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  1. #1
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    Am I no longer the weight problem?

    I'm 6"1" and currently weigh about 190 lbs. When I started riding last year I was 235+ lbs. I built up an old Bianchi Volpe with comfort being the primary focus. I never even bothered to weigh it until tonight. Ready to ride except water bottles, it is just shy of 30 lbs, according to my bathroom scale. I love this bike and I will never get rid of it but I'm beginning to think that I could cut some time from my training rides with a lighter bike. With my build I really don't think that I will be able to sustain more than another 5-10 lb weight loss. I'm starting to do primarily sustained hill climb training rides and I'm getting passed by lots of riders. On the flip side, there is some pride to be had from navigating a tank up the hills...

  2. #2
    PhotonFreak
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    Quote Originally Posted by b4_ford View Post
    I'm 6"1" and currently weigh about 190 lbs. When I started riding last year I was 235+ lbs. I built up an old Bianchi Volpe with comfort being the primary focus. I never even bothered to weigh it until tonight. Ready to ride except water bottles, it is just shy of 30 lbs, according to my bathroom scale. I love this bike and I will never get rid of it but I'm beginning to think that I could cut some time from my training rides with a lighter bike. With my build I really don't think that I will be able to sustain more than another 5-10 lb weight loss. I'm starting to do primarily sustained hill climb training rides and I'm getting passed by lots of riders. On the flip side, there is some pride to be had from navigating a tank up the hills...
    Getting down to 20lb is probably the sweet spot for bike weight as far as cost/benefit. I know I noticed an appreciable difference on climbs by moving from a 28lb hybrid bike to a 20lb road bike (while it's true there are more differences there than weight, for climbing I believe that was the dominant difference). This is about what modern entry level road bikes weigh stock.

    While it's true you can never make up time lost on climbing due to excess weight by descending faster overall, it should still be possble for a heavier bike/rider to maintain faster speeds going downhill -- all that extra weight you're carrying means extra stored potential energy that will be give you faster terminal speeds on descents -- provided you set up your bike to offer optimal aerodynamics.

    I'm a newbie to road biking but I'm also a natural lightweight (5'7" 125lb). I know I've pissed off entire pacelines of roadies on a few occasions by passing them on long steady climbs (where there's a wide shoulder) only to have the same guys get "stuck" behind me for extended periods of time on descents where the road has only a narrow bike lane (on this particular route a stoplight on the hill often eliminates any gap I'm able to build by climbing faster)
    Last edited by PhotonFreak; 10-23-2011 at 10:22 PM.

  3. #3
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    Well I too have lost a considerable amount of weight the past couple years (117 lbs to date) and only hardcore cycling since last year. I am 6'3 and now 185 or so. I upgraded to a full carbon frame and the difference was night and day, at least for me. It seemed I was able to put more power to the ground, acceleration was much faster and I was able to maintain higher speeds. My Orbea is around 16.5 lbs and this sucker is light and nimble too.
    I still ride my other bike to train and in bad weather, so it doesnt go to waste.

  4. #4
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    Put it this way. You and your bike currently weigh 220 lb. Knock 10 lb off the bike and you reduce total weight by a little under 5%.

    The only times weight really matters are when you're accelerating and when you're climbing. In both situations, above a certain relatively low speed, more resistance is provided by air drag than inertia or gravity anyway. So even a relatively large change in bike weight is likely to yield an improvement, only in those two circumstances, of around 2%. (2% shorter time to reach your max. velocity, which is set by how many watts you can push against the air, 2% faster climbing speed.)

    There are some ways you can get a better return on spending money on cycling. If you haven't had a good fit done, pay for that. If you never quite got "your" handlebars, saddle, pedal system, whatever, do that. If you're riding crappy tires, get better ones. If your gearing isn't really appropriate for you, get a drivetrain that is. When you've done that stuff, get a trainer. Better yet, buy your USAC license and find out what a fast rider really is. ;) Or enter a Century on some beautiful roads. Something like that.

    All this is assuming that nothing is mechanically wrong with your bike. In that case, all bets are off.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Put it this way. You and your bike currently weigh 220 lb. Knock 10 lb off the bike and you reduce total weight by a little under 5%.

    The only times weight really matters are when you're accelerating and when you're climbing. In both situations, above a certain relatively low speed, more resistance is provided by air drag than inertia or gravity anyway. So even a relatively large change in bike weight is likely to yield an improvement, only in those two circumstances, of around 2%. (2% shorter time to reach your max. velocity, which is set by how many watts you can push against the air, 2% faster climbing speed.)

    There are some ways you can get a better return on spending money on cycling. If you haven't had a good fit done, pay for that. If you never quite got "your" handlebars, saddle, pedal system, whatever, do that. If you're riding crappy tires, get better ones. If your gearing isn't really appropriate for you, get a drivetrain that is. When you've done that stuff, get a trainer. Better yet, buy your USAC license and find out what a fast rider really is. ;) Or enter a Century on some beautiful roads. Something like that.

    All this is assuming that nothing is mechanically wrong with your bike. In that case, all bets are off.
    In addition to this excellent advice, maintaining the bike can help too. A freshly lubed chain can add about 1mph to your average speed, no kidding! How smoothly do the hubs roll?
    While some others said upgrading to a new bike made a world of difference, it might have been a better fit than the previous one. That being said, there's nothing wrong with getting a newer bike too. It'll be exciting, and that'll motivate you to work harder. That'll definitely improve your performance for a short while.
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  6. #6
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    1 mph?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peanya View Post
    A freshly lubed chain can add about 1mph to your average speed, no kidding!
    In order for this to be true, a dirty chain would have to be consuming over 15 watts. 1 mph at 20 mph is about 20 watts. Chains are generally acknowledged to be about 98% efficient, so a chain will consume roughly 3 watts. Do you have some data that supports this claim? It sounds VERY high.

  7. #7
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    You bike does sound a bit heavy.

    However, it's the engine, not the bike the gets it up the hills. After the fit, a trainer, a coach, a training plan will yield great benefits. I've past many riders on my entry level Cdale Six that were on nice carbon rigs weighing 7 lbs less than mine
    It's a fire road.............
    I'm on a road bike..........

    They have enough in common to blast down it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    In order for this to be true, a dirty chain would have to be consuming over 15 watts. 1 mph at 20 mph is about 20 watts. Chains are generally acknowledged to be about 98% efficient, so a chain will consume roughly 3 watts. Do you have some data that supports this claim? It sounds VERY high.
    I don't have figures, but when I've ridden about 400 miles without a full cleaning, I sure feel a much rougher riding drive train. Although I'll lube it every hundred miles or so, a good cleaning in OMS and a homebrew after about 400~500 miles yields a new chain feel. It seems to take less effort that's noticeable when pedalling.
    I'm also factoring that some people will ride thousands of miles without lubing their chain at all too.
    So maybe it's less than a mile per hour, but it's still a great feeling.
    My carbon footprint has cleats

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ziscwg View Post
    You bike does sound a bit heavy.

    However, it's the engine, not the bike the gets it up the hills. After the fit, a trainer, a coach, a training plan will yield great benefits. I've past many riders on my entry level Cdale Six that were on nice carbon rigs weighing 7 lbs less than mine
    True, but ya gotta admit- 30 pounds is VERY heavy for a road bike...
    On the plus side, I guess it will make you stronger, but you (the OP) wouldn't ever be able to show off how much stronger until on a lighter bike.
    Somewhat along Scottzj's advice- I'd say get a nicer, lighter bike (nothing crazy though) at some point and use the Volpe for rain bike and training.

  10. #10
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    Stopwatch

    Quote Originally Posted by Peanya View Post
    I don't have figures, but when I've ridden about 400 miles without a full cleaning, I sure feel a much rougher riding drive train. Although I'll lube it every hundred miles or so, a good cleaning in OMS and a homebrew after about 400~500 miles yields a new chain feel. It seems to take less effort that's noticeable when pedalling.
    I'm also factoring that some people will ride thousands of miles without lubing their chain at all too.
    So maybe it's less than a mile per hour, but it's still a great feeling.
    There's no doubt that a clean drive train feels better than a gunky one, plus you are not hearing those nasty noises that come with grit and grunge. However I would challenge you to put a stopwatch on it. Unless the drive train was down the road and around the bend gunked up, you will find minimal change in speed.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RRRoubaix View Post
    and use the Volpe for rain bike
    I moved from Oregon to Arizona. First thing I did the day after I got here was take the rain fenders off!

  12. #12
    Hello from the islands!
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    Just wondering if there was an update. The Volpe is geared for cyclocross and touring, so is it a good guess that upgrading the drivetrain would make it a faster machine (after the training, conditioning and all)?

  13. #13
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    I think the answer is "probably". When you were 235 lb, the bike was only 11% of your total mass. Now it is almost 14%. Not a huge jump, but like point out above, another 10 lb off the bike would be another 5% weight reduction. This will be a noticeable increase in watts/kg.

    A newer bike would also be stiffer and slightly more efficient at climbing.
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