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Weighting your bike for training?(34 posts)

Weighting your bike for training?rightsaidfred
Jan 24, 2003 9:35 AM
Anyone try to add weight to the bike while training.

I have an upcoming event in about 2.5 months. Pretty much my first race. I don't expect to be competitive, but what I would like is for the event to _FEEL_ easier. My thought is that I can add weight to the bike from now until then. Then remove it for the race.

Any suggestions? How should I add weight? What placement of the weight will "slow down the bike more?" Will the effect still be there if I carry the weight in a back pack or on my body?

Are there negatives to this?
Am I a poseur? (don't answer that) :)
I don't understand.Alex-in-Evanston
Jan 24, 2003 9:45 AM
If you want to increase effort, why not just increase speed? Do you not like speed?

why not just ride faster?DougSloan
Jan 24, 2003 9:47 AM
Isn't riding faster in harder gears doing pretty much the same thing?

If you must, what I'd do is use really heavy tubes and tires, those 500 gram "thornproof" tubes. At least you'll get some benefit from the weight, then.

I don't know.rightsaidfred
Jan 24, 2003 9:53 AM
Hey, I'm just a beginner (my go to response, when I make a fool of myself).

Honestly though. I try to go faster. It just seems like I can't. I pedal as hard/fast as I can, and I just don't go that fast. I thought if I weight my bike now, it will make it seem much easier in the race with a lighter bike.

Actually yesterday I did have my fastest "average speed" ride. I finally got above 19mph. The computer showed 20.4avs. But that was only for 6 miles and I was smoked afterward.

I have tried to count my cadence (i counted every time my right foot was in the BDC position). I struggle to get to 70rpm, with maximum effort. I can't imagine getting 100 or more. How do you do this?
the weight issuemosovich
Jan 24, 2003 10:09 AM
Just fill your water bottles, one with water, the other with sand. A friend of mind does this and uses heavy tires and tubes. Never gets a flat and on race day, uses a light tire and tube set up. He says he can tell an incredible difference, and yes, he is definately stronger.
Yeah, just get heavier tireshrv
Jan 24, 2003 10:28 AM
Recently I put on 700 x 26 Spec. Armadillos (wire bead) and my first ride with them I felt like I was pulling a trailer behind me! Major resistance increase. Try something like that and try to build to your 19 + mph. Of course, if the tires you are riding now are something like those, you are set -- just put lightweight ones on, like Mich. Pro Race 700 x 23, a few days before you race and I'm sure you'll see how much easier they spin. Start doing it on the flats, too.

What's the fastest cadence you can maintain on light/easy gear going downhill? Try and hit 90 - 100 and keep it there as long as you could without bouncing. If you can't, go to the next easier gear. Don't worry about how foolish it might look or feel -- you need to get the feeling for what a high cadence feels like. Keep building from there, adding gears and how long you can hold it.

good luck,
You need a plan. Intervals. Who's qualified to give this info?Spunout
Jan 24, 2003 10:30 AM
gotta be mr podium :-) nmDougSloan
Jan 24, 2003 10:41 AM
no, not foolishDougSloan
Jan 24, 2003 10:38 AM
I read the same post on an ultra cycling forum, where the participants probably average 15,000 miles a year.

We all try to go faster, and "just can't." That's reality for everyone. However, if you weight yourself down, the "just can't" threshold will just be lower. So you drop a gear and your body is doing the exact same thing. You haven't really changed anything.

Come race day, you will certainly feel much, much faster, even on the same equipment. Drafting. It makes a huge difference. In the middle of a pack, you might easily do 27 mph at the same effort you do 19 solo now.

As I think about it, I can see one benefit from more weight versus riding faster. If you are hill training, and the hills around you are too short to get a real benefit, more weight and riding slower will essentially make the hills seem longer or steeper. I suppose there's some merit to that. Not a problem around here.

In any event, thick, heavy tires and tubes for training are not bad ideas, as you'll spend less time fixing flats. However, if you ride with others who are stronger than you, particularly climbing, this may limit your ability to keep up. If you are solo, then there's no reason not to.

Ride my 34 lb. cruiser uphill nmLeroy
Jan 24, 2003 11:06 AM
Why such a lightweight cruiser?Humma Hah
Jan 24, 2003 11:44 AM
... Mine's classified as a "midweight" and it weighs 40 lbs stripped. I usually ride with a 10-pound pack to get any decent exercise on it.
Hey Hummah...Fez
Jan 24, 2003 12:21 PM
You might hate this idea, but why not buy/borrow/rent/testride a lightweight road bike with clipless and 9 or 10 speeds?

It may not be your cup of tea, but why not, just for the sake of variety? Or are you scared to find out just how fast you might go?

Over the years I've heard about some of the insane distances you've gone and how you pass younger folks on lighter multispeed bikes during centuries, so I thought it might make an interesting ride for you. Be sure to report on this board if you decide to do it.
I'm going halfway there ...Humma Hah
Jan 24, 2003 1:42 PM
I have a 3x7 MTB that's 8 lbs lighter than the cruiser. My best 20 mile "TT" on it was 0.6 mph faster than my best, same route and distance, on the cruiser.

I'm building up a fixed/single vintage Paramount that will probably come in at around 20 lbs. It's for keeping up on group rides and for double centuries and maybe brevets. I estimate it'll average about 2 mph faster than the cruiser.

I recently pulled a 2x5 Peugeot roadbike out of the trash, which I probably could get running tolerably well, but was figuring to convert to a singlespeed and give away to someone it fits better.

I'm not fast, and don't ever expect to be. Not a lot of VO2 max or something. But I'll ride all day and love it.
You da man, Humma Hah!Leroy
Jan 25, 2003 6:50 AM
my lightweight is plenty for me. I started riding it to work several days a week, and it's a blast to ride.
Try rigging a bike for a single gear ...Humma Hah
Jan 24, 2003 11:42 AM
... get a beater bike and disable the der, or actually spend $35 or so and convert an old beater to a singlespeed. Set the gearing to have about 2.5x as many teeth on the front crank as on the rear cog. Then go out and do level sprints, downhill speed runs, and steep climbs on it. That will force you to learn to pedal both harder and faster.

Pop over to the fixed-gear forum and you'll find a bunch of true believers in this.

Changes don't usually come fast. Average speed can vary seasonally ... we tend to slow down in the winter as the air gets denser and your clothing gets thicker, for example. Only when riding regularly with a group can you usually see a clear improvement. Your average speed probably won't increase dramatically, and it takes a couple of years.
Question about your cadence...are you just overgeared?Dad Man Walking
Jan 24, 2003 12:39 PM
You say you struggle to reach 70rpm. Is this because you truly can't move your legs around that fast, or simply because you are overgeared?

It takes a little saddle time to figure out the relationship between your cadence, your power output, and your speed. Most accomplished riders end up being very comfortable at those "unimaginable" cadences. You certainly will too if you dedicate some of your ride time to increasing your cadence. My suspicion is that, as a self-described new rider, you are confusing "pedaling harder" with "pedaling faster." If you are maxed out at 20.4 mph at 70 rpm, you may be confusing the feeling of being power-limited with that of being rev-limited.

Try picking a flat stretch of road that you know you can ride comfortably at a given pace (let's say ~18mph just for yuks). You might be pushing a 53x16 at 68rpm. If you can do that comfortably, try keeping the speed roughly constant and shift to lower gears. Changing to a 53x19 at that same speed will increase your cadence to ~80rpm. Where you really should be at that speed is on the little ring, in something like a 39x15 or 16 (87 and 92 rpm, respectively). Start working on increasing your cadence and you'll find that you can tap power you didn't even know you had.

Pushing big gears does help build power...but it takes the higher cadence to really harness that power and turn it into speed.
Many reasonsSpoiler
Jan 24, 2003 6:56 PM
Maybe he can't handle his bike above 15 mph. Maybe every road around his town has a 10 mph speed limit. Maybe he has sensitive teeth and high speed causes pain. Maybe he doesn't want to risk ruining the paint on the bike with high speed bug hits. Maybe he wants to scan the roadside for half-smoked cigarette butts. Maybe he has an amazing ass and he wants to give everybody a good, long look.
re Why not little fan blades on the front spokes?dzrider
Jan 24, 2003 10:25 AM
Ought to jack up the resistance pretty good without changing the balance of the bike.
Take seatpost off. Fill seat tube with shot or ball bearings...Bruno S
Jan 24, 2003 10:52 AM
You are supposed to do this to your competition before a race. But go ahead, try it for training.
or put on a Brooks saddle; about the same thing :-) nmDougSloan
Jan 24, 2003 10:56 AM
Heavy tires will do nothing for youmotta
Jan 24, 2003 10:52 AM
It is completely illogical to think heavy tires and/or tubes, or adding weight to the bike will help you become faster and stronger. Put the money towards a computer with cadence capabilities and a book on race training. Good luck at the race and don't let all the snobby roadies get you down.
eat more_rt_
Jan 24, 2003 10:53 AM
when you're riding you're carrying not just the weight of the bike but your own weigh as well. so if you eat more (fatty foods & beer are more efficient than fresh veggies & diet soda) and gain lots of weight then you will be forced to work harder thus getting you into better shape! really. that's what i do every winter. ;-P

sorry, i don't really have anything productive to add other than i've never heard of anyone adding weight to their bike for training (other than heavier tires, but that has the added benefit of beingcheaper & more resistant to junk that gets swept into the road during the winter).

rt - munching on combos mmmmmm!
World's Strongest Man Competition ? nmLeroy
Jan 24, 2003 11:02 AM
re: Weighting your bike for training?Mike P
Jan 24, 2003 11:06 AM
I do a lot of my hill work wearing a camelback with 100 oz. of water in it and do not drink from it. Working out with the extra weight has helped my legs become stronger. On days I ride without the added weight I can ride up hill much faster with the same effort.

I think working out with added weight is a good idea.

Ride a tandem – alone! (nm)52-16SS
Jan 24, 2003 11:08 AM
Easy to dobrider
Jan 24, 2003 11:17 AM
And it IS beneficial.

I remember an interview a long time back with one of the top US racers. A quote from that has stuck with me: "Train heavy, race light."

I do this in several ways. More water bottles. Tool bag. 36 spoke wheels (with 14g straight spokes), heavier tires and tubes, double rim strips. Carry more gear.

There was an add-on weight that was marketed several years ago, called *something* Pigg. It strapped onto the frame just in front of the bottom bracket.

Now think of this -- when you're on a group ride, you stay with the group usually. Now add weight to the bike -- mentally, you're still going to stay with the group, but now you're working harder to accomplish the same thing. Especially on hills. Assuming you're doing more than the people you ride with, come race day, you'll fly relative to them (I did this, and had good results with it). Now I suppose you could change groups to people that ride faster, but once you catch up with them, then what?

In any case, give it a go. Keep tabs on your overtraining symptoms, however.
Wear a backpack ...Humma Hah
Jan 24, 2003 11:28 AM
... with whatever gratuitous weight you have handy. A few bricks maybe. Make sure it is a LOT of weight, something you can easily feel when you remove it, like 20 pounds or more.

This will make little difference, by the way, unless you're training to climb. If you're riding on level ground, you need to be increasing drag instead. Quite simply put, the easiest way to increase drag is to simply ride faster.
Another optionempacher6seat
Jan 24, 2003 11:35 AM
Wear a really flappy jacket that creates lots of drag! But Yeah, adding weight will help you improve.

Sorry to use an example from another sport, but it's the only way I can contribute to this conversation!

For rowing, we would often tie a bucket or a life jacket to a rope, and tie the other end to the boat. We would do our workouts dragging the object behind the boat and it created SO MUCH F@#%ING drag we could barley go half our usual speed at twice our usual effort! Needless to say, when we stopped using the bucket or life jacket, we were flying...

Maybe you should attack a parachute to your helmet and try riding around with that :)
Buy some Square Wheels..............nmeschelon
Jan 24, 2003 12:06 PM
Bartali trained with a car tire around his waist and thencarnageasada
Jan 24, 2003 4:28 PM
I forget what's his name, the stud who holds the raam record, commuted and did speed work with a 35lb bike. Weight it down and see what happens.
re: Weighting your bike for training?raleigh rider
Jan 24, 2003 6:42 PM
Most people weight their bikes in training inadvertently. We generally ride with frame pumps, extra water bottle, spare tubes, seat pack, etc., that we then jettison for a major event.
Easier way to figure RPM's...timfire
Jan 25, 2003 6:08 AM
If you're looking for an easier way to figure your RPM's, go over to and check out his gear calculator. You input your tire size and gearing, and it spits outs your speed at a given a RPM. That's a much easier way to figure your RPM without a fancy computer w/ a cadence-counter (or whatever its called). I would suspect that your manually-counting RPM's is highly inaccurate (for better or worseI couldn't say).

What I did was I printed out a list of the speed I should be doing at 90 RPM in each of my gears and taped it to my stem. I would check the list every so often to see if I was keeping my desired RPM. After a while I could tell how fast I was pedalling just by my gearing and how fast I was riding. (Now I don't use a computer at all- I can generally tell how fast I'm riding by "feeling" how fast I'm pedalling).

If you're trying to work up to a given RPM, you should spend one ride a week just working on cadence. Take a shorter ride and just pedal as fast as you can smoothly and without bouncing (that's key). You'll be surprised at how quickly and how easily your cadence will improve. It helped me to concentrate on pulling back at the bottom of the stroke and then on the upstroke (rather than concentrating on the downstroke).

BTW- You are using clipless pedals or toestraps, right? I find it extremely hard to pedal above 70 or 80 RPM's on flat pedals.

--Tim Kleinert
More info:rightsaidfred
Jan 26, 2003 7:10 AM
Square tires? Parachutes? Ball Bearings? You guys are too much! ;)

Okay. More info: I am confused about the rpm and gearing and all that jazz.

What does it mean when people put 53x16 and numbers like that? I know it's gearing, but how do you know the numbers, and throughout the ride, aren't the numbers changing as you shift? And how do you know which one you shifted to?

I am using clipless pedals with shoes (for about 3oo miles now, with one tipover crash!).

I counted the cadence like this: set my wrist watch to beep every minute. At beep: count as right foot reaches bottom of stroke. All I remember is that I tried it in the big ring and could barely get 60. Tried it in the small ring and struggled to get 70. I could only do it for about three minutes. I don't recall the speed I was going though.
More info:Nug
Jan 26, 2003 6:03 PM
Spend $25 for a Performance Axiom 8.0C computer, and spend more time enjoying your riding than doing math in your head.