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upgrades for race season(13 posts)

upgrades for race seasoncollegiateryder
Oct 19, 2003 7:26 PM
hey guy and gals,
I know that my primary concern as a cyclist and an endurance athlete is to improve my fitness however i have some questions about upgrades i can make to my bike that would improve its overall performance during the spring race season.

firstly, what do you all consider essential upgrades given
my bike is already full ultegra with an SLX frame, a carbon seatpost and fork, and a triple crank.

im guessing im gonna have to switch that to a double right?

im also assuming lighter wheels will make it at least a bit quicker in terms of acceleration and make it somewhat easier in the hills. i currently have shimano 540's on but i was considering getting a pair of ksyriums because of their specs at that pricepoint (roughly $500). would i be better off getting a pair of high quality used wheels like zipps or cosmos with some miles on them?

if these modifications make no difference for a person racing in category C collegiate races dont be afraid to say so. i know that some of these parts can only be taken full advantage of by individuals with elite conditioning, but i just want techincal advantages that cant be acheived through blood and sweat. ive been training with CAT 1 and 2 certified riders for almost 3 months and i have an XC background so im making headway but it seems that good equipment is a must in this sport.

any and all input is appreciated.
Get true Aero Wheelsbimini
Oct 20, 2003 4:30 AM
And if you plan on doing any Time Trials get a pair of aero bars.

Most believe you need a wheel that has a depth of 50mm or more to get good aero advantage. The ksyriums are NOT an aero wheel, they look aero, but have little aero advantage. If you got the bucks go for the used Zipps, Heds or Cosmos.

The aero wheels will help in all types of racing, TT, crits, and road. In road you are normally in the peleton, but if you make a break the aero wheels will help, or if you get dropped on a hill they may help you catch back on the down side. This will more than offset a slight weight penalty.

Don't worry too much about wheel weight (or other parts weight), aero has a ten fold more significant impact than weight, unless you are climbing real mountains. Weight is a subject that is most important to those trying to sell bicycles but has very limited impact in regards to improving performance.

I also read some studies that show aero helps weak cyclist more the high performance cyclist on a percentage improvement of speed bases. You may be able to pick up 1/2 to 1 MPH with the aero wheels. Yo can pick another 1/2 to 2 MPH with the aerobars, depending on your current form and proper use and adjustment of the bars.
re: upgrades for race seasonoddsos
Oct 20, 2003 7:53 AM
I don't see any need to change from triple to double. Getting rid of a bail out gear seems a poor idea, especially if you are just starting out. Spinning with a triple up hills is a lot more efficient than having to push hard in a bigger gear.

Aero wheels are nice, but can be very expensive. One piece of advice I've ben given is only race what you can afford to break. As wheels are one of the mot vulnerable parts of your bike this is doubly true. In addition really expensive carbon rims giving poor braking in comparison to aluminium. Carbon is probably not the best for bunch races for these reasons.

The most cost effective upgrade I made to my bike was really high quality tyres. This may seem a bit of a cheapskate change to make, however over the course of a season it will add up to a pretty considerable amount of cash.

Anything that improves your comfort on the bike is also worth considering. Something that is slightly annoying in training can become a real bother when you are pushing hard in a race.

Good luck

Chris
re: upgrades for race seasonMShaw
Oct 20, 2003 9:01 AM
Aero wheels are nice, but can be very expensive. One piece of advice I've ben given is only race what you can afford to break. As wheels are one of the mot vulnerable parts of your bike this is doubly true. In addition really expensive carbon rims giving poor braking in comparison to aluminium. Carbon is probably not the best for bunch races for these reasons.

Amen!

That's why I usually race a pair of Ritchey Pro wheels instead of bucking up for a pair of 404s. I'd really rather have the Zipps, but don't want to have to replace a $300 rim if/when someone crashes in front of me.

If you're racing, drop the triple for a double. You don't need a bailout gear in a race. If you do, you're not racing any more!

Even better, get yourself an inexpensive AL bike. Buy used! Stay Ultegra or better. That way, you have a ride it all day comfortably bike, AND a race and go fast bike. If (when!) you crash you'll have a backup bike handy. Get someone's last year/year before's Cannondale, etc. to race on. Light, stiff, and cheap to replace.

The rest of it is just riding and training smart. Ride more, rest more, and pay attention to what the A riders are saying/doing.

Mike
racingNo_sprint
Oct 20, 2003 8:57 AM
If you're going to get into racing, lose the triple immediately. It is entirely useless whether you race or not, IMHO. I've never ever met a hill I couldn't climb in my 23 or 25.

Secondly, if you want better wheels for racing, you want light and stiff. There is nothing worse than a heavy mushy wheel coming out of turns in a crit. If it's a 4 corner and you do 15 laps, you're accelerating 60 times in one race. Forget Kyseriums, for that kind of money you can get lighter and stiffer. My carbon *race day* wheels are 1100 grams and nice and stiff. Don't worry too much about anything aero. If you're in a large field crit, aero wheels will be insignificant. You'll get much more draft from the people around you.

Train hard, learn to corner, wheel rubbing, shoulder bumping, increase your power and get on a rig that is the best combination you can find of light and stiff.
racingasgelle
Oct 20, 2003 9:32 AM
First and foremost, beyond any doubt, is upgrade by hiring a good local coach. There is no piece of equipment which will give you the return on your investment that a good coach will.

Your equipment is fine. That's not what's holding you back.
racingasgelle
Oct 20, 2003 9:36 AM
> Don't worry too much about anything aero. If you're in a
> large field crit, aero wheels will be insignificant. You'll > get much more draft from the people around you.

This is exactly wrong. Aero counts more than anything else. see http://www.bike.com/template.asp?date=8%2F1%2F2001&lsectionnumber=6
As your article points outNo_sprint
Oct 20, 2003 9:54 AM
Rider aerodynamics are much more relevant than wheel aerodynamics. Drafting the rider in front of you is almost universally accepted as requiring 30% less energy on your part.
As your article points outasgelle
Oct 20, 2003 10:57 AM
Rider aerodynamics are much more relevant than wheel aerodynamics. Drafting the rider in front of you is almost universally accepted as requiring 30% less energy on your part.

Which is a great way to come in second. But in a race the object it to finish ahead of the other guy. Therefore, at some point, you have to be out front in the wind. When you are, aero drag will almost always count more than any other factor. Yes rider drag has a larger effect than wheels, but remember my comment came in response to you saying that wheel weight is more important than drag. The data constantly shows this not to be true.

Also, the article is by Kraig Willett, not me.
Actually, in a Collegiate racedjg
Oct 20, 2003 12:23 PM
there may be several objectives, and points can be scored for one's team without hitting the podium, much less coming in first. Well, to be honest I raced my last collegiate race slightly over twenty years ago, but that's how it used to be.

I'm not sure what your posted figures show. For one thing, it's not clear what the drag comparison is between the "aero" wheels and the second category (lightweight wheels)--for another, it's not clear given the tables how significant the delta is in the criterium column--maybe it's just not.

Finally, it seems to me that a new collegiate racer may reasonably want to focus on other things--even equipment-wise--than wheels that will help in that last 50-100 meters after he comes around the front of the sprint (supposing he does, and supposing some wheels would really make the difference in such a situation). How about a stock (more than two) of good tires and tubes? How about a second set of wheels--good quality, reasonably light, and DEPENDABLE wheels so he doesn't get hosed at inopportune times in his training and/or racing?

I'm not saying that some particular aero wheels wouldn't be a good choice--it just seems to me that high quality deep section wheels might be a stretch for this college student and a stretch that might only pay very marginal benefits at this stage in his career.
Actually, in a Collegiate raceasgelle
Oct 20, 2003 1:43 PM
Finally, it seems to me that a new collegiate racer may reasonably want to focus on other things--even equipment-wise--than wheels that will help in that last 50-100 meters after he comes around the front of the sprint (supposing he does, and supposing some wheels would really make the difference in such a situation).

a) Read my original post.I think I was pretty clear on the role of equipment.


there may be several objectives, and points can be scored for one's team without hitting the podium, much less coming in first. Well, to be honest I raced my last collegiate race slightly over twenty years ago, but that's how it used to be.

b) I never said anything about the last 50-100 meters. The time to hit the wind might be in the first 50-100 meters. I meant come in second figuratively. You'll notice I said the point of racing is to beat the other guy, not to win or beat all the other guys; and to do that one has to be in front at least at the finish line.
Actually, in a Collegiate racedjg
Oct 20, 2003 7:41 PM
Went back and read your original post--to whatever extent your first two posts are to be read as implying some sort of advice about equipment, I prefer the first to the second.

I still wonder about the data in the second link, but perhaps that's just academic (on the other hand, the kid is a college student ...)
Triple Dependsbimini
Oct 20, 2003 10:39 AM
On where you race, how much you weigh and if you are a spinner or a masher.

I am a 180# spinner, and yeah I have a double and can make it up all the hills at the races with a 25, but there have been a couple of hills where I could have used either a larger rear or a triple. Once I stand up I get dropped, if I can keep spinning I can hang on.

If you have no problems with chain drops or shifting on your triple and you are a heavier spinner you may want to keep the triple.

I agree with the need for Stiff wheels but I do believe aero helps when you are stuck alone, either up front or after being dropped. Again, being a heavier rider there are some hills I get dropped on, but what goes up must come down again. I have been able to catch back up on the downside solo more than once. Many of the races around here have small fields (<20 bikes) so I like my aeros.

I also agree with the shoulder bumping and wheel rubbing (try to avoid the wheel rubbbing, it can hurt). I learn something new at each race, most important is don't let them push you around. Soon as they know they can push you around they will keep doing it, so being comfortable in the pack and holding your line (and letting them know you will hold your line) is important. I've raced Cat 5 and Masters 40+. The Masters is a tougher crowd. Really tough to find a hole in a line going past if your stuck behind the wrong horse, they also are always trying and testing you. With Cat 5 you can always find a hole or force your way in and they don't test you as much.

PS: I found a good deal on Campy Shamals on ebay and have been racing those (less than $200 for the pair). Very stiff and fairly aero, a little heavy, but I can afford to break them.