Buying speed...

Phil

Maximum Pace
#1
Rode one of my regular 50km loops today and really enjoyed the ride of my new-ish set of Hutchinson Fusion 2s. Until now, I've only run 25c tires at 95 psi, or some old no-names that came with the used bike at 100 psi or so, and the new tires really make a difference to my speed: at 120 psi, the Fusions just glide over the tarmac.

Which got me thinking about the speed boosts that I've gained from new equipment this last year. With the usual "it's-the-engine-that-counts" caveats, I'd say the biggest improvements (in order) came from these upgrades:

1. Going to clipless pedals. Immediately added 1 to 2 km average on my regular routes.
2. Clip-on aeros; good for an extra 2 km/hr or so when cruising.
3. Higher pressure 23c tires.
4. The Pedal Force bike over the Sequoia, although the effect wasn't immediate. I'm only now getting into a position that lets me take advantage of the more aggressive geometry.

So, have you bought speed this year? What kind of upgrades helped you go faster?
 

simon

Speeding Up
Jul 19, 2006
96
0
26
Tokyo
#3
heart rate monitor

I only got my bike last November, so have not had any chances to buy speed.
But I do like the idea, I want new wheels already! ;)

Oh, I did get a heart rate monitor, and I think that's helping a little,
have been analyzing the graphs of the TT ;) I do each week to see where I'm taking it too easy.
I think a PB is not too far off :)

Oh, could I ask if anyone has carbon drink bottle holders?
They would have to be about the worst investment for speed, but they do look good :)

Deej, I also ride along Tamagawa, but have not made any friends yet :)
I did once try talking to a Japanese man, but I think my broken Japanese was the cause of him just turning forward and riding off...
I'll look out for your sunglasses and hat :)
I think I'm near Chofu when I get to the river.
 
Jan 14, 2007
2,516
213
83
Noda
japanichiban.com
#5
THe best buy I got for speed was a pair of MAVIC COSMIC CARBONS.

Today I got some GOLD bar tape...has to make me go faster...

A cheap speed increaser is a good clean up. I spent 2 hours polishing all the gunk off my bike tonight... will clean the chain and cassette tomorrow.
 
Aug 17, 2007
121
0
36
Yotsuya, Tokyo
#7
A Clean Get-away

Ditto what Edogawakikkoman says about making a clean sweep.

My commuter (Scott Sub 20; stock, plus cycle computer, bar-ends, aluminum bottle cages & Zefal clip-on fenders) was running a little ragged after the winter rains and 1200 km of commuting, so I decided to do a little tweaking & cleaning.

I washed the bike carefully, removed the rusty chain & unhooked the rear & front derailleurs. Gave everything a nice little soak in solvent, gently lubed & reseated the cables, and put it all back together. Added a new Shimano HG chain for less than 2,000 yen. Lastly, I pumped the tires to max rec. pressure.

Result:
The bike appears to be running better than it did when I first received it from BIC Camera (yes, I know, I know - I should purchased from a real LBS)!
Total costs: about 2,000 for a new chain; 1,500 on solvents and lubes, and Pedro's Ice Wax for the chain. :bike:

Tools of the Trade:
Oh, yeah, I had to buy a chain rivet tool (2,000 yen for a standard Shimano model), a quality high pressure pump (3,500 yen Topeak JoeBlow), and a standing bike repair stand from Y's Road (10,000), but I consider all tools capital acquisitions, since they last a lifetime if they are looked after, and you can make friends lending them to folks.

What I Learned:
  • A clean, unstretched chain hums nicely and transfers power efficiently!
  • Perfectly dialed derailleurs glide swiftly and quietly to the right gears every time (this took hours, a bike repair manual and several web site write-ups to figure out!)!
  • Pumped tires are smooth and fast (super critical & perhaps least attended to; also cheapest to remedy!).

So, once you have the right tools, the investment is greater in TLC than yen! But the pay-off is that you can at least maximize the speed of your current platform.

Changing the Platform:
As for pimpin' your ride, I've read in several sources that an upgrade in wheels (and tires, I guess?) is the single most efficient use of your money if you want serious performance gain. Of course, looking over the cost of good wheels (pairs start at 50,000 yen, and I've seen some for 100,000 to 300,000 yen!!!). Any thoughts on this?

Also, any thoughts on the best lubes (wet, dry, spray, etc. ) for chains and sundry components?
 
Jan 14, 2007
2,516
213
83
Noda
japanichiban.com
#8
Wheels were the biggest improvement for me. I could notice a 2 to 3kph difference in average fast rising and +2 or 3kph above my fastest ever flat sprint.
Spending over 18man yen on wheels though was scary. I haven't crashed them yet and they stll run smooth (now 2.5 years old).
I use my slow wobbly wheels most of the time espcially for training and only put my good wheels on 2 or 3 weeks before a race just to make sure the tread is good, no punctures, and to get the buzz of the extra speed which adds to confidence for the race.

Especially with my body, bigger gains in speed can be made by improving my power:weight ratio. (cheaper to eat less too).
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#10
Wheels definitely seem to provide the biggest improvement... But as much as I'd love a set of deep dish carbon jobbies, I don't think I could bring myself to part with the cash. I'd better look into more aero bar tape instead :)

Especially with my body, bigger gains in speed can be made by improving my power:weight ratio. (cheaper to eat less too).
Oh yeah. I was playing around on the stationary bikes at the sports center and was all pleased with myself thinking, hey, my watts are getting up there... until I divided them by my kgs. No wonder I can't get up hills :)

Has cycling tripled anyone else's grocery budget?
 
May 13, 2008
100
0
0
Kawasaki-Shi
#11
Upgrading the mish mash of parts with as many Shimano 105 parts as possible. The bike is a classic steel frame (Reynolds 653 throughout, threaded headset) and I opted for a compact crankset. Should get the bike back this weekend, can't wait

I also cycle along Tamagawa and 'dodge' is the name of the game.
 

d.bodkin

Warming-Up
Apr 6, 2008
17
0
0
Sagamihara
#14
Carbon water bottle cages are a waste!

Oh, could I ask if anyone has carbon drink bottle holders?
They would have to be about the worst investment for speed, but they do look good :)
Yeah...I had the carbon water bottle cages but they could never hold my water bottle during the races. I lost some good water bottles that way and pissed off the guys that were right behind me with the potential obstacle in their path. I swapped them out for some cheaper, but less shwanky, plastic jobbies and I've been happy with them.
 

danny

Maximum Pace
Feb 29, 2008
160
50
58
Chofu-shi, Tokyo
www.cyclism.jp
#16
ceramic chain lube

Ditto what Edogawakikkoman says about making a clean sweep.

My commuter (Scott Sub 20; stock, plus cycle computer, bar-ends, aluminum bottle cages & Zefal clip-on fenders) was running a little ragged after the winter rains and 1200 km of commuting, so I decided to do a little tweaking & cleaning.

I washed the bike carefully, removed the rusty chain & unhooked the rear & front derailleurs. Gave everything a nice little soak in solvent, gently lubed & reseated the cables, and put it all back together. Added a new Shimano HG chain for less than 2,000 yen. Lastly, I pumped the tires to max rec. pressure.

Result:
The bike appears to be running better than it did when I first received it from BIC Camera (yes, I know, I know - I should purchased from a real LBS)!
Total costs: about 2,000 for a new chain; 1,500 on solvents and lubes, and Pedro's Ice Wax for the chain. :bike:

Tools of the Trade:
Oh, yeah, I had to buy a chain rivet tool (2,000 yen for a standard Shimano model), a quality high pressure pump (3,500 yen Topeak JoeBlow), and a standing bike repair stand from Y's Road (10,000), but I consider all tools capital acquisitions, since they last a lifetime if they are looked after, and you can make friends lending them to folks.

What I Learned:
  • A clean, unstretched chain hums nicely and transfers power efficiently!
  • Perfectly dialed derailleurs glide swiftly and quietly to the right gears every time (this took hours, a bike repair manual and several web site write-ups to figure out!)!
  • Pumped tires are smooth and fast (super critical & perhaps least attended to; also cheapest to remedy!).

So, once you have the right tools, the investment is greater in TLC than yen! But the pay-off is that you can at least maximize the speed of your current platform.

Changing the Platform:
As for pimpin' your ride, I've read in several sources that an upgrade in wheels (and tires, I guess?) is the single most efficient use of your money if you want serious performance gain. Of course, looking over the cost of good wheels (pairs start at 50,000 yen, and I've seen some for 100,000 to 300,000 yen!!!). Any thoughts on this?

Also, any thoughts on the best lubes (wet, dry, spray, etc. ) for chains and sundry components?

Finish Line Ceramic lube recommended by Nalsima. Have used it since February and works great. Wipe the chain, apply it to each link, spin a few times, wipe again. Dirt does not stick and re-applying the lube helps to clean the chain. I use it twice a month.

Any one else have a recommendation?

Danny
 
#18
I'm no racer...

I swear when I put on my red handle bar tape, I got faster but I had a minor incident with a pole and avoiding an old geezer on a mamachari on Thursday on the Edogawa... so the tape must be replaced. Nothing else seems particulary dinged or messed up, luckily.

I'll look for gold flecks. More garish the better I feel.

Also, I've now nicknamed my steel framed Bianchi "chubby beauty"
She may be heavy but has a great personality....
:bike:

Andrew, can you list your wrenching websites?