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Unscientific test of best times on different bikes I've owned on Central Park Loop

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Unscientific test of best times on different bikes I've owned on Central Park Loop

Old 06-17-17, 07:27 AM
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helmet4000
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Unscientific test of best times on different bikes I've owned on Central Park Loop

I wanted to share some results of my unscientific review of my different bikes on the Central Park Loop (called "Central Park Full Loop") in Strava. I recently purchased a Fuji Transonic 2.5 LE from Performance. While I have a good solid Fuji road bike (super light 2012 Altamira 1.0 which I haven't tried yet), my reading suggested that aerodynamics may trump weight under certain conditions. The central park loop with minimal climbing may be one of those.

This is unscientific because I don't recall/know wind conditions, idiosyncratic dodging of tourists, horse-drawn carriages, my weight, or slowing down when NYPD was out surveilling cyclists. I do know that they were all solo rides and so there was no drafting on another rider's slipstream.

So here my best times on different bikes (with wattages included). The most comparable are probably when my wattages were similar.

Central Park Full Loop characteristics
  • Distance 6.1mi
  • Avg Grade 0%
  • Lowest Elev 19ft
  • Highest Elev 122ft
  • Elev Difference 104ft

2016 Fuji Transonic 2.5 LE
17:01 243 Watts (current bike)

2015 Specialized Tarmac Sport
17:24 241 Watts (borrowed at the time)

2016 Fuji SL 2.3
17:25 207 Estimated Watts (don't own anymore)

2016 Fuji Altamira 1.1
17:30 255 Watts (don't own anymore)

2015 Giant Defy 1
17:36 211 Estimated Watts (don't own anymore)

2015 Specialized Allez Elite
17:39 216 watts (don't own anymore)

Last edited by helmet4000; 06-17-17 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 06-17-17, 08:58 AM
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...and the point is?
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Old 06-17-17, 09:01 AM
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Different watts take the bike out of consideration. Unless you think a given bike enabled a specific power output. Possible but unsubstantiated.
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Old 06-17-17, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by helmet4000 View Post
I wanted to share some results of my unscientific review of my different bikes on the Central Park Loop (called "Central Park Full Loop") in Strava. [...]
This is unscientific because I don't recall/know wind conditions, idiosyncratic dodging of tourists, horse-drawn carriages, my weight, or slowing down when NYPD was out surveilling cyclists. I do know that they were all solo rides and so there was no drafting on another rider's slipstream.
Nice experiment. I noticed that some are "watts" and others are "estimated watts." What estimation method were you using, and with what are you estimating now?

Others may criticize your experiment, but it was exactly an experiment like yours that eventually led to the development of a field test to estimate aerodynamic drag.
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Old 06-17-17, 09:48 AM
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Just don't ride a yellow Trek and you should be fine ....
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Old 06-17-17, 10:08 AM
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Thanks! The estimates are what strava reported when i wasnt using one and the actuals come from a power meter.

My "meter" is a cycleops HRM rhat generates a power estimate.

Originally Posted by RChung View Post
Nice experiment. I noticed that some are "watts" and others are "estimated watts." What estimation method were you using, and with what are you estimating now?

Others may criticize your experiment, but it was exactly an experiment like yours that eventually led to the development of a field test to estimate aerodynamic drag.
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Old 06-17-17, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by helmet4000 View Post
2016 Fuji Transonic 2.5 LE
17:01 243 Watts (current bike)

2015 Specialized Tarmac Sport
17:24 241 Watts (borrowed at the time)

2016 Fuji Altamira 1.1
17:30 255 Watts (don't own anymore)

------------------------

2016 Fuji SL 2.3
17:25 207 Estimated Watts (don't own anymore)

2015 Giant Defy 1
17:36 211 Estimated Watts (don't own anymore)

2015 Specialized Allez Elite
17:39 216 watts (don't own anymore)
So you have two groups of bikes that can be directly compared, is how I see it. Power output in each of those groups isn't identical, but it's close enough that a comparison can be made between them.
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Old 06-17-17, 10:16 AM
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It's not about the bike it's about the wheels and whether they're MEILENSTEIN
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Old 06-17-17, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by helmet4000 View Post
Thanks! The estimates are what strava reported when i wasnt using one and the actuals come from a power meter.

My "meter" is a cycleops HRM rhat generates a power estimate.
Does anyone here have insight on how the power reported by a CycleOps HRM system compares to what a SRM power meter in the drive chain reports?

Obviously, my power at 175 BPM is not the same as Andre Greipel's at 175 BPM. For that matter, Greipel's power at 175 BPM is different on different terrain and in different tactical points in the race.
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Old 06-17-17, 11:31 AM
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helmet4000
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Not a direct answer but

He doesn't answer your question specifically, but he gives a useful comparison between the PowerCal and Powertap.

https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2012/11/...th-review.html

I paid $69 for my Powercal whereas $400 to $500 is the price of a Stages left-side crank if finding a good deal. But since I have a Fuji, they use an Oval crankset which (may or may not be a rebranded FSA) so the costs of installing a new crankset ($350+ for an ultegra crankset?) to get a powermeter significantly drive up costs. So the HRM, while not perhaps as specifically accurate is relatively accurate and if used consistently can tell me something about what I am doing and whether I am increasing my power etc.
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Old 06-18-17, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth_Firebolt View Post
So you have two groups of bikes that can be directly compared, is how I see it. Power output in each of those groups isn't identical, but it's close enough that a comparison can be made between them.
Yeah - and I was thinking of comparing them in terms of results per watt.
The results clearly suggest that the old Altamira is the slowest bike - required the most energy to record one of the slowest times. On the other hand, the SL, while it recorded one of the slower times, achieved essentially the same time as the Tarmac, but with far less energy.

Meanwhile, since it's a loop, I think the effects of wind would be self-cancelling. The traffic variable, however, is hard to control for, and its effects on results - on a per-watt basis - are unclear.
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Old 06-18-17, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by helmet4000 View Post
Thanks! The estimates are what strava reported when i wasnt using one and the actuals come from a power meter.

My "meter" is a cycleops HRM rhat generates a power estimate.

Without an actual powermeter you really can't compare any of those bikes in any meaningful way (well, maybe a coast down a hill or some sort of "speed test").

The only useful comparison would be "this one felt cool/this one looked cool", etc, which would clearly only be for you.

You have no actual performance data. Besides the wattage issue, if you're not using the same position and clothing and tubes/tires (and wheels) and numerous other factors then you're still not comparing the bikes with anything other than subjective feelings.

Sometimes subjective is good. I like bikes to "feel" a certain way, myself. But again, that'd be a personal subjective.
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Old 06-18-17, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by helmet4000 View Post
H So the HRM, while not perhaps as specifically accurate is relatively accurate and if used consistently can tell me something about what I am doing and whether I am increasing my power etc.
How does hr tell you you're increasing power? All it tells you is how fast your heart is beating. It tells you very little about what wattage you're putting out.

For a personal example: 10 mins at 300 watts at the end of a hot 3 hour ride might give me a 170 hr whereas 10 mins at 300 watts 30 mins into a cool spring ride might give me 155. Humongous difference.

And some extremes where hr really fails to tell you power; from a very easy cruise, 300 watts for 30 secs might only get my hr into the 140s whereas 30 secs of 300 watts at the end of a big sprint or effort might have me in the 180s.

It's not even relatively accurate.
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Old 06-18-17, 10:46 AM
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I was actually thinking of gathering the data to estimate an equation whereby my time on some segment is a function of wattage + bike + wheelset + suffer score and anything else that can be measured. I could test for a statistically significant difference between bikes after parceling out the confounding effects of other factors. I have been on strava since 2014 so there is a lotof data.



[QqUOTE=rubiksoval;19660531]Without an actual powermeter you really can't compare any of those bikes in any meaningful way (well, maybe a coast down a hill or some sort of "speed test").

The only useful comparison would be "this one felt cool/this one looked cool", etc, which would clearly only be for you.

You have no actual performance data. Besides the wattage issue, if you're not using the same position and clothing and tubes/tires (and wheels) and numerous other factors then you're still not comparing the bikes with anything other than subjective feelings.

Sometimes subjective is good. I like bikes to "feel" a certain way, myself. But again, that'd be a personal subjective.[/QUOTE]
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Old 06-18-17, 10:54 AM
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Now that i think of it....there is a relatively long descent near a ranger station in alpine new jersey that i have taken most of these bikes down. That would give a useful descent test and then there are ent of heavily travelled climbs. Thousands of cyclists have traversed these segments and strava has all kinds of data manufacturers of road bikes may or may not want to know about.



Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Without an actual powermeter you really can't compare any of those bikes in any meaningful way (well, maybe a coast down a hill or some sort of "speed test").

The only useful comparison would be "this one felt cool/this one looked cool", etc, which would clearly only be for you.

You have no actual performance data. Besides the wattage issue, if you're not using the same position and clothing and tubes/tires (and wheels) and numerous other factors then you're still not comparing the bikes with anything other than subjective feelings.

Sometimes subjective is good. I like bikes to "feel" a certain way, myself. But again, that'd be a personal subjective.
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Old 06-18-17, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by helmet4000 View Post
This is unscientific because I don't recall/know wind conditions, idiosyncratic dodging of tourists, horse-drawn carriages, my weight, or slowing down when NYPD was out surveilling cyclists. I do know that they were all solo rides and so there was no drafting on another rider's slipstream.

So here my best times on different bikes (with wattages included). The most comparable are probably when my wattages were similar.
I think you could do better by averaging a bunch of rides for each bike rather than just taking the fastest. How many rides on each bike? It may also skew data to have a lot more rides on one bike than another. Perhaps throw out some of the slow rides.

Some of the differences are interesting such as the Fuji Altamira 1.1 vs Fuji SL 2.3 & Fuji Transonic 2.5 LE. So the cross bike took more energy, and was slower than the road bikes.

As you mentioned, anything that will slow you down then force an acceleration (traffic lights? Pedestrians?) will take time and sap energy. So, unless you can do a straight, unencumbered ride, it is hard to compare data.

Did you use the same power meter, or different power meters?
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Old 06-18-17, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Did you use the same power meter, or different power meters?
He didn't use any powermeters.

He used a powercal for some and strava estimates for others.
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Old 06-18-17, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by helmet4000 View Post
I was actually thinking of gathering the data to estimate an equation whereby my time on some segment is a function of wattage + bike + wheelset + suffer score and anything else that can be measured. I could test for a statistically significant difference between bikes after parceling out the confounding effects of other factors. I have been on strava since 2014 so there is a lotof data.
There's a way to do that, you know.

Originally Posted by helmet4000 View Post
Now that i think of it....there is a relatively long descent near a ranger station in alpine new jersey that i have taken most of these bikes down. That would give a useful descent test and then there are ent of heavily travelled climbs. Thousands of cyclists have traversed these segments and strava has all kinds of data manufacturers of road bikes may or may not want to know about.
That could work, but it can be a little tedious.

Last edited by RChung; 06-18-17 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 06-18-17, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by kbarch View Post
Meanwhile, since it's a loop, I think the effects of wind would be self-cancelling.
What you hope will happen:



What actually happens:



What actually actually happens:

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Old 06-18-17, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
He didn't use any powermeters.

He used a powercal for some and strava estimates for others.
Hmmm.... too much skimming of the discussion.

Unless one is very careful with parameters going into Strava, it basically uses speed and slope to calculate power, so it would be difficult to use Strava calculated power to compare rides as it isn't independent.

According to the review above, the powercal heart rate monitor makes errors such as not picking up coasting, but the average power for a ride was close to the power meter, but unfortunately some variability, with at times producing high results, and other times producing low results.

It might be interesting to take, say 10 rides on the same bike that come up to within a second or two on the results, and look at the variability in power recorded by powercal to see if it is truly representative of effort. Also do the same with a physical power meter.

Personally, I've been experimenting with a couple of different bikes, and hopefully will have some comparative data this summer. In theory, the lower my bars, the less power it should take to propel the bike forward. However, the question is whether that also affects the ability to get power to the pedals. Perhaps other power metrics such as the heart rate monitor would help capture differences related to bicycle configuration.
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Old 06-18-17, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Perhaps other power metrics such as the heart rate monitor would help capture differences related to bicycle configuration.
HR, no, but wind speed and direction, instantaneous acceleration, and instantaneous gradient would.
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Old 06-18-17, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
I live at the closed end of a horseshoe-shaped valley, and that is an excellent visual representation of our typical afternoon winds. Or as we say here, "Always a headwind, always uphill."
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Old 06-18-17, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by RChung View Post
HR, no, but wind speed and direction, instantaneous acceleration, and instantaneous gradient would.
Plus instantaneous speed and total mass. I don't see how you could get around needing to know the angular velocity of a turn also, maybe you could.

Funny thing is, I think you can get all of that except wind stuff from just accelerometer and gyro in a rotating wheel, similar to the Wahoo! I've got the device, but haven't found time to code it yet. And you can probably solve for momentary apparent wind speed, assuming rider position doesn't change for a few seconds ...
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Old 06-18-17, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by RChung View Post
HR, no, but wind speed and direction, instantaneous acceleration, and instantaneous gradient would.
Ok, here's the bike I've been working on.

Armitage_Bridge.jpg

She's low.
She's fast.

She's a pain to ride in the wind. A headwind is as bad or worse than a crosswind.

And, the question is whether I lose something in the body dynamics, or even fighting with the steering. Am I able to put the same power into the pedals with this bike as I can with my road bikes? What about parasitic losses such as frame flex? Is a forward mounted seat good or bad? Do all road surface differences show up on the power meter? Chipseal?

Wind & etc won't give one the answers.

Heart Rate Monitoring might help. VO2 and Lactic Acid would also be indicators, but puts it outside of what one can typically measure at home.

In the end, the answers may be first going through a break-in period to get used to the characteristics of the new bike, then get out and do the side-by-side comparisons between bikes independent of power data.

Last edited by CliffordK; 06-18-17 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 06-18-17, 04:09 PM
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As far as wind goes, I'll concede the point made by the diagrams @HTupolev provided. However, we're talking Central Park here, which is largely protected, and what counts as "windy" here really isn't much to begin with. It's not like the "experiment" was conducted on some windswept prairie.
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