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The imaginary benefits of modern race equipment

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 03-10-13, 02:57 AM
  #201  
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i love seeing BDOP pwn old-noobs.
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Old 03-10-13, 04:34 AM
  #202  
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Six day, non of your answers make a lick of sense to me.

I enjoyed your first post and even agreed with the general premise that kit does not a fast rider make but this is just dumb and not really funny any more...


The right thing to do now is to put this thread down.
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Old 03-10-13, 05:56 AM
  #203  
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Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina View Post
Six day, non of your answers make a lick of sense to me.

I enjoyed your first post and even agreed with the general premise that kit does not a fast rider make but this is just dumb and not really funny any more...


The right thing to do now is to put this thread down.
I like the way you said that. But I have to admit I have not laughed so much in a while. This thread is hilarious. Really.

Gee, my Apple IIE works great. Who needs more than 64k anyway?
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Old 03-10-13, 06:11 AM
  #204  
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I did an experiment today. I pulled out my STI race bike, and my old downtube shifter bike. I set up a course around the block with a 250 meter drag to a telephone pole. I got on both bikes (at the same time to eliminate fatigue as a factor) and raced myself. The interesting thing, perhaps surprising thing, was that I won.
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Old 03-10-13, 06:26 AM
  #205  
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I'm just waiting for someone to mention that you can get a steel bike under the UCI minimum and steel is real and so on and so on. The funny thing is that the people who bring this up are always the same people who are super concerned about how fragile CF is.
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Old 03-10-13, 09:08 AM
  #206  
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There's also the fact that someone with a modest budget can find a modern looking bike that rides very nicely - and voila we have the current wildly popular carbon bikes that are selling today.

Sure, I currently don't own one, but I loved my Tarmacs and everyone that buys one of these swoopy bikes from me does so with a big smile on their faces.
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Old 03-10-13, 09:45 AM
  #207  
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Originally Posted by roadwarrior View Post
Gee, my Apple IIE works great. Who needs more than 64k anyway?
I can type just as fast on an Apple IIE as on a modern computer.

Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
I did an experiment today. I pulled out my STI race bike, and my old downtube shifter bike. I set up a course around the block with a 250 meter drag to a telephone pole. I got on both bikes (at the same time to eliminate fatigue as a factor) and raced myself. The interesting thing, perhaps surprising thing, was that I won.
The way I heard it, you lost.
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Old 03-10-13, 09:58 AM
  #208  
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Originally Posted by grolby View Post
Again, the older shifters may in principle have greater durability and longevity than modern integrated shifters, but not in a way that has practical consequences. Unless you are that guy doing most of his riding in rural Botswana, I guess. That's really not the scenario for, oh, at least 50% of people riding road bikes.
"Rural Botswana" is redundant.
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Old 03-10-13, 10:04 AM
  #209  
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Last summer I rode an old French gaspipe "Boom" bike on the local Sunday morning thrash and dash rides. Seemed like everyone was hurting on the hills and the fast run outs on the downhill sections. Whether on gaspipe or CF, its kind of a wash when the going gets tough, right? The bike is two wheels, handlebars and pedals. A bike can not be "fast". A rider, yes, he/she can be fast.
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Old 03-10-13, 02:48 PM
  #210  
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
Last summer I rode an old French gaspipe "Boom" bike on the local Sunday morning thrash and dash rides. Seemed like everyone was hurting on the hills and the fast run outs on the downhill sections. Whether on gaspipe or CF, its kind of a wash when the going gets tough, right? The bike is two wheels, handlebars and pedals. A bike can not be "fast". A rider, yes, he/she can be fast.
How dare you dispute years of well proven marketing and advertising !?!?
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Old 03-10-13, 03:52 PM
  #211  
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Let's take a look at a situation where a 160 lbs rider with a 15 lbs bike is cruising at a steady speed of 18 mph on the flat with no wind. The required output power would be ~154 W. Same rider with a 22 lbs bike would need to increase output power to ~155 W to maintain the same 18 mph cruising speed. About 79% of the output power is used to fight air resistance.

Key point to remember is that adding 7 lbs to the bike only requires one additional Watt of output power to maintain a speed of 18 mph. However, a headwind or tailwind will dramatically affect the output power needed to sustain 18 mph. For example, increasing the cruising speed to 19 mph will require 178 W (15.6% increase in output power). 21 mph cruising speed is going to push power output to 232 Watt. Most people would run out of "gas" if they are forced to maintain 21 mph for more than one hour.

Folks who are trying to shave 1-2 lbs off the wheels thinking that they will fly on the bike have zero knowledge of the physics of aerodynamic. This is why I do not build wheels with less than 32 spokes.

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Old 03-10-13, 04:05 PM
  #212  
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Yeah, but I never ride on a flat with no wind...
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Old 03-10-13, 04:25 PM
  #213  
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Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
Yeah, but I never ride on a flat with no wind...
The equation has allowances for grade and wind. Same output...a small increase in mass of bike has little effect on speed
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Old 03-10-13, 04:33 PM
  #214  
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Originally Posted by furballi View Post
The equation has allowances for grade and wind. Same output...a small increase in mass of bike has little effect on speed
Yep, but light, nice bikes feel nice to ride. Either way, this wild ride of a thread hasn't particularly been about weight weenieing. It has been about all the other things that get the retrogrouch community riled up though, so I guess I can see why you would want to bring weight to the forefront.
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Old 03-10-13, 05:12 PM
  #215  
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Originally Posted by Gladius View Post
Reminds me of the 6-speed vs DCT/PDK and normally aspirated vs turbo threads on my car forums...
And just as PDK smokes the best manual ever made, STI trumps DT friction.
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Old 03-10-13, 05:16 PM
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After9pages I come back to modem bikes are not dramatically faster than circa 1980.

But it's undeniabe that they offer advantages for racing.

To deny that's delusional.

Whether those differences matter to a particular rider is a different question.
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Old 03-10-13, 05:57 PM
  #217  
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Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
As a grumpy old man, I'm kind of tired of hearing about how much faster today's race bikes are as compared with those from 20, 30, 40 years ago. People seem to think that anything not swoopy and carbon and covered with logos is some kind of barely rideable old relic that couldn't possibly compete. Well, I'm all for swoopy carbon bikes if that's what floats your boat, but let's inject some reality...

Weight: Yeah, lighter is better, as a general principle. But ignoring that extra 15 pounds you're carrying around, and ignoring that a few pounds of bike weight make a difference on paper that doesn't really turn up in the real world, are today's bikes really that much lighter anyway? Reliable sub 20 pound bicycles have been available for more than 50 years. You could buy a 17 pound Klein in 1980. You could buy a 17 pound Barra in 1950. And if really wanted, you could push down into the 15 pound range, for enough money, even 30 years ago. Yet none of those bikes set the world on fire. Hmm...

Bearing friction: All I hear about is "ceramic bearings!" Well, okay. I'll buy that ceramic bearings have infinitesimally lower resistance than steel ones. But the friction of your hub bearings (let alone your bottom bracket bearings) is such a tiny part of the overall picture that it just doesn't matter. And the issue is compounded by the fact that today's bicycle bearings are so thoroughly shielded that they actually have quite a bit more resistance than plain cup-and-cone bearings of a few decades ago. Pick up an old Campy Super Record or SunTour Superbe Pro hub in good shape and give it a spin. There's almost no resistance; the axle will spin a few revolutions on its own. Now try it on one of today's miracle bearings. If it's typical, it'll stop turning the instant you stop turning it.

Rolling resistance: great tires have been available since the 1930s, at least. In fact, we seem to have forgotten quite a bit about how to make tires roll well. Today's harsh plastic tires may hold up well on a steel drum, but then, so would a tire made out of steel itself! A fast tire is a supple tire, absorbing road shock rather than sending it directly to the rider. A handmade, high thread count cotton tire will outperform a machine-made nylon casing tire every time.

Frame stiffness: If stiffer is better, why have so many races been won on wet-noodle frames? In the early days of carbon we were riding around on swingsets fashioned out of narrow diameter carbon tubes glued into aluminum lugs. And guys like LeMond and Indurain kicked ass on them. Before that, the Vitus 949 frames - made on the same principle as the glued carbon bikes, but with aluminum tubes - were used to win just about everything worth winning. The great sprinter Sean Kelly beat the best finishers in the world on his Vitus. And even if stiffer is better, it's not like stiffness was patented in 2005. Klein and Cannondale have been making ridiculously stiff frames for decades. Those frames have won a lot of races - but they've lost a lot to less-stiff bikes too. I'll buy that today's carbon race bikes are stiff. I just don't buy the idea that it matters.

Aerodynamics: I'll accept that aero wheels make a big difference in timed events. There's no way anyone's winning a high-level TT without a disk. But in a pack? I don't think so. Even today you'll see pro racers together in the pack, some of them on deep Vs, and others on essentially box section rims. Group dynamics all but eliminate differences in bicycle aerodynamics - and we all know by now that rider position plays a far more important role in aerodynamics than does any bicycle equipment. And an aerodynamic advantage of shaped carbon frame members over tubular frame members? Please...

Pedals: ever time a clips vs. clipless vs. platforms thread comes up, people will be singing the praises of the great retention offered by clipless over clips and straps. I can only assume this exists because there are so many lousy clip/strap set-ups being sold to the fixie kids these days. Well, a properly put-together clip and strap system will hold your foot in so tightly that it won't come out even in a crash. I don't know how much more retention a person could need. A clipless system may be more comfortable and is almost certainly easier to use - but it doesn't make you any faster.

Shifting: I know, I know, downtube shifters are difficult and dangerous and obsolete. Except that the one time they really went head-to-head with brifters (the 1990 TdF) the downtube friction bike came out ahead of all the STI bikes. I view brifters in the same light as clipless: they work fine, and they're easy to use, but they don't seem to confer any real advantage. The better rider is still going to win.

And that's kind of the bottom line for me: the better 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.

[/RANT]
Good rant
Mostly true. Cyclists are suckers for equipement, and horribly arrognt when it comes to justifying the reasons for such placebotic purchases.
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Old 03-10-13, 06:15 PM
  #218  
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Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina View Post
Six day, non of your answers make a lick of sense to me.

I enjoyed your first post and even agreed with the general premise that kit does not a fast rider make but this is just dumb and not really funny any more...


The right thing to do now is to put this thread down.
I should have read your blog before I engaged you on this thread. If I had known you were the kind of guy who publishes your weekly training schedule (complete with heart rate info!) I never would have bothered. People like me just aren't ever going to make any sense to people like you.

I do appreciate your suggestion re. the thread, though. I mean, now that you don't like it anymore, there really isn't any reason for it to keep going, is there?
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Old 03-10-13, 06:49 PM
  #219  
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Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
Yep, but light, nice bikes feel nice to ride. Either way, this wild ride of a thread hasn't particularly been about weight weenieing. It has been about all the other things that get the retrogrouch community riled up though, so I guess I can see why you would want to bring weight to the forefront.
Science is all about facts, not feel and gut instinct. If you buy a bike for the "bling" factor, then the sky is the limit. If you want to go faster, then train the ENGINE. Shaving a few lbs off a bike will never translate to more than a 3% improvement in speed (below 15 mph). Above 15 mph, most of the output from the ENGINE is used to fight air resistance, not the extra 7 lbs on the bike!
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Old 03-10-13, 06:51 PM
  #220  
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Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
I should have read your blog before I engaged you on this thread. If I had known you were the kind of guy who publishes your weekly training schedule (complete with heart rate info!) I never would have bothered. People like me just aren't ever going to make any sense to people like you.
It's been a while since I updated the blog. I don't post there for the sake of posting I usually save it for when I have something to say. I've been too busy over the last year to really formulate more than a brain fart but perhaps it's time I did something about that.

As to what kind of person I am you have absolutely no idea. How could you, we've never broken bread or even met in person for that matter but lets set that aside for the moment.

When I worked in a shop doing sales I got pretty good at understanding that my wants, needs and desires were not the same as everyone else that walked through our door. I did this strange thing called 'listening' and it was weird, people would actually tell me stuff and from that I could suggest products for them that would meet those needs. Sometimes I even told them to hang onto their cash and that all that was really needed was a tweak to their existing stuff.

I used to run learn to race clinics, some geared specifically to and attended by women only. I ran bike repair classes that were the same.

I've done charity rides.

I've spent countless hours riding with those whose only aspiration was to find a nice place to eat that had a good view and to make it home before dark.

I commuted to school and to work year round for more than a decade.

I spent a year on a touring bike riding around Europe.

I used to mountain bike in the winter time when I was an active racer, so I could spend more time with my friends doing what they loved.

I have some expat friends here who are into tri's. I help them out with equipment quite frequently and even ride with them on occasion.

What is interesting is that in all that time, with all the very different people I met who had very different ways of enjoying the heck out of their bikes I never once had any difficulty understanding their views and enjoying our ride together.

And believe it or not, this would probably include you, too.
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Old 03-10-13, 07:04 PM
  #221  
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Yep, but light, nice bikes feel nice to ride
Don't know about that. I like the stable feeling I get from my all Aluminium mtb. If I switch to a roadie it feels light and almost unstable. Most look at my choice of long distance ride and call it outdated and heavy, but given that I don't race and I can get it rolling at a 25kmh average or better all day its good enough. Horses for courses. If you want to win a race by 1/10 of a second absolutely a CF bike will help. If you want to just ride, then the bike only need to be comfortable. Having ridden a lot of different bikes as long as it isn't a bso and the aerodynamics are good the speed difference isn't all that great.
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Old 03-10-13, 07:05 PM
  #222  
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Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina View Post
It's been a while since I updated the blog. I don't post there for the sake of posting I usually save it for when I have something to say. I've been too busy over the last year to really formulate more than a brain fart but perhaps it's time I did something about that.

As to what kind of person I am you have absolutely no idea. How could you, we've never broken bread or even met in person for that matter but lets set that aside for the moment.

When I worked in a shop doing sales I got pretty good at understanding that my wants, needs and desires were not the same as everyone else that walked through our door. I did this strange thing called 'listening' and it was weird, people would actually tell me stuff and from that I could suggest products for them that would meet those needs. Sometimes I even told them to hang onto their cash and that all that was really needed was a tweak to their existing stuff.

I used to run learn to race clinics, some geared specifically to and attended by women only. I ran bike repair classes that were the same.

I've done charity rides.

I've spent countless hours riding with those whose only aspiration was to find a nice place to eat that had a good view and to make it home before dark.

I commuted to school and to work year round for more than a decade.

I spent a year on a touring bike riding around Europe.

I used to mountain bike in the winter time when I was an active racer, so I could spend more time with my friends doing what they loved.

I have some expat friends here who are into tri's. I help them out with equipment quite frequently and even ride with them on occasion.

What is interesting is that in all that time, with all the very different people I met who had very different ways of enjoying the heck out of their bikes I never once had any difficulty understanding their views and enjoying our ride together.

And believe it or not, this would probably include you, too.
I already know what a great a guy you are, Bob, because you mentioned it (several times) on your blog.

The point I was trying to make - which still didn't seem to make any sense to you - is that you seem really impressed by yourself. I base that opinion from your blog, and from you telling me what I should do with the thread, and now from your little resume here. And guys like me, who realize how thoroughly unimportant they and their opinions are, are simply never going to see eye-to-eye with guys like that, on much of anything.

I get that you think modern bicycles are super-spiffy. I get that you make money off of things like ceramic bearings and carbon wheels, and so can't very well admit that they're mostly about looks and hyperbole. And I get that actual race results and times are kind of inconvenient for your paradigm. I just don't get why you got all emotional about being right and then complained that it wasn't any fun any more.

So do they even have lawns in Taiwan, anyway?

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Old 03-10-13, 07:06 PM
  #223  
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Originally Posted by Sidney Porter View Post
Maybe...
Down tube and barcons are more durable, cheaper and easier to setup than brifters
Especially when they loosen up on you and leave you stuck in a high gear and unable to shift.
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Old 03-10-13, 07:12 PM
  #224  
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Originally Posted by Amesja View Post
Try taking apart a set of brifters in the middle of nowhere in a bufu 3rd-world country at the side of the road. I'm not into single-speed bikes AT ALL.

I repair watches and clocks for fun, so a brifter doesn't scare me on my horology bench with the retention barriers to keep the small parts that sometimes shoot off from disappearing. But doign it at the side of the road is going to SUUUUUUUUCK.

While I agree that brifters are somewhat nicer than bar-ends for usability and especially racing (road or cx) in the real world they don't make that much of a difference. When it comes to durability/repairability they are MUCH worse than bar ends. The 8 & 9-speed bar ends can switch to friction if there is an issue. Tell me you can do that with brifters...
And how often do those watches spontaneously explode?

If there was a need to worry about rebuilding STI shifters on the side of the road, they would never catch on. I've had more mechanical issues with DT shifters than STI.
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Old 03-10-13, 07:12 PM
  #225  
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Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
I already know what a great a guy you are, Bob, because you mentioned it (several times) on your blog.

The point I was trying to make - which still didn't seem to make any sense to you - is that you seem really impressed by yourself. I base that opinion from your blog, and from you telling me what I should do with the thread, and now from your little resume here. And guys like me, who realize how thoroughly unimportant they and their opinions are, are simply never going to see eye-to-eye on much of anything.
Well if you're going to be a dick about it you can just bite me you delusional olde fart.






...smilie face...







You may have been discussing OPINIONS, but I was discussing FACTS. Try posting one and maybe we can pick it up again from there.
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