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Recreational rider question for old guys(17 posts)

Recreational rider question for old guysdavee
Mar 8, 2001 2:03 PM
I am a 51 year old recreational rider, back in the saddle after many years. My longest rides to date have been 50-60 miles on my Bianchi Brava, (25lbs, bought 18 months ago). Would I notice an appreciable difference in my speed, comfortable distance, or hill climbing if I spent the $$ to get a sub-20 lb ride?
re: Recreational rider question for old guysbianchi
Mar 8, 2001 2:16 PM
I personally don't think that it would be worth it to spend the money on such a bike unless you plan on racing or have a "thing"about weight.The extra 5 or so pounds will make you a stronger rider.I have no problem keeping up with the lightweights on my San Remo.Concentrate on becoming a better rider.You make the bike,it doesn't make you.B.T.W.,I just turned 40,and am a better rider now than when I was 20.
From a 47-year-old rider on 42-lb bike ...Humma Hah
Mar 8, 2001 2:32 PM
... you BET you will, mainly on hill climbing. A porker like mine does definitely demand a toll on hills.

That said, the difference dropping 6-7 pounds on a bike will not suddenly transform you from a rec rider to a Cat-2 roadracer. More likely, it will shave some number of seconds off your typical climbing times. Theres a website called which has a number of calculating tools which you can use to figure out about how much improvement you will see.
re: Recreational rider question for old guyslook271
Mar 8, 2001 3:29 PM
Sure you will. I'm about to turn 42 and noticed that getting a lighter bike last year (my difference in weight between bikes was probably <4 lbs) made those tough climbs a bit easier. Sure, training harder is going to net more results, but if you have the $$ and want to spend it, go for it. New toys are always good, at any age!
re: Recreational rider question for old guysDog
Mar 8, 2001 3:30 PM
One day my 15 pound bike broke (imagine that), so I went on a mountainous 75 mile training ride with 2 racer friends on my 27'ish pound Bianchi Milano (not a racer by any stretch).

Normally, I'd beat these guys to the tops of hills by several minutes; that day, they creamed me, and I pathetically wheelsucked all the way home.

Now this is partially due to positioning on the bike and partially gearing, but the weight change was huge. It made a difference of maybe 10 minutes on a 6 mile, 2,500 foot elevation gain hill. Of course, that's a really big hill. Oh, it was very fast down the hills, though.

re: Recreational rider question for old guysLLSmith
Mar 8, 2001 3:46 PM
You may notice a little difference on long hills. Sounds like you are in pretty good shape and riding a bike that is comfortable for you. Im 48 and started finding myself with some extra time last year. I was riding a 26-28# Peugeot and figured a light Trek 2300 would turn me into a rocket. As a matter of fact the first time I took my new bike out I didnt even stretch---I just knew it would be so easy there was no need to. You would think I would have known better. Of course I was only 47 then. Im riding alot farther now, but not much faster. As I said the hills are a little faster, but they are not easy.
Well, at 50 with a 22lb. bike...TNC
Mar 8, 2001 6:20 PM
I don't notice any difference between it and my 19lb. bike. I have a Trek Y-Foil with a Rock Shox Ruby SL suspension road fork that adds about a pound to the bike. The Foil frame is also about a pound heavier than other bike, a '00 Specialized Allez Comp. I have a fixed, timed exercise route that I often use to measure fitness and changes in machinery. The 22lb. Y-Foil performs the same as the Specialized. However, the longer and rougher the ride, the more appealing the Y-Foil becomes. The Y definitely preserves energy over a long haul because of the fork and beam suspension. I think bikes like the Y-Foil are a plus for older riders because of the suspension qualities. As to the weight issue, I don't know how far up the scale you have to go before there is a real penalty. I don't notice one from the 19 to 22 pound range. 25 pounds may be at or at least getting to that "noticeable" weight level.
You may get much more than less weight...Bruno S
Mar 8, 2001 8:56 PM
by going to a high end bike. Better brakes, shifts, hubs and tires. Better handling, seat and ride. A few less pounds will benefit you but the difference between an entry level bike and a high end bike is much more than just the weight.
re: Recreational rider question for old guysAlan B
Mar 8, 2001 9:06 PM
As a friend of mine put it: A lighter bike is still a bike; you're subtracting weight, not adding a motor. That said, sure, lighter is better, but it still ain't a motor.
re: Recreational rider question for old guysSpoke Wrench
Mar 9, 2001 6:04 AM
I agree with Bruno.

I think that people focus on the weight thing because they cen measure that objectively. In addition to lower weight, however, the better bike will have better, smoother operating components and probably a higher tech frame that will exploit the benefits and minimize the drawbacks of whatever material it is made of.

My last two road bikes have been a 22 lb. Raleigh R-600 and a 19 lb. Klein Quantum Race. Is the Klein worth twice the price of the Raleigh? For me it is. To me, the 3 lb. weight saving is the least significant benefit. I think that the Klein is significantly better in every way: faster, smoother operating, better handling and more comfortable.

To let you know where I'm coming from, I'm 58 and weigh about 190 lbs. I'm also out of shape and I can't beat ANYBODY on a bike, but I don't care. The reason that I ride is so that I can have fun and the Klein helps me do that.

If you can afford to do it and still take mama out to eat on Friday night, I say go for it. You'll have more fun on a better bike. The most depressing thing I can think of would be my kids standing around my coffin and talking about how "sensible" dad was. Sorry kids. The last check from my checking account is going to the undertaker and it's going to BOUNCE.
Bouncing check--I love it!--TNCTNC
Mar 10, 2001 5:11 PM
No kidding, that's the way to do it! I know you're not advocating financial stupidity, but it would be nice to run out of gas just as you pass the finish line.
see the lure of lore thread.bill
Mar 9, 2001 6:40 AM
Man, life's short. You want a bike? Spending time and energy thinking about it that could be going toward other adventures? Can you afford it? If you have answered yes to these questions --
Buy the new bike. I think that there is nothing like appreciating the pinnacle of a craft or an art. This is what humans do -- they either make it or appreciate it. Think about it -- you can buy the best bike that skilled artisans have to offer for a couple of thousand dollars. That's cool.
BTW, I'm 42, and I know that my next bike is not going to make me faster, but I'm going to like it anyway.
Recreational rider/old guy.davee
Mar 9, 2001 8:12 AM
Thanks to all of you for the thoughtful comments. I think I'll go bike shopping this afternoon.
They all go uphill slow and downhill fast, but...Silverback
Mar 9, 2001 8:25 AM
I think I'm going to be in the minority here, but if I were you, weight wouldn't be my main reason for upgrading. If you're an averaged sized guy, even five pounds is only 2-3 percent of the bike/you/tool kit/waterbottles package. The way the bike fits and works will make more difference on a long ride, and losing five pounds off you, intead of the bike, is at least as effective and much cheaper.
Below a certain point, too, you start breaking things. A friend of mine used to say that if he figured how long he'd have to work to earn the money for a new bike and put that time into training instead, it would make more difference than the bike.
Having said all that, though...If you want a new bike and have the money, why not? Toys are good, and false hope is what keeps the economy ticking.
re: Recreational rider question for old guysGeorge F. Johnson
Mar 10, 2001 2:26 PM
Let's face it, at 50+ we don't have an unlimited number of riding years ahead of us. I don't know if a more expensive bike will make you a better rider but I do know that a really nice bike is a joy to own and a joy to ride. My advice is indulge yourself, you've earned it. My neighbors think nothing of spending tens of thousands on a new SUV and following it up by spending enough money on gas, insurance, etc. in one year to buy the finest bike. Compared to this, even the best bikes are down in the noise money wise. At our age, why should we skimp?

George F. Johnson
Go for it....DINOSAUR
Mar 10, 2001 8:41 PM
Yes you would notice a difference. Weight is not the only issue here.
You will drop a few pounds for sure, but a new machine will have upgraded components and better wheels for starters. It will be better balanced. Your riding will be more enjoyable, thus you will spend more time in the saddle and you fitness condition will improve. Go for it. I'm 58 and I'm eyeing a new bike in the very near future. Buy the best you can afford, don't skimp. You only live once. And your deserve it. You have many moons of cycling years ahead of you. Or~keep your present bike and send the money to me, I'll put it to good use....
re: Recreational rider question for old guysROADGUY
Mar 11, 2001 10:10 PM
Iam 50 years old also and agree with most of the posts that you should step up to the lighter road bike. I too started with a heavier mountain bike and a few months back got a nice road bike. Yes the road bike might be a little faster and ect. but there are many benifits to having two bikes. If one bike needs to go to the LBS for repair you will always have a bike to ride. My mountain bike is what I ride when it rains and that is many days here in the NW where I live. My road bike is always clean and shinny for the club rides since it never goes off road or in the rain. Cycling is a fun hobby as well as healthy for you, so go get your road bike and enjoy.