What are the "REAL" benefits of a newer lighter bike
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  1. #1

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    What are the "REAL" benefits of a newer lighter bike

    Sorry if this has been in a thread already, I couldn’t find anything….
    I am riding a classic steel frame (custom built with columbus SP tubes circa 1990), DA 9sp, MA40 32 spoke wheels, bla bla bla. (nothing special). Frame size is 65cm (I am 6'5" 210lbs). The bike weighs about 24lbs (using the tried and true method of weighing myself and then weighing myself with the bike and doing the math...). Anyway, I am thinking seriously of giving myself a nice Father's Day gift, but I am having a hard time rationalizing paying the exorbitant prices the newer high end bikes demand. When I upgraded from my hard tail to a full suspension Mtn Bike, it was easy to see (and feel) the benefits I would receive. With my road bike, I am sure I could shave 6-8lbs off the current ride. However, at the end of the day, will it really make a difference? I ride for love of the ride (and to stay in shape). I do club rides and keep up with most (not all) the riders. I don’t race but have thought seriously about starting. Funny thing is, I have heard the Cat 4/5 crits are almost guaranteed to have a crash in EVERY race. With that information, I would probably end up racing my old bike “just in case.” Besides everything I have mentioned above, I still have to convince the “boss” why spending big$$$ on a new bike is a good idea. I am sure you all have different opinions. I would like to hear them all.

  2. #2
    glutton for punishment
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    The biggest real benefit is getting you excited about riding the new bike every day.

    That said, with a sensible but light build (say, DA10+Mavic Ksyriums or DA hubs/Open Pro) on a solid carbon frame (Look 585, Specialized S-Works, Colnago C50, etc) you'll have a substantially lighter and stiffer bike. It might be a bit easier to go up hills or sprint a bit better, but the real difference is you'll be psyched about having a new toy.
    Probably the wrong answer, but I thought I'd get it in before the retro grouches start telling you there's no reason at all to replace your ride.
    Last edited by peterpen; 06-09-2005 at 08:04 AM. Reason: spelling

  3. #3

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    My new bike (6 mos old) is pretty similar to the one you describe. True Temper OX buit up by Nobilette here in Boulder, mostly Centaur kit with 2x/32 spoke wheels on Record hubs, classic Deda round bars, and some assorted Ritchey WCS acoutrements. It's a whopping 18 lbs, but it rides like a dream. Some high-bling CF or mostly useless Ti might give me more bragging rights on club rides, but given how I scoff at slow people on chi-chi bikes, it doesn't seem like the best idea to me. In the end, you should ride what works - there will always be someone faster than you, and it's him you should be chasing, not some ideal fed by the pages of Bicycling Magazine or Velonews.
    "I've courted brain damage like some courtesan of darkness."


    -The Good Doctor

  4. #4
    glutton for punishment
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    To backpedal a bit...

    I re-read your OP and focused on the $ fear factor - those frames I mentioned are kinda pricey and you could get 95% of their benefits from lower-end models like the Look 555 or get great value with a Giant/ Ultegra set-up. I thought of those makes with your size in mind, not wanting to suggest something silly-light and therefore fragile. Obviously you could go custom steel again, although that might perplex 'the Boss' - a new material might make it an easier sell. You've got a couple weeks until Father's Day - start hitting the shops and try some rides out.

    Whatever you get, don't worry about anyone scoffing at you because he can go faster on a cheaper bike - their insecurities are not your concern.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterpen
    their insecurities
    Probaby more accurately rephrased as "insecurities and/or poor student-ness".
    "I've courted brain damage like some courtesan of darkness."


    -The Good Doctor

  6. #6
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    If you are asking "Will shaving 6 pounds off my bike make a difference in a crit?" you can do the math at http://www.kreuzotter.de/english/espeed.htm. I'm not a physicist, so I cannot vouch for the accuracy, but it's a fun tool to play with.

    Rider is 5'10, 175 pounds.
    Bike weighs 24 pounds
    Cadence = 80 rpm
    Speed = 18.7 mph
    Road slope = 0
    If you maintain that speed for a 25-mile crit, you will finish in 1 hour, 20 minutes, 13 seconds.

    Keep everything else the same, lower the bike weight to 18 pounds.
    Speed = 18.8 mph
    If you maintain that speed for a 25-mile crit, you will finish in 1 hour, 19 minutes, 47 seconds.

    Same rider, 24-pound bike going up a 6 percent grade for 1 mile.
    Speed = 5.8 mph
    If you maintain that speed, you will finish in 10 minutes, 21 seconds

    Keep everything else the same, lower the bike weight to 18 pounds.
    Speed = 6.0 mph
    If you maintain that speed, you will finish in 10 minutes flat.

    If you are just talking weight, it might be easier to reduce your body weight by six pounds.

    For crits, I bought a cheap, light aluminum bike. Frame and carbon fork $379 at LBS. Threw old Ultegra 9 on it. Don't worry about crashing it. When I started Cat. 5s, there were bad crashes in the first three races. Things settled down after that. No crashes. But after 10 races, I got the heck up to Cat. 4. Too squirrely.
    Riding to break the cycle of breast cancer in the Young Survival Coalition Tour de Pink--3 days, 200 miles.
    www.ysctourdepink.org

  7. #7
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    My experience

    Quote Originally Posted by mellowvelo24
    Sorry if this has been in a thread already, I couldn’t find anything….
    I am riding a classic steel frame (custom built with columbus SP tubes circa 1990), DA 9sp, MA40 32 spoke wheels, bla bla bla. (nothing special). Frame size is 65cm (I am 6'5" 210lbs). The bike weighs about 24lbs (using the tried and true method of weighing myself and then weighing myself with the bike and doing the math...). Anyway, I am thinking seriously of giving myself a nice Father's Day gift, but I am having a hard time rationalizing paying the exorbitant prices the newer high end bikes demand. When I upgraded from my hard tail to a full suspension Mtn Bike, it was easy to see (and feel) the benefits I would receive. With my road bike, I am sure I could shave 6-8lbs off the current ride. However, at the end of the day, will it really make a difference? I ride for love of the ride (and to stay in shape). I do club rides and keep up with most (not all) the riders. I don’t race but have thought seriously about starting. Funny thing is, I have heard the Cat 4/5 crits are almost guaranteed to have a crash in EVERY race. With that information, I would probably end up racing my old bike “just in case.” Besides everything I have mentioned above, I still have to convince the “boss” why spending big$$$ on a new bike is a good idea. I am sure you all have different opinions. I would like to hear them all.
    My ride in 1999 was a Guerciotti SLX with Ultegra 8, it was a 60cm and weighed about 23 lbs. I replaced it with a Pinarello with Chorus and CF fork and got the weight down to below 19 lbs which was a substantial improvement. I liked how the Pinarello rode and handled, but I did not noticebly improve as a rider. I only weigh 156 and ride in a very hilly (even mountainous) part of the country, so the weight benefits would be more substantial for me than you at your larger size. On my group rides, I kept beating the same guys up the hills as usual and kept getting beat by the same guys that usually dropped me.

    And then I broke the frame and then another one. I went back to a steel frame.

    For someone your size, it is unrealistic that you could build a 16 lb bike for anything less than a ton of money and you would need to consider every component to do so. 18-19 lbs would be much more reasonable.

    The amount of crashing in 4-5 crits is exagerrated IMO. I have seen many crashes in the higher catagories and probably the number of crashes in the lower cats would probably be found to be only slightly higher if anyone were to actually compile these stats. You don't need a lightweight bike to race crits or your average road race. Lightweight bikes really only matter in stage races with several long mountain grades and maybe even an uphill time trial.

    There is one simple change you could make with your current bike that would shave some weight for a fraction of the cost of a new high end bike. Put a CF fork on with a threadless HS and new stem. This does change the look somewhat of a classic lugged frame and probably not for the better.

    You can't argue with the laws of physics, a lighter bike will make you faster on hills. The real question is , does that really matter to you in real life?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDizzle
    Probaby more accurately rephrased as "insecurities and/or poor student-ness".
    For sure. Not trying to hate or anything, just pointing out that there's no law that says you have to go fast to have a nice bike.
    But I def. know where you're coming from - if you've got numbers pinned on, there is something very satisfying in dropping some poor sap on a De Rosa King with Zipp ceramic series tubulars! Sad maybe, but still satisfying.

  9. #9
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    I weigh in the low 160's. I'm in my early -fifties. I have two bikes I regularly ride - a 24.7 lb. Rambouillet and a 19.2 lb Colnago Dream (both recently weighed with my Berkley Fish Scale).

    Obviously, with my lighter bike being 19 pounds plus, I'm no weight weenie. ...but I have to tell you that the weight difference between the two bicycles, coupled with whatever voodoo was used to create the Colnago, combine to make the Colnago a significantly more satisfying bike. My average, no strain, all-day pace on the Rambouillet is about 13 mph. On the Colnago it's about 17 mph. When I'm on the Colnago, I climb hills in a gear at least three to four teeth smaller than with the Rambouillet. A hilly forty mile ride on the Rambouillet exhausts my lungs and cramps my legs. On the Colnago, at forty hilly miles I'm squarely in the zone, feeling strong, happily charging up & down the road. Perhaps this is because those forty miles were pedaled in considerably less time.

    In other words, in my experience the lighter bike is the more efficient one, and efficiency counts for an awful lot in my book. As far as I'm concerned, shaving five or so pounds off a bicycle is a liberating thing.
    Mapie is a conventional looking former Hollywood bon viveur, now leading a quiet life in a house made of wood by an isolated beach. He has cultivated a taste for culture, and is a celebrated raconteur amongst his local associates, who are artists, actors, and other leftfield/eccentric types. I imagine he has a telescope, and an unusual sculpture outside his front door. He is also a beach comber. The Rydster.

  10. #10

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    Put your money where you expect to get the greatest joy or pleasure. If just the idea of having a newer, "state-of-the-art" bike thrills you, really thrills you (temporarily put that guilt feeling out of your mind), then go for it. If you'd be really excited to ride it every day (and that feeling would last), then it would be a good investment. However, if you're a very pragmatic person and look at this totally as "how many mph faster will I go on course xxxx with the new bike compared to the old and how many dollars per mph increase does that work out to?", then maybe it's not the right choice. This could really be an issue as simple as objective vs. subjective. Perhaps you could just take that same money and go on a nice bike trip with your wife.
    ---- Perfection is our goal, but excellence is tolerated. ----

  11. #11
    A Canadian in Sweden
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    I just bought a Moots with a mix of Chorus/Centaur and I can tell that the excitement of a nice, lighter, more up to date road bicycle is the immediate advantage. You feel like a kid in a candy store and look forward to the next rides. That is incentive enough. However, you probably don't have to spend a fortune to get a ride that satisfies you, read up and stay in budget.

  12. #12

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    Use calculus to find the answer

    Quote Originally Posted by wayneanneli
    I just bought a Moots .....................You feel like a kid in a candy store and look forward to the next rides.
    I just got a Moots, too, Wayne, and I'm finding that that candy store is awfully big! How do you quantify this feeling.............thrill units per dollar?? If I had spent twice as much would I be thrilled twice as much? Probably not, but there certainly is a maximum in that curve somewhere. All we need to do is determine the exact thrill vs. cost function, take its second derivative and set it equal to zero (the engineer is me must be showing ;) ).
    ---- Perfection is our goal, but excellence is tolerated. ----

  13. #13

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    Same situation

    Quote Originally Posted by mellowvelo24
    Sorry if this has been in a thread already, I couldn’t find anything….
    I am riding a classic steel frame (custom built with columbus SP tubes circa 1990), DA 9sp, MA40 32 spoke wheels, bla bla bla. (nothing special). Frame size is 65cm (I am 6'5" 210lbs). The bike weighs about 24lbs (using the tried and true method of weighing myself and then weighing myself with the bike and doing the math...). Anyway, I am thinking seriously of giving myself a nice Father's Day gift, but I am having a hard time rationalizing paying the exorbitant prices the newer high end bikes demand. When I upgraded from my hard tail to a full suspension Mtn Bike, it was easy to see (and feel) the benefits I would receive. With my road bike, I am sure I could shave 6-8lbs off the current ride. However, at the end of the day, will it really make a difference? I ride for love of the ride (and to stay in shape). I do club rides and keep up with most (not all) the riders. I don’t race but have thought seriously about starting. Funny thing is, I have heard the Cat 4/5 crits are almost guaranteed to have a crash in EVERY race. With that information, I would probably end up racing my old bike “just in case.” Besides everything I have mentioned above, I still have to convince the “boss” why spending big$$$ on a new bike is a good idea. I am sure you all have different opinions. I would like to hear them all.
    I was in your situation a year ago riding a 24lb DeRosa dump truck for years, old Campy, bla bla bla.. The bike was/is really nice, but out of date. Decided to build a stable of bikes and I just can't get over the new drive train; solid transmission of power and indexed shifting. Spend the money after doing your research and you will not be sorry. I can hold
    a much more confident line in descents and climbing is a breeze along with faster acceleration.
    I started at bike web sites that would pre-compute bike build packages. Some sites
    offer better photography and fitness calculators than others.

    If you don't spend your money, your heirs will.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by harvey
    then maybe it's not the right choice. This could really be an issue as simple as objective vs. subjective. Perhaps you could just take that same money and go on a nice bike trip with your wife.
    Ha Ha,
    You sound like my wife. Kristin is that you?

    When I go myself a new lighter bike (and honestly I didn't realize that my old mid- eighties Mercian was heavy,) on my first ride and every ride thereafter, I rode at least 2 mile per hour faster. There were numerous factors that went into this, probably the least of which was because of the new frame. Probably the biggest factor was the new bike inspired me to ride faster and try harder.

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