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  1. #1
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    Comparison of two bikes

    I am new to road cycling. I purchased a used Canondale CAAD8 54". I ride with my wife who has been on a Trek 52". I am 54 years old and 6'5" 210lbs. We had our bikes tuned at a bike shop and used a web site to figure seat height and position. We average 10 miles per ride and have traveled 250 total miles since early May this year. Our terrain is very hilly with around 800 feet total elevation loss/gain per ride. I recently visited a bike shop and purchased a Specialized Ales E5 Sport 61". I have made two rides with it while my wife began using the Canondale. I can feel a considerable loss in speed and actually now my wife is smoking me by traveling easily 3 times my speed where as before we actually traveled the same speed basically. On long graduated hills I would go twice her speed and on steep short hills she would double my speed. But now I cannot even stay with her on flat or any hill of any type. Is there an adjustment that I can make to correct this extreme change or am I actually just comparing apples and oranges with these two bikes. Thanks for any advice.
    Last edited by JayGH; 07-07-2017 at 07:55 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayGH View Post
    I am new to road cycling. I purchased a used Canondale CAAD8 54cm. I ride with my wife who has been on a Trek 52cm. I am 54 years old and 6'5" 210lbs. We had our bikes tuned at a bike shop and used a web site to figure seat height and position. We average 10 miles per ride and have traveled 250 total miles since early May this year. Our terrain is very hilly with around 800 feet total elevation loss/gain per ride. I recently visited a bike shop and purchased a Specialized Ales E5 Sport 61cm. I have made two rides with it while my wife began using the Canondale. I can feel a considerable loss in speed and actually now my wife is smoking me by traveling easily 3 times my speed where as before we actually traveled the same speed basically. On long graduated hills I would go twice her speed and on steep short hills she would double my speed. But now I cannot even stay with her on flat or any hill of any type. Is there an adjustment that I can make to correct this extreme change or am I actually just comparing apples and oranges with these two bikes. Thanks for any advice.
    First, note my corrections in bold just so you know.

    Second, this certainly looks like a strange anomaly regarding your riding. If you are indeed 6' 5", the size 54 bike is grossly undersized for you. You may have been fast, but I doubt your knees will last very long on that bike - especially at age 54 - unless you have a VERY long seatpost. The reach must be laughably short too.

    As far as your new bike being so much slower, that has to be something else going on here like brake rub or some other source of resistance. Did you try spinning each wheel to make sure they spin free? No two road bikes will make this much of a difference. You didn't say what model of Trek your wife has. Is this a road bike as well? There may have been an issue with this bike that was slowing her down before.
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

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  3. #3
    Russian Troll Farmer
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    Wow. 6'5", and riding a 54cm frame? You probably look like the clown at the circus riding the tiny little bike. Do your knees hit your elbows? Can you even turn the bars without your knees hitting? I assume that your legs never stretch out all the way, unless you have some sort of freakishly long seat post (like 24" long...). (BTW, I'm 6'2", and I ride 60-61cm frames. Even a 58 is cramped for me.)

    I'm assuming that gearing differences are why you can't keep up with her. You didn't mention what gearing each bike has, and I wonder if you know proper shifting technique (since you really don't know things like proper frame sizing).

    If you are in your lowest gear and she can still climb, then you probably are geared too high. Also, if you have a lot of hills, a triple crank would be a help. If she has a triple with say a 34 tooth low ring, then she's at a climbing advantage over your double with a 39 tooth small ring. You MAY need to consider a compact crank.

    Take a look at your gearing. Do you EVER use the tallest gearing (likely a 53 ring, 11 tooth combo)? The next highest gear? Maybe even the third one? If not, then you would probably benefit from a compact crank.
    Last edited by No Time Toulouse; 07-08-2017 at 06:06 AM.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the corrections and your advice. My wife's Trek is a road bike LEXA SLX 50 CM Endurance designed specifically for women rather than a 52 CM. I was able to check for a brake rub on my new bike and didn't find any resistance. Both wheels seemed to spin freely otherwise also. Looking at my stats, my average speed didn't change much...less than 1 mph. My wife's speed changed drastically. I can't stay with her. I'll keep riding and see if I can't figure out my gear selections and whatever else. Thanks again for your help.

  5. #5
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    Wow, that's a lot of technical information about the crank and number of teeth in the rings that I want to look into. It is Greek to me at the moment. My wife is riding like she is in turbo compared to me. I am definitely going to explore this so the two of us can continue to actually ride together as we have been.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayGH View Post
    Wow, that's a lot of technical information about the crank and number of teeth in the rings that I want to look into. It is Greek to me at the moment. My wife is riding like she is in turbo compared to me. I am definitely going to explore this so the two of us can continue to actually ride together as we have been.
    You just need to find a way to slow her down.

    Joking aside, No-Time brought up a valid point about gearing. Check the cranksets on all your bikes. Road triples usually are 30/39/52. Most likely your new bike has a double of some sort - either a conventional 39/52 or a compact 34/50. Smaller gears in front give you better low hill climbing gearing.

    Look at the cassette too. Larger cogs in back give you lower low gearing for climbing hills.
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

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    "Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger



  7. #7
    Russian Troll Farmer
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayGH View Post
    Wow, that's a lot of technical information about the crank and number of teeth in the rings that I want to look into. It is Greek to me at the moment. My wife is riding like she is in turbo compared to me. I am definitely going to explore this so the two of us can continue to actually ride together as we have been.
    It sounds like your wife is the person to ask.....have you?
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  8. #8
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    I did look and we both have 34/50 cranks. I'll need to look at the cogs in the back. I tend to stay on the 50 in the front and the smallest in the back until we have a significant climb. We rode again last night and she is just stronger than me on the climbs. My rear gears are slipping constantly which is driving me crazy. I haven't encountered that before. I'll look at that and see if there is an adjustment I can make. Thanks for your help. I appreciate it.

  9. #9
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    We are both new to the sport and love it. I decided to peddle harder last night and was able to stay in very close range on the hills this time.

  10. #10
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayGH View Post
    I did look and we both have 34/50 cranks. I'll need to look at the cogs in the back. I tend to stay on the 50 in the front and the smallest in the back until we have a significant climb. We rode again last night and she is just stronger than me on the climbs. My rear gears are slipping constantly which is driving me crazy. I haven't encountered that before. I'll look at that and see if there is an adjustment I can make. Thanks for your help. I appreciate it.
    Big mistake. All this will get you is tired.

    Have a good mechanic take a look at your bike. They're simple machines but there are many things that cause problems like yours.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayGH View Post
    .... My rear gears are slipping constantly which is driving me crazy. .....
    OK, a cog-and-chain just doesn't "slip" unless it's VERY worn. It may "skip", or "chatter", though. Either of those would be easily fixed my a simple twist of the adjuster barrel right down where the cable meets the rear derailleur. Two or 3 minor adjustments can be done by riding as little as 100 yards, stopping to fine-tune until right. Takes less than a minute, maybe 2 at most.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayGH View Post
    I did look and we both have 34/50 cranks. I'll need to look at the cogs in the back. I tend to stay on the 50 in the front and the smallest in the back until we have a significant climb. We rode again last night and she is just stronger than me on the climbs. My rear gears are slipping constantly which is driving me crazy. I haven't encountered that before. I'll look at that and see if there is an adjustment I can make. Thanks for your help. I appreciate it.
    One mistake many beginners make is thinking they will go the fastest by being in the hardest gears they can pedal. As CX put it so well, all this will get you is tired. Well, that's in the short term. If you do this all the time, it will also get you knee problems.

    You need to pay attention to your pedal cadence. Pedal cadence is your RPM you are turning your pedals. For maximum efficiency, you should be around 80-90 RPM. Think a little faster than one revolution per second, but not quite 2 revolutions per second.

    Another bad mistake many beginners make is not gearing down soon enough before a hill. Do not try to power up a hill in the gear combination you were cruising the flat section on. Rather, anticipate that you will be slowing down going up and downshift to maintain your cadence. Also, do not try to gain momentum on a flat or downhill thinking it will carry you up the next hill. Gravity will win that race and you will be much more tired than if you just ease into the next climb.

    Gear slipping! It sounds like what is happening is your chain is trying to shift up to the next larger cog on its own because it isn't adjusted properly. This is what is commonly known a "ghost shifting". Probably a cable adjustment. and very easy once you know how to do it. Try turning your rear derailleur barrel adjuster a quarter turn clockwise. Or since you just bought the bike, you may want your shop to look it over and make it right.
    Last edited by Lombard; 07-09-2017 at 03:35 PM.
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

    "Beware of geeks bearing formulas."
    -- Warren Buffett

    "Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger



  13. #13
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayGH View Post
    We are both new to the sport and love it. I decided to peddle harder last night and was able to stay in very close range on the hills this time.
    It's 'PEDAL', not peddle. And you're not pedaling 'harder' you're pedaling faster. Which is easier.
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  14. #14
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    Maybe the issue is that you became used to having your knees going higher on that ridiculously undersized frame, and now that you can actually stretch out on a correctly-sized frame, your calf muscles might not be up to the job yet.....
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

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