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Is it ME - or my bike?

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

Is it ME - or my bike?

Old 07-23-06, 07:32 AM
  #1  
bboseley
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Is it ME - or my bike?

A riding acquaintance and I are having a friendly debate over just how much bicycle weight, and other bicycle factors, play in overall performance at the “enthusiast” level.

I ride a 2004 Trek 5500. It was pretty sweet out of the box, and I have made some upgrades such as carbon bars and stem, better tires. It is 100% Dura-Ace. I think the overall weight would be just about 15.8 lbs. The other rider is on a quality brand bike, aluminum frame and Ultegra group. I’m pretty sure it would come in at maybe slightly better than 17 lbs.

He stands about 6 foot and weights 162 pounds. I am at 5’6” with a weight of 160. So the total weights are just about the same. I think the thing that gets him stirred up is that I am 20 years older than he, (can you say 62?) but can out pace him on just about any length ride. I even beat him on sprints. He insists that it’s the bike. I am willing to concede that the 5500 with all its precision, might give me a minute over 50 miles.

It’s no big deal between us – just fun - but what’s the thinking amongst you pros? I happen to think that I am just a better rider than my buddy – better pedaling technique, better bike position, etc. By the way, the gearing on the bikes is now identical since his upgrade to a 10 speed cassette.
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Old 07-23-06, 07:37 AM
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It is him.................he is weaker and you stronger! On flats and downhills the weight should not be a concern. Only uphill somewhat but at that weight I would say negligible.
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Old 07-23-06, 07:38 AM
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Maybe you're just a faster rider.
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Old 07-23-06, 07:45 AM
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As some bloke who won 7 TDF's said...."it's not about the bike"......
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Old 07-23-06, 07:49 AM
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You both weigh about the same yet he is six inches taller than you. It's pretty likely that you have more muscle than he does [and hence produce more power] per body weight.
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Old 07-23-06, 08:08 AM
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Yeah, that's not the bike. Well, unless by "outpace" you mean that after your daily metric century with him, you manage to pull out a 50-meter win. That might be the bike.
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Old 07-23-06, 08:11 AM
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I have that bike - see below - and have had many others.

It ain't the bike.

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Old 07-23-06, 08:14 AM
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Your friend insists it's the bike because he doesn't want to acknowledge that you're a better rider. Easier to blame the equipment.
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Old 07-23-06, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by bboseley

I ride a 2004 Trek 5500. It was pretty sweet out of the box, and I have made some upgrades such as carbon bars and stem, better tires. It is 100% Dura-Ace. I think the overall weight would be just about 15.8 lbs. The other rider is on a quality brand bike, aluminum frame and Ultegra group. I’m pretty sure it would come in at maybe slightly better than 17 lbs..

The weight difference in your bikes comes out to about a pound, which isn't a lot, especially since you both have pretty light bikes to begin with. Your gearing is the same. Are your wheels of comparable weight? The impact of weight reduction in the rotating rims is greater than weight reduction elsewhere.

Sounds to me that the bikes are sufficiently similar so as to conclude that it's not the equipment that's causing a difference between you and your friend.
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Old 07-23-06, 08:23 AM
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fishing for compliments pops?
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Old 07-23-06, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Hitchy
As some bloke who won 7 TDF's said...."it's not about the bike"......
he's not a bloke, he's a dude.
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Old 07-23-06, 08:27 AM
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The weight of the bike makes a small difference it has to according to the laws of physics. But it's a total of power to weight (including rider etc.) ratio that counts as a total.

You have more power, that's the biggest factor. He does not want to admit it. I don't blame him.

Tell him there are better excuses...

My back brake was rubbing. My tires were low. I just finished a 200 mile ride. My knees hurt. etc...
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Old 07-23-06, 08:54 AM
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Old 07-23-06, 09:07 AM
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He's 6 inches taller than you, and catching more wind.

But I guess what you really want to hear is, "Wow, you are a stud, 62 and kicking butt! Keep up the good work, old man!!"
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Old 07-23-06, 09:40 AM
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Tell him to take off one water bottle and the bikes will be the same weight. Then race and see who wins. My bet is on you.
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Old 07-23-06, 09:53 AM
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No, not fishing for compliments Sonny.  If that were the case I would reveal the numbers. But this fellow rider truly believes that if we traded bikes – the results would be reversed. (Not going to happen because a) he’s too big for my 54 frame and b) NO ONE rides my bike cept me)

As for that extra mass someone suggested? True, but it’s all around the middle. Working hard to take it off, but then there’s my wife’s cheesecake!

Actually, there is no big mystery to his lagging behind IMO. He gets into big gears and grinds like Ullrich – except he doesn’t have the engine Jan has. (Souped up though it may be).

This cycling **** is fun – ain’t it?
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Old 07-23-06, 09:57 AM
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I think the overall weight would be just about 15.8 lbs
You did "reveal the numbers" and I doubt them very much.
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Old 07-23-06, 10:04 AM
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Old 07-23-06, 10:18 AM
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a very low end or improperly maintained bike will hinder your riding, but at the "enthusiast" level, a 15lb cervelo r3 with campy record and zip 303 tubies will probably not prove faster than a 20 lb decent frame with tiagra or 105.

a heart rate monitor is a better investment than a carbon seatpost.
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Old 07-23-06, 10:25 AM
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Sorry you doubt them jbhowat. My LBS gave me a measured weight of 16.1 going out the door. Since then, have put on carbon bars and stem and a very lightweight carbon SP and ultra light saddle. Go big deal to me it might still be closer to 15.9 Amazing.
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Old 07-23-06, 10:36 AM
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bbosley,

I agree with others, it is not the bike.

I disagree with your initial perception of the bike making a 1 minute difference in 50 miles... I think it would be less than that.

You obviously have the better motor.
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Old 07-23-06, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by brunning
a very low end or improperly maintained bike will hinder your riding, but at the "enthusiast" level, a 15lb cervelo r3 with campy record and zip 303 tubies will probably not prove faster than a 20 lb decent frame with tiagra or 105.

a heart rate monitor is a better investment than a carbon seatpost.
A 5 pound difference in bike weight can make a very measurable difference when climbing; maybe 1 minute on a 2000 foot climb. I agree that a HRM is a better investment though; better training can gain you several minutes on that same climb.
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Old 07-23-06, 01:08 PM
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If you're riding in Orlando, then I'm going to presume most of the roads and rides are flat. and on flat ground, weight makes even less of a difference (as compared to going up and down hills). No doubt it's the motor (you).
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Old 07-23-06, 02:41 PM
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Like all the others said, it's the rider, not the bike. Offer to carry one of this large water-bottles next time. Those weigh 2lbs filled, so you'd end up with a 1-lb heavier bike than him.
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Old 07-23-06, 02:51 PM
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Aerodynamics plays a much bigger role than weight so he would have a better argument that his 6" of heigth is making the difference. Not only is he catching more air but he requires a larger frame and the extra grams that come with it. Nothing he can do about it so he's just going to have to train harder.
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