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Bike Acceleration - Which material accelerates fast?

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Bike Acceleration - Which material accelerates fast?

Old 03-12-17, 09:18 AM
  #26  
wphamilton
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Good point. And yes, I'm pretty sure everyone is only basing their opinion on "feel", not actual results. So yeah, not very accurate or scientific.
I am convinced that people feel the initial acceleration of the bike itself, and not the bike+body accelerating. If you're loose or out of the saddle, the bike will surge forward and an instant later drags your body along (which unfortunately decelerates the bike). It is my belief that people who "feel" it are paying attention to the bike in that first instant and not to the whole system.

Two pounds lighter means that the bike could accelerate 10% faster, or even more. That would be very noticeable, even though your own acceleration has only improved 1%.
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Old 03-12-17, 09:28 AM
  #27  
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This one.
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Old 03-12-17, 09:32 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by mkwdrs View Post
Some bikes when you really step on the pedal you can feel the acceleration immediately. Some bikes when you really step on the pedal the acceleration is not there. Which bike materials have this immediate acceleration feeling? Which steel does and/or does not have this acceleration feeling? I am speaking of anything from road bikes to hybrid bikes to light touring bikes to touring bikes.
Since you mention "feeling" acceleration rather than measured acceleration, I believe the frame material is irrelevant. The "feeling" of more or less acceleration is detected by your vestibular system, your balance system, located by your inner ear, which works in conjunction with eyesight, hearing, sense of touch and other physical and mental influences to give you the perception of acceleration.

I don't know if the angle of one's head, in relation to the direction of travel influences this perception, but it may, as the distribution of nerves and receptors of the vestibular system is not uniform. Similarly, I wonder if the movement of liquid and fluids in other parts of the body influence the perception of acceleration, such as digestive fluids in the stomach and intestines. Also I wonder what the influence of frame flex is on the perception of acceleration.

Then there is the visual perception of acceleration. When presented with the right visual stimulus like a large wide-screen movie of a roller coaster going over the top of a rise and beginning a descent, or a pilot's eye view of extreme aerial manuevers, or a ficticious space ship's movement, the eyes will trick the brain into believing it is in motion and some people feel their stomach dropping, or even motion sickness. This phenomenon is intensified in stereoscopic 3D which is how most people see.

This also relates to how close or far you are from the ground. For example, when traveling down a highway at speed, nearby objects like fenceposts and signs whizz by quickly, while distant objects like buildings, or other signs further off seem to pass more slowly. Similarly, sitting in a low slung go cart can seem faster than sitting in a tall SUV, even though the go cart is travelling 20mph, and the SUV is going 40mph.

Which leads me to auditory cues, such as the rising pitch and amplitude of wind noise. This is very dependent of head angle relative to the direction of travel. Also, depending on how upright you are your body will feel more air resistance on it.

But there is also the sound of the bicycle tires on the road which varies by tire design, material in combination with different road surfaces. Add to that the mechanical sounds of the bicycle drivetrain which includes the chain, rear cassette (quiet or "clickety"), possibly the pedals, etc.

Speaking of pedals, the gearing of a bicycle will influence one's perception of acceleration in two ways. One is the actual acceleration. Lower gearing will allow for quicker initial acceleration which then lessens. Slightly higher gearing will produce slower initial acceleration, but then provide quicker acceleration as the rider hits that particular gearing's optimum speed or "sweet spot" where force and torque are most efficiently translated to forward motion.

Related to that is the perceived effort of the rider's legs, which is also related to gearing, crank length and to some extent the position of the rider's body. And by crank length, I don't just mean it's relation to the overall gearing, but the physical sensation of leg movement and perceived force.

All of these sensory inputs are interpreted by the brain and related to past experiences to gauge what is happening. This is the biggest variable of all and even involves emotion. Sometimes while riding, my mind will be seized by the memory of the first time I rode my mother's bike. I was ten or eleven and had been riding my 20" single speed Schwinn Stingray. My mother had a larger, heavier 2-speed Schwinn women's bike. It felt much quicker than my bike, but the first time I took it to ride with my buddies I realized it was not as quick. I did however manage to attain a higher top speed. But that initial sensation of percieved quicker acceleration has stuck with me for 45 years.

Intangibles such as color style, brand, reputation, frame material, general expectations and more lead to preconveived notions which influence our perception of what is transpiring.

So if your question were merely a matter of pure physics, then perhaps all things being equal different frame materials may yield better acceleration through the more efficient transmission of force to forward motion. But I doubt that small difference is perceptible by humans. But since you mentioned "feeling" I think there is more at play than mere physics.

Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Tachyon composite material would be the fastest. But it would blow up even more than carbon.
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Old 03-12-17, 09:32 AM
  #29  
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What makes me accelerate is coffee.

Also mad dogs.
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Old 03-12-17, 03:47 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
Gearing and torque are what "accelerates" you
And we have a winner. I was wonder who would get there first .
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Old 03-12-17, 04:27 PM
  #31  
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Not quite.

Torque is a force and so yes, it is what causes acceleration.

Without force, gearing does nothing.


-Tim-
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Old 03-12-17, 04:51 PM
  #32  
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Can torque on a bike be generated w/o a gear?
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Old 03-12-17, 05:24 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by mkwdrs View Post
Some bikes when you really step on the pedal you can feel the acceleration immediately. Some bikes when you really step on the pedal the acceleration is not there. Which bike materials have this immediate acceleration feeling? Which steel does and/or does not have this acceleration feeling? I am speaking of anything from road bikes to hybrid bikes to light touring bikes to touring bikes.
I think you have a good point. After all, same person, same gearing, yet you feel one bike accelerates faster (or perhaps, it feels more responsive?) than the other. So something is going on.

Getting into the way-back machine, when I was very, very strong with a huge jump it was easy to feel the difference between bikes. A track bike had different feel than a road bike, which had a different feel than a crit bike, etc. To be sure a lot of that involved geometry specific to an event. But material and construction can affect feel and acceleration.

I recall years ago that some of the exotic TT bikes where known as "flexible flyers;" they traded frame stiffness for weight, because with the TT bikes maintaining speed on a light bike was more important than having a stiffer, but just a bit lighter frames.

I also remember when aluminum frames got popular, and I swore there was a huge difference in materials. Double-butted steel frames felt way different than aluminum. With those early aluminum frames it felt like some of that energy I put into the frame got stored in the frame somehow, and when I transitioned from acceleration to maintaining speed it felt like the the frame was returning some of that energy. It felt weird.

Wheels can make a big difference. Lighter tubular tires pumped up to high psi felt way different than clinchers. Their extra weight was detectible since it was rotating weight which multiplied the acceleration effect. With the extra weight you had more energy flying outward from the heavier wheel than with a lighter wheel. That energy is wasted and will give the lighter wheel a more responsive feel.

Overall, and any engineer will tell you this, different materials have different properties.

Talk with an experienced frame fitter and you can learn a lot more.

-- Rick
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Old 03-12-17, 05:32 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by WizardOfBoz View Post
There's a reason why the TdF guys ride carbon.
And it's called money.
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Old 03-12-17, 05:34 PM
  #35  
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High points-of-engagement freehubs also help acceleration.
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Old 03-12-17, 05:46 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
And it's called money.
Hopefully sponsor's money
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Old 03-12-17, 05:58 PM
  #37  
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Whatever the material is that accelerates fast, I've never managed to ride a bike that's made of it.
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Old 03-12-17, 06:24 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Zuzus pedals View Post
Whatever the material is that accelerates fast, I've never managed to ride a bike that's made of it.
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Old 03-12-17, 07:04 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Not quite.

Torque is a force and so yes, it is what causes acceleration.

Without force, gearing does nothing. -
Try starting out from a stop in 1st gear and then in 10th and tell me how gearing does nothing for acceleration. I know I accelerate out of the hole faster in 1st.
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Old 03-12-17, 08:01 PM
  #40  
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V'ger says the carbon based lifeform performs the acceleration duties!
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Old 03-13-17, 02:43 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by 2manybikes View Post
What makes me accelerate is coffee.

Also mad dogs.
These things work for me too!!

Steep descents will also get me moving reasonably briskly.
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Old 03-13-17, 03:54 AM
  #42  
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In my experience a rigid frame and high tyre pressure makes a bike feel very responsive, also to torque. This is just feel and doesn't really make a difference for acceleration.
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Old 03-13-17, 05:59 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by ckindt View Post
crabon, of course.
Only without the water bottles
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Old 03-13-17, 06:13 AM
  #44  
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"Paper" of course.
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Old 03-13-17, 07:17 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
Try starting out from a stop in 1st gear and then in 10th and tell me how gearing does nothing for acceleration. I know I accelerate out of the hole faster in 1st.

A force has to be applied for anything to accelerate.

Gears do not produce force. Gears may multiply force and help the bike accelerate at a greater or lesser rate but they do not produce force themselves.

Gears are inanimate objects and produce no energy of their own. The engine moves the car, not the transmission.

This is physics 101.


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Old 03-13-17, 07:33 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
I think your assumption that it is the "material" is incorrect.

Definitely. Everyone knows it's the COLOR that matters!
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Old 03-13-17, 07:40 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
Definitely. Everyone knows it's the COLOR that matters!
Yes ... blue is the fastest.
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Old 03-13-17, 08:15 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by WizardOfBoz View Post
There are two components here: One is which material makes the frame lightest. That would be carbon fiber composite. The second is how efficiently the frame transmits your leg's force to the wheels. Again, carbon fiber would win that contest. There's a reason why the TdF guys ride carbon.
Thats carbon and EPO.
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Old 03-13-17, 08:44 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Gears are inanimate objects and produce no energy of their own. The engine moves the car, not the transmission.
To be pointlessly pedantic, The engine produces no energy of it's own-- it merely houses the internal combustion and turns that energy into rotational force. After that, the rotational force turns the transmission, which moves the car. Unless the car is steam powered, in which case the engine does indeed move the car.

To be hyper-pedantic, the question should be "which material accelerates quickly?" Fast is an adjective, and adjectives describe nouns. As in, "This thread is stupid (adjective), but it is not advancing stupidly (adverb) enough."
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Old 03-13-17, 08:44 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Humpy View Post
Hitting the concrete street with my face has the greatest acceleration in my experience.
this is probably true. It's not hard to have an impact on the order of 60g, which seems to be a common number for impact tests. OTOH, even a crabon frame isn't going to accelerate that fast under human power. Maybe if there is a kersplosion involved.
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