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Lighter bike or lose weight?

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

Lighter bike or lose weight?

Old 09-10-08, 08:04 PM
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cmanbrazil
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Lighter bike or lose weight?

Okay I am new to road bikes, but I am wondering about us average, or maybe below average people who could save a lot of money buy worrying a little less if a bike is 19 pounds vs 21 and more about losing five or more pounds -and keeping it off.

What is the difference from losing weight or buying a lighter bike?
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Old 09-10-08, 08:05 PM
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Yes.
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Old 09-10-08, 08:11 PM
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This is an age-old question that's been debated alot. Most will respond that you should lose the weight from your body and not worry so much about the bike. But, I've always contended that if you can afford it, why not do both?
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Old 09-10-08, 08:13 PM
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Plus a lighter bike encourages you to push harder, rider faster, and continue to loose weight.
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Old 09-10-08, 08:35 PM
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cmanbrazil
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I understand the logic, I told my wife last year I wasn't giving up my gym membership because i wasn't going, because I knew going was the right thing to do. now that I am back in the gym, I have lost 23 pounds. I also take my kids and we swim and do other activities. So its not the bikes fault, and when you put in the work, the reward will be much nicer because the quality of your bike.

However, paying a lot extra for a pound or two, when your bodyfat is double digits is questionable. Especially if you only have the time to ride maybe six hours a week. I say these things looking into the mirror here. And I see the multitudes of listing of craigslist of people who spent more than two thousand on a bike that they weren't even sure how much they were going to ride.

Sometimes I think we need to look at bike and say wow, I hope I earn my way into enjoying something like that, but right now, this entry level bike is where I am. I can't buy my way into being good, that comes with a lot of work, and the people who really see the difference between a 800 dollar bike, and a full carbon bike, are the ones who but in thousands of hours of riding to do so.

I do recognize I am a novice to the sport, so I have no problem being corrected.
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Old 09-10-08, 08:36 PM
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Rotating weight, important. Non rotating weight, not so important.

But you'll feel faster on a lighter bike, and you'll feel faster if your body is lighter.

So do both.
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Old 09-10-08, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by monk View Post
This is an age-old question that's been debated alot. Most will respond that you should lose the weight from your body and not worry so much about the bike. But, I've always contended that if you can afford it, why not do both?
Exactly. It's not an either/or question. I'm not one for encouraging the needless consumption of expensive goods, but you always can do both. Buying a lighter bike won't make you a worse person, and if it motivates you, so much the better.
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Old 09-10-08, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Flatballer View Post
Rotating weight, important. Non rotating weight, not so important.
Bollocks and falsehood. I thought we had moved beyond the pseudo-scientific that rotating weight matters at bicycle RPMs, onto the pseudo-scientific belief that a stiffer frame is more efficient. But why have only one silly belief when you can have two?
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Old 09-10-08, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by grolby View Post
Bollocks and falsehood. I thought we had moved beyond the pseudo-scientific that rotating weight matters at bicycle RPMs, onto the pseudo-scientific belief that a stiffer frame is more efficient. But why have only one silly belief when you can have two?
Links? Or equations? I've studied enough physics to know that rotating weight can get important very quickly, but it's been a while and I've forgotten my formulas.
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Old 09-10-08, 09:01 PM
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I always thought extra bodyfat affected performance more than the weight of a bike. Perhaps I was wrong. Seemed to me that extra fat is

1) extra weight to drag around

2) non-essential, non-performance enhancing `extra` that requires blood and oxygen which would otherwise be utitlized by working muscles, etc.

Was I wrong in my understanding? Perhaps so. All those silly pro`s, trying to get as lean as possible, when all they really need to do is get lighter bikes.
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Old 09-10-08, 09:05 PM
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Yes because only pros should ride high performance bikes. This forum shouldn't even exist.
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Old 09-10-08, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by grolby View Post
Yes.
+1 Both impress the chicks.
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Old 09-10-08, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Flatballer View Post
Links? Or equations? I've studied enough physics to know that rotating weight can get important very quickly, but it's been a while and I've forgotten my formulas.
http://yarchive.net/bike/rotating_mass.html

The debate goes on, but bicycle accelerations are really pathetic - .1 g is a lot. Rotating mass is a factor, it's just not significant enough to matter. The wheels on cars are heavy, revolve very rapidly and cars have relatively high accelerations. A lighter wheel will feel lighter, but any effect on your ability to accelerate is due pretty much to the overall reduction of the mass of the system, not reduced rotating weight. Losing 100 grams from your frame ought to matter just as much as losing 100 grams from your wheels.
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Old 09-10-08, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by mikesdca View Post
Was I wrong in my understanding? Perhaps so. All those silly pro`s, trying to get as lean as possible, when all they really need to do is get lighter bikes.
What a silly thing to say. Pros have always ridden the lightest bikes they could get their hands on. They want any advantage that they can possibly get. Once again, it's not like you can only choose one. A lighter body and a lighter bike will make you faster than either one by itself. This should be completely obvious.
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Old 09-10-08, 09:28 PM
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If you have a fair amount of weight to lose and your not racing up hills. Go with the cheaper bike. 20lb is not all that heavy. It will serve you well. Think of the lb difference in terms of a % of your body weight. If you weigh 200 lb and lose 20 thats the weight of the darn whole bike.
If you meet you weight loss goal buy better wheels later as a reward.
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Old 09-10-08, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by cmanbrazil View Post
Okay I am new to road bikes, but I am wondering about us average, or maybe below average people who could save a lot of money buy worrying a little less if a bike is 19 pounds vs 21 and more about losing five or more pounds -and keeping it off.

What is the difference from losing weight or buying a lighter bike?
If you are new to road bikes then purchase a bike of reasonable weight (oh, twenty pounds or so is fine) with the most comfortable ride qualities you can find. It can cost you upwards of a $1000 a pound to lose bike weight, whereas you can actually increase your disposable income by dropping unwanted body weight (by eating less and thus spending less for food).
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Old 09-10-08, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by grolby View Post
What a silly thing to say. Pros have always been given the lightest bikes possible by the manufacturers sponsoring them. They want any advantage that they can possibly get. Once again, it's not like you can only choose one. A lighter body and a lighter bike will make you faster than either one by itself. This should be completely obvious.
Corrected. I agree with you, though I would like to add that sometimes you can't lose without dramatically losing power as well. Just something to watch out for, not that it will really apply to a lot of people.

Also, some riders have ridden 'heavier' bikes for different races depending on their needs (liquigas on synapses for Paris-Roubaix, etc).

The thing to realize now is that the weight issue is kind of moot now with regards to aero. A little (or a lot in some cases) extra weight for aero benefits, is a much bigger plus than lighter wheels.
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Old 09-10-08, 10:57 PM
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When I was first getting started, again, I asked the shop owner one day what I could do to shed some weight from my MTB. Without missing a bit he looked me up and down and said "Lose 15 pounds." Losing weight is cheaper than buying a lighter bike. Work hard, lose the weight, and then when you buy a lighter bike you'll be that much faster.

Mike
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Old 09-10-08, 10:58 PM
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Old 09-10-08, 11:00 PM
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Lose 5lbs, it;s not hard.

Then calculate how much more a 5lb lighter bike would cost you.
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Old 09-10-08, 11:10 PM
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You're better off losing it off you; not only are you probably carrying enough weight to make up the difference between the bikes, you're also having to supply that weight with oxygen and fuel.

I have two relatively new bikes. One weighs a pound or two less than the other. I'm faster on the heavier bike except when doing serious climbing.
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Old 09-10-08, 11:15 PM
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Old 09-10-08, 11:37 PM
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Weight on the body is much more important for most people than is weight on the bike.
But most people are much more fond of throwing money at problems than they are of
working through them. This doesn't just apply to biking.
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Old 09-10-08, 11:38 PM
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Lose the weight first. You can do this on a 50 pound bike. When you get to your optimum weight then consider getting a litter bike. Otherwise is it just a waste of money buying a nice lite bike for an over-weight. Doesn't make sense.
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Old 09-11-08, 12:38 AM
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IMHO more important then the weight is the fit and geometry. Ride several different models until you find the one that feels right to you. One that you want to ride.
I have lost 70 lbs myself since I started riding (thats over 3 bikes worth, rotating mass and all). Unless shaving second off a ride is important to you save you money.
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