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Does weight really matter on flat roads?

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Does weight really matter on flat roads?

Old 07-04-19, 03:53 AM
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nocternum77
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Does weight really matter on flat roads?

How about a 10.9 KG total bike if only using it on relatively flat roads?
Is that weight a major downer?
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Old 07-04-19, 04:20 AM
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Originally Posted by nocternum77 View Post
How about a 10.9 KG total bike if only using it on relatively flat roads?
Is that weight a major downer?
That is only the weight of the bike. How much do you weight?
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Old 07-04-19, 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by nocternum77 View Post
How about a 10.9 KG total bike if only using it on relatively flat roads?
Is that weight a major downer?
I think you are at what I call the Mendoza line of bicycle weight.
After that I believe it comes down to how a frame responds to your style of riding.
I had 20lbs steel frame bicycle that felt like it was made out of lead. Super stiff and unforgiving; obviously I wasn't putting out the power this frame needed.
On the other hand, I had a vintage Specialized Rockhopper that was over 25lbs with rack and trunk. That bicycle road like a dream; I'd still be riding it but it got stolen.
Sometimes too much emphasis is put on weight when there are other factors that make a good ride.
As long as when I step on the gas I can feel the bicycle moving forward, all is good.
Response.
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Old 07-04-19, 05:24 AM
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nocternum77
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Yes, fair enough.
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Old 07-04-19, 05:53 AM
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If not accelerating or climbing, the weight makes practically zero difference.

Furthermore, 10.9kg is only slightly heavier (less than a kg) than 1970s and early '80s pro tour bikes. In 1993, Miguel Indurain won the Tour de France on a 10.3kg bike.
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Old 07-04-19, 06:20 AM
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No.
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Old 07-04-19, 06:26 AM
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Really no. Even on hills there are more important factors that weight alone. And as Wilfred said, 10.9kg isn't that heavy.
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Old 07-04-19, 06:27 AM
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Road bike vs. road bike, probably not so much as Wilfred said.

Comparing different bike types? Well, I can say that my aluminum mtn bike at some 20 lbs takes substantially more effort on flat road to keep any kind of speed up. Just staying at ~13 mph is a constant chore where my aluminum road bikes I can cruise at 15 no problem.

IMO, bike type / weight, wind, aerodynamics, tire type, and rider position (sitting mostly up on the mtn versus down on a road bike) all factor in my ability to ride a sustained speed.
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Old 07-04-19, 06:41 AM
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Even on the flats, there are numerous minor slow-downs, requiring some degree of acceleration to get back up to speed. There might be hundreds of these during a typical 50 mile ride, and they certainly add up. But subjectively, I've ridden 16lb bikes on flat rides, and not noticed any advantage to losing 4-5 lbs, compared to a typical 21 lb road bike. If the OP had a 20 kg bike on the flats, he might notice a difference, but @10.9 kilos I don't think a few pound less would be of any help.

Pros often have a bike they use on regular stages, and a much lighter "climbing bike" for use in the mountains. Why don't they just ride the light bike all the time? I'm sure there must be some very good reasons behind this, but I could only guess at what they are (durability? different geometry for a climbing bike?).
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Old 07-04-19, 06:58 AM
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Old 07-04-19, 06:59 AM
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Old 07-04-19, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by nocternum77 View Post
How about a 10.9 KG total bike if only using it on relatively flat roads?
Is that weight a major downer?
No
Not as much as your aerodynamics......weight mainly becomes apparent going up and down hills.
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Old 07-04-19, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
If not accelerating or climbing, the weight makes practically zero difference.
BUT every ride starts at 0 MPH and you have to accelerate to however fast you ride. It might not make an overall difference in a 25 mile ride, but the psychological memory of that sluggish initial acceleration remains.
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Old 07-04-19, 05:05 PM
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In my view, yes it matters. Will it make me go faster? Probably not. But a nice bike is more fun to ride. Weight is one of the factors that go into a nice bike -- not the only one and possibly not the most important one. But it's still a factor. I'm saying this as a relatively casual cyclist, certainly not a racer.

Up to a point, the lighter components are where the designers focus their effort on things like performance and comfort. Also, a lighter bike might just mean that you've left some things at home that are not absolute necessities, so you're focusing more on the ride. Since I got back into cycling after a hiatus, I've completely ditched many of the things that I once considered necessary, such as complete rain gear just in case. Leaving that stuff at home reflects my confidence that I can manage situations such as a minor change in the weather.
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Old 07-04-19, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
Also, a lighter bike might just mean that you've left some things at home that are not absolute necessities, so you're focusing more on the ride. Since I got back into cycling after a hiatus, I've completely ditched many of the things that I once considered necessary, such as complete rain gear just in case. Leaving that stuff at home reflects my confidence that I can manage situations such as a minor change in the weather.
Agreed. Plus, by refusing to carry a bunch of extra junk, one can enjoy riding a lightweight bike without paying for one!
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Old 07-04-19, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
Even on the flats, there are numerous minor slow-downs, requiring some degree of acceleration to get back up to speed. There might be hundreds of these during a typical 50 mile ride, and they certainly add up.
This makes a big difference for riders who don't have lots of power.

Everyone here seems to be making a blanket statement but the the world isn't a perfect lab environment and weight does matter more for less powerful riders.


-Tim-
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Old 07-04-19, 10:20 PM
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Weight does not matter. It makes you stronger, and the extra momentum helps you bomb over obstacles, making acceleration less of an issue.
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Old 07-04-19, 11:56 PM
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Weight never matters anywhere. Except when you live from winning races.
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Old 07-05-19, 01:42 AM
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Originally Posted by jideta View Post
I had 20lbs steel frame bicycle that felt like it was made out of lead. Super stiff and unforgiving; obviously I wasn't putting out the power this frame needed.
Lead is a really bad comparison, as it is heavy, but very soft. You could easily bend it and even tear chunks off it with your fingers.

On topic, I'd say there obviously is some difference in accelerating (and to a lesser degree, in decelerating), but that doesn't mean much on flats if you're not racing. I have done over 90 km on an old 20+ kg army bike that was built like a tank, and was fine. The weight actually helped to keep momentum when cruising; it took some more time to get up to speed, but it rolled very nicely.
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Old 07-05-19, 05:46 AM
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Lighter bike is often more fragile to component and frame failures.
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Old 07-05-19, 06:30 AM
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Lighter bikes matter more for lighter riders, since the bike is a greater percentage of their weight than it is for heavy riders.
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Old 07-05-19, 08:45 AM
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The question is basically unanswerable without more info--"does it matter" and "major downer" are relative terms. It really depends what you're using the bike for, but on the whole, there's many factors that will affect the speed of the bike more than a couple pounds of bike weight.
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Old 07-05-19, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
This makes a big difference for riders who don't have lots of power.

Everyone here seems to be making a blanket statement but the the world isn't a perfect lab environment and weight does matter more for less powerful riders.


-Tim-
I'm not sure that's true--it's too much of a blanket statement itself. If someone lacks power, a small change in the weight of the bicycle may not have an effect on the ratio of power to weight big enough to be noticed. In other words, that person's acceleration on the lighter bike is still going to be weak. I don't have the math to prove this, but I suspect the stronger rider would actually be more likely to get a noticeable benefit from reducing the weight.
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Old 07-05-19, 09:00 AM
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Fully self contained, tour ready, my 4 pannier touring bike rides like a Cadillac ..
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Old 07-05-19, 09:38 AM
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Physics says absolutely. Obviously no terrain is perfectly flat. So you'd have losses there. You will also have losses due to deformation of the tire. More weight equals more deformation. But still when comparing relatively small differences in weight. Most would be hard pressed to notice.
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