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New Bike, More Watts?

Old 08-01-21, 08:35 AM
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kfried
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New Bike, More Watts?

Is there any reason a new frameset would lead to an increase in watts for a given heart rate?

I got a new frameset this week and did my first two rides this weekend. On the very first ride I mentioned to my riding partner that it felt like I was able to push more watts and maintain those for longer. The numbers just weren't what I was used to seeing. Of course, it was the first ride and with new bike exuberance I was pushing hard in sections to try to put the bike through its paces. I went out again today for an endurance ride and sure enough, I averaged 20ish watts more for the entire ride and my heart rate was actually slightly lower than normal. Checking in on Training Peaks, today was the second highest 90 minute power output I've ever done. The highest 90 minute power output was the ride yesterday.

I carried over the groupset (Ultegra R8000), including the bottom bracket, from one frame to another. I changed tires (rom GP 5000 28s to Rene Herse 32s. The old frame was a steel Charge Plug and the new frame is a titanium Dean Grays All Road. That's a pretty big jump between quality of the framesets. I also made sure to calibrate the power meter before each ride.

I'm primarily trying to figure out if there is a technical setup issue that might be causing this. I cleaned the rear hub and the rear axle was a little tight when I reassembled. I was able to get it turning more freely. If there is extra friction there, I'd assume that would lead to higher watts to push the bike. But the fact that my heart rate stays in the endurance window suggests that's not the case. Maybe a result of better power transfer on the new frameset? Or maybe my old setup was just not very good.

Any others have this experience? Or any ideas on what I should check to make sure this isn't a setup issue?

Many thanks!
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Old 08-01-21, 10:11 AM
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Unless your power was already up in pro levels, that's a big improvement. At least 10%, maybe 20%? It's also relevant where the power is being metered. If it's at the pedals or cranks, the new bike and everything else is all "downstream" of the power meter and can't affect the power reading. If it's at the hub, the bike could be implicated somewhat, but I can't see anywhere near that much change. If you had an absolutely filthy drivetrain and cleaned it, I don't think even that would account for all the difference.

Is your position on the bike different? That can account for some improvement, although again, I'd be surprised to see this much change. The simplest explanation would be miscalibration of the power meter.
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Old 08-01-21, 10:50 AM
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What power meter is it?
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Old 08-01-21, 11:08 AM
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I guess you never been on a Honeymoon?
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Old 08-01-21, 11:24 AM
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I would think the cleaning and renewal of all the bearings and the chain is significant, new smoothly meshing sprocket teeth, and a properly set-up drive train are significant. Also if you had a good fitting when you bought it or if your self-fitting is better, that can also contribute. Change to tubeless tires? Hydraulic disk brakes have less drag than calipers?

A new frame can have more or less flex than your older one. Jan Heine who publishes Bicycle Quarterly, holds to the idea (called 'planing") that chainset forces cause frame flex, this frame flex stores energy during the power stroke, and releases it between power strokes to add the stored energy to the propulsion, increasing the pulling tension on the chain. His tests tend to show this is a repeatable and measurable increase in speed. This goes counter to the idea that a stiffer frame has better energy transfer, but I'm not sure scientific analysis or good engineering measurements have come up with conclusive results. If it's a good hypothesis, that probably flex in the bicycle viewed as a system would contribute to added energy delivery.

Also conservation of energy has to be considered. Ultimately physics still holds.

But I have trouble seeing even all of this giving you 20 watts. That's the difference between wins and losses!
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Old 08-01-21, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
I guess you never been on a Honeymoon?
Assuming no real cause can be found, I would go to this theory - new bikes are faster especially if painted red and no bent forks are present.
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Old 08-01-21, 12:09 PM
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I do have one bike that climbs much better than all the others. Inexplicable.
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Old 08-01-21, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by adamrice View Post
Unless your power was already up in pro levels, that's a big improvement. At least 10%, maybe 20%? It's also relevant where the power is being metered. If it's at the pedals or cranks, the new bike and everything else is all "downstream" of the power meter and can't affect the power reading. If it's at the hub, the bike could be implicated somewhat, but I can't see anywhere near that much change. If you had an absolutely filthy drivetrain and cleaned it, I don't think even that would account for all the difference.

Is your position on the bike different? That can account for some improvement, although again, I'd be surprised to see this much change. The simplest explanation would be miscalibration of the power meter.
I can assure you my power levels are not oustanding. That 20 watts is about a 15% increase from my normal endurance power output. I should note that I do need to FTP again following a training block. I also took ten days off the bike due to travel and new bike build so maybe there was some adaptation.

The position is about the same, I think. And my RPE feels the same, and I could have carried on a conversation. The power meter is a left-side Stages. And I keep my drivetrain clean. So yea....will take a look at the power meter and recalibrate and make sure the firmware is up to date.

Appreciate the reply. Really helps me to think through the possibilities.
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Old 08-01-21, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
What power meter is it?
It is a Stages left-only power meter.
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Old 08-01-21, 12:27 PM
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If you were using the same exact Stages PM on the old bike as the new bike and you calibrated and your speeds up hills are faster, then, you are making more power.
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Old 08-01-21, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
I would think the cleaning and renewal of all the bearings and the chain is significant, new smoothly meshing sprocket teeth, and a properly set-up drive train are significant. Also if you had a good fitting when you bought it or if your self-fitting is better, that can also contribute. Change to tubeless tires? Hydraulic disk brakes have less drag than calipers?

A new frame can have more or less flex than your older one. Jan Heine who publishes Bicycle Quarterly, holds to the idea (called 'planing") that chainset forces cause frame flex, this frame flex stores energy during the power stroke, and releases it between power strokes to add the stored energy to the propulsion, increasing the pulling tension on the chain. His tests tend to show this is a repeatable and measurable increase in speed. This goes counter to the idea that a stiffer frame has better energy transfer, but I'm not sure scientific analysis or good engineering measurements have come up with conclusive results. If it's a good hypothesis, that probably flex in the bicycle viewed as a system would contribute to added energy delivery.

Also conservation of energy has to be considered. Ultimately physics still holds.

But I have trouble seeing even all of this giving you 20 watts. That's the difference between wins and losses!
My riding partner also raised the possibility of planing. I need to read up on that to better understand it.

Part of me wonders if the Charge Plug was just so noodly, despite being a steel frame, that it was undercounting the watts production? Is that a possibility?

It really is perplexing. It may also be that I am relatively new to the power meter game, only have a couple FTP tests under my belt, and this is the first time I have tried a more dedicated training block. That is to say, there are a ton of confounding factors to sift through and make sense of.
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Old 08-01-21, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
If you were using the same exact Stages PM on the old bike as the new bike and you calibrated and your speeds up hills are faster, then, you are making more power.
I can't say for sure if I was faster up hills. Had a lot of social gatherings recently with plenty of drinks, and after 10 days off been feeling sluggish. Although speeds and other data points look good. But I will keep an eye on that. My legs feel the rides but my breathing and heart rate are steady and easy. Most likely, just a whole combination of factors. Or maybe just need to make sure the calibration is correct.
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Old 08-01-21, 12:49 PM
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I'd vote you have a better fit on the new frame, either the old one was really bad, the new one is really good, or both. If you are doing more watts with the same HR there isn't much else it could be, except perhaps calibration. Since you are not comparing your speed, friction in the group set, tires, etc can't be a factor.
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Old 08-01-21, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by scottfsmith View Post
I'd vote you have a better fit on the new frame, either the old one was really bad, the new one is really good, or both. If you are doing more watts with the same HR there isn't much else it could be, except perhaps calibration. Since you are not comparing your speed, friction in the group set, tires, etc can't be a factor.
I wish I could compare my speeds but my speed sensor battery died and now the sensor is cutting out after replacement due to a bad connection. It is always something....
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Old 08-01-21, 12:58 PM
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Better fit, you got some rest (a taper), the honeymoon effect, and good beer.

Enjoy it while you have it
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Old 08-02-21, 10:29 AM
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Old 08-03-21, 12:56 PM
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Your position on the bike can give you more power. That's part of why TT bikes have a more vertical seat tube. It moves the rider more over the BB where they can develop better power while very aero body position. IMO.

So between your old bike and new bike I'd wonder if your BB position is different.
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Old 08-03-21, 12:56 PM
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Except for perhaps a different position/geometry, I kind of doubt it. And if it's real, one would only know by comparing either well-controlled rides (route/wind condition/etc.) or a large enough average of rides or better yet.....a disciplined FTP test.
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Old 08-05-21, 01:20 PM
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Assuming same/similar bike fit and same power meter, no. You didn't mention how you are measuring the power. Did you install the PM correctly and/or new? Did you do zero it before ride?
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Old 08-06-21, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by kcjc View Post
Assuming same/similar bike fit and same power meter, no. You didn't mention how you are measuring the power. Did you install the PM correctly and/or new? Did you do zero it before ride?
Glad you ask. I've wondered this too since the the thread was posted.

I won't be surprised if this is just estimated power on Strava or some other site. Or even that the OP is just talking perceived effort.

But I'll be more than happy to be wrong. OP... you are up!
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Old 08-06-21, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Glad you ask. I've wondered this too since the the thread was posted.

I won't be surprised if this is just estimated power on Strava or some other site. Or even that the OP is just talking perceived effort.

But I'll be more than happy to be wrong. OP... you are up!
I use a Stages L-only power meter and I did calibrate it before each ride. It is still really hard to get an accurate comparison in terms of speed because the very first day with my new bike, my speed sensor battery died. That's now been replaced, and the early conclusion seems to be that those extra watts for the same heart rate were a combination of new bike exuberance and the 10 days off the bike leading up to building/riding the new frameset. I've been out the past few days and my power output per given heart rate seems to have returned mostly to the previous range.
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Old 08-06-21, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by kfried View Post
I use a Stages L-only power meter and I did calibrate it before each ride. It is still really hard to get an accurate comparison in terms of speed because the very first day with my new bike, my speed sensor battery died. That's now been replaced, and the early conclusion seems to be that those extra watts for the same heart rate were a combination of new bike exuberance and the 10 days off the bike leading up to building/riding the new frameset. I've been out the past few days and my power output per given heart rate seems to have returned mostly to the previous range.
Thanks for clearing that up.

The 10 day off might be significant. That will help ensure your glycogen levels are topped off. Many of my personal KOM's on hills that take a good effort to get up are on the first ride after a week to 2 weeks of not riding.

Along with the elation of riding something new, you might well have just reached a little harder than you might normally have on a ride.

Are you maintaining that power increase?
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Old 08-06-21, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Thanks for clearing that up.

The 10 day off might be significant. That will help ensure your glycogen levels are topped off. Many of my personal KOM's on hills that take a good effort to get up are on the first ride after a week to 2 weeks of not riding.

Along with the elation of riding something new, you might well have just reached a little harder than you might normally have on a ride.

Are you maintaining that power increase?
The power increase is mostly there, and the RPE feels easier. But my heart rate data has basically returned to the previously expected range for a given power output. Right now I kind of feel caught between gears. One gear is slightly too easy and one gear is slightly too hard. I didn't have that perception before, so it might be a combination of the new frameset and a fresh clean/install of everything as well as just fitness gains. In the end....it's complicated. But this thread has been really helpful in checking off potential issues as well as shaping my thinking on how these things are related. Thanks!
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Old 08-06-21, 11:15 AM
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Yeah - fit. I raced a Lambert for my first season of racing. Went faster than I had ever gone before on a regular basis. Next year I got serious. Worked in a bikeshop and rode most mornings on the famous "Allis Loop" of the Boston racing crowd. Tracked my times. (Long, long before power meters, heart rate monitors, etc.) That May the shop mechanic told me I should buy the last year's Fuji Professional in the basement. I did. Set it up with most settings roughly mid-range. Went for an easy "Loop", easy because it was mid-season and these cranks were 175, not the 170s I'd always ridden. Going easy, never breaking a sweat I matched my best Loop time ever! Three days later 2 minutes came off that. The rest of that season I flew like I never dreamed was possible for this body.

Now, everything on this bike was different from my previous bike except the wheels, gear ratios and seat. Position was quite different. I was both lower and more stretched out. In hindsight, I know that my breathing was far better because my chest/torso was stretched, not compressed. These are order of magnitude difference, not subtle tweaks. Like putting a compressor or supercharger on your stock engine.

Document this bike. The key fit dimensions. Height from bottom bracket to seat. Distance back, BB to seat. Same for BB to handlebars. Don't by a bike that you cannot match those dimensions. 45 years later, I ride bikes set up to fit like that Fuji. (Yes, I've changed and the position has evolved but it isn't fundamentally different.)
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Old 08-06-21, 11:31 AM
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Re:"planing" - I don't buy it but I have known a long time the flexy frames don't necessarily hurt you if you ride in tune with them. I raced a steel Fuji Professional. 59 cm, just big enough for the heavier tubing but just a medium stiff bike for the day. (Mid '70s.) The summer before I took a spin on a Klein. It was obviously WAY! WAY! too stiff for me. That Fuji became part of me. I never felt I gave anything away to anyone because of bike flex.

A few years later a certain pro racer won countless sprints riding a bike that make my flexy Fuji look like a steel girder. Sean Kelly and his aluminum Vitus frames.

Now, one thing I did in my racing days (and that I am sure Sean Kelly did far more of) is I put in long mileage years of riding. 10,000 miles per year, roughly half on the Fuji. Enough time to get really "in tune" with the bike.
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