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Difference between good bike and bad bike?

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Difference between good bike and bad bike?

Old 01-16-18, 07:23 PM
  #1  
josh23
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Difference between good bike and bad bike?

How much difference does it make having a good or a bad bike to speed and efficiency? I currently ride a low end 80s Raleigh (hi ten steel frame). How much difference would I realistically notice if I were to buy a new, midrange (probably aluminium) road bike?

I know you can spend big money on very fancy bikes, but in my head I can't see how it would make any significant difference - at the end of the day its still a set of peddles connected to a wheel. Frame stiffness might help a bit, and so might shaving off a few KG in weight, but I can't imagine it makes any real difference? I weigh in at 80kg, so shaving a KG off the weight of the bike is just over a 1% difference at absolute most? Is that enough to notice? What am I missing?

If I were to switch to a newer bike woukd I expect to see significant increase in speed?

Thanks, and sorry for the slightly silly question
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Old 01-16-18, 07:43 PM
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1. Aluminium frame is stiffer, you'd have to brace more to absorb shock, ie more fatigue, less efficient. Upgrading to CRMO makes a lot of difference. Much more springy and comfortable, ie less fatigue, more efficient.

2. Aluminium frame is much lighter than hi ten, so acceleration and top speed would be faster.

3. Drivetrain efficiency also play a part. Make sure everything is running smooth.
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Old 01-16-18, 07:45 PM
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I'd say you've answered your question. I'd keep riding the steel beast and save up for carbon fiber and a nice wheelset.

You'll definitely notice a difference then!
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Old 01-16-18, 08:00 PM
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Ride and enjoy what you have. When you've ridden enough to answer the question yourself, then act (or not.)
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Old 01-16-18, 09:03 PM
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Rode my 7spd Magna Hybrid with aluminum frame purchased at Target for $100.00 back in 2002 to food stores today and had a blast. Rode it 60 miles at one outing once and had a blast. Rode it on club rides drafting at 28mph and had a blast. Have over 5,000 miles on it since purchase and never regretted buying it.

DID NOT RIDE IT this past Sunday on my 144.46 miler because it WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN A BLAST. Used my 1983 Paramount and 2018 Roubaix each for 72 mile none stop segments and had a blast but more so on the Roubaix.

Ride what you have and enjoy. Purchase something better and you should most likely enjoy the riding even more. More miles, more speed, and feeling better after the ride is how I judge the quality of my bikes.
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Old 01-16-18, 09:34 PM
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In my view, a new bike is a chance to get something that really fits your body and is better suited to your riding conditions, whatever they happen to be. Some things fall into the category of creature comforts or safety factors. If the Raleigh has steel rims, then an upgrade to aluminum will improve braking in wet weather. Newer frames might be able to accommodate wider tires, which a lot of riders find to be more comfortable. Likewise, switching to 700c rims will give you a wider range of tire options these days. Indexed shifting is a nice convenience feature.

Then you can turn the Raleigh into something fun like a single speed, and keep riding it too.
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Old 01-16-18, 09:54 PM
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My brother has a carbon Felt and I ride vintage steel. He's a lot faster than me. One day we met at the beach house, but he hadn't brought his bike along. We wanted to go for a short ride, so he hopped on the old Ross HiTen hybrid that resides on the back porch.

He was still a lot faster than me.

The rider makes a whole lot more difference than the bike. Yes, you'd be faster if you upgrade. But likely not significantly so.
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Old 01-16-18, 10:35 PM
  #8  
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If it's a bike, you can pretty much guarantee it's going to be fun.

Although I've never done the CF thing, I've got 4 different bikes in the rotation these days and I like them all. The vintage steel Centurion road bike is simple and just makes me smile. I've done a metric century on it and it was fine. That said, I'll grab my 2017 Marin aluminum road bike when I plan to ride big hills. It's lighter--but I also find the modern 105 brifters make the Marin shift like buttah. The hybrid is mostly for work commuting, although it was my ride on my first imperial century. The trekking bike has seen it all and was my companion on a weeklong tour down the CA coast.

Enjoy the ride with whatever you got or can afford.
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Old 01-17-18, 02:47 AM
  #9  
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I have two identically set 26 inch rigid fork bikes from early '90 for my city commuting , one is hi ten as in OP case, the other db tange cr- mo, both 7 speed 28mm road tires, 48t-12 rear. There is 1 kg difference between them, but when I check the same sigma comp on both bikes it appeares that the cheaper hi ten frame is faster on flat and mixed terrain, maybe because of the more compact frame, 2cm lower bb , narrower fork and rear drop out. The cr-mo feels a bit livelier and a bit more effortless to ride, but the only time I was faster on it on a same route ride was when I had 6 cups of coffee before the ride, so I think it was because I have 3 times as much as my normal coffee drinking habit on this ride. Incidentally it is still my fastest time on this route. I can find a nice used cr-mo frame and swap all the stuff from the hi ten frame, but having both current bikes to compare for 5 years now I'd rather go with something different for a change like Fuji touring bike or other similar 4130 28inch bike, but I am not expecting to be much faster or lighter than my current bikes. As for aluminium frame, I had a cheap one and get rid of it after one year didnt like the ride compared with my other bikes.
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Old 01-17-18, 02:58 AM
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I bought an old Raleigh Capri, which was the bottom of the line in the mid-80s. I put nice wheels on it, with tires selected for durability rather than comfort, and set it up with bar-end shifters. It is a pleasant bike to ride. If I had put on Compass tires, it would have been really nice.

I have done similar rebuilds with a couple old low-end Peugeots. Again, good wheels and tires made the bikes much more pleasant to ride, close to the ride quality of my custom bikes made with Reynolds and Columbus tubing.

In short, my experience has been that good wheels, and especially good tires, can make all the difference for an inexpensive bike.
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Old 01-17-18, 04:27 AM
  #11  
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Thank you guys. Interesting responses. The reason I ask is because I currently ride the bike as a fixie. I enjoy it, but I'm not a particularly strong cyclist, so its in a low gear that makes my top speed quite low.

I'm actually planning on moving country soon, and was going to buy a new bike when I get there. I was wondering if a better bike would allow me to up the gearing significantly, or if It would make little difference. Particulalrly it matters for choosing the bike, as I need to get one with appropriate gearing!
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Old 01-17-18, 05:15 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by josh23 View Post
- at the end of the day its still a set of peddles connected to a wheel.
I think if you switch from a unicycle to a bicycle will increase your speed.
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Old 01-17-18, 05:41 AM
  #13  
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After riding the same Trek 520 for 20 years, I decided I wasn't doing much loading touring anymore, mostly just long local rides; and it was time to try all the new technology. Did a lot of test riding of what are now called endurance bikes - so, all with similar geometries but very different technology across different price ranges.

I couldn't tell any difference between SRAM vs. Shimano, or levels within Shimano groupset. Maybe reliability will be different, I tend to doubt it.

I concluded that there were really only three areas I could tell the difference: (1) weight; (2) wheels; (3) brakes. I'm not a racer, so I'm probably just not that sensitive to areas like "responsiveness" and handling. When I read most bike reviews, they seem to be making up terms just to not have the review say "This bike was good, too...."

So, my results: Weight on hills and rolling rides obviously matters. But, I could also stand to lose 20 lbs.

Turns at the bottom of steep hills with disc brakes were definitely enormously safer/less scary with disc brakes and I decided any new bike I bought would have them. Of course, take off that 20 lbs and maybe rim brakes would be just fine on those downhills...

Wheels are what finally drove my selection criteria. I'd always heard that rolling weight was a big deal, etc - but over the years different wheels on my 520 didn't seem to be very noticeable. But the Vision 40 carbon wheels on the Trek Domane I rode made a very noticeable difference - starting from a standing start was noticeably easier/faster.

Those wheels ended up sealing the deal - I went with the Domane. But, I made myself a deal: I had to lose 10 lbs first - did that by March last year, bought the Domane SL6 disc - that model mainly to get those wheels more cheaply than getting SL5 and swapping out.

Because of my 100Kg weight, I was worried about reliability of lighter wheels with lower spoke count. I put 2500 miles on the Domane last year, not a wobble, not a broken spoke, so far so good.

YMMV - as I said, I'm not very sensitive/attuned and can't tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi, either. There is also the plain old fun factor.
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Old 01-17-18, 06:16 AM
  #14  
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Unless it is in disrepair or in desperate need of some service, your Raleigh is not a "bad" bike performance wise.

I'd go through and re-grease/adjust the bearings, maybe get some new cables and brake pads, full tune up and maybe new tires. Make it the best it can be. It'll be fun.

Then buy a new bike too.
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Old 01-17-18, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Unless it is in disrepair or in desperate need of some service, your Raleigh is not a "bad" bike performance wise.

I'd go through and re-grease/adjust the bearings, maybe get some new cables and brake pads, full tune up and maybe new tires. Make it the best it can be. It'll be fun.

Then buy a new bike too.
The wheels certainly need replacing. And the chain line is terrible - the wheel is dished in exactly the opposite direction to how it should be.

Realistically however, buying a new set of wheels and tyres isn't far off the price of a whole new bike.

On the subject of tyres, are there any that are especially good for heavier riders? I'm not massive, but I'm no 65kg racing machine either. I find that, no matter how much pressure I put in the tyres, they still seem to deform as soon as I sit in the bike. But, they are cheap and nasty so...
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Old 01-17-18, 06:58 AM
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What the frame is made of and how much it costs is a far second to the engine.
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Old 01-17-18, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Ride and enjoy what you have. When you've ridden enough to answer the question yourself, then act (or not.)


Profound wisdom and unfortunately not often unheeded.


I would add to decide over time what type of cycling you enjoy most and get a bike that suits your preference.
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Old 01-17-18, 07:33 AM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by josh23 View Post
The wheels certainly need replacing. And the chain line is terrible - the wheel is dished in exactly the opposite direction to how it should be.

Realistically however, buying a new set of wheels and tyres isn't far off the price of a whole new bike.

On the subject of tyres, are there any that are especially good for heavier riders? I'm not massive, but I'm no 65kg racing machine either. I find that, no matter how much pressure I put in the tyres, they still seem to deform as soon as I sit in the bike. But, they are cheap and nasty so...

It's difficult to imagine the wheel dish being off that far. Is the rim centered in the frame? Anyway, that could be corrected.


For tires I assume your bike still has the original 27 inch wheels. So stick with 27 x 1 1/4 tires, which are wider.


These would work well:


https://www.biketiresdirect.com/prod...d-tire-27-inch


It helps in these bike rejuvenation situations if you can do the work yourself to keep the costs down. Or get a knowledgeable friend to help you.
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Old 01-17-18, 07:42 AM
  #19  
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I didn't notice a whole lot of improvement when I went from my well-fitting 1978 Schwinn Le Tour to my well-fitting "modern" Mazama, for a relatively apples-to-apples comparison. Yes, there were marginal gains when you actually looked at the data, but nothing really noticeable in real life. I did notice a difference going from my less well fitting 1984 Peugeot PH10 to a better fitting and much nicer Univega Super Strada (which, I like the feel of FAR better than the wife's modern, mid-range aluminum bike), but that was another older bike I found on CL.

Originally Posted by josh23 View Post
Realistically however, buying a new set of wheels and tyres isn't far off the price of a whole new bike.
Yes, it is. You can get a serviceable new wheelset and tires for the price of a Wal-Mart bike, and your bike will be much better than a Wal-Mart bike.

If you look used, you'll probably find a perfectly good 5/6-speed wheelset on CL around you for not more than the price of a couple beers. Toss on a derailleur, and your fixie problem is solved (if your intentions are to go geared).

Agree with @AlmostTrick on the Paselas, but if you want something a bit "sportier", I liked my Conti UltraSport IIs as well in a 1-1/8": Continental Ultra Sport II Road Tire - Nashbar
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Old 01-17-18, 07:45 AM
  #20  
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I did a little digging on this question with my bikes. To the OP question, focus on the 2013 Felt Z85 (mid-range road bike) and the 1995 Mondonico (high-end road bike in the 90s). In brief, this project shows a new AL road bike is about 1-2 mph faster.

ANOTHER average speed thread..... sorry

Two other data points comparing these two bikes with the same rider:

For those that go deep into bike-number-nerding... VeloViewer assigns scores to your Strava PRs; you can take those numbers to give your bikes a score. With my Felt I have a 99.83 and with my Mondonico I have a 98.87. Like the linked thread, the Felt has more miles and more segments, so this creates a slight skew to the newer bike.

Lastly, I have a solo-century route I ride a few times a year. I use both the Felt and Mondonico on these rides to keep it interesting. The Mondonico has my fastest solo century time; however, it is only 1 minute faster than the next fastest; and 3 minutes faster than average. That's a small advantage (.3% to .9%).

In summation, newer bike can help a rider be faster, but it's an incremental advantage. The best way to get faster is work on the engine.
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Old 01-17-18, 07:52 AM
  #21  
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How good of a rider you are impacts how much you'd notice the difference in bikes.

If you haven't been on a bike in 20 years I doubt you'd really notice the difference between how a Wal Mart bike rides and how a $500 bike shop bike rides.

If you'd been riding for a year you'd notice the difference between those 2 bikes immediately. But I doubt you'd notice the difference between a $20 bottom bracket and a $500 bottom bracket on a decent bike.

If you're a professional rider you'd notice the difference between a brand new tire and one with 100 miles of tread wear on it and it would drive you crazy.

So the more experienced you are, the more you'd notice the differences in the bikes.

Think of you as a car driver vs a professional NASCAR driver. You might put air in your tires if you notice one is completely flat. But a professional race car driver can feel the difference in the handling of the car based on a half pound of air pressure difference in a specific tire. (Literally. You'll hear race car drivers asking pit crews for an extra half pound of air pressure on the right rear tire or left front tire all the time) I've been driving for 25 years. I couldn't tell you that my tires were 5 pounds of pressure off. But a race car driver...0.5 pounds and they are freaking out.

That said...don't get the Wal Mart bike. Even if you're inexperienced, you'll become experienced quick enough that you realize it's not a high quality ride built with great components.

As far as speed, better parts and have less friction within their components make the bike go faster. But the amount of friction you reduce between junk parts and decent parts is enough to really notice. For demonstration purposes it might take your average speed from 8 mph to 10 mph by spending $400 more on the bike. The amount of friction you reduce between decent parts and super high quality parts might increase your average speed from 10 mph to 11 mph by spending $2000 more than the decent bike. So as you get more expensive, the amount of improvement between the level of parts decreases.

For example, I was in the store yesterday looking fro a bottle cage. There are $3 bottle cages that work just fine. They are kind of heavy but doubtful that you'd notice once they were mounted on a bike. There are $10 bottle cages that are all aluminum and are super light. They are probably half the weight of the $3 cage. And then there was the carbon fiber $55 bottle cage that was 20% lighter than the $10 aluminium cage. So on the low price end, a little bit of money gives big improvements. On the high price end you have to spend a lot to get small improvements.

Last edited by Skipjacks; 01-17-18 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 01-17-18, 07:56 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Yes, it is. You can get a serviceable new wheelset and tires for the price of a Wal-Mart bike, and your bike will be much better than a Wal-Mart bike.

If you look used, you'll probably find a perfectly good 5/6-speed wheelset on CL around you for not more than the price of a couple beers. Toss on a derailleur, and your fixie problem is solved (if your intentions are to go geared).
It depends on where you are.

For example, Baltimore's Craigslist offerings for bikes is slim pickings. There are bikes available and occasionally you'll see something really nice for a good price. But it's not a constant barrage of great deals on great stuff. And the listings for parts isn't huge. Mostly it's people who bought a $500 bike 2 years ago, never rode it much, and now want to sell it for $450.

But go to Washington DC's Craigslist, where biking is a far more common practice than in Baltimore, and it's like an online flea market of great bike deals every day of the year. So much that when you search for a specific bike item on the Baltimore page it shows you 10 results then shows you 200 results for 'near by listings' in DC and Northern Virginia.

So Craigslist is hit on miss depending on your area.
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Old 01-17-18, 07:57 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by josh23 View Post
The wheels certainly need replacing. And the chain line is terrible - the wheel is dished in exactly the opposite direction to how it should be.

Realistically however, buying a new set of wheels and tyres isn't far off the price of a whole new bike.

On the subject of tyres, are there any that are especially good for heavier riders? I'm not massive, but I'm no 65kg racing machine either. I find that, no matter how much pressure I put in the tyres, they still seem to deform as soon as I sit in the bike. But, they are cheap and nasty so...

Wheels certainly are the biggest way to change the way a bike feels underneath you. Older, mass-market bikes, like your Raleigh and my old Bridgestone, have heavier, lower tension wheels than modern bikes. Since you're running a fixed-gear, wheelsets are cheap. PURE has lots of SS/fixie wheelsets for less than $100, deep-V, radial-spoke, all kinds of colors. Nashbar also has a set of SS 'Track' wheels that are on clearance for ~$60.

The WTB/Freedom ThickSlick tire seems to be a good choice for Fixie. It's a stiff, heavy tire with lots of rubber on it, but that seems to be what you are in search of.

Since your Raleigh is set up for fixed, I'd just tune it up as is, and get a new multi-speed bike when you move up country.
WRT new bikes, you probably won't notice much difference between a $200 bike, and your old one, but a $500-$800 bike will be a whole order of magnitude; Integrated shifting, better brakes, better bearings, all the things that make a bike go and stop.
Going from a $500 bike to a $1000 bike won't be such the quantum leap, but it will be lighter and stiffer still, with even more attention to the little details.

Last edited by Ironfish653; 01-17-18 at 08:03 AM.
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Old 01-17-18, 08:00 AM
  #24  
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There are no bad bikes. There is only "use other than intended".

As you move up the bicycle price scale you will find the bikes generally get lighter in weight, "crisper" in operation and more comfortable to ride because they fit better. There is also a pride of ownership factor which nobody admits but to which almost everybody succumbs to in some degree. The degree to which those things are important to you will determine their value to you.

Now check the rear entrance to almost any restaurant or some of the bike trails. You'll find bikes in the lowest price ranges that are being used every single day and performing their function. Zero snob appeal, the fit may be atrocious and everything might not work, but the bike is doing it's basic transportation job day after day. I'm good with that.

How thin can you slice the baloney? Shimano makes components in so many price ranges that I can't keep track any more. THEY ALL WORK! As you move up the food chain, the components get a little more crisp operating, generally a lighter lighter in weight, and definitely better looking. As you move up from group to group the incremental difference in those things is so subtle as to be unnoticeable to most riders. There is a definite difference that everybody can notice between the lowest and highest. Price differentials, however, are noticeable and progressively greater as you move to the higher component groups.
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Old 01-17-18, 08:04 AM
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