflow cooling me. In general, having a lighter bike made thing more effortless and more enjoyable.

However you did use the word "tour". So if you are riding with panniers and loaded for long distance multi-day stuff, then it probably is a different story. I only ride for fitness, and don't carry much more than anything to drink on my rides.
Good points. I live in Utah and the majority of my riding includes climbing.
I carry a trunk bag with tools, tubes snacks and raincoat.No fun for me being caught in mountains without it.
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Old 08-31-20, 08:47 AM
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If you live in a area that is flat you will not notice the weight difference as much unless you do a lot of stop and go which is something someone was already clearly stated. Once the mass, weight, of the heavier bike get moving it's inertia will work in your favor. Once you get to a hill gravity has a way of making the added weight a real beast. I am 71 and have a hybrid that weights only 6 lbs more than my gravel bike and I can certainly feel the difference with the terrain around here. The only flat areas where I live are at the top and bottom of the hills so weight comes into play often during a ride. That said so does the gearing on the bike as the hybrid has 9 for a total of 18 where as the gravel has 11 for a total of 22. The 22 has a closer step between gear changes that help my old knees a lot. What all of the posts have in common is that we are referring to the areas in which we ride. Lighter and flexible gearing might be what you are looking for but only you can know what you will need for you. Unfortunately in comes back to you being able to ride the bikes you want to compare but as you have stated, the bikes are just not available. I would wait until you can A-B the bikes you are looking at and then make a decision. Just my .02.
Be safe, Frank.
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Old 08-31-20, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
If you ride flat route with little elevation change, weight's not a big deal unless you have to do a lot of stop and go.

If you ride rolling terrain of any sort, then weight will make a difference. Even with just 20', 40' and a very few 100' climbs on the routes around me, a five pound difference in old to new bike left me with much more energy.

Being able to climb hills faster means that I don't get as hot since I can now keep a decent speed to keep airflow cooling me. In general, having a lighter bike made thing more effortless and more enjoyable.

However you did use the word "tour". So if you are riding with panniers and loaded for long distance multi-day stuff, then it probably is a different story. I only ride for fitness, and don't carry much more than anything to drink on my rides.
thanks for your input. I would like to tour, but i can't imagin it would be more than once or twice a year. and light touring at that. not a whole lot of gear and not long distance. again thanks for your input.
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Old 08-31-20, 09:35 AM
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Just to give you a little more specifics of my recent experience. I'm 62. I've been riding for fitness since turning 50. Much of that I did on 22.5 and 23.5 pound bikes. And those bikes did well for my rolling terrain here.

For my birthday last March, I treated myself to a new bike that is sub 18 lbs without the under seat bike bag and bottles. I'll be out riding one of my routes wonder where those hills are that used to give me some trouble. Frequently I find that I just road up them without even thinking about them.

So weight for me does make a difference for my riding. Also, if you consider a new bike, think about gearing too. A bike that doesn't have the high and low ratios you need for your fitness level won't do you any good no matter what it's weight is.
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Old 08-31-20, 10:21 AM
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You will definitely notice the weight difference. 30-pounds for a bare bike will feel like a pig. 25 pounds will at least have a little liveliness and be more fun. If you're thinking of loaded touring with 30 pounds of gear in addition to the bike then other things are more important. Since you like fast, you can target 22 pounds for an upper limit of bikes you will enjoy the most.
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Old 08-31-20, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by jpjuggler View Post
So... at my age and so so fitness level, do you think I will enjoy the lighter bike in the sense that the bike will accelerate faster and be faster in general? I like fast. (fast for me that is, )

OR...will it not be that noticeable? My 22 year old son says I wouldn't be able to notice.
At most, the difference will be the change in weight as a fraction of the total bike/rider package. So assuming 150 lb rider, 30 lb bike, and 5 lbs for clothes and gear, cutting 5 pounds will make less than a 3% difference. That's for steep climbing. In other conditions or if rider or gear weight is more, the difference will be less. Will you notice? I don't know how sensitive you are.
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Old 08-31-20, 10:47 AM
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I'm 58 and commute on 3 bikes, light, medium and heavy, lime LHT heavy. The heavy bike has lower gears than the others, so up-hills are not any more difficult than the other two bikes...just slower. Because of traffic and lights, overall speed is not much slower than the lighter bikes. But on the open road on longer rides there is a definite speed penalty...but the big bike is still fun and comfortable!

Who was it that said cycling doesn't get easier... you just go faster.
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Old 08-31-20, 12:56 PM
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I don't care what anyone says a nibble bike that weights 19 pounds is taking 11 off yours and probably could get it to 18 pounds. That is a big difference even touring and you can set a road bike up for touring by picking the correct geometry and dialing in comfort. Lots of options and I know the Surly is great but to me 30 pounds is heavy. True complete touring and maybe others have a great point.
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Old 08-31-20, 12:57 PM
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If you are only thinking of touring once or twice a year and don't want to carry much then you can consider any bike and not be constrained to touring style bikes.
You can put a seatpost rack on any bike and add a large handle bar bag. I last toured a 6 day, 500 mile motel tour with 7 friends and I was the only one with a touring bike. One had a B.O.B. trailer and the others had race type bikes with seatpost racks and/or backpacks.

I also have a steel Gunnar which has rack eyelets and is about 21 pounds ready to ride. It has a triple and I haven't toured on it but it is a good compromise for club rides and light touring.Whatever bike you select, there are usually gearing options.

Speaking of fit and position most bikes can be adjusted for fit within a reasonable range. When I bought my Seven used, it was so uncomfortable I couldn't ride it around the block. I changed the bars, stem, seat and post, and gearing to make it work.

It,(the Seven) is my lightest bike and is the most fun and easiest to go uphill on at a reasonable speed. I have toured on 55 pound bikes and weight always matters when climbing.

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Old 08-31-20, 02:58 PM
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How much pasta or how many burgers did you have last night? You've got to remember that YOUR weight also factors in! If you're 200 pounds and riding a 30-pound bike, and looking to shave five pounds by getting a 25-pound bike... Do you see where I'm going with this? Easier to lose weight off the RIDER.

Yeah, yeah, we can get into the whole 'rotating weight' thing, but hopefully your wheelset isn't where the extra five pounds is...

FWIW, I'm 63yo, and I do my 12.5-mile commute on my 30-pound as-ridden 1975 Fuji S-10S withing a minute of the same time as my six-pounds lighter '86 Miyata 710. 42-43 minutes on average - counting the time spent stopped at traffic lights, for an average speed of 18mph. Riding speed is a bit higher. That smidgen of a difference in commute time I attribute to the rotating weight. The Miyata's wheelset/tires/tubes are about a half-pound lighter than the Fuji's. Only 150' elevation change between home and work, plus three highway/railroad overpasses.

YMMV...

.
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Old 08-31-20, 03:32 PM
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Don't kid yourself! Five or ten pounds makes a difference whenever you ride! The longer the ride, the larger the difference.

On a real long tour, you would be looking at where you can shed ounces!

It is much easier to go fast on my Sirrus, than on my Crosstrail, because of the weight. Yes, the Crosstrail is more comfortable - but fast is fun!

MHO
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Old 08-31-20, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post

On a real long tour, you would be looking at where you can shed ounces!
4 of us toured across the country in 1990. After the first week or so we started mailing things home, especially warm clothes, since it was hot every day.
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Old 08-31-20, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Cougrrcj View Post
How much pasta or how many burgers did you have last night? You've got to remember that YOUR weight also factors in! If you're 200 pounds and riding a 30-pound bike, and looking to shave five pounds by getting a 25-pound bike... Do you see where I'm going with this? Easier to lose weight off the RIDER.

.
It's also possible to lose weight off the rider and the bike. I'm 200 pounds and I know I can't use ultra light parts or wheels but I also don't want to ignore the weight and like to keep the bike weight reasonable. My Seven is about 18 pounds and has been reliable with 32 spoke Open Pro wheels.
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Old 08-31-20, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
It's also possible to lose weight off the rider and the bike. I'm 200 pounds and I know I can't use ultra light parts or wheels but I also don't want to ignore the weight and like to keep the bike weight reasonable. My Seven is about 18 pounds and has been reliable with 32 spoke Open Pro wheels.
I'm 210# and ride a 14# bike. The frame is listed as 250# limit and the wheel are the Zipp 303s with the standard 18/24.

While losing weight is always a good idea, a light bike helps.

My second bike is 20# and i'm slower on it.
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Old 08-31-20, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
I'm 210# and ride a 14# bike. The frame is listed as 250# limit and the wheel are the Zipp 303s with the standard 18/24.
And here I was thinking that my now-sub-23-pound Miyata was light... and it was for a bike on clinchers 35 years ago! And being a borderline Clyde myself (196-203 pounds depending on my beer intake ), I'm afraid to go with any spoke count less than 32! ALL my bikes are 36h, except the Gran Toursimo that is 36f/40r!!!! Just got a new 36h Open Pro wheelset for the Miyata, which is why it is now 22.6 pounds!
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Old 08-31-20, 06:02 PM
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I've got a Trek Domane which is my regular road bike. I've also got a Surly Disc Trucker. While i first bought it for touring, I've ended up not doing any fully loaded tours with yet (the two I've done, my wife ended up driving support for me so didn't need to carry heavy loads). But, I have used it as 1) a backup road bike when my primary was, for some reason, out of commission and 2) I use it for my gravel bike. I'm not a fast rider but, at 67 years old, not terribly slow for my age. From my perspective, the Surly has been a solid all-purpose bike. While it is a bit of a tank, if I'm slower with it, it's not enough to be much of a notice for how I ride. The granny gears do help with the hills, IMO helping offset the weight penalty. I've done century paved road rides and longish but hilly (think D2R2 in Vermont gravel/hilly) gravel rides and have been happy with it.
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Old 08-31-20, 06:04 PM
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It matters. For me it's not so much the average speed as the perceived effort on climbs. I can loafcycle all day on a lighter bike, barely pushing the aero limits around 16 mph, but be less tired because I'm hauling less weight up every climb, and expending less effort on short sprints.

My 1993 Trek 5900 has been out of service most of this year waiting for parts for a long overdue overhaul. So I've mostly been riding my '89 Ironman steel bike. The 5 lbs difference is really noticeable on our roller coaster roads with lots of short, steep climbs. I'm slower and more tired after 20-30 mile workout rides, especially in summer heat.

If our roads were flat, or I only rode the MUP, it wouldn't matter much. The limit is aerodynamics above 16 mph, not so much the weight. Once we get rolling on flat terrain the bike weight matters less.

Another factor: While I could handle the standard 52/42 chainring on the older carbon frame Trek, I had to switch the Ironman to 52/39 and am considering switching to 50/38. That's with the same 13-28 freewheel and cassette rear wheels. That's the difference another 5 lbs or so makes.

And with my 30+ lb Univega, I need the 30T small chainring often with the 28T rear cog, on the same climbs I do with the 39T chainring and 24 or 25 rear cog on the Ironman. That extra 5 lbs on the Univega feels much more significant than the 5 lb difference between the Trek and Ironman.

Reminds me, I have a very lightweight Diamondback Podium carbon frame to build up. Just slowly gathering the appropriate components to keep it light. Should make a big difference.
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Old 08-31-20, 06:14 PM
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In my recent experience - attaching a kid trailer to my 18 lb. road bike - I would not want to lug the extra lbs of a heavier rig around every day. My rides would not only be slower, they would get progressively shorter. One thing that attracts many of us to the sport is the exhilaration of speed - it's what keeps us coming back for more. From what the OP has described, I'd be pointing toward a comfortable but light daily rider with the flexibility to load it up for a few tours every year. I am 64.

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Old 08-31-20, 06:22 PM
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As you get older that 30 pound bike gets heavier as you put it on the roof rack on your car or hooks in the garage. A much bigger issue at my age (67) than yours.
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Old 08-31-20, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
As you get older that 30 pound bike gets heavier as you put it on the roof rack on your car or hooks in the garage. A much bigger issue at my age (67) than yours.
I'm only 2 years behind you.

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Old 08-31-20, 10:46 PM
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That's the same crisis I am going through.Bike weight.
I ride a Giant Talon 29er. Its listed af 29.5 pounds but my V kickstand, seat and tubed tires make it 33 pounds. I like this bike because it's so safe. I feel like I am in my family car coming down a hill at high speed and if I hit a pothole or a tree branch or debris field I'm not going to get injured. Right now I have strong legs and arms but some day...
BTW a bike can be like a dog. Hard to part with.
Thanks for everything you"ve done for me Talon.. you never complain ...we been through good times and bad together sniff sniff .tears..Daddy loves you..
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Old 09-01-20, 07:37 AM
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I may be in a small sub-category of cyclists but can give plenty of perspective on bike weight affecting the ride. I snow ride (streets and paths in town) at night, during our snowy and cold northern Michigan winters. My snowbike is an ‘89 Trek 810 Antelope full rigid that weighs 30lbs. The whole ride scenario is a workout. Heavy bike, heavy clothes, high rolling resistance all equates to a shorter, more intense ride. The best part? That first ride on my 19lb Cannondale Criterium Series every spring. Beyond bike and rider weight, consider the other significant factor of tire rolling resistance.
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