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Comfort = speed?

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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

Comfort = speed?

Old 02-26-17, 09:16 AM
  #26  
chaadster
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Originally Posted by DXchulo View Post
However, I'm sure the manufacturers will argue about little differences like changing the fork rake, designing the frame to be more "compliant", etc. How much do those little things really matter? Hard to say. Probably not much.
Or they matter a lot if you're adjusting your set-up to optimize bike performance.

Back in the old days, we used to talk about "learning how to ride the [particular] bike," which meant that one would not jump from one bike to another and expect them to steer, handle, and respond the same. We knew that one bike may not handle so stable that hard, late-breaking and diving into the apex was its forté, so you'd want to carve the turn more gracefully further out. Either could be fast...if the rider knew where and when to put the weight and power.

There has certainly been a convergence of bicycle capabilities over the decades, reducing the need to 'learn how to ride,' but for those who push their bikes hard enough, handling differences are still discernible and recommend different ride strategies.
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Old 02-26-17, 09:31 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Arms in the wind are bad. So a higher bar that lets you bend your elbows more and thus get your arms out of the wind (if I understand you correctly), could make you a little faster. Knees not hitting your chest will definitely make you faster. Some riders TT faster in a higher position than a lower because they can breathe better. I believe Indurain was famous for that. IME some bike are just faster for me, for no apparent reason. I've always assumed it was power transfer because that's what it feels like. I have a favorite bike - it just flies for me. I drop into a longer, lower position naturally on it.
Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
I think you're asking the wrong question. The real question is: is a proper bike fit essential to optimizing speed on the bike and the answer is yes.

It sounds like you inadvertently made a substantial change to your position by changing frames. That's one way to adjust fit but difficult to fine tune. If you really want to compare frames you need to adjust the three contact points so they are identical. In your case it sounds like you just moved all the components over which resulted in a different, and more comfortable, position. It's very likely you could go back and achieve the identical comfort/position on the original Felt by changing components, stem, seat position etc. If you can't then you perhaps had the wrong size frame originally.

Edit: I missed Dean's earlier response which said something similar more concisely
Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
After, "With all due respect".... maybe an....IMO.... before reply would have made for a smoother delivery. Just sayin.....IMO.....

2 weeks ago at 2017 Bike Sebring 12/24 Hour I completed 307.8 miles in < 22 hours. Not fast and not a whole lot of miles but more than half of them on my 1982 Touring Paramount fitted with 6" rise steel bars and bar pegs to allow me an aero position for extended time. Bike is way heavier than my aero Giant but because of the comfort factor I put in more miles than had I been on the Giant the whole time. I am currently outfitting my 1983 Paramount road frame the same as the touring bike and expect to be much faster; HOWEVER, still not as fast as on my Giant.

Intensions are to enter next year's Sebring as a RAAM Qualifier meaning 400 miles no drafting. p.s.--at age 67 I'll need all the help I can get.
Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
I know this is a popular viewpoint, and may even be the conventional wisdom, but I don't know if it's such a sure thing, if only because people are very adapatable, meaning there is no one setup which "best suits" someone.

My perspective is that there are a range of comfortable set-ups or positions depending on geometry, riding purpose and conditions.

For example, in my case, while I do know what 'numbers' (e.g. TT, stem length, etc.) I like, and about where I like the saddle in relation to the BB, I ultimately fine tune my fit based on how the bike handles; like, where I need my weight to be in order to make the bike move the way I want it to. I may raise the bars a bit in order to shift my weight back to control fore-aft pitching and improve climbing traction on the gravel bike, or drop the bars and pull the saddle forward on the crit bike to optimize front end grip and to stay 'on top' of the pedals.

So yes, while one could choose to position themselves the same on every road bike-- and we need to be clear we're talking just about road bikes here, because it makes even less sense to speak about all bikes because of the range of geometries-- I would not suggest doing so would either be the most comfortable or the most effective in terms of performance.
Originally Posted by DXchulo View Post
True, for the most part. The big thing about "endurance" bikes is that they have a taller head tube. In some ways, all this does is make it so you can have a more upright position without having a ton of spacers or a Fredly looking stem with a huge upward angle.

However, I'm sure the manufacturers will argue about little differences like changing the fork rake, designing the frame to be more "compliant", etc. How much do those little things really matter? Hard to say. Probably not much.
Well I'm glad the thread went back on track because there has been a lot of useful info here. I really appreciate it.

I think my suspicions are being confirmed. I prioritized the wrong goals in bike fit which was to get the front end as low as possible. Every time I got used to / became more flexible, I took out more spacers. It looks like I've gone a bit too far where I find myself going to a non aero position to relax a lot of times on the road with the felt.

Cervelo with the same stem slammed and same handlebars, I'm still able to keep my arms and back fairly parallel to the ground all of the ride as the front is higher because of the big headtube length.

I should have made this thread less about the frame as you are right, it is achievable on most bikes with just more spacers / different size stem. The fact that I changed frames and swapped parts just helped me suddenly realize and compare the body position overnight and turned on a bulb, hence the thread.

I suppose a better way of putting it is get as aero as possible without sacrificing too much comfort if you're gonna ride long rides. That probably explains why some riders even in pro cycling raise their handlebars.
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Old 02-26-17, 09:55 AM
  #28  
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Both me thinks.

If you have the flexibility, then go for the aero bike with a -17 degree 14cm stem, get down low.

But if not as flexible, I think you'll be faster on the comfortable bike.
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Old 02-26-17, 11:28 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
Surely it is just a matter of having a set up that best suits the individual. Then that "fit" is transposed onto whatever bike you are riding.
I can get the same fit on a comfort or race frame, just a matter of having more or less spacers and changing stem lengths.
Unless all your bikes feature a slammed -17° stem and a setback seat post with the saddle all the way back. But the fits are still different because the frames are different: different seat tube angles, head tube and top tube lengths, etc. Sure, one could modify the fit on the lowest and most comfortable fit to be more like the less comfortable and slower bikes, but why would one do that? Frames do make a difference.
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Old 02-26-17, 12:03 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by gsindela View Post
x2 I always wondered why they don't ride beach cruisers in the TDF.
because they aren't that comfortable after about 30-60 minutes of riding.
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Old 02-26-17, 12:20 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by gurk700 View Post
I think my suspicions are being confirmed. I prioritized the wrong goals in bike fit which was to get the front end as low as possible. Every time I got used to / became more flexible, I took out more spacers. It looks like I've gone a bit too far where I find myself going to a non aero position to relax a lot of times on the road with the felt.

I suppose a better way of putting it is get as aero as possible without sacrificing too much comfort if you're gonna ride long rides. That probably explains why some riders even in pro cycling raise their handlebars.
There has to be a happy medium, but even that medium will vary depending on the nature of the ride.
Do folks on beach cruisers EVER tuck into a more aero position?
Do time-trial riders EVER sit up?
How does an ordinary road cyclist set up his bike so he can do both without sacrificing too much either way? Well, to start, by using shallow drop bars....
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Old 02-26-17, 02:19 PM
  #32  
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Just a mountain biker who has found he likes some road miles as well....so I sure don't have a pony in this race. But man you roadies are uptight!! If I could only shove coal up ur arse, I'd have a diamond in no time!
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