's Forum Archives - General

Archive Home >> General(1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 )

Speed improvement-New bike.(15 posts)

Speed improvement-New bike.Len J
May 14, 2001 9:27 AM
From lurking I've noticed that this topic can be emotional. I will try to be factual.

I Have improved my average speed on my normal 25 mile training ride by slightly less than 2 MPH comparing my old bike to my new bike. Now, before you all tell me that I'm suffering from newbikeitis, let me share with you some facts.

Old Bike: 1999 Lemond Buenos Aires full shimano 105's with rolf vector wheels. Total weight with pedals 20.5 lbs.

New Bike: 2001 Trek 5500 with full dura ace, Rold setrale(Sp?)wheels, speedplay x2pedals. Total weight with pedals 17.7 lbs.
2.8 pound weight difference.

No change in riding habits.

I was surprised by the speed increase, and very skeptical, so I did the following testing over the last few weeks:
Rode three rides with each bike, recorded average speed.
Rode three rides with each bike switching wheels, recorded average speed.
Rode three rides with each bike switching bottom brackets, recorded average speed.
All rides I used both my old Cateye computer and my new Cateye (to ensure consistancy).

Here is what I found:
1.) Actual average speed difference was 1.8 mph.
2.) I believe that the causes break down as follows:
Weight difference .5 to.7 mph
of this I think that more than 1/2 is due to wheels.
Smoother, Better bearings in wheels and bottom bracket .5 to .7 mph.
Remainder of difference was caused by miscalibration of my old computer. Once I fixed this, the actual difference was reduced to 1.3 mph.

This is about as fact based as I can get. I was most surprised by the computer difference. This may expain some of what other people have experienced.
Obviously...grz mnky
May 14, 2001 11:45 AM
... the Lemond was a piece of crap put out by some no-name fly by night loser company. ;-) Oh wait.....Trek owns Lemond. Dang. :-( Ah, I know, the Lemond is a starter bike until your ready to move up to a real bike. ;-)

Seriously, there are so many variables in the equation, the largest of which is the individual, that it makes it hard to be totally objective. It could be something as "simple" as being in a better riding position. Or maybe those new Rolf wheels are screamers. It could be your conditioning.

If you think or know you're faster then that's GREAT! Enjoy every single minute of it. Now go out and crush your riding buds with your new found speed!
Do both bikes have the same size wheels?Dave Hickey
May 14, 2001 2:44 PM
You mentioned you are using the same computer. Do both bikes have 23c wheels? If the computer is set up for 23c and the new bike has 20c wheels, your "speed" will be faster.
Do both bikes have the same size wheels?Len J
May 15, 2001 5:47 AM
Wheels are exactly the same size.
you unconsciously rode slower on the old bike to justify the $$speedie
May 14, 2001 4:48 PM
of the new bike is my guess.
Damn, I know there had to be an explanation......Len J
May 15, 2001 5:48 AM
Maybe I'll do the test hypmatized..(SP??).
Apparently all bikes ...Bosephus
May 15, 2001 6:37 AM
are of equal value and we should all be riding around on the exact same thing. Apparently we are all wasting our money on upgrades and expensive bikes. What we should all do is go out and buy a $400 Trek with "who cares what because it doesn't matter" components on it. The entire cycling industry has been duped into thinking that a bicycle can be made faster. Hell 3 pounds doesn't make any difference at all.

What a bunch of crap.

There is such a thing as a faster bike ...
Apparently all bikes ...Len J
May 15, 2001 7:01 AM
I don't get your response. I did get a real improvement of between 1 and 1.5 miles/hr (when you ignore the computer problem).

For me that is significant.
Not directed at you ...Bosephus
May 15, 2001 7:15 AM
My response was directed at Speedie and the other cycnics on this board that have a hard time excepting that technology can change their sport.

There is no doubt in my mind that you saw a real improvement in speed. I saw the same thing after I completely rebuilt my bike a couple of months ago. My improvement was probably about 0.75 mph average speed improvement over a total ride, but it was a definite improvement.
Thanks. I didn't take it personal..Just confused at your messagLen J
May 15, 2001 7:18 AM
I have a question along the same lines, if you please.Jim Burton
May 15, 2001 7:51 AM
I am riding an OLD (85-87) Cannondale with downtube shifters that is two sizes too big for me. I am about to buy a new, very nice, steel road bike that was fit to me using a Serotta size cycle. Should I expect to see some improvement, also?
I have a question along the same lines, if you please.Len J
May 15, 2001 8:47 AM
Need more info. Weight ol vs new. Components etc.
Are you buying it for a speed improvement?
speed isn't about a bikepeloton
May 15, 2001 9:26 AM
To increase your speed takes a lot more effort than you might think. A bike with a good riding positons will help, a lighter bike will give you a few seconds here and there, good bearings will also buy some seconds. To make a huge increase in speed from one bike to another you would have to have some factors such as poor bike fit on the older model, extremely bad bearings or huge weight difference to make a discernable difference in speed. The wattage required increase speed in mph goes up exponentially as speed increases. For example, to travel at 10 m/s you would have to put out about 403.3 watts for a 75 kilo rider. Same rider would have to put out 564.9 watts to increase his speed to 12 m/s. Only a 2 m/s increase in speed, yet a 33% increase in wattage put out by the rider. So you can see that if you increased your average speed on a new bike by one or two miles per hour, than there must be either a mental boost going on in your head, or something seriously robbing you of wattage on you old bike.

I would lean to the mental boost personally. It really makes the biggest difference. I can remember breaking my personal bike once before a MTB race. I had to ride a bottom of the line rental bike that was heavy, had crappy suspension, and wasn't real well maintained. I was so p!ssed off that I rode out of my head, and had one of my best finishes of the year. There is a lot to say about a motivated mind. Maybe yours just wants to go a lot faster on your new bike. You are going faster, though.

If you would like to check out more info on power put out at different speeds with weight, rolling resistance, and other factors invovled check out They have great resources where you just put in the numbers and the site will generate results for you. Loads of good information.
I have a question along the same lines, if you please.Jim Burton
May 15, 2001 9:48 AM
I am not necessarily trying to buy a bike that will make me faster. I want a bike that I enjoy riding more than I already do. My old bike is harsh and too big, and I am afraid the frame is about to fail (creaks in bad places, and the shop tells me it is getting weak). Plus, this bike is borrowed since I just began riding a year ago. A new bike will probably be steel, so the weight difference, when you factor in lighter, newer components will be about the same. The wheels on the prospective new bike are more aero and the drivetrain will be much more effecient (ultegra components) and the bike will fit better, which should make me more comfortable and might make me faster for LONGER, correct? I realize that training is what makes a cyclist faster. I have been training very hard this year. I am looking forward to that "new bike boost" that I am sure I will get, but my heartrate won't lie. Even if I go faster on a new bike, if my heartrate stays up higher, then I am just putting out more effort without getting as tired because of my excitement. But, you seem to have studied your progress somewhat scientifically, so I was interested in your thoughts.
I have a question along the same lines, if you please.Len J
May 15, 2001 10:42 AM
I can only share my experience.
The new bike does fit me better & is more comfortable. I think this helps my speed (Hard to prove without duplicating the old fit on the new bike). I train & do most of my rides with a HRM, I should have mentioned this. HRM did not show more effort on new bike to attain higher speed.

The reason I asked wether you were buying the bike for more speed was because I didn't. The speed gain came as a surprise, that I was sceptical about. At first I thought it was "New bike excitement" but when it continued I tried to figure out a way to validate it without going too crazy (although my wife certainly thinks I'm crazy).

The fit and comfort gain was worth the new buy (for me), every thing else is gravy.

Good luck with your buy. Let us know how it turns out.