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Upgrading to high end racebike

Old 04-22-10, 07:17 AM
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KTU
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Upgrading to high end racebike

Have anybody upgraded from their 20lb starter bike to a 16lb carbon and noticed a difference in average speed? If so, what difference did it make to your average mph? 1, 2mph? Im still upgrading myself at the moment. But i will be buying a high end bike in the future.
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Old 04-22-10, 07:24 AM
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Short Answer: The minuscule amount of improvement you might gain by changing bikes will not be noticeable. 1 or 2mph? . . . hardly.

That said, if you just want to get a carbon bike, go ahead, there's nothing wrong with that. But if you feel it's making a world of difference once you ride it, trust me, it's all in your head.

I'm convinced that you'll be better off training you body into a lean, mean biking machine, and that's where you'll gain your 1 or 2 mph improvements. Only true pros benefit significantly from the lightest possible bike.
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Old 04-22-10, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by BillyD View Post
Short Answer: The minuscule amount of improvement you might gain by changing bikes will not be noticeable. 1 or 2mph . . . hardly.

That said, if you just want to get a carbon bike, go ahead, there's nothing wrong with that. But if you feel it's making a world of difference once you ride it, trust me, it's all in your head.
+1...the upgrade from a 35lb bike to a 16-20lb bike would be noticeable...but if both the carbon and aluminum bike were fit right, the only noticeable difference would be ride quality
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Old 04-22-10, 07:43 AM
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The only difference the weight will make is on climbs, and it's not something you'll feel. There's a very minor acceleration difference, but it's really really small. I went from an old steel bike to a Madone and didn't notice any speed gains at all. I'm sure it helped a bit in races, but I won just as many races on either bike (although the Madone died from a fatigue failure).
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Old 04-22-10, 07:59 AM
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I'm not sure about overall MPH, but I think you will notice a difference. I went from about a 21-22 lbs. road bike to a 16-17lbs bike and noticed a major difference. The climbing part was easier and the bike just seemed much lighter to me. I did go from aluminum to CF, so the increase in the quality of the frame (less flex, more power transfer) logically makes sense to me that it could potentially increase your speed, but how much? Who knows. Just saying I was in your shoes and noticed a significant difference in quality and acceleration.
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Old 04-22-10, 08:04 AM
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one of my good friends lives in an apt. in NYC, 4th floor, no elevator. he recently got a nice new carbon Felt, going from an older steel allez. he reports that the biggest gain in "average speed" has been seen carrying the bike up 4 flights of stairs to his apt.
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Old 04-22-10, 08:05 AM
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Where I noticed the difference in my frame upgrade was not in weight or mph necessarily. It was in bottom bracket and chain stay as well as over all frame stiffness while increasing compliance all around. I was able to sprint harder, and was more comfortable on longer rides. That being said you could downgrade your bike to something cheap that is better designed and get the same benefits. There are some wonderful somewhat inexpensive aluminum frames that I think are nicer then a lot of the carbon frames on the market today.
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Old 04-22-10, 08:12 AM
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If you are doing a very long and extrememly hilly ride it may save you a few minutes. If you are racing it may save you a few inches over the next guy. Otherwise, it's not going to make much difference. Stop worrying about average speed and just ride what you have.
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Old 04-22-10, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by BillyD View Post
Only true pros benefit significantly from the lightest possible bike.
I just don't buy that only "true pros" can benefit from the lightest possible bike. A argument can be made that weaker riders can benefit more than stronger riders. Whether it's cost effective for a non-pro to get a pro level bike is a totally different question. And the practical benefit to a pro may be greater in that races can be won or lost by small differentials in performance. But to say a non pro or a strictly recreational rider won't see a performance benefit from a better bike is BS.

Originally Posted by BillyD View Post
I'm convinced that you'll be better off training you body into a lean, mean biking machine
Agreed.
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Old 04-22-10, 08:18 AM
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Going from an entry level 20lb bike to a 16lb bike typically involves several differences in addition to the wieght savings. The compnents will likely function a bit better. The wheels will likely be lighter (and possibly more aerodynamic).

I definitely think you will feel a difference from the totality of the changes. If nothing else, lighter wheels feel like they spin up easier.

But any speed difference is likely to be neglible. The 4lbs might get you .1mph increase in speed on a steep climb. And if you get substantially more aerodynamic wheels you might gain something around .1 -.2 mph on the flats above 20mph.

So get the 16lb high end bike because it will function well, and feel nice. Just don't expect a noticeable difference in speed.
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Old 04-22-10, 08:22 AM
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When I bought my first good steel road bike 37 years ago, I could ride faster than I can today on my high end carbon fiber race bike. Therefore, I must conclude that steel bikes weighing 22 pounds are faster.
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Old 04-22-10, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by AngryScientist View Post
one of my good friends lives in an apt. in NYC, 4th floor, no elevator. he recently got a nice new carbon Felt, going from an older steel allez. he reports that the biggest gain in "average speed" has been seen carrying the bike up 4 flights of stairs to his apt.
He started from the basement? Or were they using the European floor numbering system in NYC? Just curious.
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Old 04-22-10, 08:41 AM
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Agreed, it's more than just a weight improvement. If that were not true then pro's would ride steel bikes with 36 spoke wheels but that doesn't seem to happen. It does usually come with an improvement in frame and components and those are real differences.

I switch between my 21 lb alum and my 18 lb synapse (those are loaded weights less bottles) and the difference is huge. I can hit roughly the same speeds on either bike on the flats but it's in the climbs that the difference becomes apparent. Light is good.

Seems like some are saying ride quality is just a comfort thing but a benefit of that is less fatigue, longer rides, easier ability to tap into the power the engine can generate. All good things. Just a thought.
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Old 04-22-10, 08:52 AM
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You want a race bike? Get a race bike. Let your bling flag fly! Embrace bling, don't be embarrased by it or try to justify a blingy purchase because of the performace increase, which is completely negligible. Get it and flaunt it if you want, you don't need our approval.
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Old 04-22-10, 08:55 AM
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ever heard of google? you do realize that what has been mentioned above has been rehashed over & over for as long as the forum has been in existence, no?

https://tinyurl.com/252teln
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Old 04-22-10, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by mcjimbosandwich View Post
ever heard of google? you do realize that what has been mentioned above has been rehashed over & over for as long as the forum has been in existence, no?

https://tinyurl.com/252teln
some have short memory others need reassurance from time to time.
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Old 04-22-10, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
You want a race bike? Get a race bike. Let your bling flag fly! Embrace bling, don't be embarrased by it or try to justify a blingy purchase because of the performace increase, which is completely negligible. Get it and flaunt it if you want, you don't need our approval.
this
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Old 04-22-10, 09:28 AM
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Lose 3-4 lbs and test your speed before and after and you will know the exact difference.
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Old 04-22-10, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
You want a race bike? Get a race bike. Let your bling flag fly! Embrace bling, don't be embarrased by it or try to justify a blingy purchase because of the performace increase, which is completely negligible. Get it and flaunt it if you want, you don't need our approval.
x2!
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Old 04-22-10, 09:50 AM
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Biggest difference I noticed was in hadling and ride quality.
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Old 04-22-10, 09:57 AM
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Speaking from my experience, you'll notice a huge difference, but it won't be in your average speed. The much nicer bike will be a lot more enjoyable to ride. It will handle better, descend better, accelerate better, and just *be* better. But in all of these, it will be a feeling, not a speed increase. However, this will help you love riding even more, which will make you ride more, which will raise your average speed.

Last edited by foresthill; 04-22-10 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 04-22-10, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
But any speed difference is likely to be neglible. The 4lbs might get you .1mph increase in speed on a steep climb. And if you get substantially more aerodynamic wheels you might gain something around .1 -.2 mph on the flats above 20mph.
I found the difference when going to aero wheels was not so much the added speed (although I did notice a nice increase), it was the ability to sustain 20+ speeds for much longer periods without running out of gas.
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Old 04-22-10, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by JonnyUtah75 View Post
I found the difference when going to aero wheels was not so much the added speed (although I did notice a nice increase), it was the ability to sustain 20+ speeds for much longer periods without running out of gas.
Of course that would affect your average speed
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Old 04-22-10, 11:57 AM
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You might feel faster on a better bike. But seriously 4 pounds isn't got to make a difference... That's how much two water bottles and a spare tube weighs (roughly). Also most people could easily lose 4 pounds off their body.

I recently switched from an old 25 pound steel bike to a 18 pound carbon bike. The ride quality of the carbon bike is a little better (may be just mental), but I feel like I can notice a difference in stiffness, which makes more of a difference than weight does in my opinion. Also I feel like it's faster in the corners and that's probably because of the shorter wheelbase/more aggressive geometry.

But how often do you corner at speed in rides and how often do you climb enough so that 4 pounds make much a difference?

However, it's nice to have a fast feeling bike.
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Old 04-22-10, 01:12 PM
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I went from a Specialized Roubaix (aluminum/carbon mix frame) to a Cannondale Super Six. Am I faster? Nope. However, I don't feel like I'm ever fighting the bike when climbing since there is zero/very little flex in the frame. It also seems to hold a straight track better. The carbon is a softer ride than the aluminum but that is offset by less relaxed, less upright riding position. YMMV.
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