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Heavy bike + wide tires does make you slower

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Heavy bike + wide tires does make you slower

Old 03-17-16, 02:50 PM
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rms13
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Heavy bike + wide tires does make you slower

In my desire to add a go anywhere/commuter all arounder bike I recently picked up a Diamondback Haanjo Trail. My overall impressions are positive. But I can confirm that at 22 lbs vs my 15 lb bike and 700x40 tires vs 700x23/25 tires I am much slower.

I road a Strava segment today that I have done 104 times to compare my results. My ride today was 78/104 on that segment. It is an 8.2 mile loop with 343 ft of elevation gain and I did it at a 14.9 mph avg riding solo. So not terribly slow but my result on that segment as an 18.5 mph average.

Obviously there are many factors such as me being 2 years older, sleep, diet, time of day, wind etc. But there you go, weight and tires make a difference!
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Old 03-17-16, 02:57 PM
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My cargo bike which is a MONSTER (Frankenstein style) is much slower than my road bike.

However, at least for a short 1/2 mile segment, my Tricross with 32mm X'Plor USH tires came within reasonable variation of my PR that I can't conclude it is that slow of a bike.

Maybe eventually I'll get some longer segments with reproducible times for a "challenge", but may choose more aggressive gearing.

10 or 20 lbs does seem to affect hill climbing times.
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Old 03-17-16, 03:03 PM
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I'm not having it.
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Old 03-17-16, 03:18 PM
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My bike weighs 26lbs loaded. I recently switched from 700x28s to 700x32s, and I've racked up about 200 PRs on Strava since the tire change (~1000 miles,) including improving 3 of my KOMs. So some heavy bikes will be slower with some wide tires, some of the time. Biggest factor is the rider, as with anything else.
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Old 03-17-16, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
My bike weighs 26lbs loaded. I recently switched from 700x28s to 700x32s, and I've racked up about 200 PRs on Strava since the tire change (~1000 miles,) including improving 3 of my KOMs. So some heavy bikes will be slower with some wide tires, some of the time. Biggest factor is the rider, as with anything else.
I already racked up a couple of PRs descending
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Old 03-17-16, 03:20 PM
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the Pub stops do slow me down.. There the PBR is the measure.
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Old 03-17-16, 04:27 PM
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I've got a 24 lb CX bike with 32 tires. It's ten lbs more than my road bike with geometry that's pretty close. Both have the same pedals. I also can confirm that the differences are big.

I switched wheels from another bike once that had smooth road tread and were 28s. That really helped especially on the flats
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Old 03-17-16, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
I've got a 24 lb CX bike with 32 tires. It's ten lbs more than my road bike with geometry that's pretty close. Both have the same pedals. I also can confirm that the differences are big.

I switched wheels from another bike once that had smooth road tread and were 28s. That really helped especially on the flats
I'm planning on swapping to a lighter weight 28mm road tire for most riding (probably Serfas Seca). The stock tires are Kenda Happy Medium that are about 470g each. The Serfas are 230g so that should improve rolling and drop almost a pound. The Kendas actually roll pretty good on pavement for knobby tires but 90% of my riding will still be on road and even off road will be hard pack dirt so don't need much tread. Probably will get some lighter wheels eventually too
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Old 03-17-16, 09:29 PM
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Go off road.

I understand the feeling.I ride my light road bikes the most.
I have A Trek hybrid that I hardly ride anymore.
I use my Marin single speed as my around town bike.Really enjoy riding the Marin,not sure how much it weighs
It's like a oversize BMX bike.

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Old 03-17-16, 10:53 PM
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Just bought a CX bike with 35mm road tires that is around 1-2lbs heavier than my road bike with 23mm tires. I set PRs with it every time out so I disagree . The catch is I did almost nothing but mtn bike last year and am in better shape than I've been. I'd probably set PRs left and right on the road bike as well but I greatly prefer the ride of the CX bike and its soft squishy tires, roads suck here. I'm getting rid of the road bike and when the 35mm tires on the CX bike wear out I probably won't go a whole lot smaller, maybe 32s. I already bought a set of gravel tires but I want to keep the option open to go off road even with my road tires for short bits.

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Old 03-18-16, 06:58 AM
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Doesn't anybody ever ride the same route with two different bikes - several times each - and at about the same period of time???

I have a 1998 Trek 1200 and a 2008 Giant TCR advance 2.

Trek aluminum = 24lb
Giant carbon = 16lb

In addition to the 8lb difference is age (drivetrain components show similar wear / chain stretch), Sora vs. Ultegra, and a slight difference in rolling weight by ~6oz.

Tires have similar rolling resistance characteristics, same PSI and nominal size.

On my work commute, the lighter - better - bike...is 10% faster.

That's been repeatable with a minimum sample size of 10 splits each year for 4 years. The standard deviation of each population (aluminum vs carbon) is comparable - which is noteworthy given that the carbon population is appx 2 orders of magnitude greater.

TLDR; 10%
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Old 03-18-16, 07:59 AM
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I tend to believe those studies that conclude that heavier bikes are actually faster. It's all about the kinetic momentum. Think about it. The benefits you see with lighter bikes is just placebo.
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Old 03-18-16, 08:23 AM
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Should I get a fat bike then?
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Old 03-18-16, 09:16 AM
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People on either side of the silly argument about whether or not things like weight or tire width matter tend to get lost in oversimplifications and generalizations that don't really shed much light on how to get more speed in the real world. There are lots of factors outside of just those metrics that matter a lot, and the differences are pretty small, so they're easy to lose in the noise.
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Old 03-18-16, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by grolby View Post
People on either side of the silly argument about whether or not things like weight or tire width matter tend to get lost in oversimplifications and generalizations that don't really shed much light on how to get more speed in the real world. There are lots of factors outside of just those metrics that matter a lot, and the differences are pretty small, so they're easy to lose in the noise.
So what's your point? The same logic can apply to number of spokes, wheel lacing patterns, wheel weight, bar shape and size, rider jersey and helmet, shape of frame tubes, and on and on. It all makes some differences. Or not.
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Old 03-18-16, 12:01 PM
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Heavy bike + wide tires does make you slower

Y E S
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Old 03-18-16, 12:05 PM
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Come back when you have 103 more trials.

Also come back when you only test one variable.

Post up the segment.

What tire?

What bikes?

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Old 03-18-16, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Ratzinger View Post
I tend to believe those studies that conclude that heavier bikes are actually faster. It's all about the kinetic momentum. Think about it. The benefits you see with lighter bikes is just placebo.
I thought about it. And other than downhills I don't believe it.

OTOH, if you want to say that 4 pounds of extra weight on a bike when riding the flats is slower to a degree that would require a pretty sophisticated setup to detect - I'd buy that. But throw in some hills (even with net elevation gain/loss of zero), weight matters.

dave
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Old 03-18-16, 05:43 PM
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Just a shot from the hip here, but I think you can account most of your lost time to aerodynamics with a little of mental attitude too. meaning, sure your more upright bike is going to be aero slower, hence, slower times but if you mentally have accepted (perhaps unknown to you from an admittingly point of view, yes. you will be measurably slower, but ...... my BUT, I deliberately rode a heavy and slower bike all Winter and now when I get on my regular club bike, I'm noticeably faster.
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Old 03-18-16, 06:15 PM
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I did everything I read here from the Pundits that said wider tires could be faster, heavier bike could be faster and it didnt work at all. On the same course I more than doubled my speed with a 19lb bike, rock-hard psi crammed into slower 23's.
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Old 03-18-16, 06:38 PM
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If you change the mass of an object the amount of work to move it changes. If you change the velocity of an object the amount of work changes. Small things you may not feel. That does not mean they don't happen. In a long race fractions of a second become important.
It's not important for lots of riders and riding circumstances. On some of my bikes it's important to me. On some of my bikes I don't care.
It depends. The gyroscopic effect of the spinning wheels is a more work than just moving the bike along. Gyroscopes don't want to move. Hold two ends of an axle of a wheel in your hands. Have someone get the wheel spinning fast. Try to push the wheel straight forward as if it were on a bike. You can't do it. It will twist.
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Old 03-18-16, 07:27 PM
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This may be an internet first but let admit that when I said that heavier bikes are faster, it was just a dumb joke/satire. I didn't think anyone would actually take that seriously.
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Old 03-18-16, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Ratzinger View Post
This may be an internet first but let admit that when I said that heavier bikes are faster, it was just a dumb joke/satire. I didn't think anyone would actually take that seriously.
Gee, we just thought you were dumb.

Seriously you've been here a long time. Even obvious troll stuff turns into heated arguments.
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Old 03-18-16, 09:20 PM
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Fair point.
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Old 03-18-16, 09:34 PM
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Lets see...32 lb bike...80mm rims 109mm wide tires @ 8 psi..... Yeah at 15 mph I'm really cranking on the beach-road (which was declared a state highway in the 20's).

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