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Why have different flat stage and climbing bikes in TdF?(5 posts)

Why have different flat stage and climbing bikes in TdF?commuterguy
Jul 2, 2003 6:52 AM
I understand why TT bikes are so different from "regular" bikes, but why have different climbing and flat stage bikes? If I understand correctly, the climbing bikes shave grams where ever possible, while low weight is not quite so crucial for the flat stages. But a climbing bike is also a descending bike, and surely the stresses from +60mph descents require a fairly robust bike. A tacoed wheel, or broken frame at those speeds would be bad news indeed.

I guess I don't understand why a bike that can handle potholes, etc. during descents can't hold up in the flat stages. Maybe the sprinters and their trains put different stresses on their equipment at the end of the flat stages, but why can't everyone else use one bike when not TTing?
here's what I thinkFrith
Jul 2, 2003 7:23 AM
It's all about stiffness. On the hills the riders need the stiffest most efficient energy transfer... Speaking in general terms light usually goes hand in hand with stiff... It's also plenty strong so that's not really the issue. The only reason they don't use it on the flats is because the harsher ride would beat them up day in and day out. They're better off upping the priority on comfort because for the most part they're just sitting in the pack.
because they canDrone 5200
Jul 2, 2003 7:33 AM
I've wondered about this comparing the trek 5500 to the 5900. I agree with Frith's reasoning. But I think that the noticable difference might not be so great for someone like me. One could ride the same bike. (I think Lance was riding his new trek on the hills and the flats at the D-L. We'll see what he rides in the TdF.)

The bottom line is that with the manufactures making "superlight" climbing bikes and "regular" bikes, why not use a different one for the different stages, even if you could get by with just one. We're a bunch who obsesses over grams and millimeters, so its natural to see the pros use specialized equipment for these stages. I suspect the technology will just keep evolving and getting more specialized.

From the manufaturer's perspective, its great for marketing. Give the pros as many different configurations as they want.
Keep in mind...funknuggets
Jul 2, 2003 8:09 AM
That different bikes also might have different geometry to place the more energy efficient transfer in the pedal stroke. For example, on a TT bike, as we all know... will typically move the rider more forward on the bike due to a steeper seat tube angle. Weight also is a factor, but keep in mind also that these pro teams have the ability to do wattage measurements and wind tunnel testing and have custom length crankarms and all the bells and whistles that most us mortals never will. So, they have different bikes because there are obvious advantages that they can afford to buy, but then again, every gram and second count.
first, not everyone in peloton has special "climbing" bikecyclopathic
Jul 2, 2003 8:34 AM
at least not ordinary domestiques.
"flat" bike would trade a couple pounds for aero advantage, would have bars lower.