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  1. #1
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    Training on heavy bike makes you stronger???

    I have a friend that just started to use deliberately a heavy off season training bike -- steel lugged frame bulky 28X700C tires heavy wheels, about 14kg the whole bike-- IMO he`s just cazy...don`t think that when he`s gonna switch back to his carbon road bike he`s gonna be a faster, stronger rider....probably he will feel "faster" for a few days but after that he will get used to his racing bike
    I`m curious about opinions on this

  2. #2
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    I kind of agree

    I used to ride a heavy mtn bike, and would switch once in a while to my light bike. I did notice that I could ride for longer rides without tiring as quick. You're right though, after a few days you get used to whatever it is your riding.

  3. #3
    All I wanted was a Pepsi!
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    These guys agree with you. From the RBR (roadbikerider) weekly newsletter:

    "2. BEST OF COACH FRED

    Will I Benefit from Riding a Heavier Bike?


    Q: Would adding weight to my bike for training help my average speed and power? I'm thinking about buying cheap, heavy tires and even loading a hydration pack with weights for training rides. -- Tim T.


    Coach Fred Matheny Replies: This is a good question, one that crops up every so often. In fact, adding weight for training purposes has been tried a number of times over the years.


    The U.S. Road Team has used lead-filled water bottles for hill workouts. Years ago someone marketed a heavy weight designed to attach under a bike's bottom bracket.

    However, there's no good reason to add weight.


    You need to generate a certain number of watts to get up a hill no matter what the bike weighs. Take some weight off and you still produce the same number of watts. You just go a little faster. Improvement comes from training at your optimum intensity, not from weighting down your bike.


    Ed Pavelka and I both ride heavy bikes in winter. They have steel frames, fenders, racks and large bags for toting tools, extra tubes, rainwear and warm clothes. Add a couple of full bottles and Ed's old Bridgestone RB-2, for example, weighs 34 pounds.


    Switching to light bikes during the season sure makes us feel faster. And we actually are, because for a given amount of power, we can ride uphill and accelerate faster when we're not pushing as much weight.


    The bottom line, though, is that we're still riding at the same intensity when we go hard, regardless of the bike we're on."

    "If you have the guts to be yourself, other people'll pay your price." - Rabbit Angstrom

  4. #4
    chamois creme addict
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    Quote Originally Posted by lemonlime
    These guys agree with you. From the RBR (roadbikerider) weekly newsletter:

    "2. BEST OF COACH FRED

    Will I Benefit from Riding a Heavier Bike?


    Q: Would adding weight to my bike for training help my average speed and power? I'm thinking about buying cheap, heavy tires and even loading a hydration pack with weights for training rides. -- Tim T.


    Coach Fred Matheny Replies: This is a good question, one that crops up every so often. In fact, adding weight for training purposes has been tried a number of times over the years.


    The U.S. Road Team has used lead-filled water bottles for hill workouts. Years ago someone marketed a heavy weight designed to attach under a bike's bottom bracket.

    However, there's no good reason to add weight.


    You need to generate a certain number of watts to get up a hill no matter what the bike weighs. Take some weight off and you still produce the same number of watts. You just go a little faster. Improvement comes from training at your optimum intensity, not from weighting down your bike.


    Ed Pavelka and I both ride heavy bikes in winter. They have steel frames, fenders, racks and large bags for toting tools, extra tubes, rainwear and warm clothes. Add a couple of full bottles and Ed's old Bridgestone RB-2, for example, weighs 34 pounds.


    Switching to light bikes during the season sure makes us feel faster. And we actually are, because for a given amount of power, we can ride uphill and accelerate faster when we're not pushing as much weight.


    The bottom line, though, is that we're still riding at the same intensity when we go hard, regardless of the bike we're on."

    I more or less agree with this. Riding a heavier bike will give the sensation of going faster when one starts riding a light bike and the rider will go up a climb faster on the light bike. The only way to really have a "training advantage" from the heavier bike would be to maintain the same speed on climbs (not wattage or intensity) as with the light bike. But by default that would just be the same as riding the climbs faster on the lighter bike.

    My winter bike is an older lugged steel frame, with full fenders and relatively heavy wheels. I have never actually weighed it but I guess it comes in at ~ 25 lbs. I certainly know I climb slower on it, plus I have to work harder on the flats to maintain 40 km/h. The fenders are a hindrance on flat riding as they create a fair bit of drag. Fortunately here in the PNW, most everyone I train with is on similar rigs so in general the intensity might stay the same, but the speed drops. But I sure do feel like a Super Champ when I break out my race bike for dry ride in the winter!
    Last edited by Eric_H; 10-12-2007 at 10:25 AM.

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    It's all about the intensity.

    And I am guessing using heavier bike with equal or more intensity has to build muscle right??

    We trained running uphills with with loaded backpacks for something I hope! LMAO

  6. #6
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    Same intensity...It doesn't get easier, you just go faster.
    So what's up with, "lose weight and go faster". In regards to power to weight ratio, I read something like for 2 pounds you lose you climb like 10% faster. So if I do my hill work out with 10 pounds in a back pack every time I ride this won't help climb faster during a race?
    I think anything that causes resistance or makes you work harder will make you stronger just like lifting a heavier weight makes you stronger.
    Is it the same amount of work to move 150 pounds up a hill in 10 minutes or 160 pounds in 11 minutes?

  7. #7
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    not really in my experience, have done a few month long tours on a really heavy bike (75 lbs. loaded), and was not all that much stronger when I got home and rode unladen bikes...riding with people who are faster than me and/or doing a lot of climbing has had a greater effect on strength.....riding fixed works too
    Last edited by ukiahb; 10-14-2007 at 04:17 PM.

  8. #8
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    i ride my 12kg MTB to work daily and it makes me appreciate my roadbike more when i ride it...but it doesnt train me to become faster...

    Riding a heavy bike can have some slight improvements but if you're getting dropped from your local club rides where everyone else is using light stuff...then you're missing out on the more exciting part of riding(paceline/attacking/tactics etc)...and 1 of the best way to improve is to ride with a club where the riders are stronger then you...

    my $0.02
    Bike riding and bike racing are two different things...one seeks enjoyment while the other seeks pain.

  9. #9
    Moderatus Puisne
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    winter...

    It is kinda nice to train on a heavy bike with big tires in winter. You go slower with the same wattage, so you stay warmer. Plus, less flats.

    It also makes hills effectively LONGER. Within an average ride of me, the biggest hill takes 5-6 minutes to ascend on a 17-lb road bike. It takes a lot longer on a fully loaded tourer, so if I want to do a 10-minute climb, now I can.

  10. #10
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    Can't remember the name but he was a famous british coach who on the subject said "train slow - race slow", "train fast - race fast". I guess it does make sense to train at your optimum capacity.

  11. #11
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    Firstly, I seem to remember that dropping one kilo of non-rotational weight equated to about a 1.25% time saving on climbs. 10% would be super though.

    I agree that riding a heavier bike doesn't make you stronger, training is all about intensity not speed. The only advantage I've found to weighting down my bike is to get the speed down to a point where you really have to grind on hills to build leg strength. 10 pounds of fishing sinkers in the water bottles equates to about 60 rpm and a good power workout.

    Besides that, I think that variety in your bikes will make you a better rider. Having a fixie for the off season, a jaunt on the TT bike a couple of times a week and a few different road bikes helps to keep you interested and means you'll spend more time training and improving for your number 1 steed.

  12. #12
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    I also agree that the intensity and time spent on the bike are the things that make up a training routine.Most riders use more beaten up bikes, slightly heavier, during off season(the main reason being to protect the racing material from the harsh elements in the winter), but increasing weight and rolling resistance on puropse seems to me a bit exaggerated...that being said I`m thinking if i would use a "winter bike" in the off season if I was living in Hawaii or another place similar in climatic conditions

  13. #13
    bas
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    Quote Originally Posted by ilpirati
    I also agree that the intensity and time spent on the bike are the things that make up a training routine.Most riders use more beaten up bikes, slightly heavier, during off season(the main reason being to protect the racing material from the harsh elements in the winter), but increasing weight and rolling resistance on puropse seems to me a bit exaggerated...that being said I`m thinking if i would use a "winter bike" in the off season if I was living in Hawaii or another place similar in climatic conditions

    So let's add 100 lbs of weight. You might be lucky to finish on the hill - so there has to be some sort of trade off some where.

    What system do you want to work on the hill? Leg strength (add more weight, go slower) or cardio?

    You'll burn out quicker maybe carrying more weight up a hill...

  14. #14
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    George H. Rides with a water bottle of lead weight... so it is used by some people

  15. #15
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    Maybe thats why jan Ullrich used to gain weight!!

    More seriously, sorry to get all geeky on everyone, but look at the physics of it;

    Work = Force x Distance

    Power = Work/Time

    Assuming a heavier bike takes more force to move (Not true in all scenarios, see further down!) .The only way a rider would output more power using a heavy bike would be by riding it at the same speed or faster than the light bike. So why not just ride the light bike harder, and get used to handling a bike at speed, and perhaps riding at a higher cadence too?

    There is also the fact that the extra weight would only really affect acceleration, and when you climb. On the flat and downhill the extra weight would create greater momentum, and inertia, and so you will have made the bikes handling much worse, and not used any more force to move it.
    Most resistance when riding on the flat or downhill is from the air, as opposed to from gravity on a climb, so extra weight will have a negliable affect towards slowing you down.

    applying this to;

    Force = Mass x Acceleration

    Shows that a heavier bike not providing any more wind resistance and providing negligable resistance due to gravity won't need a significantly greater amount of force to maintain a constant speed than a lighter bike!

    Anyway enough of the geek stuff, just ride whatever bike you have hard enough to gain a benefit!

  16. #16
    I like the BIG RING
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    Heavier bike? Lead Bottles? Stop the Insanity......

    .....and bump it up a gear or two going up hill. The only things feeling like lead will be your legs! And why wait til winter? Do it now!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ilpirati
    I have a friend that just started to use deliberately a heavy off season training bike -- steel lugged frame bulky 28X700C tires heavy wheels, about 14kg the whole bike-- IMO he`s just cazy...don`t think that when he`s gonna switch back to his carbon road bike he`s gonna be a faster, stronger rider....probably he will feel "faster" for a few days but after that he will get used to his racing bike
    I`m curious about opinions on this
    In general, I would say that you should not train with your all out race equipment. That is, don't use race wheels, skin suits, etc., in training. This is consistent with feeling faster for actual race (for me, I feel faster during the race for the first 15 seconds, and then it is the usual all out grind). As far as race wheels go, it is also a good idea to save this expensive equipment since it could get destroyed in training.

    This seems to be fairly cultural and dependent on the region, e.g., when I lived in Northern California, during the Winter, most people seemed to train with heavy wheels, old bikes, and frame pumps. On some rides, they would discourage you to use any fancy wheel. However, when I went to Southern California, it was more usual to see all the equipment, including race wheels, and absolutely no frame pumps. One of the few exceptions I noted was Thurlow Rogers. Here in France, it's best equipment on all rides as well...

    One heavier piece of equipment which made me stronger was the rear disc wheel I bought. It weighed 1500g (that's the weight of a pair of race wheels these days!) and it took me a while to be able to accelerate with it, but it eventually made me faster.

    A lead water bottle will make you faster, downhill at least. 1947 Tour de France winner Jean Robic used this method, as was quite light, about 50kg. He did this on the descent of the Tourmalet in the 1953 Tour de France.

    -ilan

  18. #18
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    I agree with you ilan, as I said in my previous post, I also use a "winter" bike for offseason, but I do not deliberately increase the weight of my bike like my friend dose, in hope of improving his cycling performance

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