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Cold affects bike and rider?

CalpolCalpol Posts: 1,039
edited October 2012 in Road general
Had a day off today so went. out for a spin. Weather was bright and it didn't look too windy so I was looking forward to a decent run. Strangely things felt wrong from the start - the steering on my bike Wilier Izoard XP felt sluggish particularly when turning left. Bike has been fine all summer and I tend to look after it pretty well. Is it possible that the headset can tighten due to colder weather? I did loosen it a bit but I am not sure it felt any better. What sort of maintenance regime do these mechanisms need? I was under the impression that they didn't really need greasing etc.

Anyway it troubled be for all 28 miles and on top of the niggling knee issue I have it was a hard slog. Hate winter riding so far :)


  • Rodders30Rodders30 Posts: 314
    Never noticed anything like that.

    Only thing I notice in the cold is I tire faster cause of the dense cold air. Guess lungs struggle to get air into your blood?

    Bike feels normal though. I wouldnt go loosening the headset, that will just promote wear.
    Trek 1.5 Road
    Haro MTB
  • FlacVestFlacVest Posts: 100
    It's obviously you.

    How would a bit of cold air really affect the performance of an aluminum and carbon bicycle?

    Really though.
  • peatpeat Posts: 1,242
    checked your tyre pressures?
  • bluedoggybluedoggy Posts: 279
    Is it a very recent Izoard? There has been a recall on the steering. I had to take mine to the LBS to check it out which in the end was ok. Might be a long shot but might be worth checking?
    Wilier cento uno.
  • NavrigNavrig Posts: 1,352
    You had an "off" day.

    We all have them (unless you are Lance in which case you have "on" or "on, on" days :twisted: )

    The next ride may be an "on" day or just a day.

    Don't over analyse and certainly don't loosen your headset.
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,825
    Check your tyre pressures, when did you last pump them up?
    WyndyMilla Massive Attack | Rourke 953 | Condor Italia 531 Pro | Boardman CX Pro | DT Swiss RR440 Tubeless Wheels
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  • SproolSprool Posts: 1,022
    I'm no physician but I would think sucking in big lungfuls of cold air would also take its toll, more of your body energy being needed to keep your core temperature up, regardless of a good winter jacket.
  • Cold air is not kind to your lungs. I'm asthmatic; I know only too well.

    However, it should not affect your headset adversely. Were that so there would be products designed to combat the problem. :lol:
  • lotus49lotus49 Posts: 763
    edited November 2012
    FlacVest wrote:
    It's obviously you.

    How would a bit of cold air really affect the performance of an aluminum and carbon bicycle?

    Really though.

    While you are probably right, there is a perfectly good reason why cold air could affect performance and that is air density. Cold and therefore dense air is more viscous and consequently air resistance would be increased. See ... arsal.html for a press reference to this phenomenon.

    On the other hand, one lungful of air would contain more oxygen.

    I know both of these factors were considerations when Chris Boardman broke Eddy Merckx's (PBUH) hour record but I haven't seen either of these factors properly quantified.

    One other possible factor that has just occurred to me is the increased viscosity of lubricants due to the cold.
  • lotus49lotus49 Posts: 763
    Peat wrote:
    checked your tyre pressures?

    This is also a good point. Lower temperatures will mean lower tyre pressure and increased rolling resistance.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    edited October 2012
    I've only recently posted this on another thread but it seems worth posting it here as well.

    Graph of my average ride speed over the last three years or so. The black line is a 45 day moving average; it shows clearly how my pace drops over winter. Note that there are more variables than air temp of course - eg more windy days and bike changes over winter. But I've yet to change bikes this year and my speeds are dropping like a stone. In summer it can take me two minutes from my front door to get to the top of the steep bit of the hill outside my house - today it took 30 seconds longer. The difference is less over the rest of the route but it is definitely the case that pace reduces as the temperature drops.

    Faster than a tent.......
  • SproolSprool Posts: 1,022
    density of air at +25C is 1.184kg/m3
    At 0C it is 1.292.
    The speed of sound drops by about 4% when you compare at the 2 different air densities.
    So you are allowed up to 4% slower speed if its 0 outside . Any more than that and you're slacking.
  • gavbarrongavbarron Posts: 824
    Rolf, wouldn't your speed average be lower over winter anyway regardless of weather? Most people do slower base work over the winter period and then spring and summer is faster stuff. Or do you do the same sort of stuff year round?
  • CalpolCalpol Posts: 1,039
    Thanks for all the replies folks. Appreciate that. Some interesting stuff there about the effects of cold weather on performance. I think I will focus on trying to get this knee pain sorted out I suspect its a muscle imbalance/overuse issue and thats what's really holding me back as I can't put any real load though the left leg. Ok at high cadence moderate effort but any standing up on the pedals or pushing hard is causing a bit of discomfort. Maybe the steering was all in my mind as I hadnt ridden for two weeks - I'll make sure that headset isn't too loose! Do the modern headsets need maintenance?
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