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The imaginary benefits of modern race equipment

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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

The imaginary benefits of modern race equipment

Old 03-08-13, 10:41 AM
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Seal drag and bearing friction under load are two entirely different things.

That old 1960's cruiser pedal that you can squirt a shot of WD-40 into and it will spin for 30 seconds straight without stopping doesn't have good bearings. Sure it'll spin forever when given a good fling but it'll drag like heck while you are pedaling it.

That modern external BB that will barely spin more than 360-degrees when flipped without the chain on will have a tiny fraction of the friction under load than that old cup & cone bearing does. It doesn't matter that the old cup & cone BB can spin 20 times before stopping when not under load.

The friction that a bearing has when loaded is many times that of the seal drag. Under load that seal drag becomes inconsequential compared to the friction in the bearings when they are loaded with a couple hundred pounds pressing at the pedals (which is magnified many times at the bearing due to leverage.)
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Old 03-08-13, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven
Come on, this is a PG rated forum
I thought the PG stood for Paraffin Gains, no?
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Old 03-08-13, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina
Barçons work great but it's still not as convenient to shift as STI and if you're in a competitive situation being able to be in exactly the right gear all the time is a benefit.

Benefit does not begin to describe the importance of being able to be in exactly the right gear all the time if you are gonna win/place in a very competitive race. And to be in that gear combo, ease/convenience of shifting has to be paramount. This is what STI has delivered!
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Old 03-08-13, 10:48 AM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by Six jours
And that's kind of the bottom line for me: the better doped rider is still going to win. The guy who can put out a few more watts, the guy who knows how to position himself for the finish, the guy who knows where to save his strength and where to use it, he's the guy that's going to win, regardless of what kind of bearings he's got or whether his bike is a couple of pounds more or less or if his frame is stiffer or not so stiff.

So by all means, buy the swoopy carbon bling if you like it. Enjoy the hell out of it. But don't go around giving it the credit for beating your buddy up the hill - and don't think your buddy beat you up the hill because of his bike.

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Old 03-08-13, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven
If that's what you believe, you're wrong. The majority of mid to high end owners spend the money for the enjoyment of owning the bike.
That's great - nice bikes are nice. It is need vs want. I want a nicer bike, but I don't actually NEED a nicer bike to go faster. To go faster I NEED to lose some weight. Once I'm down to 3% body fat, I'll take another look at the bank account and the carbon fiber bikes!
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Old 03-08-13, 10:59 AM
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get off my lawn!!
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Old 03-08-13, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by abstractform20
i think OP fails to realize the overwhelming majority of cyclists dont have competitive goals, and enjoy making their bikes as sexy as possible. we are all sexy bike lovers.
Those of us who use our bikes for transportation don't care much about "sexy" (in fact, "sexy" can be a theft magnet), but rather go for comfort and reliability.
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Old 03-08-13, 11:15 AM
  #83  
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Originally Posted by krobinson103
I agree with most of it. A high level racer MAY benefit from the latezt and greatest, but joe average probably won't. Still I prefer my indexed bar mounted shifters any day over old fashioned friction any day.
Sturmey-Archer: reliable, affordable indexed shifting since 1903...
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Old 03-08-13, 11:19 AM
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The imaginary logic of telling others what they need, what they will benefit from and what they should own. Why again?
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Old 03-08-13, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by loky1179
That's great - nice bikes are nice. It is need vs want. I want a nicer bike, but I don't actually NEED a nicer bike to go faster. To go faster I NEED to lose some weight. Once I'm down to 3% body fat, I'll take another look at the bank account and the carbon fiber bikes!
At 3% body fat your vital organs would begin shutting down and you would be on your way to death. No need to worry about a nice new bike
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Old 03-08-13, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by NWS Alpine
At 3% body fat your vital organs would begin shutting down and you would be on your way to death. No need to worry about a nice new bike
Yes, no end to the worries - how to handle the health problems associated with extremely low body fat, how I'm going to feed the unicorn, how I'll spend my lottery winnings.
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Old 03-08-13, 12:02 PM
  #87  
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Originally Posted by loky1179
Yes, no end to the worries - how to handle the health problems associated with extremely low body fat, how I'm going to feed the unicorn, how I'll spend my lottery winnings.
Feeding the unicorn is easy. It's polishing its horn too often that can become a damaging compulsion.
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Old 03-08-13, 12:02 PM
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Old 03-08-13, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven
And the more we want to convince ourselves and others it is true.

I remember replying to things like this using a deck of punched cards
If the OP didn't type his rant on one of these, and have someone scan it to a computer, his premise started off on the wrong note.

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Old 03-08-13, 12:19 PM
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as a luddite grumpy old man in training, i say bully to you and agree whole heartedly with the OP.
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Old 03-08-13, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Silvercivic27
Ride whatever you want, you dusty old fart! We'll be waiting for you back at Starbucks loading our Colnagos back on our M3s when you get dropped.
waiting for the tow truck because bmw's are hunks of junk!
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Old 03-08-13, 12:34 PM
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Is it bad that I am 19 and mostly agree with you? I started riding on an old 1980s Fuji, and moved onto a modern alloy Focus with Ultegra this summer. The only major improvement is the external bottom bracket and associated stiffness there. It feels a lot better when standing. STI is nice for when I am completely strung out, as reaching for DT shifters would probably be beyond me at that point. Shifting while out of the saddle is also quite nice. I am fairly mechanically minded, so I actually enjoyed cleaning and greasing cup and cone bearings, something I miss with the "black box" cartridge bearings, although they are probably "better". Ultegra has ceramic bearings in the jockey wheels, which is a total no go in my opinion. Riding in the wet and my bearings are instantly thrashed.

Frame geometry is really out there these days. Many companies assume that if you aren't dropping multiple thousands on a bike you want to sit up and beg. I am happy with a 56x56 frame and standard angles, although 73.5 on the seat tube lets me run a setback post, which is nice but not not necessary. I understand different body shapes and all, but can I just get a racing frame geometry and still be able to afford tuition? There is something supremely sexy about a classic frame with level top tube.

My real problem is the idea that all of the advancements actually matter to fat out of shape amateurs, there is a whole lot more you could do to go much faster. I read a few issues of Bicycling and it was just ridiculous to see how much emphasis is placed on things that are inconsequential for probably 98% of their reader base. Recreational and fitness riders shouldn't even care about having the lightest, stiffest, "fastest" bikes around. There is nothing wrong with having nice bikes, but thinking you need them or that it will make you a better cyclist is what pisses me off. As long as it fits and functions properly you are golden,
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Old 03-08-13, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by DerHoggz
My real problem is the idea that all of the advancements actually matter to fat out of shape amateurs, there is a whole lot more you could do to go much faster. I read a few issues of Bicycling and it was just ridiculous to see how much emphasis is placed on things that are inconsequential for probably 98% of their reader base. Recreational and fitness riders shouldn't even care about having the lightest, stiffest, "fastest" bikes around. There is nothing wrong with having nice bikes, but thinking you need them or that it will make you a better cyclist is what pisses me off. As long as it fits and functions properly you are golden,

The irony here is that for the most part people that actually race realize that equipment differences are a very small part of the equation, and that it doesn't make much difference, except at the margin, and if you're already competitive.

The compulsing about equipment comes much more from the 41 than the 33.
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Old 03-08-13, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Sidney Porter
I think you missed the OP point about [toeclips] and straps. When [toeclips] are properly used they are just a secure (if not more secure) than clipless. The problem is that most people do not use cycling shoes with the [toeclips] nor do they tighten them down enough.
And even fewer use proper slotted cleats with their toeclips and straps.



When used with slotted cleats, toeclips and straps are every bit as secure as modern clipless systems.
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Old 03-08-13, 12:47 PM
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and even fewer people know how to thread toeclip straps properly. they forget the twist in the strap when it threads between the pedal platform or they have the buckle threaded near the top of the clip.

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Old 03-08-13, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by thump55
You can say whatever you want, but it comes down to this:

If we all had to toe the line in a race tomorrow to save our souls and could select any bike/components we wanted, no one is showing up with a 1982 Schwinn World Sport.


To be fair, under those conditions, even in 1982 nobody would have shown up at such a race with a Schwinn World Sport. either.
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Old 03-08-13, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
The irony here is that for the most part people that actually race realize that equipment differences are a very small part of the equation, and that it doesn't make much difference, except at the margin, and if you're already competitive.

The compulsing about equipment comes much more from the 41 than the 33.
^^This. for most people, buying the best and lightest with the fattest, stiffest bottom bracket shell is a fashion statement, not a commitment to the highest possible standards of performance.
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Old 03-08-13, 01:16 PM
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The real benefit of modern equipment is really comfort and ease of use. In general it's more reliable and less hassle to tune/maintain. Wheels need to be trued less often. Derailleurs need to be adjusted less often (Di2 takes it to a whole new level). Cables stay slick longer. Etc.
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Old 03-08-13, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveWC
The imaginary logic of telling others what they need, what they will benefit from and what they should own. Why again?
Why again? It's to let the jealous people that can't afford/don't want to spend the money to tell everyone else what to buy and not buy.
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Old 03-08-13, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by NWS Alpine
The real benefit of modern equipment is really comfort and ease of use. In general it's more reliable and less hassle to tune/maintain. Wheels need to be trued less often. Derailleurs need to be adjusted less often (Di2 takes it to a whole new level). Cables stay slick longer. Etc.
Maybe...
Down tube and barcons are more durable, cheaper and easier to setup than brifters
8 speed drive trains are more durable and cheaper than 9,10 and 11
Steel frames are more durable, modifiable and repairable than carbon

That being said I completely agree that and would rather be on a modern drive train but there was less to go wrong with a 2x5 with friction down tube shifters.
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