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Bicycle Weight – Don’t Pan That Heavy Bike… Yet.

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Does weight matter?  Abso-freaking-lutely, but I’m going to use extra weight to my benefit.

Allow me to explain.  My three road bikes are 22+ pounds, 20 pounds and 17 pounds respectively, oldest to newest.  Most of the weight in the heavier two is in the wheels.  With some decent light rims on either bike I could shave a pound off of the 20 pounder and easily two off of the heaviest bike but I won’t bother.  I want that third bike to be heavy…  I’m currently working on getting the fit right on the heavier bike with the hope I can do some intensive spring training on it and there’s a method to this madness:  If I can get the fit close to my race bike (the jury is out on this yet, but I’m working on it) and can pound out some serious mileage on it in the spring, I can save the race bike for races – or in my case the Tuesday night everyone gets dropped club ride.  The theory is the faster I can push the old bike, the stronger I’ll become and the faster I’ll ride the race bike.

The reasoning for this is quite sound, I think.  I lose speed on the climbs – five pounds is a big deal climbing a hill.  The old-school gearing on the heavy bike also leaves a lot to be desired so the harder I can crank on that, the stronger I’ll get.   What brought all of this about is I realized, last Tuesday, that I may have lost some speed on the old Cannondale.  The situation is a little tough to look at objectively – that 33 mile night (plus warm-up) last Tuesday was easy to start as we were pretty slow going out, but it got faster as we went.  I was also taking some pretty long pulls up front.  In addition, I can’t remember ever riding that bike that far, maybe once with Mrs. Bgddy.  Also, I’ve never bothered to really look at the geometry of the bike to get it right.  The first time I really looked at the Cannondale, and knew what I was doing, was just before Tuesday’s ride.  Sure enough, while there are deficiencies that can’t be helped because of frame size, the 120mm stem on the bike had to go.  I need a 110 stem which will bring the bar about 1/4″ closer to me.  I picked that up on Friday evening.

The goal is to get up to a 20 mph average on one or two 2o mile training rides each week on the heavy bike.  Switching to my Venge, with better and faster shifting, faster wheels, more aerodynamic frame, perfect cycling geometry and a five-pound lighter bike I should be able to push it well beyond 22 alone… This could be the answer I’m looking for to staying with the racers in the group to the final sprint on Tuesday night.  We’ll see.

The trick will be getting that old bike in shape so it doesn’t hurt so much to ride it.


6 Comments

  1. biking2work says:

    Your thinking is similar to mine. In the early days of redisovering cycling, I stuck with an old, heavy mountain bike for my commutes and wore loose clothing to work off more calories so it was easier and quicker to shed the excess weight. Its also convenient for the off road trails.

    In another 6 months I hope to get a cyclo cross bike and have the best of both worlds-faster speed and robust enough to cope with the flat-ish off road tracks. I think that speed wise I have hit a peak on the roads with the old boy but every day that I ride with it I will be stronger on the lighter one come apring next year.

  2. Laura says:

    I concur with your thinking. By riding my 25lb Commuter fairly regularly I build crazy strength that translates to better speed on my 18lb Nice Bike at events and sportier rides.

  3. I hope your training program works! I own five bikes and if I spend two weeks on one bike then I become slower on the others. The difference in fit between my road bikes is nearly impossible to measure, but my legs and lower back can tell the difference.

    • bgddyjim says:

      That’s a great point, though I haven’t had that experience on the 5200 and Venge… Going from road to mountain yes, but not road to road. I’ll be sure to figure it out and post the results in the spring. One thing is for sure… Once I get the bar tape done today, that Cannondale is going to be a cool lookin’ roadie.

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