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Race bike, how much faster?

sebdangerfieldsebdangerfield Posts: 41
edited August 2019 in Road general
I've a local 5.6km loop - 3 minute hill, a descent and two flat sections.

It currently takes me around 9.20 on my 9.5kg (inc cages etc) aluminium road bike with standard non aero wheels.

How much faster could I expect to go on a 7kg race bike with aero wheels? Eg canyon ultimate kind of thing.
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  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,519
    Literally impossible to say.

    Break down each section and have a play with the tools on here: https://www.analyticcycling.com/
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,400
    I would say there's no particular expectation of going faster outside of a handful seconds here or there. With more favourable conditions, you might find yourself going faster on your current bike, especially if you trained more. Generally speaking, you cannot buy performance, you need to train for it.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,031
    Buy a B C race licence and find out the hard way.
    Stop fantasising.
  • Thanks both. I realise it depends and fitness and conditions make more difference.

    But presumably, for the same conditions and same power output the race bike goes a bit faster. I'm just trying to get a ball park idea - partly out of interest, partly because I'm trying to persuade myself out of spending a couple of grand on a fancy bike that I know I don't really need.

    Anyway, would a handful of seconds be like 5 seconds or 30?
  • I'm not sure racing will tell me how much faster one bike goes than another :)
  • david7mdavid7m Posts: 636
    You will be slightly faster, partly due to placebo. Something lighter should be easier on the climbs. Over 9 minutes you won't see much.
    When I got my lighter bike, I thought it climbed better but slower on descents, most of the improvement for me came over 50 miles with less fatigue.
    If you have the money, then do it :lol:
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,400
    I'm not sure racing will tell me how much faster one bike goes than another :)

    You've kind of hit the nail there, whether you meant to or not. Racing will tell you how much faster one rider is than another. The bike is largely irrelevant.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,031
    Nailed it, all about the rider.
  • Dangerfield? Not related to Stuart by any chance?
  • I get that the main thing's the rider! Still interested in what difference the bike makes. I guess a wee bit is probably as good as I can get :)
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,400
    I get that the main thing's the rider! Still interested in what difference the bike makes. I guess a wee bit is probably as good as I can get :)

    In case you've not understood any of the previous replies - people are telling you that the bike makes fck all difference. If you are average on an aluminium bike, you will still be average on an aero bike. If you are decent on an aluminium bike, then you will be noticably no more decent on an aero bike, etc, etc....
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,408
    An interesting question. I would argue that a lighter race bike would make a difference, although fitness obviously plays a major part.

    I had a standard hilly training route of just over 19 miles from my home in south Shropshire on the Welsh border until we moved home last year. I rode that route on a selection of bikes over 25 years or so, using a heart monitor. I logged my times meticulously over the years. Most of my recorded rides were on a 14kg steel tourer, a 7kg carbon road bike and a 9.5kg Bike Friday Pocket Rocket, a performance foldable bike with 20 inch wheels.

    I threw away my older records when moving house but figures since 2013 show my best time on the 7kg carbon bike was 1:07:25 (17.0mph average speed) and on the tourer 1:16:06 (15.1 av). No times to hand for the Bike Friday but it was generally a couple of minutes quicker than my tourer. My HRM enabled me to put in a pretty consistent effort for each record attempt. None of my bikes had aero wheels.

    The majority of my record times over the years were set when I was at my lightest and fittest shortly after I returned from touring holidays carrying camping gear in the Alps or Pyrenees. So fitness clearly plays a part, as do weather conditions. But there is a big difference in the speed of the three bikes over that route, which does feature a couple of long uphill drags and a final short 20% climb. I suspect the speed difference would be much smaller on a flatter route.

    Sadly, for me, my record-keeping also revealed my decline in speed over the years. My all-time record on that route was just over one hour which I set about 20 years ago. I’m now 66 and my times were in the 1:10:00 region on the 7kg bike shortly before the house move.
  • Imposter, in case you didn't understand my question or replies ;) Yes, I get this, but in given conditions with given power will you will be slightly faster on the fancy bike... I'm interested in how much, but understand people are saying you can't say more than a wee bit faster
  • Cheers @ Mercia Man. I've been round the loop on heavy tourer. Was much slower, but like your comparisson the weight difference is huge, 6 or 7kg or so, so it's hard to draw any conclusions on a difference of a a couple of kilos.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,400
    Imposter, in case you didn't understand my question or replies ;) Yes, I get this, but in given conditions with given power will you will be slightly faster on the fancy bike... I'm interested in how much, but understand people are saying you can't say more than a wee bit faster

    You are asking a question which is impossible to answer in any meaningful sense. Just pick a number and pretend that's the answer you're looking for...
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    5.6km is a pretty small distance for an improvement to reveal itself.

    An experiment you can try now is ride it on really cheap and nasty tyres - then ride it again on expensive race tyres.

    That will give you a similar sort of difference to that which a lightweight aero bike will give, assuming you ride identical tyres on it against your alu bike.
  • If you do a search on the likes of GCN, they have done videos on this sort of thing. How faster is a top end bike compared to a budget one etc. Check these out which may help you find the answers you are looking for.

    You may have noticed that you get a lot of rather unhelpful "contributors" on this forum. Just ignore the trolls.
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,408
    TimothyW wrote:
    5.6km is a pretty small distance for an improvement to reveal itself.

    An experiment you can try now is ride it on really cheap and nasty tyres - then ride it again on expensive race tyres.

    That will give you a similar sort of difference to that which a lightweight aero bike will give, assuming you ride identical tyres on it against your alu bike.

    A valid point. I felt that tyres did make a difference over my 25-year speed recordings. Most of my all-time race bike records on my 19-mile standard route were done on Vittoria Corsa tyres. More recently I did my fastest time since 2002 on my tourer when I fitted Vittoria Voyager Hypers (32mm) replacing Vittoria Randonneurs (28mm). The difference was only a few seconds.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,400
    Mercia Man wrote:
    A valid point. I felt that tyres did make a difference over my 25-year speed recordings. Most of my all-time race bike records on my 19-mile standard route were done on Vittoria Corsa tyres. More recently I did my fastest time since 2002 on my tourer when I fitted Vittoria Voyager Hypers (32mm) replacing Vittoria Randonneurs (28mm). The difference was only a few seconds.

    Presumably your fitness and prevailing weather conditions were all constant during this time..?
  • super_davosuper_davo Posts: 678
    I often do the same training loops, sometimes on my 7.5kg race bike with aero wheels, sometimes with my 9.5kg winter bike with mudguards, and I shift my power meter across so I can accurately gauge effort. And the conclusion I've come to is that the difference in speed is tiny - we're talking a couple of minutes across a three hour ride - which is nowhere near as much as the difference between a still day and a windy day or you being on a good day or not.

    Outright speed isn't the be all and end all though; on the race bike everything just feels sharper, quicker to accelerate, change gears, brake, cornering - which will definitely give you an edge when racing. But for steady state rides with the occasional hill, don't expect miracles.
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,408
    Imposter wrote:
    Mercia Man wrote:
    A valid point. I felt that tyres did make a difference over my 25-year speed recordings. Most of my all-time race bike records on my 19-mile standard route were done on Vittoria Corsa tyres. More recently I did my fastest time since 2002 on my tourer when I fitted Vittoria Voyager Hypers (32mm) replacing Vittoria Randonneurs (28mm). The difference was only a few seconds.

    Presumably your fitness and prevailing weather conditions were all constant during this time..?

    No. As I said in my original post, fitness and weather play a part. But I logged hundreds of rides on my standard hilly route over 25 years all year round using a heart monitor and it gave me a good insight as to the relative speeds of my various bikes and to whether any changes of equipment such as tyres and gearing had an effect on my times.

    What I can say for certain is: 1. the lighter the bike, the quicker I went; 2. I was quickest when I was fittest (after touring holidays); 3. My age-linked performance decline has accelerated since I got into my 60s.
  • @imposter, I think you're still struggling to understand what I've written :)

    Everyone else, thanks for replies. Much appreciated. Just going to watch that GCN video now. Probably can't be bothered to do the tyre experiment, think I did notice a difference upgrading ftom conti gator skins to gp5000s though
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,400
    @imposter, I think you're still struggling to understand what I've written :)

    You're probably right, in the sense that what you are asking is not realistic. You're looking for an answer to a question which nobody can answer, that much is clear. Like I said earlier, just pick a number...or maybe buy an aero bike and find out the hard way...
  • JacksyeeJacksyee Posts: 48
    Imposter wrote:
    Imposter, in case you didn't understand my question or replies ;) Yes, I get this, but in given conditions with given power will you will be slightly faster on the fancy bike... I'm interested in how much, but understand people are saying you can't say more than a wee bit faster

    You are asking a question which is impossible to answer in any meaningful sense. Just pick a number and pretend that's the answer you're looking for...

    I find these responses fascinating. First, let me say I respect your opinion and am not trying to start a fight

    I am a triathlete and i’d say that equipment choices make a huge difference, and it’s relatively easy to tell how much

    I have both anecdotal and empirical evidence. Yes, fitness matters most but equipment can be significant

    Aero helmet, wheels, skinsuit and bike weight make a measurable and potentially significant difference. Using latex inner tubes makes a difference.

    Are we really suggesting a c22 percent reduction in weight makes no difference on a circuit that has a hill?

    Sure over 9 mins the savings will be small (but real)

    Long distance it makes a huge difference.

    Just so interesting
  • super_davosuper_davo Posts: 678
    Jacksyee wrote:
    Imposter wrote:

    I find these responses fascinating. First, let me say I respect your opinion and am not trying to start a fight

    I am a triathlete and i’d say that equipment choices make a huge difference, and it’s relatively easy to tell how much

    I have both anecdotal and empirical evidence. Yes, fitness matters most but equipment can be significant

    Aero helmet, wheels, skinsuit and bike weight make a measurable and potentially significant difference. Using latex inner tubes makes a difference.

    Are we really suggesting a c22 percent reduction in weight makes no difference on a circuit that has a hill?

    Sure over 9 mins the savings will be small (but real)

    Long distance it makes a huge difference.

    Just so interesting

    In my experience there is a difference on equipment but it isn't huge. As a triathlete you're probably looking at TT bikes where things can be a bit different because aero is far and away the most important thing. In terms of weight, what you have to remember is that you're not really dealing with a 22% drop in weight. If you add your own weight into the equation, you're probably talking about a 2-3% drop. That matters up the hills, but doesn't matter for the rest of the ride.

    In my experience, the "equipment" things that matter the most are:
    1. How aero you are i.e. your position on the bike, your clothes, helmet etc. (e.g. my winter bike and race bike are set up to exactly the same position so can be considered the same)
    2. How efficient the bike is i.e. how aero the bike is, the rolling resistance of the tyres etc.
    3. How light the bike is

    On a mountain climb then the third point becomes more important, but for average UK rolling roads, its a distant third.
  • mrb123mrb123 Posts: 3,477
    I generally notice roughly a 1mph average speed difference between my 12kg winter bike with 32mm tyres and mudguards and my 7.6kg carbon summer bike.

    The summer bike feels a lot faster though!
  • JacksyeeJacksyee Posts: 48
    super_davo wrote:
    Jacksyee wrote:
    Imposter wrote:

    I find these responses fascinating. First, let me say I respect your opinion and am not trying to start a fight

    I am a triathlete and i’d say that equipment choices make a huge difference, and it’s relatively easy to tell how much

    I have both anecdotal and empirical evidence. Yes, fitness matters most but equipment can be significant

    Aero helmet, wheels, skinsuit and bike weight make a measurable and potentially significant difference. Using latex inner tubes makes a difference.

    Are we really suggesting a c22 percent reduction in weight makes no difference on a circuit that has a hill?

    Sure over 9 mins the savings will be small (but real)

    Long distance it makes a huge difference.

    Just so interesting

    In my experience there is a difference on equipment but it isn't huge. As a triathlete you're probably looking at TT bikes where things can be a bit different because aero is far and away the most important thing. In terms of weight, what you have to remember is that you're not really dealing with a 22% drop in weight. If you add your own weight into the equation, you're probably talking about a 2-3% drop. That matters up the hills, but doesn't matter for the rest of the ride.

    In my experience, the "equipment" things that matter the most are:
    1. How aero you are i.e. your position on the bike, your clothes, helmet etc. (e.g. my winter bike and race bike are set up to exactly the same position so can be considered the same)
    2. How efficient the bike is i.e. how aero the bike is, the rolling resistance of the tyres etc.
    3. How light the bike is

    On a mountain climb then the third point becomes more important, but for average UK rolling roads, its a distant third.

    Sensible response. I ride road and TT. It’s much more important for TT as you say. I guess for me as a triathlete anything matters. Any gain and it’s always measurable. They all add up to watt savings and speed/efficiency
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,400
    Jacksyee wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Imposter, in case you didn't understand my question or replies ;) Yes, I get this, but in given conditions with given power will you will be slightly faster on the fancy bike... I'm interested in how much, but understand people are saying you can't say more than a wee bit faster

    You are asking a question which is impossible to answer in any meaningful sense. Just pick a number and pretend that's the answer you're looking for...

    I find these responses fascinating. First, let me say I respect your opinion and am not trying to start a fight

    I am a triathlete and i’d say that equipment choices make a huge difference, and it’s relatively easy to tell how much

    I have both anecdotal and empirical evidence. Yes, fitness matters most but equipment can be significant

    Aero helmet, wheels, skinsuit and bike weight make a measurable and potentially significant difference. Using latex inner tubes makes a difference.

    Are we really suggesting a c22 percent reduction in weight makes no difference on a circuit that has a hill?

    Sure over 9 mins the savings will be small (but real)

    Long distance it makes a huge difference.

    Just so interesting

    Just to reiterate davo’s comments, the op (I don’t think) was talking about going full aero/tt - although I would question your comments on the difference that latex tubes make...
  • JacksyeeJacksyee Posts: 48
    Interesting. 5-10 watts total for latex vs butyl. Are we debating that’s the case or that it matters?

    If it’s 5 it’s 2.5 percent savings at 200 watts. Simply massive
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