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What is meant by "fast" bike?

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What is meant by "fast" bike?

Old 04-22-14, 06:18 AM
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The Hansenator
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What is meant by "fast" bike?

Hi everyone. It's dumb question time.

This might seem obvious to some people but I see bikes described as fast or slow sometimes and I'm not sure what that refers to. I assume you can put the same tire on two bikes and the rolling resistance would be pretty similar. Is "fast" related more to the handling or a more racing oriented position? I'm sure lighter weight would help but I've seen relatively heavy bikes described as feeling fast so there must be more to it.
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Old 04-22-14, 06:23 AM
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This is my fast bike:

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Old 04-22-14, 06:24 AM
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Old 04-22-14, 06:26 AM
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Oy vey!
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Old 04-22-14, 06:27 AM
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This one looks pretty fast:


I can't afford the one above so I use this one when I want to go fast, they are probably about the same since they have the same color:

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Old 04-22-14, 06:29 AM
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For me, a fast bike:

1) Puts me an a position to optimize aerodynamics and power output;
2) Transfers power efficiently (i.e. not a lot of energy 'wasted' by flexing the frame);
3) Looks fast (possibly the most important)
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Old 04-22-14, 06:30 AM
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It's marketing talk trying to lure the racing type of consumer. It may or may not be true, depends on the geometry of the bike and many other factors. Buyer beware of the marketing BS.
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Old 04-22-14, 07:04 AM
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That saying is about a subjective thing. Its about a guy who owns several bikes and he talks about the one that's fast. Just like you described with the handling and stuff. That guy is not talking so much about which high end bike is fast or fastest. Its more about his own stable.
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Old 04-22-14, 07:05 AM
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A fast bike is a bicycle with a fast rider riding it.
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Old 04-22-14, 08:02 AM
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A fast bike is a bike that's fully operational, has no mechanical defects, and has a very strong rider cycling on top of it.

A really strong rider on a GMC Denali can beat any weak rider on a Trek Madone!
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Old 04-22-14, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by achoo View Post
A fast bike is a bicycle with a fast rider riding it.
There you go. Put me on any bike and it won't be fast.

"Man, your bike is fast!" comment I would thing is much like in the photography hobby, "Your camera takes nice pictures!"
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Old 04-22-14, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by The Hansenator View Post
Hi everyone. It's dumb question time.

This might seem obvious to some people but I see bikes described as fast or slow sometimes and I'm not sure what that refers to. I assume you can put the same tire on two bikes and the rolling resistance would be pretty similar. Is "fast" related more to the handling or a more racing oriented position? I'm sure lighter weight would help but I've seen relatively heavy bikes described as feeling fast so there must be more to it.
I think a fast bike means it's meant for speed. Short headtube, long toptube. Geometry designed to encourage your shoulders, and head down low. A drivetrain that is all about movement, no wasted swaying, all force into the rear wheel. A bike that is nimble with great control so rider can be confidant while riding at high speeds. It's a lot of things.

Best example to me of a what a fast bike is? Specialized Venge.
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Old 04-22-14, 08:49 AM
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Fast?

I think fast is perception on how a bike feels. I had plenty sports of cars...some "felt" fast...some, not as much. All would scoot when you asked them to. I currently have a full size Ram 1500. With nearly 400 hp, it will definitely get out of its own way. The thing is I often find myself speeding because it doesn't feel like I'm going that fast. I have to be careful.

I have a few bikes...some "feel" faster than others. My Tarmac definitely feels the fastest...probably due to geometry/weight. Is it any faster than the rest? No...no bike is fast...only I can make it go fast. But...my Tarmac is 100% a more interactive, faster feeling bike than the others I have.
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Old 04-22-14, 08:54 AM
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On the other hand, there's a lot more to riding a bike than just going fast. People who only do intervals have an impoverished experience of cycling.
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Old 04-22-14, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
On the other hand, there's a lot more to riding a bike than just going fast. People who only do intervals have an impoverished experience of cycling.
That may be true, he was just asking what people though a fast bike is. Not a fast cyclists or fast training day. Or having some idealistic biking experience site seeing or whatever it is you do.

For some people, pushing their body hard and riding fast is where the fun is.
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Old 04-22-14, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by The Hansenator View Post
Hi everyone. It's dumb question time.

This might seem obvious to some people but I see bikes described as fast or slow sometimes and I'm not sure what that refers to. I assume you can put the same tire on two bikes and the rolling resistance would be pretty similar. Is "fast" related more to the handling or a more racing oriented position? I'm sure lighter weight would help but I've seen relatively heavy bikes described as feeling fast so there must be more to it.
Usually it just means that they're happy with the new bike.

Some bikes are inherently faster than others because they allow a lower position, but I sense that you realize that and are asking about comparisons within a given category. I sometimes feel like buying a really nice "fast" road bike but I realize that the most of the differences boil down to ride quality, not really speed per se. Also one doesn't really accelerate faster than another given similar tires, at most maybe 5% faster acceleration high end vs low end, due to weight and wheel weight. It's a perception thing, or that 5% seems like a lot and makes the bike feel "faster".
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Old 04-22-14, 09:02 AM
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Fast bike definitely is real. It just depends on whether you are good enough to cycle at a speed where you can see that.
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Old 04-22-14, 09:03 AM
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Yeah, it's kind of a dumb question and the right answer is the one about the bike with a fast rider, but there is some meaning to it.

As winter turns to spring and I switch from a heavy steel bike with fat studded tires to one of my road bikes (any one of them, really), I get this thrill of remembering how easy it is to go "fast". Fast as in 17 MPH. With the winter truck, I've got to wail to maintain 17 MPH. With a fast responsive bike, it's not a problem.
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Old 04-22-14, 09:10 AM
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With identical riders, one bike will be faster than another if it is: lighter, more aero, or puts the rider in a more aero position.
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Old 04-22-14, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Yeah, it's kind of a dumb question and the right answer is the one about the bike with a fast rider, but there is some meaning to it.

As winter turns to spring and I switch from a heavy steel bike with fat studded tires to one of my road bikes (any one of them, really), I get this thrill of remembering how easy it is to go "fast". Fast as in 17 MPH. With the winter truck, I've got to wail to maintain 17 MPH. With a fast responsive bike, it's not a problem.
Same here.

I had my first ride in summer kit a few weeks back on my road bike (the temps were high 70's). Put on my lighter wheels too (500g lighter). Without all of that heavy clothing on and on my road bike vs my winter bike...wow, what a difference in feel. Its amazing how much I miss it during the winter.
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Old 04-22-14, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Garfield Cat View Post
That saying is about a subjective thing. Its about a guy who owns several bikes and he talks about the one that's fast. Just like you described with the handling and stuff. That guy is not talking so much about which high end bike is fast or fastest. Its more about his own stable.
^^^^this.

I have a fast bike and a camping/touring bike. When I say I'm taking the fast bike out today what I mean is that I am taking my bike that I have set up to go fast out today.
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Old 04-22-14, 09:27 AM
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fast bike

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Old 04-22-14, 09:30 AM
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it means the marketing department has very little imagination.
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Old 04-22-14, 09:42 AM
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My bike is slow, it's not me; I swear! Seriously though, some good responses above.
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Old 04-22-14, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
On the other hand, there's a lot more to riding a bike than just going fast. People who only do intervals have an impoverished experience of cycling.
even better when those intervals take you uphill with no decent, then it's all slow and still impoverished.
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