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Why does one bike feel so much slower

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Why does one bike feel so much slower

Old 04-11-16, 03:27 PM
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customsound79
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Why does one bike feel so much slower

I have two road bikes, A 2015 Giant Defy 3 (Bone stock - Sora 9 speed) and a Kona Zone Two that I built up (Ultegra 11 speed). The Kona always feels very fast and anxious to go. The Giant literally feels like it takes 20-30% more energy to move. I usually average at least 1.5-2mph faster on the Kona.

Giant has 170mm vs Kona 175mm cranks
Both have 32 spoke wheels with Gatorskin tires although the Giant has steel wire bead and Kenda thick thorn proof tubes (rolling mass??) and the Kona has folding tires and standard tubes.
The bearings are all rolling smoothly without resistance

Any ideas?
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Old 04-11-16, 03:42 PM
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I have a similar situation. My trek 520 (stock) is quite sluggish and handles like crap compared to my team miyata with full dura ace.
Edit: congrats on the weight loss! I just noticed..

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Old 04-11-16, 04:00 PM
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Seems to me if you had two identical bikes, except for the cranks, the one with the longer crank length would go faster with the same effort...like applying the same force on the end of a longer lever.
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Old 04-11-16, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by zeeway View Post
Seems to me if you had two identical bikes, except for the cranks, the one with the longer crank length would go faster with the same effort...like applying the same force on the end of a longer lever.
Except that you have to push that longer crank through a greater distance for each revolution of the crank. My bikes have various crank lengths and there's no significant difference resulting from that. I tend to use slightly lower gears with the shorter cranks so my cadence is a little higher. The result is that my foot speed and force on the pedals are still both about the same regardless of crank length (within reason).

I'd blame the thick thorn-resistance tubes for a big part of the difference in the OP. Not only do they add weight, but you're also deforming that thick rubber in the area of the tire contact patch as the wheel rotates. That wastes energy and adds to rolling resistance.
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Old 04-11-16, 04:33 PM
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I had Two identical bikes.

The Red one was faster.

Even with same saddles.

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Old 04-11-16, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
I'd blame the thick thorn-resistance tubes for a big part of the difference in the OP. Not only do they add weight, but you're also deforming that thick rubber in the area of the tire contact patch as the wheel rotates. That wastes energy and adds to rolling resistance.
Yeah, I've never used those, but the theory behind them is that the added thickness is enough to not enough allow for tubeless-esque success with sealant, but also form a massively thick piece of armor. It's a huge amount of rubber that has to deform.

Even so, a 2mph loss sounds surprising, especially if we're talking about cruising on the flats. My 33-pound stumpjumper drop bar conversion with 2" semi-knobby gravel tires lets me do fast cruising on pavement with a similar penalty relative to my "true" road bikes.
Does the fit feel comparable between the two bikes?
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Old 04-11-16, 04:42 PM
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What's the relative weight of each bike? Is the fit between both of them the same? Couple cm in either direction for saddle and bar can play a role here...
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Old 04-11-16, 07:17 PM
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The fit is nearly identical. The only difference I feel is the shorter stroke of the crank. The weight difference is about 3 pounds but at my size that matters not. It was really obvious today with almost no elevation to speak of.
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Old 04-11-16, 08:27 PM
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Once you reach 15mph or so, air drag becomes the dominant limiter to speed. As speed continues to increase air drag dwarfs all other forms of resistance combined.

So, whenever people talk about one bike being faster than another, the first place I look is riding position. Very small changes in position will affect the wind profile and make big differences at speed.

Then there are the biomechanical factors. For example having your upper body too low (for you) can affect your breathing and make everything seem harder. Crank length differences affect how efficiently you pedal, and depending on your height, can have the top of the stroke too high for your position.

So, move your focus from the bikes themselves to how you and the bikes are together.
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Old 04-11-16, 10:29 PM
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As far as speed goes, the aforementioned aspects probably all fit into the equation. Maybe there are a few others areas that figure in, too - like the geometry of the bikes, or the wheelbase and head tube angle. A bike with a shorter wheelbase and steeper head tube angle will likely feel quicker than the converse - maybe that feeling adds to increased performance. And while you indicate that a mere 3 lbs. might be irrelevant to someone your size (btw, congrats on your progress), I think those three pounds might make a difference if they are in the wheels, regardless of your weight. Really, though, if you want either of the bikes to be fastest, you'll have to paint one of them red (as 10 wheels indicates above).
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Old 04-11-16, 11:00 PM
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I am probably going to get blasted by the guy who bleeds Specialized here ( especially the Roubaix) but I feel my Endurance bike the Solace feels stiffer up hills and is faster feeling overall than my race bike the Tarmac so OP its just not you.
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Old 04-12-16, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by 2702 View Post
I am probably going to get blasted by the guy who bleeds Specialized here ( especially the Roubaix) but I feel my Endurance bike the Solace feels stiffer up hills and is faster feeling overall than my race bike the Tarmac so OP its just not you.
The Kona has the endurance geometry too. I guess the first thing to try is swapping the tubes. I wasn't dealing with much 15 mph aero drag yesterday. It was all rough flats. Plus, the difference is noticeable right from take off. That leads me to cranks and/ or the extra weight in the tubes. Thanks for putting your heads together on this. I just ordered 3 cans of red paint as well.
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Old 04-12-16, 07:02 AM
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Rotating mass can completely change the way a bike rides. Those heavy tires and tubes are the culprit.
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Old 04-13-16, 06:45 AM
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We need numbers! Repeats on the same strava segment on both bikes over a period of days or weeks would suffice.

Here's why: could be that one bike is NOT in fact slower, but it's just your perception. Maybe because one bike rides smoother.

Back in the '80s, car and driver was doing a slalom test with a bunch of sports cars. One of the things they noticed was that the cars that did the worst on the slalom appeared both to the driver and outside observer to be *faster* than the cars that did the best. Why? Because the fastest best handling cars made it through the cones with no fuss or screeching of tires, and that noise and drama added to the sensory perception that the slower cars were going faster.

Now, I'm not saying that one of your bikes isn't slower, I'm just saying that without numbers, you and we can't know for sure what's going on! Give us numbers!
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Old 04-13-16, 06:55 AM
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I think that a relatively trivial amount of weight can affect ow fast a bike "feels" too.

Like FBinNY said, once you get up to about 15 MPH aero rules. Every single ride, however, starts at 0 MPH. A bike that's a little bit heavier might feel sluggish during this initial acceleration period. While a more aero bike might actually be faster over the course of the entire ride, it can be hard to erase that initial sluggishness from your mind.
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Old 04-13-16, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Wheever View Post
We need numbers! Repeats on the same strava segment on both bikes over a period of days or weeks would suffice.

Here's why: could be that one bike is NOT in fact slower, but it's just your perception. Maybe because one bike rides smoother.

Back in the '80s, car and driver was doing a slalom test with a bunch of sports cars. One of the things they noticed was that the cars that did the worst on the slalom appeared both to the driver and outside observer to be *faster* than the cars that did the best. Why? Because the fastest best handling cars made it through the cones with no fuss or screeching of tires, and that noise and drama added to the sensory perception that the slower cars were going faster.

Now, I'm not saying that one of your bikes isn't slower, I'm just saying that without numbers, you and we can't know for sure what's going on! Give us numbers!
As much as I would love to make all of my rides for the next few days or weeks a science experiment, I prefer to ride the Kona and use the Giant as a back-up just in case of mechanical issues or inclement weather. That was the only reason I bought it was because of a 3 week wheel replacement turn-around for the good bike. I'm toying with the idea of just selling it and building a gravel bike.
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Old 04-13-16, 07:24 AM
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You're comparing an aluminum bike with a carbon one that costs twice as much and is, by your account, 3 pounds lighter. I think you answered your own question.
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Old 04-13-16, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by customsound79 View Post
As much as I would love to make all of my rides for the next few days or weeks a science experiment, I prefer to ride the Kona and use the Giant as a back-up just in case of mechanical issues or inclement weather. That was the only reason I bought it was because of a 3 week wheel replacement turn-around for the good bike. I'm toying with the idea of just selling it and building a gravel bike.
Aw, too bad. Because SCIENCE!
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Old 04-13-16, 08:42 AM
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Because you can ask a rhetorical question over the internet at work, having nothing better to do.
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Old 04-14-16, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Because you can ask a rhetorical question over the internet at work, having nothing better to do.
Nope, because I'm on vacation, and have nothing better to do.
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Old 04-14-16, 10:35 AM
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"...Pedaling my way down from 485 lbs...."

If you are very heavy, and your brake pads are set very close on one bike, perhaps brakes are rubbing under certain conditions ??
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Old 04-14-16, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
"...Pedaling my way down from 485 lbs...."

If you are very heavy, and your brake pads are set very close on one bike, perhaps brakes are rubbing under certain conditions ??
Good suggestion, but no. I've been building and maintaining bikes since I was 12. All of my bikes function very well.
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Old 04-14-16, 10:06 PM
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32 spoke wheels is not enough info. What wheelsets? The rim weight can make a difference. I can't imagine 3 pounds making a 2 mph difference. A 10 pound backpack, maybe. Do you have a more aero riding position on the faster bike?
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