But will it make me go faster?

Fattman

Active Member
Location
Roydon, Essex
Hi All,

I'm turning 40 next Friday and as well as locking myself in the cupboard under the stairs with a bottle of gin to mourn my lost youth I am planning to go out and buy me a new road bike as a present (cheaper than a Ferrari or an affair)...

Scene setting: I ride ~120 miles/week, did the 106m Dartmoor Classic the other week in 6hrs 33m, and am targetting a Continental sportif or two next year (never done before). I currently have one bike, a 4 year-old Specialized Allez (alu frame, cf forks) which I swap some nice wheels onto for special events - the rest of the time it's smashing through potholes on the way to work in London.

So I thought "time for a summer bike". I'm very tempted by the Condor Legerro or Cervelo RS frames, probably with Ultegra 6700 and some trick bits (I've got Easton EA90SLX wheels already).

These are both CF whizzers, and admittedly neither are going to be cheap, but I reckon 4 years' worth of saving train fares will cover it (ahem).

But here's my question:

Will the cash spent actually make me faster?

Does anyone know the theoretical answer to that, given what I'm looking to achieve? And as an adjunct question - should I seriously consider some other form of bike i.e. steel or even titanium? I have never ridden those as serious propositions (or at all, in the case of titanium) so don't know whether I should even consider them.

I appreciate this is quite a broad (and lengthy!) question - I throw myself at the mercy collective wisdom of you experienced forum-goers...

Cheers dudes,

Matt

ps the Condor does look the bees' knees though!
 

alexeix

New Member
I believe the answer is yes, it will make you faster, but I can't say by how much.

I have a Specialized Allez Elite 2010 and a mate has a Bianchi carbon fibre bike costing more than twice as much (RRP). Even freewheeling downhill from a standing start, his bike accelerates past mine quite quickly.
There's very little difference in combined bike/rider weight.

So my thinking is that if his bike performs like that when no power is being applied, the bike is very likely to be quicker when pedalling.
The question is, which do you need more; the improvement or the cash?

:biggrin:
 

beancounter

Well-Known Member
Location
South Beds
My latest bike is a Colnago C50 (coincidentally also with Easton EA90SLX wheels).

In terms of speed I find I'm a gear higher everywhere - up hills, down hills, on the flat. And that's in comparison to one or two already fine bikes that I ride.

So yes, imo you'll find yourself quite a bit faster.

bc
 

beancounter

Well-Known Member
Location
South Beds
Lighter is faster, but it is more cost effective to make the rider lighter ;)

You rightly imply that an expensive frame will be lighter than a cheaper one, although by how much is variable, and compared to the combined mass of bike plus rider, is likely to be fairly negligible.

Much more important characteristics of the expensive frame will be its handling, responsiveness and how efficiently it delivers the power (your power...) to the road.

I'm a relatively old tub of lard but I've been completely astonished by the C50. You do not have to be a Tour rider to appreciate quality.

bc
 

shrew

New Member
Location
St Neots , Cambs
HI, i just forked out on a new Titanium bike from Van Nicholas, the main thing about Ti is that it wont rust, its suitable all year around, Titanium is very comfortable as it absorbs alot of vibration, and you bike frame will last litterally your lifetime (guarenteed) by many titanium cycle companies.

my previous bike was a boardman comp (£700),
Alu frame, carbon fork, Ritchy Wheels, Tiagra/105 groupset - it was a fast and fun bike.

new bike Van Nicholas Yukon £2200 - ish
Titanium frame, RS80 wheels, 6700 ultegra groupset.

my new bike is faster, smoother and more fun, was the difference noticable? YES! was it worth the money? YES!!!

Important thing for me now is that because i KNOW that my bike is awesome, the only reason i would be going slow is because of me and not the bike, so i then push myself harder, knowing that the only gains to be made are my fitness, Its a good feeling.
 

RecordAceFromNew

Swinging Member
Location
West London
But here's my question:

Will the cash spent actually make me faster?

Does anyone know the theoretical answer to that, given what I'm looking to achieve?
You can find a theoretical analysis of weight/mass, rolling resistance, wind/drag factor etc. on bicycle speed in the article from page 10 here. What transpires is that aerodynamics and rolling resistance are far more significant than weight as opportunity for improving speed. In terms of aerodynamics the rider's posture is also a key factor obviously.

FWIW I would have much preferred my late father to buy himself whatever that would have made him really happy, rather than saving the money for me to inherit.
 
OP
Fattman

Fattman

Active Member
Location
Roydon, Essex
Thank you all for your considered comments - personalised replies below!

Unfortunately Mrs Fattman has got wind of my plans, but I'll post back with the results
whistling.gif
.

Cheers!

Matt

The question is, which do you need more; the improvement or the cash?
I consider it an opportunity to buy back lost youth, so definitely the former!

So yes, imo you'll find yourself quite a bit faster.
I am clearly looking for positive reinforcement of my already-held views, so this is great news :smile:

Lighter is faster, but it is more cost effective to make the rider lighter ;)
Hum. Have got as far as I can on this route without giving up beer, and that may be a step too far...

Don't forget the placebo effect of a nice shiny bike - looks good, feels good so you tend to go harder/faster anyway :smile:
This is an excellent point. When showing it off to mates, you have to ride it harder to make it look good too...

my new bike is faster, smoother and more fun, was the difference noticable? YES! was it worth the money? YES!!!

Important thing for me now is that because i KNOW that my bike is awesome, the only reason i would be going slow is because of me and not the bike, so i then push myself harder, knowing that the only gains to be made are my fitness, Its a good feeling.
Thanks for the Ti input... I have a hankering for it just cos I've known from childhood that titanium is the true space-age material. I fear I may have made my mind up, but I shall start saving for my 41st birthday...

You can find a theoretical analysis of weight/mass, rolling resistance, wind/drag factor etc. on bicycle speed in the article from page 10 here. What transpires is that aerodynamics and rolling resistance are far more significant than weight as opportunity for improving speed. In terms of aerodynamics the rider's posture is also a key factor obviously.

FWIW I would have much preferred my late father to buy himself whatever that would have made him really happy, rather than saving the money for me to inherit.
Great magazine! Very interesting stuff for the techno-mechanical geek in me. And I concur on your thoughtful point re. the passing-to-the-children bit - they'd probably only spend it on bikes anyhow ;)
 
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