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Old(er) versus New(er)

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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

Old(er) versus New(er)

Old 06-16-24, 10:41 PM
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Old(er) versus New(er)

I don't have anything new, but I'm beginning to rethink that. Maybe newer really is better.

Case in point. I have a 2006 Specialized Roubiax that has a 3x9 drivetrain. I recently picked up a 2015 C-dale Synapse that's 2x10 (maybe 2x11, can't remember),. Anyway, I laid out a course that will replicate as close as I can figure to the distance and grades I will encounter once again at the Santa Barbara long course. I ride a road bike there because I've done this course before and, at least for me, it is far too hilly for a TT bike to really be any advantage.

So I set up my Roubiax with the largest rear cassette I could specifically for climbing. It's either 30 or 32 tooth (can't remember that either). The Synapse I set up similarly except the largest gear on the cassette is 28 tooth. So my Roubiax has three speeds up front, no idea what that small chain ring is, but it's fair to say it is quite a bit smaller than the Synapse, with a larger rear cassette. The Synapse has a fairly typical 53/39 front and that 30 tooth on the back. OK, there's the background.

Back to my course. A few days ago, I took the Synapse out and rode that course, fully expecting to really struggle getting up some of those grades, which can be more than 10% in some areas. I was surprised to discover that it wasn't as bad as I was expecting. I still struggled, but at no point did I think I was going to need to get off the bike and walk "the walk of shame". I've done that both years in Santa Barbara.

Yesterday, I took out the Roubiax. Bear in mind, I set this up specifically for hilly courses. Much to my surprise, it was absolutely no easier going up the hills than the Synapse was. It wasn't harder, but it certainly wasn't any easier. However, I will say it felt much slower on the flats, even though both bikes have a final high gear of 53 front/11 rear.

The other thing that surprised me is wheel weight. The Synapse has a set of alloy Shimano wheels and I really couldn't believe how heavy they are. The Roubiax I fitted with a set of Bontrager Race Lite wheels, so advantage Roubiax. Or at least in theory.

But despite the gearing and noticeably lighter wheels, the Roubiax pretty well sucked on that ride. Honestly, I was quite surprised.

I'm glad I did this comparison though, because I was planning to once again take the Roubiax to Santa Barbara in a couple months. Now, however, I think my new plan will be to outfit the Synapse with a set of lighter wheels and take that instead. It has served me well, but I think it's time for the Roubiax to find a new home.
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Old 06-17-24, 07:43 AM
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Weight? I wouldn't be surprised if it's not because the Synapse is lighter. 5 pounds can make a big difference. Even 3 pounds will be noticed over the length of the ride and many ups and downs or stops and starts.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that aero doesn't mean anything. But neither the Roubaix or Synapse is aero. Though in the same size bike, the Synapse should put you in a more aero position. And when at speeds over 16 mph, it's noticeable to me how much extra power it takes when on the hoods and more upright as opposed to low on the hoods or drops and as aero as can be.

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Old 06-17-24, 08:01 AM
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tl;dr: You did a challenging ride, and then -- a day or two later -- you did the same ride and were slower.

I would suspect that fatigue (lack of adequate recovery time) explains your results much more than the bikes. But you will insist otherwise...So carry on.
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Old 06-17-24, 08:58 AM
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All that really matters is when you look at the two bikes, which one would you rather ride?
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Old 06-17-24, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen
However, I will say it felt much slower on the flats, even though both bikes have a final high gear of 53 front/11 rear.
This doesn't make much sense. You'd be going 30.1 mph in this gear with a cadence of 80 RPM. If you aren't using this top gear, that it exists isn't relevant.

Originally Posted by VegasJen
The other thing that surprised me is wheel weight. The Synapse has a set of alloy Shimano wheels and I really couldn't believe how heavy they are. The Roubiax I fitted with a set of Bontrager Race Lite wheels, so advantage Roubiax. Or at least in theory.
This post is "not good". It talks about things being heavier or slower or what not. But it doesn't give any numbers.

Last edited by njkayaker; 06-17-24 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 06-17-24, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
Weight? I wouldn't be surprised if it's not because the Synapse is lighter. 5 pounds can make a big difference. Even 3 pounds will be noticed over the length of the ride and many ups and downs or stops and starts.
A "big difference" but no numbers.

https://www.bikecalculator.com/

120 lb rider on a 20 or 25 lb bike at 10% grade: 150 watts at 4.77 mph versus 149 at 4.61 mph. A 3.4 % difference.

Last edited by njkayaker; 06-17-24 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 06-17-24, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen
Maybe newer really is better.
Yeah, you should go out and buy all new stuff ... tomorrow today right now.
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Old 06-17-24, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
A "big difference" but no numbers.
Also note that I said
can make a big difference
"Can" being a word that many of us use when we really mean "may".

And "big" in my case is relative. So no performance numbers are necessary for my thoughts on the subject. Especially since the OP only said one felt better.
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Old 06-17-24, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
Also note that I said
"Can" being a word that many of us use when we really mean "may".
In either case, without numbers, no one can really tell.

https://www.bikecalculator.com/

120 lb rider on a 20 or 25 lb bike at 10% grade: 150 watts at 4.77 mph versus 149 at 4.61 mph. A 3.4 % difference.

Originally Posted by Iride01
And "big" in my case is relative..
"Relative"? To what? You don't say.

No, it's pretty much meaningless.

Originally Posted by Iride01
So no performance numbers are necessary for my thoughts on the subject. Especially since the OP only said one felt better.
No, she didn't "only" say that.
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Old 06-17-24, 01:03 PM
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Lots of thoughts.

First of ... Hurray for science!! I needed to say that since there hasn't been any in the thread so far.

To do a comparison, it would take (for me) three or four rides on each bike, several days apart. I would set up a schedule like "whatever normal weekly riding" (same routes each day of each week on whatever bikes) then do the big thing one the weekend and do that for four weeks.

We all know that how a rider feels is not only the key component but also nearly impossible to quantify. Some days I just feel like pushing ... and I do. Some days I feel lazy. Some days I wake up halfway through the ride.

Oddly ... my final numbers rarely reflect these differences. I might be slow on the days I felt fast or vice versa ... because things like recovery, sleep. diet---and even if I control 100 percent for diet and sleep, quality of sleep will always vary, and my body changes based on so many different factors that even an identical daily diet will not produce absolutely identical results.

Maybe the Synapse day was just a better day. Maybe even though @VegasJen felt fresh and ready on the second try, she was not in the same shape as on the first ride.

Second---so much data which is "hard" data has been omitted. What three rings are on the Roubais and how often is each used? What is the real gearing on the Synapse? How much does each bike weigh?

We know that light wheels can produce a more lively feel and immediate response, but after a couple pedal strokes, they make very little difference. Aero is much more important as is rolling resistance. How wide and hard are the tire and how wide are the rims on each bike?

(In any case, for a race I would likely swap the wheels (and the cassette if needed) to have the lightest wheel on the race bike---unless the other wheels (and tires, because they work together) were much more aero .... )

So many variables, and so little informatio0n.

VegasJen, for sure ride the bike you feel better riding, because (IMO, not "science-based") you will likely ride better if you feel better.

State of mind is a huge performance factor. There is a reason so many pro athletes hire sports psychologists. There is a reason so many athletes talk about visualizing their performances. Again, I am no expert, but to me state of mind is the key to unlocking the potential my body might have on any given day ... what makes the difference between not riding well because I don't feel like it, and riding better until I start to feel like it, and riding better still. And often, I don't even notice what I am thinking, or what I am thinking a layer deeper than that ... and a lot of energy gets wasted because my head is going against, rather than with, my body.

So ... if you really want help determining which bike is the best ion paper, give us real stuff t put on the paper. if you just want to ride the bike which feels better ... do that. You don't need us for that, and we cannot know until you tell us, anyway.

I hope you get exactly the experiences you deserve and I hope you maximize all your opportunities.

Keep us posted, please.
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Old 06-17-24, 04:47 PM
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So first off, this thread was much more about experience with some small amount of data to back it up. It was never intended to be data heavy, quanitifiably conclusive information.
Originally Posted by Iride01
Weight? I wouldn't be surprised if it's not because the Synapse is lighter. 5 pounds can make a big difference. Even 3 pounds will be noticed over the length of the ride and many ups and downs or stops and starts.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that aero doesn't mean anything. But neither the Roubaix or Synapse is aero. Though in the same size bike, the Synapse should put you in a more aero position. And when at speeds over 16 mph, it's noticeable to me how much extra power it takes when on the hoods and more upright as opposed to low on the hoods or drops and as aero as can be.
Actually, I weighed both bikes today and they are within 1/2 pound of each other, so rotational weight is really the only factor. On both bikes, as with all my road bikes, I always have aerobars mounted and I do tend to spend a lot of time on them. Given that I've had the Roubiax for a few years now but the Synapse only a few months, I feel I had the Roubiax far more sorted for fit and aero. However, I have n+1'd several times since the Roubiax was my primary bike and it has spent a lot more time in the garage the last year or two than previously. I now spend most of my time riding a TT/triathlon bike. The road bikes are for very specific circumstances now, like particularly hilly courses where a TT bike kinda sucks.

Originally Posted by Wileyrat
All that really matters is when you look at the two bikes, which one would you rather ride?
Of all of them, I'd much rather ride my Shiv. It is by far my favorite. But of those two, I guess it's the Synapse. Having said that, I would always rather be on the Shiv.
Originally Posted by Maelochs
Lots of thoughts.

First of ... Hurray for science!! I needed to say that since there hasn't been any in the thread so far.

To do a comparison, it would take (for me) three or four rides on each bike, several days apart. I would set up a schedule like "whatever normal weekly riding" (same routes each day of each week on whatever bikes) then do the big thing one the weekend and do that for four weeks.

We all know that how a rider feels is not only the key component but also nearly impossible to quantify. Some days I just feel like pushing ... and I do. Some days I feel lazy. Some days I wake up halfway through the ride.

Oddly ... my final numbers rarely reflect these differences. I might be slow on the days I felt fast or vice versa ... because things like recovery, sleep. diet---and even if I control 100 percent for diet and sleep, quality of sleep will always vary, and my body changes based on so many different factors that even an identical daily diet will not produce absolutely identical results.

Maybe the Synapse day was just a better day. Maybe even though @VegasJen felt fresh and ready on the second try, she was not in the same shape as on the first ride.

Second---so much data which is "hard" data has been omitted. What three rings are on the Roubais and how often is each used? What is the real gearing on the Synapse? How much does each bike weigh?

We know that light wheels can produce a more lively feel and immediate response, but after a couple pedal strokes, they make very little difference. Aero is much more important as is rolling resistance. How wide and hard are the tire and how wide are the rims on each bike?

(In any case, for a race I would likely swap the wheels (and the cassette if needed) to have the lightest wheel on the race bike---unless the other wheels (and tires, because they work together) were much more aero .... )

So many variables, and so little informatio0n.

VegasJen, for sure ride the bike you feel better riding, because (IMO, not "science-based") you will likely ride better if you feel better.

State of mind is a huge performance factor. There is a reason so many pro athletes hire sports psychologists. There is a reason so many athletes talk about visualizing their performances. Again, I am no expert, but to me state of mind is the key to unlocking the potential my body might have on any given day ... what makes the difference between not riding well because I don't feel like it, and riding better until I start to feel like it, and riding better still. And often, I don't even notice what I am thinking, or what I am thinking a layer deeper than that ... and a lot of energy gets wasted because my head is going against, rather than with, my body.

So ... if you really want help determining which bike is the best ion paper, give us real stuff t put on the paper. if you just want to ride the bike which feels better ... do that. You don't need us for that, and we cannot know until you tell us, anyway.

I hope you get exactly the experiences you deserve and I hope you maximize all your opportunities.

Keep us posted, please.
Yes, there is very little science involved in this thread. I think what motivated me to post this was the expectation the Roubiax would be much easier, more comfortable on the big hills than the Synapse, but to have such a completely opposite experience was kind of remarkable. Again, the main reason I have either of these bikes is for climbing. If I'm on a course that is flatter, or at least has less aggressive grades, I'm going to be on a tri bike.

But I did take some time to review the information I did have available today. I do have Velo Cateye bike computers on both bikes so I was able to make something of an apples to apples comparison. Top speed was pretty much a wash. Since this was a loop route, I had as much down hill as uphill. It isn't surprising then that my max speed (downhill) was within 0.3mph between the two. What was a bit surprising is that my average speed was nearly 1mph slower on the Roubiax over the 31 miles. I can't completely fault the Roubiax there as I did notice a bit more head wind on the return riding the Roubiax than the day when I was on the Synapse. Short of a velodrome, it's going to be hard to duplicate conditions day to day.

Also, I was mistaken regarding chainrings. I did a count today and as follows: Roubiax has 52/42/30 up front. Rear cassette is 30 on the low and 11 on the high. I didn't bother counting the gears in between. I'm sure it makes a difference but if I'm spending most of my time there, I'm on the wrong bike anyway.

The Synapse I was mistaken there also. It's 50/34 up front and big/little on the rear is 32/11. So practically, I have both slightly higher and slightly lower final gearing on the Roubiax than I do on the Synapse. But again, I have both of these bikes ostensibly for hilly courses where climbing is the priority. If I'm expecting less than 6-7% grade, or just very short uphills, I'm going to be on a tri bike anyway. They're simply more comfortable to me.

Given the actual data, minimal as it is, I'm still a bit struck as to why the Synapse just felt faster. And from the empirical data, it was faster everywhere but on the climb, in which it was pretty much a wash.

Having said all that, and now that I've actually reviewed the data, I think the plan remains unchanged. I'm going to shop for a nice set of carbon wheels to lighten the Synapse up a little bit, and find a new home for the Roubiax.

Last edited by VegasJen; 06-17-24 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 06-17-24, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen
I weighed both bikes today and they are within 1/2 pound of each other, so and rotational weight is really the only a non-factor.
ftfy
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Old 06-17-24, 06:27 PM
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VegasJen In addition to the factors mentioned by Maelochs, maybe the size, geometry, and/or setup of your Synapse is simply more suitable to your current shape and fitness than your Roubaix?
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Old 06-17-24, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
VegasJen In addition to the factors mentioned by Maelochs, maybe the size, geometry, and/or setup of your Synapse is simply more suitable to your current shape and fitness than your Roubaix?
That has to be a part of it. No denying it.
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Old 06-17-24, 08:11 PM
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Old 06-17-24, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe
Yeah, you should go out and buy all new stuff ... tomorrow today right now.
Shouldn't even have to ask.
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Old 06-17-24, 09:52 PM
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It's fun having two or more bikes to compare in the long run.

"rotational weight" in real life, is very seldom a meaningful thing if one does the math. (I don't do the math, but have read some pretty convincing explanations based on math). Maybe if you are comparing cheap and/or heavy duty wheels to unusually light ones. Spoke count and rim depth/shape is likely more important than rotational weight. But even then, it also requires pretty specific situations involving frequent, essential accelerations like keeping in contact with a challenging paceline where losing only a meter or two can be a problem. So tiny differences in your ability to accelerate the wheels might be significant. But the difference between two "normal, decent" wheels (which might vary by a couple hundred grams) and almost any riding situation, even enthusiastic club or friendly rides, is not likely to be significant in real life.

More likely, frame geometry, tire type and inflation, fit, position, state of hydration, nutrition and rest, wind direction and velocity, and maybe most importantly: attitude/motivation are what were the differences. Look at those differences between the two bikes. Very unlikely it was wheel weight or gearing.

Last edited by Camilo; 06-17-24 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 06-18-24, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen
So first off, this thread was much more about experience with some small amount of data to back it up. It was never intended to be data heavy, quanitifiably conclusive information.Actually, I weighed both bikes today and they are within 1/2 pound of each other, so rotational weight is really the only factor. On both bikes, as with all my road bikes, I always have aerobars mounted and I do tend to spend a lot of time on them. Given that I've had the Roubiax for a few years now but the Synapse only a few months, I feel I had the Roubiax far more sorted for fit and aero. However, I have n+1'd several times since the Roubiax was my primary bike and it has spent a lot more time in the garage the last year or two than previously. I now spend most of my time riding a TT/triathlon bike. The road bikes are for very specific circumstances now, like particularly hilly courses where a TT bike kinda sucks.

Of all of them, I'd much rather ride my Shiv. It is by far my favorite. But of those two, I guess it's the Synapse. Having said that, I would always rather be on the Shiv.
.
Bike, position/posture setup, GEARING, MOTOR!
Specifically, I know the SB Tri Course, it's a route I ride often (too often) 34ish miles , just shy of 2000 feet of gain, some really very crappy road surface, and some steep sections...
On that course/route you prolly could ride any of the three bikes to a 'PB'.
Equipment matters a bit, GEARING matters very much, and the MOTOR matters the most by far (which includes knowing and using the best gearing possible).
A 'Fast' ride on that course is done best by the riders who can ride/motor on shorter climbs, and that means optimum gearing, wide range of cadence comfort, and a strong climber.
WIth climbing gears one could do that route on a 'TT bike'. But any of those 3 bikes could be your 'best bike' on that route.
ON a 'Flat', the Shiv can be the best bike, because of Aero position. On those uphills, Aero means almost nothing... for most of us...
But you cant' hit the '****', Toro Canyon or Ortega Ridge having fully maxed your effort just before them - all those are TOUGH climbs and require some steady effort with a gear you can comfortably turn over.
You speak of t he 'Walk of Shame'. That will happen if your heart rate is already near your anaerobic level when you hit those climbs.
If you're climbing those gears in cadences of 50 to 60, you will surely 'walk'...
If you can't find a gear combination that allows you to ride in mid 60's (tough section) to mid 70's RPM , then you are not 'trained' to a decent climbing level. Any small time you gain by being in a nice Aero TT position on the skis on a flat section will all be lost on those climbs (and more time will be added on because of of poor climbing/lack of pacing skills).

SB Tri - Toro Cyn and Ortega Ridge

Work on climbing/Hills - JUST LIKE those three in SB/Carp ! Work on Cadence. Side Benefit, it will also aid in building power...
If you want a real comparison without "SCIENCE", Find a hill same Steepness & Length as Ortega Ridge or Toro Cyn , **** Loop... The Same steepness & length, and RIDE to THEM at the same effort you do in that or any Tri event... Then 'climb'... No Science... Heart and Motor...
Time each climb/effort. Find the best combination of gears
If you bog down on them, then you need to find a better gear'cadence combo which you can consistently turn well, without blowing up.
AND consider how you pace yourself into those climbs on the sections before. Especially if your legs/power are giving out before your breathing/cardio cause you to stop and walk...
...riding SB routes makes for good allrounders, who use their power wisely and and efficiently.
ON that course an 11 would never be needed or an advantage, for most riders...
Ride On
Yuri

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Old 06-18-24, 10:48 AM
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Rotational weight AFAIK, pretty much only comes into play when accelerating or decelerating. And most road bikes, IMO are paired from the factory with a wheel set that is befitting of the tier level of the other components on them. If you think it's rotational difference, then removing the wheels and weighing them will at least let you know if there is any total weight difference between them. Though the weight might be in the hubs of one and it have a much lighter rim. But I'd doubt that till proven otherwise.

What about the saddle to bar drop on the bikes? Are they the same or different. If they are close to the same, then I'd have to wonder how that can be. Though with differences in frame size and number of spacers under the stem as well as different stem angles and riser bars, they could be.

Roubaix is among the road bikes that give the most upright sitting position to slow you down with drag. And since you seem to like speed, then that's going to be a negative for that bike right from the start.

Your Synapse is designed to give you a much more aggressive race fit than is the Roubaix. It might just be that as I do, you prefer and ride better on a bike with a low stack height.

And there is a lot to be said just for how you feel that day or where you are or aren't peaking in your training plan. There are days when I ride hard and have lousy stats. Other days, when I try to intentionally take it easy I seem to be busting my best times for certain segments.

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Old 06-18-24, 12:13 PM
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For climbing performance the only things that really matter are total weight (rider+bike), gearing and tyre rolling resistance. Rotational weight counts the same as any other weight on the bike or rider. A simple online resource such as bike calculator will show you the potential time gain for any weight loss. Just enter your riding weight, bike weight, bike type, slope and power. Rotational weight doesn’t even come into the calculation for a steady state climb.

So if you save say 500g on a set of super lightweight wheels, you will gain a few seconds on every climb. But don’t expect to suddenly accelerate like a bullet (500g is a tiny percentage of the total rider and bike mass) or save minutes unless you are climbing for several hours in the mountains. For shorter climbs you are looking at saving a handful of seconds at most.

Having said that, a quality lightweight wheel set feels good and provides a nice placebo ie you might well “feel” faster on them. Unfortunately the physics doesn’t care about how fast you “feel”.


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Old 06-21-24, 03:50 AM
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Bikes: CAAD 12, MASI Gran Criterium S, Colnago World Cup CX & Guru steel

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I recently did a little test on my 10 mi. loop with 53 ft/mi of elevation. I have a GURU Sidero (steel w/SRAM Red), a GURU Photon (Dura Ace mechanical), a CAAD 12 (105 mechanical) and a newer Canyon Aeroad (Ultegra mechanical). During a two week period I rode them in turn. The lightest is the Photon at about 16 lbs as ridden and the heaviest the Aeroad at about 18 lb 14 oz as ridden. I did not have fitness so my basic effort. The results were two rides at 13.1 mph and two at 13.2 mph. I really enjoyed the feel of each of them but not much difference for weight.
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