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News flash - It IS about the bike(10 posts)

News flash - It IS about the bikeBipedZed
Mar 8, 2001 11:47 AM
Even though I'm a weight weenie at heart, deep down I believe that in cycling, the engine is what matters most. Dropping a few grams or even a few pounds off the bike is an insignificant reduction when combined with the weight of the rider. But I'm not so sure anymore.

I just recently replaced my frame "A" that I rode over 8000 miles with frame "B". Compared to frame A, frame B is the same material, although a bit lighter and with slighter quicker geometry. All other components are identical (actually the same) including the fork. The main subjective difference I've noticed is that frame B feels much stiffer climbing and sprinting, and corners tighter.

Empirical differences:
.7lb lighter
shorter chainstays
higher BB
shorter front center

I train almost every weekday on a 25.25 mile rolling loop. I've ridden this loop hundreds of times in the past year so it's very familiar. I keep a very consistent and detailed training log and have definitely noticed that I'm now consistently completing the loop with an average speed 1 mph faster than with frame A at the same average heart rate (actually lower). This could be attributed to my fitness improving from last week to this week, but could it be that drastic? I've been averaging 19.2 mph on this loop for the past 2 months, and starting this week the last 4 rides I've averaged 20.3 mph with the new frame. Weather conditions have been similar, calm winds and temps in the mid-50s. I attribute most of the improvement to a stiffer frame since there are a number of short steep hills on this ride.

So is this just due to the excitement of a new bike or are the small differences between the frames really adding up to a significant improvement?
re: News flash - It IS about the bikeLarry Meade
Mar 8, 2001 11:56 AM
I suspect that you are suffering partly from newbikitis. There is a very real chance that the new bike may make some difference but I suspect that the most likely factor is a subconscious impulse to make the new bike go faster to prove that it was worth it.


PS: It IS about the bike or we would all be runners. ;-)
the bike or your headDog
Mar 8, 2001 11:57 AM
Hmm. I would be skeptical of any claim of a bike frame alone causing an increase of 1 mph on average. I'd say it's largely psychological, or the weather (are you comparing apples and oranges - a long term sampling vs. a short term sampling during good weather?).

Even if your former bike was a total noodle, I doubt frame stiffness can account for that. I've read of frame flex testing that showed, in reality, no effect on real power at the wheel due to frame flex (with the explanation that the frame acts as a spring, returning the energy lost in flex, with is fairly minute to begin with).

I always feel faster on a new bike, heck even with new handlebar tape.

I'd keep track over a longer time period and report back. Also, make sure you are accounting for all variables - tires, pressures, position, clothes, your body weight... the list is a mile long.

On the other hand, who cares? If you feel faster and are enjoying it, don't question it. :-)

so, dude, whadja get? nmbill
Mar 8, 2001 12:01 PM
two possibilitiesHank
Mar 8, 2001 1:58 PM
1) you are stoked on your new bike and it's giving you the mental edge to make you ride harder/faster.
2) you were slightly overtrained and building up the new bike gave you the slight bit of rest and recovery you needed to improve!
About that Lance Armstrong statement.TNC
Mar 8, 2001 5:13 PM
This is just an opinion, but I've been thinking about Lance's statement. For riders at Lance's level, and for other riders with serious discipline and competitive drive, I think Lance is right. Cycling is obviously a VERY physical activity, but for the vast majority of us semi-serious riders the bike does mean alot. Don't take this wrong, but I have a close bond with the machinery of cycling, and I think alot of other riders do also. I get a little inspiration from some of my equipment and especially the bike. I love to ride, but I wouldn't get that stoked if I had to ride someone else's bike. I look at cycling as both a physical and mechanical experience. For people at Lance's level, cycling is a way of life and a way to make a living. Nothing wrong with either concept, we're just not all like Lance.
I still think...Hank
Mar 8, 2001 5:37 PM
that Lance doesn't seem to fit too well on his OCLV (I think a stock 56 c-t?). I'm not sure it's slowing him down or anything, but he looked a lot more natural and comfortable riding the Merckx and Litespeed Merckx (I think a stock or mild custom 57 c-c?). I'm sure he likes the weight of the OCLV, though...
Mar 8, 2001 7:12 PM
I had a similar experiance where I transfered the components from one frame to another that was lighter and stiffer. I wasn't to much faster on the flats but the minute it got hilly the new bike climbed like a monkey on crack. It flew up and down the hills and really went through the turns far better. Actually bumbed my times up almost 1.5mph on average over the same roads. When I switched back to the old frame I could definetly feel the difference and it was slower and didn't feel as confident through the turns. TTFN
It's about the changetl1
Mar 9, 2001 3:27 AM
No matter what bike you have you'll eventually grow tired of the input to your nervous sytem it provides and something different will feel better.
The correct answer is.....Dave123
Mar 9, 2001 4:01 AM
What about wheel changes and consequent computer input changes. That to me, seems more plausable than fitness changes. What do ya think?
Or were you using time instead of what your computer says? If so , then it's the bike!