What makes a fast bike fast?

For Roadies

What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby donncha » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:30 pm

After having a day to ride around on the latest & greatest of the bike world, I'm curious for people's input on what makes a fast bike fast.

My normal ride is an '08 Ridley Damocles, SRAM Rival and Aksiums (8.7kg).

Today's ride was a Cannondale SuperSix EVO, 2012 SRAM Red, ZIpp 303 Firecrest carbon clinchers (6.5kg) :P

It's probably no surprise that I felt a lot faster on the Evo. I'd look down at my Garmin expecting to see a certain speed and invariably I'd actually be going a few km/h faster. Climbing felt great (at 85kg it's always a bit of a slog) and it just felt like the bike wanted to go fast all the time.

So, what's the major factor?

Both are full carbon frames, and while the Evo is super stiff, the Damocles was stiff enough in its day too. I'm also no Marcel Kittel, so I'm certainly not pushing the boundaries of either frame. Would I really be 'wasting' any power on the Damocles?

The Evo package is 2kg lighter, which, although it would help uphill, doesn't make much difference on the flat, so that just leaves the wheels. Could wheels really make that much difference, or am I isolating things too much and it's just a collection of small differences adding up to one big difference?
Image
donncha
 
Posts: 95
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:41 am
Location: Maroubra

by BNA » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:51 pm

BNA
 

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby Nobody » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:51 pm

If your position on both bikes was identical for aerodynamics (unlikely) then it's likely going to be the wheels and/or tyres/tubes.

It could also be the wind conditions on the day.
Nobody
 
Posts: 6625
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:10 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby deadrat » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:01 pm

Nothing....bikes don't go anywhere without a rider pushing the pedals. There are many factors that go into why one bike feels faster than another, eg. fitting. Wheels make a difference but it's marginal.
deadrat
 
Posts: 58
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:55 pm

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby Cardy George » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:12 pm

deadrat wrote:Nothing....bikes don't go anywhere without a rider pushing the pedals. There are many factors that go into why one bike feels faster than another, eg. fitting. Wheels make a difference but it's marginal.


Sorry, I disagree. For reasons the LBS Owner doesn't want to discuss, I rode my frame on consecutive days with two wheelsets, Mavic Kysrium SL vs Mavic Cosmic SL, which negated my positon related aerodynamics.

Both days I rode the same route home to get a clear idea of the difference between the two. Both days I rode into a headwind with the Cosmics copping a 5kmh stronger breeze (15-20kmh vs 20-25kmh). Both days I rode at the same time of day.

The results? The Cosmics delivered a 3kmh faster average speed into a stronger headwind.

Not bad for a flimsy Corbon Fibre fairing!
Image
Fondreist R10, Dura-Ace, Cosmic SL's
Specialized Hardrock, Spinergy Xyclones
And the occasional trailer full of kids......
Image
User avatar
Cardy George
 
Posts: 287
Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:10 pm
Location: Cardross, Vic

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby gururug » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:21 pm

1. Rider strength and efficiency
2. Aerodynamics
3. Weight / Rolling resistance
User avatar
gururug
 
Posts: 1499
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:05 pm

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby notwal » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:17 pm

Adrenalin. When you sit on the seat it squirts a shot of adrenalin into your bum. Its an old trick.

If its not that it may be new bike effect. Shop floor sparkle is mesmerising and renders us vulnerable to the power of suggestion. The sales johnnies are sensitive to this state of vulnerability and make suggestions like "This is a fast bike mate" and we can't help but believe them. We happily embrace this delusion like dying atheists embracing a new found faith. We want it to be true so we try harder when we pedal. We will even persist in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary for example when we get dropped for tenth time on the club recovery ride. We tell ourselves things like "Woo I must have really over done it yesterday" and "Those guys must have been into the caffeine again". We hardly ever say "This is a slow bike" unless we bought it with that expectation and we don't often do that do we.
judged, insulted, gone
User avatar
notwal
 
Posts: 1097
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:57 pm

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby PawPaw » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:22 pm

Nothing makes me smurk more than an advert for a used or new bike saying it is "fast".
If a bike feels fast, it is because it is lighter, or is set up to make you more aero.
Give me objective information like bike weight and geometry, or go play with yourself. But don't try and sell me scientifically illiterate delusion.
User avatar
PawPaw
 
Posts: 1244
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:53 am
Location: Brisbane

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby toolonglegs » Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:13 am

Supersix Evo's are not very aero compared to many out there.
I would think you would notice 2 kilos difference a little bit in bike feel... bit it won't make much difference at all on the flat.
Your position may / probably will be more aggressive on the Cannondale.
I would be surprised if a test bike would be fitted with latex tubes... but maybe they are, slight advantage there.
Wheels will make a difference period...while the 303 may not be a very deep wheel it will be faster over a Ksyrium for example.
I have a 135km race on Sunday with 2000 meters of climbing... my DuraAce 50mm wheels maybe a fair bit heavier than my Kyriums but the choice is very simple for me... aero benefits out weigh the slight climbing advantage I might get over them with the lighter Mavics.
Image
User avatar
toolonglegs
 
Posts: 14327
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:49 pm
Location: Somewhere with padded walls and really big hills!

What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby RonK » Tue Mar 27, 2012 6:31 am

It's the 2 kgs weight difference, purely and simply.


Posted via Tapatalk
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...
User avatar
RonK
 
Posts: 5216
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:08 pm
Location: Brisbane, Queensland

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby donncha » Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:47 am

Thanks for all the replies!

New-bike-itis was partly a factor. Though I was only borrowing it from a mate for the day (so no sales staff were involved), I was aware of the latest reviews of the Evo as super-stiff & light, so there was an element of "let's see what this baby can do" in parts of the ride plus a general curiosity as to whether I'd notice much difference between my bike and a WorldTour quality package.

Evo was more aggressive, w/ a 155mm (slammed) head-tube versus my 195mm (inc. spacers).

Looks like the influence of the wheels is slowly decreasing :P

Maybe I'll save for a set of C24s as mentioned in the 'road wheels' thread. Stiff, nice hubs & lighter weight, so quicker to spin up and nicer uphill as well, so should add some 'zing'' to my existing setup without breaking the bank.
Image
donncha
 
Posts: 95
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:41 am
Location: Maroubra

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby rkelsen » Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:11 am

Lighter wheels and tyres make all the difference, IME.
User avatar
rkelsen
 
Posts: 4273
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:41 pm

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby Daccordi Rider » Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:31 am

I think a lot of things add up but the frame is a great contribution. I upgraded last year and had the same reaction, this new bike just wants to go faster, climbs better, accelerates quicker etc.

The new frame feels to me like it is making better use of my input, more direct from legs to wheel if you know what I mean. And that is the frame builders art, stiff effecient power transfer whilst still providing a ride you can live with day in, day out. I don't have aero wheels but will be keen to try some to see what they feel like.

So it's the sum of the parts that do it.
Certified Brand Snob
Daccordi Rider
 
Posts: 598
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 1:40 pm
Location: Adelaide

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby BarryTas » Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:55 am

IMO weight and wheels and your perception - ie placebo
when do we stop for coffee???

Image
BarryTas
 
Posts: 1252
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:53 am
Location: Hobart

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby Daccordi Rider » Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:04 am

So you're saying all the time and money spent on refining frames, geometry, layups, aero flourishes, tube size/shape/length etc is wasted and weight is the only defining factor in frame performance? :shock:
Certified Brand Snob
Daccordi Rider
 
Posts: 598
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 1:40 pm
Location: Adelaide

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby sogood » Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:13 am

For the given bikes, I'd say the major differentiator is in the wheel and service. Aksium isn't a premium wheelset and superficially is the obvious performance differentiator, the other major worthwhile aspect is service. A bike a few years old deserves a complete strip and rebuild of all the components. Cleaning, lube and fine tuning will also make a significant difference. For a start, the freehub of the Aksium have probably had it if it has not been serviced/replaced over that period.
Bianchi, Ridley, Montague, GT, Garmin and All things Apple :)
RK wrote:And that is Wikipedia - I can write my own definition.
User avatar
sogood
 
Posts: 16897
Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 7:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby Nobody » Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:49 am

Daccordi Rider wrote:So you're saying all the time and money spent on refining frames, geometry, layups, aero flourishes, tube size/shape/length etc is wasted and weight is the only defining factor in frame performance? :shock:
Don't believe the marketing hype. The average ride has a 1% incline on average. Plug that into the calculator below and figure it out If you finish in the same place then obviously you get some of the climb back on the down hills too. With the numbers I plugged in for a 6.5 to 8.5 Kg bike is 0.2Km/h on a constant 1% climb. So for a whole hour considering there are down hills too, there would be less than 200m between the two bikes.

http://bikecalculator.com/veloMetric.html
Nobody
 
Posts: 6625
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:10 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby mateyboi » Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:52 am

My 2 cents

The fit, Frame, wheels, tyres and BB will make a difference to the ride.

When I changed from a medicore alo frame (english thread) to a high end carbon frame (BB30) I noticed the difference in power transfer/efficiency on the same wheelset. It just felt smoother.

On the road, the high end carbon frame felt more comfortable and absorbs bumps better. The more comfortable you are, the better and faster you ride.
Seriously a better frame just taunts you to go faster.

When i changed my wheels to aero Carbon tubulars it was a whole different ball game. I found myself holding high speeds easier than before.

Weight usually makes it easier on the hills and you would have alot more energy if needed later. Carry an extra 2kg for 100km would have a big impact I'd say.
mateyboi
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:55 pm

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby sogood » Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:07 pm

Subjective perception often don't translate well when tested by scientific methods. The OP needs to know whether the search is for perceptual or factual benefit. Not saying placebo don't work, but it should be an informed consideration.

If the search is for bling, then it does not require justification. The best kind of purchase! :mrgreen:
Bianchi, Ridley, Montague, GT, Garmin and All things Apple :)
RK wrote:And that is Wikipedia - I can write my own definition.
User avatar
sogood
 
Posts: 16897
Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 7:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby Daccordi Rider » Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:11 pm

Nobody wrote:
Daccordi Rider wrote:So you're saying all the time and money spent on refining frames, geometry, layups, aero flourishes, tube size/shape/length etc is wasted and weight is the only defining factor in frame performance? :shock:
Don't believe the marketing hype. The average ride has a 1% incline on average. Plug that into the calculator below and figure it out If you finish in the same place then obviously you get some of the climb back on the down hills too. With the numbers I plugged in for a 6.5 to 8.5 Kg bike is 0.2Km/h on a constant 1% climb. So for a whole hour considering there are down hills too, there would be less than 200m between the two bikes.

http://bikecalculator.com/veloMetric.html



Interesting Nobody, thanks, what I am saying is weight is not the only defining factor to a bike frame and it's performance. In my recent upgrade the frame weight was barely different (100gr), groupset is the same and the wheels are a bit different, now Mavic Krysium Sl's vs Campag Vero's.

I still have the old bike and put the new wheels on it to compare to the old frame and there is certainly a quicker feel to the new frame, more direct response to input be it via pedal or handling. Is it quantifiable? My speedo and times on known routes, climbs etc are better on the new bike so I believe so.

So in summary same groupset, wheels, weight but different frame I measure a difference in my know performances, not scientific I know but for me enough to say upgrading my frame was a good investment for me.
Certified Brand Snob
Daccordi Rider
 
Posts: 598
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 1:40 pm
Location: Adelaide

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby Abby » Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:18 pm

I know for me, tyres make a huge difference. Switching from a set of Vittoria Rubino Pros to either Vittoria Open Corsa's or Michelin Pro Race 3's makes the bike sing on race day. :D

The other big difference I can make is cleaning my drivetrain... :wink:

Cheers,
Abby
Abby
 
Posts: 215
Joined: Fri May 21, 2010 11:41 am

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby Daccordi Rider » Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:25 pm

That's very true, try some Schwarble ZR's. They go :D , and a clean chain etc is a must for races and optimum performance.
Certified Brand Snob
Daccordi Rider
 
Posts: 598
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 1:40 pm
Location: Adelaide

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby Nobody » Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:54 pm

Daccordi Rider wrote:Interesting Nobody, thanks, what I am saying is weight is not the only defining factor to a bike frame and it's performance.
:oops: Sorry. After reading your post again it's obvious that I read it wrong.
Nobody
 
Posts: 6625
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:10 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby Daccordi Rider » Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:59 pm

Nobody wrote:
Daccordi Rider wrote:Interesting Nobody, thanks, what I am saying is weight is not the only defining factor to a bike frame and it's performance.
:oops: Sorry. After reading your post again it's obvious that I read it wrong.


S'ok, and that is a genuinely interesting set of figures!
Certified Brand Snob
Daccordi Rider
 
Posts: 598
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 1:40 pm
Location: Adelaide

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby Nikolai » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:26 pm

donncha wrote:Would I really be 'wasting' any power on the Damocles?


On a 6% 5km climb @250 watts output, 2kg lighter package (83kg vs 85kg) will give you 117m advantage at the top of the climb. In other words, nothing to be excited about. The weight game is a window dressing to sell higher priced products.
User avatar
Nikolai
 
Posts: 237
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:55 pm
Location: Brisbane

Re: What makes a fast bike fast?

Postby ni78ck » Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:20 pm

bottom brackets will help too.
i see lots of bike companies shifting from a standard bb to a bb30 or bbright .
Oppy Le Mauco - Dura Ace (wet weather bike)
Cervelo S5 VWD - dura ace Di2
User avatar
ni78ck
 
Posts: 2362
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 5:15 pm
Location: Sydney

Next

Return to Road Biking

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users



Popular Bike Shops
Torpedo 7 Torpedo7 AU
Ground Effect Ground Effect NZ
Chain Reaction Cycles CRC UK
Wiggle Wiggle UK
Ebay Ebay AU



InTouch with BNA
“Bicycles BNA Twitter
“Bicycles BNA Facebook
“Google+ BNA Google+
“Bicycles BNA Newsletter
cron