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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 12-24-17, 08:35 PM   #1
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Bicycle weight for long brevets

I certainly understand that a rando bike is whatever bike that will, well, allow you to finish your brevet.

Having said that, I'm wondering if there is a heavier "end of the spectrum" that one should be aiming to stay under?

I've only ridden double century length rides thus far, but will try for an SR in 2018. Have been riding a carbon bike that only takes skinny tires and no eyelets for racks and no room for fenders, so I finally picked up a new, old stock, 2015 Soma ES that I'm fitting with mini front rack, hub dynamo wheel, etc. I find this bike to be significantly heavier than my 2015 supersix evo hi-mod, and when I get out there and ride where there's some rolling hills, I find myself feeling the Soma to be noticeably slower, but maybe that's just in my head. I'm thinking to myself that if I have to ride 250 to 375 miles, it's gonna go a lot faster (however bumpy) on my carbon bike...
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Old 12-25-17, 02:40 AM   #2
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Bicycle weight outside racing is greatly overrated.

I find it interesting that we always seem to have weight discussions about bicycles while hardly anyone brings up the weight of the engine. That's even though typically the engine weighs 5-10 times more than the bike and its far cheaper to drop a couple of pounds off the engine (by controlling calorific intake) than to lighten the bike (by swapping components for fancier ones).

It's really no coincidence, though because lighter, more expensive bikes cost more money. That's good for business. Getting people to obsess only about the weight of the 1/6 of the equation while ignoring the 5/6 where weight loss could be free is very helpful for the bottom line of the bike industry. Cycling magazines would lose advertising dollars if they wrote about weight loss for cyclists instead of lighter wheels and carbon this and titanium that.

Of course a lighter bike is more fun up the hills, but so would be a well-trained self without the spare tire around the hips. How many of us are our ideal weight? Those of us who are above our ideal weight should be thinking about weight loss first, before worrying too much about the weight of their bikes. That's not to say bike weight doesn't matter, but it's a far smaller part than we make it out to be.

I could ride a lighter bike with skinnier tires, a smaller (or no) front rack, etc. Instead I am riding something whose wider tires and Brooks saddle reduce the wear and tear on the rider after 24+ hours on the road, that doesn't force me to worry about battery life during night rides, etc. Those aspects are more important to me on long distance rides than a slight edge on climbs.

Ride the bike(s) that you've got and you'll see what works for you.
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Old 12-25-17, 04:06 AM   #3
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I don't see how anyone who has gotten in shape to do a long brevet hasn't addressed rider weight.


I don't think a Rando bike needs to be particularly heavy - Rene Herse was known for his weight saving innovations. It really comes down to having a bike that will carry what you need, mount whatever stuff you think it requires and deal with road conditions. That isn't going to be a 14 pound bike, but it doesn't necessarily need to be a 35 pound bike. It is hard to talk about this without more concrete numbers - some people would say that a 22 lbs bike is "heavy".


There is definitely a convention for a certain type of bike that seems to revel in its heaviness with grossly overbuilt steel frames, quill stems, steel fender and racks and wheels that would make a downhill racer complain. Those are lifestyle bikes, and Rivendell sells that lifestyle.

Personally, I would ride a moderately light road racing bike that took 28c tires if it could be made to carry the gear I needed, and if not I'd go to an aluminum touring bike with aluminum fork and use medium weight wheels protected by fatter tires if it was really going to be tougher going. Long rides are more pleasant and less fatiguing on bikes that not just climb well but are easy to maneuver and generally handle. Especially if that's what you're already accustomed to.


But I'm not one of those people that believes that racing bike geometry is "tiring" just because they turn easily. Other people have stronger feelings about the deleterious effects of riding a stage racing bicycle over the kind of distances seen in stage racing.
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Old 12-25-17, 04:14 AM   #4
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based on my own experience using several bikes....

you will be faster on a light bike when riding an Audax/Randonneur. Not only will be you faster climbing hills, you will also be much faster riding into strong headwinds (where I live, winds can be brutal)

I'm currently using a Giant TCR carbon framed bike that is fitted with HED Belgium Plus rims, and I'm using tubeless tyres. I'm on the market for another bike and I've decided to get a climbing bike (Scott Addict) .... many say that I should rather look at getting an aero bike such as a Scott Foil or a Canyon Aeroad, but I will stick with my gutfeel and get the Addict with Di2

I already have some Apidura bags which I will use for long Audax rides
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Old 12-25-17, 07:21 AM   #5
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I don't see how anyone who has gotten in shape to do a long brevet hasn't addressed rider weight.
I think I see almost as much variety in riders at brevets as I see in the general public, from skinny to chubby. A couple of guys are even cigarette smokers, which I really don't get.
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Old 12-25-17, 07:43 AM   #6
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one of the fastest randonneurs I know smokes. Crazy.

I don't think weight holds you back that much. Slow tires are probably worse. And that doesn't mean big tires, they aren't necessarily slower. One year I rode my (heavy) gravel bike with road tires for randonneuring. My times were just as slow as I always am. Having said that, I really think that randonneuring is closer to racing than touring, and using an unnecessarily heavy bike is a bad idea. I think low 20 pound range is a good idea. I suppose it really depends on where you ride, but I end up taking extra clothing on longer brevets, so the bike starts to weigh extra from that. I don't like being cold when I'm riding.
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Old 12-25-17, 07:46 AM   #7
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I don't see how anyone who has gotten in shape to do a long brevet hasn't addressed rider weight.
What rando region are you familiar with? Perhaps that is an accurate observation in some areas, but there is a pretty wide range of body shapes participating in rando, from what I have seen here in PA. No obese folks, of course, but plenty of noticeable beer guts to be found. And you don't need to be in good shape to do rando. The time limits are generous enough to allow even folks like me to do it.
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Old 12-25-17, 07:51 AM   #8
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Oh, back to the original topic, FWIW, my rando bike, as it rolls on a randonee, is about 40 lbs. That includes bags, lights, water, tools, etc. The weight only bothers me when I am handling the bike or lifting it up.
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Old 12-25-17, 10:14 AM   #9
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The Somaís heavier weight and relative flexiness compared to your carbon bike is what it is. But youíll appreciate the longer chainstay length, the wider tires, and the ability to carry stuff.

Try lowering your gearing if you havenít already. Being able to spin lower gears is something I appreciate on long rides. I use 48/32 and 44/28 with 11-32 cassettes on my road bikes.

Use the widest tire you can on the Soma, on the widest rim.

Think of them as two different bikes for different purposes, and not as your fast vs slow, or light vs heavy bikes.
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Old 12-25-17, 10:28 AM   #10
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What do the longer chainstays accomplish, exactly? Grant Peterson makes it sound like they prevent you from tumbling over backwards or the help absorb bumps. But the heavily rigid frames he sells aren't going to absorb much of anything compared to a racing bike with light weight tubing, and especially; a compliant fork.


If a rider wants to ride while overweight and smoking, that's their choice. But the point I was making is that fitness is really the most appropriate and healthy way of moderating body weight as well as getting ready to complete long events, rather than crash diets or liposuction.

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Old 12-25-17, 11:17 AM   #11
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Thanks all. I'll see if I can keep the bike itself under 25lbs.

Joewein and others, I totally agree with you about the overemphasis on bike weight and the big business of selling lightweight high end bikes, when most people neither need a lightweight bike nor should be focusing on bike weight when they should just ride more and lose a few pounds. You are preaching the choir on that issue. I'm close to having a six pack, and am at a muscular 190 lbs at 6 foot 1, bit of a health nut, eating one regular meal a day and small salads for the other two meals. I'm content with my current weight and losing more weight would entail loss of muscle bulk, I'm not interested in looking like a skinny cyclist even if it helps me go faster.

Will let you know how heavy the bike is once built up.
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Old 12-25-17, 11:26 AM   #12
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The kids showing up in June for the Transamerica race, all seem to be getting race bikes , techie and expensive..
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Old 12-25-17, 11:46 AM   #13
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The kids showing up in June for the Transamerica race, all seem to be getting race bikes , techie and expensive..
Arguably, they are racing, not breveting.
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Old 12-25-17, 12:08 PM   #14
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Far more important than bike weight, especially it you are going to spend all day on the bike, is fit and ride. Fit is fit and independent of frame material or weight (as long as that frame allows you to tweak the position to what's right for you). I've been known to have custom seatposts and stems made.

The place where you can make significant improvements to any bike is tires and wheels. I'll let others recommend wheels that are more advanced than standard aluminum rimmed traditionally spoked wheels. I ride semi-light clincher wheels (Mavic Open Pro or Velocity Aero) laced 3X 32 spoke with 1.8-1.6-1.8 spokes except one step heavier for the right rear. At your weight, I'd go one step heavier on all the spokes. The tires I started riding last summer would do very well at your weight for randoneering. Vittoria Open Corsa G+ 28c. Wonderful tires. Wonderful, sublime ride. The ride is closer to high quality tubulars than any clincher I have ever ridden and they are not marginal tires. (They do wear relatively fast. They are expensive although I recently saw an outlet selling them for $50. A real race quality tire but reliable enough to be everyday'ers though with a fairly high $$/mile.) They are also very good cornering tires. This could be a real plus at 4 am when you encounter that surprise turn.

Longer wheelbase/longer chainstays do relax the ride; good for all day though frame materials (esp on the chainstay) matter here. A heavy chainstay tube does a lot to offset the advantages of length. My Peter Mooney with its standard Reynolds 531 chainstays is a bit of a beater for light me unless I use good wheels na dtires. By contrast, my Raleigh Competition with its specially drawn super skinny 531 chainstays is a delight to ride over rough roads; no special tires required. (Those chainstays look like seatstays; they are so skinny. Raleigh had Reynolds draw those chainstays for them custom in the 1950s and put them on selected touring bikes and bikes for really poor roads.

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Old 12-25-17, 12:27 PM   #15
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Longer wheelbase/longer chainstays do relax the ride; good for all day though frame materials (esp on the chainstay) matter here. A heavy chainstay tube does a lot to offset the advantages of length. My Peter Mooney with its standard Reynolds 531 chainstays is a bit of a beater for light me unless I use good wheels na dtires. By contrast, my Raleigh Competition with its specially drawn super skinny 531 chainstays is a delight to ride over rough roads; no special tires required. (Those chainstays look like seatstays; they are so skinny. Raleigh had Reynolds draw those chainstays for them custom in the 1950s and put them on selected touring bikes and bikes for really poor roads.

Ben
Could you articulate what is meant by "relax the ride". Is a long chain stay bike with stiff tubing actually more relaxed than a shortish chainstay that is highly compliant?

The arguments I've read for long chainstays seem to revolve around a geometry advantage rather than genuine compliance.
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Old 12-25-17, 12:36 PM   #16
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Yea, question one is what does it weigh ?, they go blank faced when told you have to spend more to have it weigh less..
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Old 12-25-17, 12:49 PM   #17
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for distance, weight should not be a breaker in regards to which bike to ride. I ride a surly LHT with Brooks saddle and would only use that for long distance as it is super comfy.
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Old 12-25-17, 01:49 PM   #18
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Thanks 79pmooney and others, for the advice. Interesting note on the thin chainstays. If I ever get a custom waterford or gunnar, will keep that in mind.

I definitely appreciate the importance of fit, I had achilles tendinitis two years ago when I started riding longer distances, and worked with a pro bike fitter over 8+ sessions to dial things in so that I can go 200 miles without issues.

Will look into the tires and wheels. I'm getting the Extralite Compass Stampeded Pass 32mm, and am corresponding with a shop in oregon to get a dynamo wheel built, probably with a Son28 and H Plus Son rims, paired with Sinewave Beacon light.
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Old 12-25-17, 02:38 PM   #19
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What do the longer chainstays accomplish, exactly? ....
If you carry panniers, longer chainstays also give you a bit more heel clearance.
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Old 12-25-17, 06:13 PM   #20
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already have some Apidura bags which I will use for long Audax rides
Another Apidura user here on my audax/endurance bike which is a Giant Defy Advanced 2. Nothing fancy but reasonably light. In time I will update the wheels to something lighter, but for now I am swapping out the front hub for a SON dynamo.

This setup works for me so far.


New Bike Day by Andrew Priest (Aushiker), on Flickr

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Old 12-25-17, 06:50 PM   #21
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Your Soma ES is a perfect brevet machine, you're overthinking this!

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I certainly understand that a rando bike is whatever bike that will, well, allow you to finish your brevet.

Having said that, I'm wondering if there is a heavier "end of the spectrum" that one should be aiming to stay under?

I've only ridden double century length rides thus far, but will try for an SR in 2018. Have been riding a carbon bike that only takes skinny tires and no eyelets for racks and no room for fenders, so I finally picked up a new, old stock, 2015 Soma ES that I'm fitting with mini front rack, hub dynamo wheel, etc. I find this bike to be significantly heavier than my 2015 supersix evo hi-mod, and when I get out there and ride where there's some rolling hills, I find myself feeling the Soma to be noticeably slower, but maybe that's just in my head. I'm thinking to myself that if I have to ride 250 to 375 miles, it's gonna go a lot faster (however bumpy) on my carbon bike...
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Old 12-25-17, 06:58 PM   #22
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It's not just in your head. You don't need all that junk on your bike. You need lights, a decent size rear bag, a top tube bag, and a good pump. That's it. Fender mounts aren't even necessary anymore. You can get full fenders that hang on the skewers. A hub is a good option, but can use the same rim and spokes that your regular fast wheels use. I've done all my brevets and other long distance rides on 23mm tires on a carbon bike. If your carbon frame is still comfortable at the end of a double, it'll be fine on a brevet.

For rear bags, the large Ortlieb saddle bag or the Arkel Randonneur Rack and Bag are plenty. Plus your jersey pockets for nibbles and clothing bits and brevet card.

For me, brevet comfort involves getting my legs and butt off the bike ASAP and having the least wear and tear on these items between start and finish. Plus fast and easy is way more fun.
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Old 12-25-17, 08:25 PM   #23
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What do the longer chainstays accomplish, exactly?
Two things:

1. If you rode in the Appalachia, you'd be familiar with the numerous 18-22% grades we encounter around here, each being a few hundred feet long on average. On a bike with a pronounced race geometry, the chainstay would be 408-412 mm, which would drive me to slide way forward on the saddle during such climb if I want to keep my front wheel planted solid on the road, provided I wish to remain seated. This challenges my bottom's comfort, which I rank pretty high during distance rides (brevets).
Luckily, 2 years ago I retired my last bike with a short (408) chainstay, and now only ride bikes with 435mm long chainstays. The benefit is that no sliding forward is necessary on the steep uphills, which enables me to keep my sitting hardware precisely over the saddle area where I feel most comfortable.

2. Rear tire wears at a slower rate due to the reduced weight it bears with the longer chainstay. To you this may seem marginal as the wear rate differential is only of a few percentage points, but it matters to me given my average annual mileage and the unpleasant cost of the (Compass) tires I favor.
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Old 12-25-17, 08:34 PM   #24
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It's not just in your head. You don't need all that junk on your bike. You need lights, a decent size rear bag, a top tube bag, and a good pump. That's it. Fender mounts aren't even necessary anymore. You can get full fenders that hang on the skewers. A hub is a good option, but can use the same rim and spokes that your regular fast wheels use. I've done all my brevets and other long distance rides on 23mm tires on a carbon bike. If your carbon frame is still comfortable at the end of a double, it'll be fine on a brevet.

For rear bags, the large Ortlieb saddle bag or the Arkel Randonneur Rack and Bag are plenty. Plus your jersey pockets for nibbles and clothing bits and brevet card.

For me, brevet comfort involves getting my legs and butt off the bike ASAP and having the least wear and tear on these items between start and finish. Plus fast and easy is way more fun.
Thanks. I will definitely consider that. I like that Arkel Rando Rack. Which bag do you use with it?
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Old 12-25-17, 08:58 PM   #25
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Two things:

1. If you rode in the Appalachia, you'd be familiar with the numerous 18-22% grades we encounter around here, each being a few hundred feet long on average. On a bike with a pronounced race geometry, the chainstay would be 408-412 mm, which would drive me to slide way forward on the saddle during such climb if I want to keep my front wheel planted solid on the road, provided I wish to remain seated. This challenges my bottom's comfort, which I rank pretty high during distance rides (brevets).
Luckily, 2 years ago I retired my last bike with a short (408) chainstay, and now only ride bikes with 435mm long chainstays. The benefit is that no sliding forward is necessary on the steep uphills, which enables me to keep my sitting hardware precisely over the saddle area where I feel most comfortable.

2. Rear tire wears at a slower rate due to the reduced weight it bears with the longer chainstay. To you this may seem marginal as the wear rate differential is only of a few percentage points, but it matters to me given my average annual mileage and the unpleasant cost of the (Compass) tires I favor.

So if your chainstays were 10 feet long, the rear tire wouldn't even touch the ground, right?


Appalachia is not the only place in America with steep grades, but I understand your point. But I don't think 20% grades are the reason that long chainstays are supposed to make the ride better in general.
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