Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

Bike weight/speed ratio or something to that nature

Notices
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

Bike weight/speed ratio or something to that nature

Old 05-01-12, 08:00 PM
  #1  
Elduderino2412
Tour De French Fries
Thread Starter
 
Elduderino2412's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Posts: 1,250

Bikes: 2010 Cervelo R3 SL & 2013 Airborne Goblin

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Bike weight/speed ratio or something to that nature

Just curious how much difference a lighter bike makes. My current beginner bike is about 23 pounds(giant ocr2) with tiagra/mixed groupset. I'm 6'2" 205 lb, and currently doing 17-18mph on flat 20mi course(i just started month ago). Not ready to buy yet, but down line i will be. Wondering how much speed difference a lighter bike makes. I'm looking at maybe a Cervelo S3 ultegra or in that price range.
Sure this gets asked all the time, but couldn't find anything by searching. Thx
Elduderino2412 is offline  
Old 05-01-12, 08:11 PM
  #2  
Right Said Fred
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 459
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Lighter bike won't improve the engine. Focus on that first.
Right Said Fred is offline  
Old 05-01-12, 08:15 PM
  #3  
simonaway427
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Fredericton, NB, Canada
Posts: 1,430

Bikes: 2010 S1, 2011 F75X

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Work on your fitness first. A nice bike means nothing if the rider is slow.
simonaway427 is offline  
Old 05-01-12, 08:19 PM
  #4  
StanSeven
Administrator
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Delaware shore
Posts: 13,381

Bikes: Cervelo C5, Guru Photon, Waterford, Specialized CX

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 833 Post(s)
Liked 642 Times in 471 Posts
Do a search and you'll find bike calculators that show speed different with various weight. I recently used one that showed a 0.25 mph difference by reducing rider/bike weight 5 lbs on a 222 lb package (180 lb rider and 22 lb bike - bike reduced to 17 lbs) on a 5% climb. On the level, there's no difference.

An aero bike like a S3 will save you two minutes on a 25 mile course over a regular bike.

Bottom line - weight only makes a difference on hills and it's not that large.
StanSeven is offline  
Old 05-01-12, 08:27 PM
  #5  
jmX
Senior Member
 
jmX's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Orange, CA
Posts: 2,201

Bikes: Roubaix / Shiv

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Elduderino2412 View Post
Just curious how much difference a lighter bike makes. My current beginner bike is about 23 pounds(giant ocr2) with tiagra/mixed groupset. I'm 6'2" 205 lb, and currently doing 17-18mph on flat 20mi course(i just started month ago). Not ready to buy yet, but down line i will be. Wondering how much speed difference a lighter bike makes. I'm looking at maybe a Cervelo S3 ultegra or in that price range.
Sure this gets asked all the time, but couldn't find anything by searching. Thx
On a flat course, the weight means pretty much nothing. In your case you'll gain no noticeable speed from losing weight off the bike. You will get faster if you lose body weight, as that'll be less mass to keep oxygenated - plus a slimmer profile will have less area fighting the wind.

Start riding up mountains, and then the ultegra bike might make more sense.
jmX is offline  
Old 05-01-12, 08:27 PM
  #6  
Elduderino2412
Tour De French Fries
Thread Starter
 
Elduderino2412's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Posts: 1,250

Bikes: 2010 Cervelo R3 SL & 2013 Airborne Goblin

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'm nowhere near ready to buy a bike. I was mostly just curious. I'm naturally kind of competitive in sports, so i was just wondering what difference it would make down the line. I'm working on the engine pretty much everyday. Thanks for the info
Elduderino2412 is offline  
Old 05-01-12, 08:30 PM
  #7  
chasm54
Banned.
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Uncertain
Posts: 8,651
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Lose weight. Get more aero. Work on increasing your threshold power. Think about buying a lighter bike. In that order.
chasm54 is offline  
Old 05-01-12, 08:31 PM
  #8  
Elduderino2412
Tour De French Fries
Thread Starter
 
Elduderino2412's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Posts: 1,250

Bikes: 2010 Cervelo R3 SL & 2013 Airborne Goblin

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
i've been struggling w/ the concept of losing weight, mostly for vanity reasons. I've decided i will probably get down to 195 or so for now, and do a little less intensity on weight training. Possibly later i will cut more weight, since i really seem to enjoy cycling.
Elduderino2412 is offline  
Old 05-01-12, 08:33 PM
  #9  
Shimagnolo
Senior Member
 
Shimagnolo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Zang's Spur, CO
Posts: 8,933
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2406 Post(s)
Liked 2,045 Times in 1,052 Posts
Don't listen to the naysayers, a lighter bike makes a *huge* difference...in your wallet.

But if you want numbers, go here: https://bikecalculator.com/veloUS.html
Shimagnolo is offline  
Old 05-01-12, 08:37 PM
  #10  
chasm54
Banned.
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Uncertain
Posts: 8,651
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Elduderino2412 View Post
i've been struggling w/ the concept of losing weight, mostly for vanity reasons. I've decided i will probably get down to 195 or so for now, and do a little less intensity on weight training. Possibly later i will cut more weight, since i really seem to enjoy cycling.
You can be vain and light. This guy is about your height and weighed under 190 when this picture was taken. Admittedly, he was the Olympic 100 metre champion at the time, but it seems clear that losing fat rather than muscle is the answer. https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=lin...iw=768&bih=928
chasm54 is offline  
Old 05-01-12, 08:38 PM
  #11  
IcySmooth52
Senior Member
 
IcySmooth52's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Portland, ME
Posts: 1,620
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'll say again, the engine matters more. Don't think of a new bike unless...
1. Your current one has had enough miles and isn't worth refitting the components. (A rarity)
2. You want a cooler bike that handles amazingly to you. Or you can't resist the looks of one.
3. You want a bike that fits your riding style more. Example: centuries and distance are a focus, not timing laps. You also prefer a club ride, not a race. So get a plush style bike instead of a crit racer. Or vice versa.
4. Your bike is the wrong size for you.
5. You're racing on a CAT 3 or higher level. Then the bike can make a small difference in weather or not you win.
IcySmooth52 is offline  
Old 05-01-12, 08:40 PM
  #12  
Elduderino2412
Tour De French Fries
Thread Starter
 
Elduderino2412's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Posts: 1,250

Bikes: 2010 Cervelo R3 SL & 2013 Airborne Goblin

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
yeah your probably right. He looks better in spandex than i do.
BTW wasn't he the steroid guy?

Edit: Maybe it was Ben Johnson from Canada i'm thinking of

Last edited by Elduderino2412; 05-01-12 at 08:44 PM.
Elduderino2412 is offline  
Old 05-01-12, 08:42 PM
  #13  
chasm54
Banned.
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Uncertain
Posts: 8,651
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Elduderino2412 View Post
yeah your probably right. He looks better in spandex than i do.
BTW wasn't he the steroid guy?
Nandrolone, I think.
chasm54 is offline  
Old 05-01-12, 08:48 PM
  #14  
sqroot3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 177
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
if a light, sexy bike that you can afford makes you ride more, the expenditure is likely justified and you'll get faster!
sqroot3 is offline  
Old 05-01-12, 09:00 PM
  #15  
Drew Eckhardt 
Senior Member
 
Drew Eckhardt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Mountain View, CA USA and Golden, CO USA
Posts: 6,330

Bikes: 97 Litespeed, 50-39-30x13-26 10 cogs, Campagnolo Ultrashift, retroreflective rims on SON28/PowerTap hubs

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 544 Post(s)
Liked 303 Times in 214 Posts
Originally Posted by Elduderino2412 View Post
Just curious how much difference a lighter bike makes. My current beginner bike is about 23 pounds(giant ocr2) with tiagra/mixed groupset. I'm 6'2" 205 lb, and currently doing 17-18mph on flat 20mi course(i just started month ago). Not ready to buy yet, but down line i will be. Wondering how much speed difference a lighter bike makes.
Essentially zero on flat ground.

Proportional to the ratio between the total bike + weight combinations on suficiently steep hills.

For instance, a 205 pound rider atop a 23 pound bike totaling 228 pounds can expect to be 3.6% faster up the steepest hills when he drops to a bike at the 15 pound UCI minimum. He'll save two minutes for every hour he spends climbing.

Upgrading to a 20 pound bike will only make him 1.3% faster though.
Drew Eckhardt is offline  
Old 05-01-12, 09:27 PM
  #16  
StanSeven
Administrator
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Delaware shore
Posts: 13,381

Bikes: Cervelo C5, Guru Photon, Waterford, Specialized CX

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 833 Post(s)
Liked 642 Times in 471 Posts
Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
For instance, a 205 pound rider atop a 23 pound bike totaling 228 pounds can expect to be 3.6% faster up the steepest hills when he drops to a bike at the 15 pound UCI minimum. He'll save two minutes for every hour he spends climbing.
The bigger question is can a 205 lb rider on a 23 lb bike on the steepest hills ride for an hour?
StanSeven is offline  
Old 05-01-12, 10:16 PM
  #17  
dennisa
Senior Member
 
dennisa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Wallingford,CT
Posts: 356

Bikes: 2010 Cannondale CAAD9-5

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I can attest to it's not the bike it's the engine. I had the chance yesterday after work on a group ride, sponsored by a local bike shop, to take out a Raleigh Militis 3 for ~30 miles ride. Very similar geometry to my CAAD9. Stock out the bo the Militis is about 4-5lbs lighter than my CAAD9. Overall the ride was just as harsh comparing carbon to aluminium, the frames felt equally rigid. Was I faster on the Militis not really, It may have felt faster but it was most likely a plecebo effect. The only time during the ride that I could feel the weight difference was on one particular decline that has a sharp incline about half was into the descent and then begins a decline again.

Overall instead of spending $6500 on the Militis, it would be much more cost effective for me to lose a few pounds to achieve the same results from the ride yesterday.
dennisa is offline  
Old 05-01-12, 10:49 PM
  #18  
DropDeadFred
Senior Member
 
DropDeadFred's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 4,429

Bikes: 2013 orca

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
lighter is always better /thread
DropDeadFred is offline  
Old 05-01-12, 11:37 PM
  #19  
Carbon Unit
Live to ride ride to live
 
Carbon Unit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 4,896

Bikes: Calfee Tetra Pro

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
The bigger question is can a 205 lb rider on a 23 lb bike on the steepest hills ride for an hour?
Depends on the rider. It is all about power to weight. The founder of my bike club is 280 lbs but is a very strong rider. He started the club over 30 years ago and has probably riden three times a week for the past 30+ years. He also rides a bike with rack and bags on it. The bike probably weighs 30 pounds with all the crap he has loaded on it. I wouldn't call him fast but he can maintain a fast pace for hours at a time including on hill climbs.
Carbon Unit is offline  
Old 05-02-12, 04:58 AM
  #20  
RecceDG
Token Canadian
 
RecceDG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Gagetown, New Brunswick
Posts: 1,555

Bikes: Cervelo S1, Norco Faze 1 SL, Surly Big Dummy, Moose Fatbike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 200 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
There's an interesting table in Cutting Edge Cycling that shows that, while weight does pay some dividends on hills, a heavier, more aero wheel will actually save more time on a hillclimb TT than a lightweight, less aero wheel on all but the steepest climbs.

If you aren't doing HC climbs, a little bit of weight savings doesn't make a huge difference. It does make a difference, but the scale is pretty small.

Weight makes a bigger difference on the rider, mostly because there is typically so much more of it to lose. It's nearly impossible to take 10lbs off a modern bike, but for most of us, dropping 10 lbs would be "a good start".

DG
RecceDG is offline  
Old 05-02-12, 06:00 AM
  #21  
halfspeed
Senior Member
 
halfspeed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: SE Minnesota
Posts: 12,275

Bikes: are better than yours.

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by IcySmooth52 View Post
I'll say again, the engine matters more. Don't think of a new bike unless...
1. Your current one has had enough miles and isn't worth refitting the components. (A rarity)
2. You want a cooler bike that handles amazingly to you. Or you can't resist the looks of one.
3. You want a bike that fits your riding style more. Example: centuries and distance are a focus, not timing laps. You also prefer a club ride, not a race. So get a plush style bike instead of a crit racer. Or vice versa.
4. Your bike is the wrong size for you.
5. You're racing on a CAT 3 or higher level. Then the bike can make a small difference in weather or not you win.
Why wouldn't it make a difference in a lower cat?
__________________
Telemachus has, indeed, sneezed.
halfspeed is offline  
Old 05-02-12, 06:02 AM
  #22  
big chainring 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Wilmette, IL
Posts: 6,934
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 613 Post(s)
Liked 339 Times in 173 Posts
Ever since Eddy, orange bikes are faster. Weight doesnt matter, its the color of the bike.
big chainring is offline  
Old 05-02-12, 06:37 AM
  #23  
StanSeven
Administrator
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Delaware shore
Posts: 13,381

Bikes: Cervelo C5, Guru Photon, Waterford, Specialized CX

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 833 Post(s)
Liked 642 Times in 471 Posts
You're racing on a CAT 3 or higher level. Then the bike can make a small difference in weather or not you win
Originally Posted by halfspeed View Post
Why wouldn't it make a difference in a lower cat?
Exactly. It doesn't make a difference what cat or even if you're a racer. The proper point is a new bike can make you marginally faster under the right circumstances. It's up to the buyer to decide if it's worth the money. This thing about what CAT doesn't make any sense.
StanSeven is offline  
Old 05-02-12, 07:49 AM
  #24  
DGlenday
Senior Member
 
DGlenday's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Frederick, MD
Posts: 1,248

Bikes: Cannondale, Trek

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
On the level, there's no difference.
I get so tired of reading this - because it's such a HALF-truth.

On the level, at a fixed speed, there IS a difference, though I agree that it's small. So the claim that it makes no difference on the level is partly true.

However - the miniscule advantage of low weight is only true if you're in a very flat area and riding at the same speed for many miles. If that describes your riding, than stick with what you have - posts like the one I quoted are correct.

But the moment you start hitting even slight rollers (which describes probably 75% of the cycling routes in the USA) then the weight does make a difference. And the moment you start riding with others, you'll have to accelerate from time ti time. And in acceleration, weight makes a big difference. (Elementary physics. If F=MA, then A=F/M. I.e. Acceleration is a function of force and mass.)

I agree that a lighter engine will be a far cheaper and easier investment than a cheaper bike, and I agree with holding off on an upgrade until you've built a lot more capability. But yes, weight does matter.
DGlenday is offline  
Old 05-02-12, 08:37 AM
  #25  
fiataccompli
Steel Member
 
fiataccompli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 1,480

Bikes: N + 1

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'd say weight makes a difference but not enough to justify spending a bunch of money (unless you really want to spend some money). I regularly ride a range of bikes from a 16lb (maybe) Orbea with SRAM Red to a some 22-24(ish)lb steel bikes with Shimano 600 downtube shifters, etc. & probably 6-8 bikes that fit somewhere between those ends of the spectrum in terms of weight/materials/components. Last fall I did about 70 miles with a group on a 23lb Bridgestone RB-1 with 7 speed/dt shifters and averaged in the low 20s (maybe 22-23?)mph (I wasn't planning on riding particularly fast, but just ended up with a group & kept on). I weigh about 168lb & generally ride about a 55cm bike. What I've noticed is the CF accelerates faster which essentially gets up to a cruising speed faster & is a bit lighter climbing. The heavier bikes end up with the same inertial forces posted above but as an advantage...inertia also means a bit less force req'd to keep the bike in motion once you get rolling up to a nice cruising speed....so, there's a bit of a trade-off, or perhaps it's more accurate to say there's a minor advantage you realize in parts of a road ride so the divergence between the modern, light bike is maybe less than it would initially appear in theory. Ultimately, I believe (for me at least) that until I am riding & racing competitively (which, actually, I don't really intend on doing), all of the light weight stuff is optional and what I need to be working on is technique and my own general fitness (core strength, weight, endurance, etc.) and just enjoy my array of bikes to chose from. When friends ask me about whether they should get light bikes, light wheels & all that to make them faster, I usually tell them to get a really nice steel framed bike from the '80s, outfit it with modern components & ride the hell out of it along with the regular carbon fiber crowd....and once they can do that, they will be faster...but, hey, maybe I just like doing things the hard way. You can't say enough the engine is the largest part.

Oh, and I guess when you're on that bubble of being popped off the back of a group, it's fair to say that every small advantage will help so sure, a lighter bike may keep my from being dropped....BUT...at the level I am riding I can also get there by improving my fitness & ultimately become a better rider.
fiataccompli is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.