Comments on: Why a lighter bike doesn’t make you faster http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/08/22/why-a-lighter-bike-doesnt-make-you-faster/ A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 By: TomBisson http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/08/22/why-a-lighter-bike-doesnt-make-you-faster/comment-page-1/#comment-47970 Mon, 02 Sep 2013 16:03:45 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=9465#comment-47970 I had similar experience. I have a 1980’s Nishiki touring bike with a chromoly frame that is 30-plus pounds. The tires are 28’s. It’s a large bike (I’m told it’s too big for me by all the bike shops). I recently got a 56cm Cannondale CAAD8 and the tires are 25’s. This bike frame is aluminum and the bike weighs about 20 pounds. It’s no faster on most terrains and is slower on downhills. It does get up hills easier and perhaps a little faster. I love both bikes but was surprised that the Cannondale wasn’t quicker and faster (that’s what I bought it for). The chromoly frame feels more responsive and quicker than the aluminum. I couldn’t afford carbon.

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By: JimInMissoula http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/08/22/why-a-lighter-bike-doesnt-make-you-faster/comment-page-1/#comment-29903 Mon, 22 Aug 2011 22:38:52 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=9465#comment-29903 This is pretty cool, as I’ve always suspected that the weight of a bike doesn’t have that much impact for your average cyclist. The delta between a heavy and light bicycle is pretty small compared to the weight of the rider and his/her pack. Indeed, if I decide to bring home one hard cover book from the office, I would pretty much erase the advantage of my carbon-fiber forks.

As someone who often times my bike commutes I would concur that external factors (wind, lights, traffic) can make a big difference, even taking into account my speedometer doesn’t time when I am stopped. I would guess, given the ‘sample size’ (# miles ridden, # commutes)that these factors wash out over the sample period. The graph shown seems to have a lot of scatter.

I think the big factor not discussed is that carbon-fiber delivers much more stiffness per pound than steel. A stiffer frame delivers more power to the wheels and less to flexing the frame. Unless you are really pushing it, the stiffness pay-off (or any weight pay-off) is not going to show up for your typical commuter.

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By: marijane http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/08/22/why-a-lighter-bike-doesnt-make-you-faster/comment-page-1/#comment-29897 Mon, 22 Aug 2011 18:57:22 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=9465#comment-29897 Agree with pnelson, smooth tires make a noticeable difference. I ride a very heavy commuter bike and after I upgraded to a pair of smoother, higher-pressure tires, I noticed I was able to scale hills in higher gears and I was arriving at the BART station about a minute earlier than I had been with the old tires.

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By: pnelson http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/08/22/why-a-lighter-bike-doesnt-make-you-faster/comment-page-1/#comment-29892 Mon, 22 Aug 2011 18:01:26 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=9465#comment-29892 Where you’ll actually see a difference is in crankset and wheel size, for example moving from a converted mountain bike style commuter to a road bike. I’m not an accomplished cyclist and even I can top out my non-road gearing on even slightly downslope grades.

And while the frictional resistance between high and low end road tires isn’t much there should be public service announcements telling anyone with knobby off road tires to invest the $15 in slicks.

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By: 6ft6 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/08/22/why-a-lighter-bike-doesnt-make-you-faster/comment-page-1/#comment-29891 Mon, 22 Aug 2011 17:57:29 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=9465#comment-29891 This is similar to speeding from stoplight to stoplight in a car. it is quite possible that all of the gains are wiped out by the pauses at each intersection and that it has very little to do with riding skill.

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By: inboulder http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/08/22/why-a-lighter-bike-doesnt-make-you-faster/comment-page-1/#comment-29890 Mon, 22 Aug 2011 17:55:46 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=9465#comment-29890 “The skill of riding a bike fits perfectly into this scheme. It’s not easy to learn at first, but over time we get better at it, until we’re so good at it that we basically stop thinking about it, and stop trying to get any better than we are.’

I think you’re really stretching here (slow news day?), this model doesn’t fit at all, let alone ‘perfectly’. Speed on a bike is related to power output, that’s it. Bike handling skills are pretty much orthogonal to power output, exerting more effort to generate more watts has absolutely nothing to do with what Fitts and Posner were talking about.

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By: JasonDick http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/08/22/why-a-lighter-bike-doesnt-make-you-faster/comment-page-1/#comment-29887 Mon, 22 Aug 2011 16:58:20 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=9465#comment-29887 My experience with this sort of thing was moving from a Walmart-style sub-$100 bike to a decent $300 bike, back when I was first at the university. I do doubt that there was that much difference in speed between the two, as I rode pretty fast either way. However, I am pretty darned sure I expended one heck of a lot less energy on the better bike, not so much because it was lighter, but because it had much better lubrication/bearings. The ride was vastly more comfortable on the $300 bike.

My bet is that in moving from a $300 bike to a $800-$1000 bike is probably a much, much smaller change from the Walmart-style bike. I would highly recommend the move, at least, to the $300 bike or somewhere thereabouts, to anybody that uses a bike on a frequent basis.

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By: ottorock http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/08/22/why-a-lighter-bike-doesnt-make-you-faster/comment-page-1/#comment-29884 Mon, 22 Aug 2011 16:32:50 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=9465#comment-29884 If you’re really worried about doing a 27 mile commute in a quick time, surely you should just leave your bike in the garage and dri…..nah, forget it.

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