it's not about the bike...

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
1,516
1,193
133
Niigata
#1
Just how important is the bike to the cyclist?

At our bonenkai the other week, beer was flowing and everyone was talking about the bikes they want, the wheels they need etc etc.

When I announced that 90% is you the engine and so long as the bike fits you should be able to be competitive with the best, there were gasps a plenty. Non more so from the club shop owner!

Murayama san (Mr. Hillclimb) stood up, and when he stands up people take notice, to announce that I was wrong and it was more like 95%! Laughs all round! But he's serious and everyone knows it.

Other heated discussion emerged when I said that his 4 hours a night on a stationary bike watching TV for base training is excessive. He responded “Look son, when spring comes around and you try to fine tune your little engine, enjoy listening to it purr. When I get to tuning up my big engine... listen to the tiger roar!”

Anyway, so just how important is the bike you ride???

The floor is open for some heated debate....

Andy

www.jyonnobitime.com/time
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#2
3 different bikes last season, 2 same manufacturers and 1 different. All 3 had seriously different geometries and all running Shimano Dura Ace 7900.
Results….

Well I think regardless of bike I was on they would be the same. Granted all the bikes I was racing last season where well over the ¥500,000 price bracket but I think I could have done just as well running Shimano 105 and a Fuji Roubaix.

But I would have to say its 80% engine 10% race knowledge, 10% kit.
 

Badar

Warming-Up
Sep 24, 2010
88
1
0
Tokyo
#3
I am very new in the scene and maybe my opinions don't hold much weight but still...

I have a sub 100,000yen bike and I think it fits me perfectly and I love riding it. When I see other people's expensive bikes I do like to see what components are they running but somehow I just don't feel the desire to have them.. I don't know why but I feel like I am the engine and till the day my abilities to go faster gets limited by my bike and not me it will be time to think about those components. But then this is me, a novice, other people with physical abilities far exceeding mine may find themselves limited by the machine...

Without understanding (and feeling) how a particular component changes my performance, I think it is useless to upgrade that component...
 

TOM

Maximum Pace
#4
Right size

is what counts most for me. As long as the geometry feels comfortable, it matters only very little what material the bike is made off (I have tried most except scandium and some other exotic alloys), what the brand is or how lightweight the bike is.

Of course, the bike's shifting and braking mechanism should be well-tuned (easily done with most systems including Shimano 105) and the wheels should roll smoothly (most do when not too old) but for the rest it is the rider's physical and mental condition which really counts - probably for 90%.

That being said, one should not underestimate the placebo effect of owning the very latest state-of-the-art equipment...:D
 

Wolfman

Speeding Up
Jul 31, 2007
631
18
38
Suginamiku
#5
When I first upgraded from my entry level (aluminium) to current bike (titanium) I really felt great on my new bike: its braking was noticeably more efficient and surer, it felt a lot more nimble on the climbs and descents, and a lot comfier too. When I upgraded the wheels I noticed that I could freewheel for a lot longer. Overall, I think the kit is quite important; certainly accounting for more than 10% of performance.
The more I rode it the more I appreciated it - without being sufficiently fit does a real disservice to the bike. That is probably one of the key elements. If you're very fit, then you will probably notice and appreciate the better bike a lot more. I really remember this feeling on one climb.

As it is, I'm now overweight, unfit, but occassionally riding a bike that has cost a not insigificant amount of money. It's a waste: I know it, and my bike knows it.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#6
Amen to that Andy! However you DO need good equipment to perform at your maximum potential. Given you have a fixed wattage available and fixed weight at an event if you reduce overall weight then you WILL reduce your time up a slope. Its just a matter of physics. Of course - you may find more improvement by working on the bodyweight vs. the vehicle weight - but nonetheless, weight is weight. And I'll guarantee that you would personally climb a 10km 9% grade faster on a 7kg bike than a 10kg bike. Dropping those 3000gr requires a fairly hefty cost in technology.

As for the other stuff - anything you can do to get more of your work effort translated into forward motion will result in faster speeds. And same with handling. If your bike is twitchy, corners or sprints poorly, this will all be reflected in your overall performance.

Once a certain level of performance is guaranteed by the equipment - then it becomes a matter of fine tuning. To a novice rider with poor conditioning, this small difference will just mean less of an advantage to a mature rider with good conditioning who is competing against other similarly trained riders at similar wattage / endurance levels. Lower conditioning and endurance just implies more gap between riders, and thus, less comparitive effect of equipment.
 

Ludwig

Speeding Up
Oct 9, 2008
871
0
36
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
#7
I agree with everything that's been said here. I own three bikes in different price ranges, but all with pretty decent components and geometry. Geometry can matter for bike handling (cyclocross vs road), but basically the only real difference is the weight. And this I only feel really when I do very long rides (the next day is tougher on a heavier bike) or time myself.

Now how much weight matters is of course also a matter of how much the rider weighs. I weigh rather little, so for me it makes quite a difference, but this need not be the case for everyone.
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,192
240
93
Kita-Ueno
#8
Definitely "weight" for me.

Now how much weight matters is of course also a matter of how much the rider weighs.
My bike, after every extraneous nut and bolt has been removed, comes in at a shade over 8kg. Now, I could spend around ¥200,000 to get that down to under 7kg. But that seems like a lot of money when the real problem is THE EXTRA 8kg I'M CARRYING AROUND MY WAIST!:eek:
Only once I've gotten rid of the flab, would I feel justified in buying a lighter bike.
 
Sep 2, 2009
5
0
0
#9
Interesting discussion.

Back in the early 90's, when I was getting into MTB, it seemed that people liked what they liked; over a certain price, it all seemed to be personal preference.

Then I got into BMX, which at the time seemed to revel in the fact that someone could do a 15 stair rail on a bike costing less than the sandwich they had for lunch. I do remember instances where local scally kids would turn up on their (probably not 'their') absolute piece of shite bikes and rip up the skate park. I once saw a kid of about 13, bar-spin to tooth-pick an 8ft quarter on a bike with totally flat tyres and bent bars. He also had no shirt.

Further, my good mate Magnus won the Southsea King Of Flat riding a bike he had borrowed from someone, a 4 quid pair of boat shoes, and my trousers that were too tight for him as he had forgotten to get his out the washing machine. We all sat there shouting at the DC representative to sponsor him for the day. Didn't happen.

With Road bikes, I feel, half of the pleasure for a lot of people (me included) is that we CAN throw a lot of money at it. I would never have been able to get the bike I have now 5 years ago. No way.

The racers, yeah, they are a different breed, but for the average guy, it is a luxury sports item, so in a way the bike really does matter. Test yourself by scratching it and see how you feel!
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#11
You know what's funny, Owen, when I was team racing and we were all burning at least 3 bikes a season, I didn't have the same attachment. The bike was simply a tool to get the job done. And like any tool, its nice to have the best one you can - but if you don't , you'll make whatever you do have work. I did have a couple of favorite 'tools' though - and still keep them locked in a shed in LA. But its more emotional attachment than anything. Also, there is kind of a perverse pleasure in the reverse - ride the crappiest POS you can and blow everyone away. It's the 'Cutter Principal' .
 

fredstaple

Speeding Up
Nov 1, 2009
198
1
38
Puerto de la Santa Maria
#12
I wonder if important at all

Pros ride what ever bike the team is riding. They switch teams constantly and get new equipement and the teams are constantly switching equipment suppliers. One year its Shimano and the next its Campy, Zipp wheels and then Lightweights. Does not seem to make much difference as long as it is higher end quipment. Weight is not an issue 'cause they end up having to add weight to meet UCI standards. What really seems to make the difference is rider fitness and optimal bike setup.

In today's world where the weight difference between groupos is very little, I think they could perform just as well on mid range bikes and groupos. However, the equipment sponsors are never going to allow that as they want to sell as much top of the line gear to the rest of the cycling public as possible. The public likes to buy what the big boys are riding.

It like in NASCAR auto racing in the US, win on Sunday, sell on Monday.

Just how important is the bike to the cyclist?

At our bonenkai the other week, beer was flowing and everyone was talking about the bikes they want, the wheels they need etc etc.

When I announced that 90% is you the engine and so long as the bike fits you should be able to be competitive with the best, there were gasps a plenty. Non more so from the club shop owner!

Murayama san (Mr. Hillclimb) stood up, and when he stands up people take notice, to announce that I was wrong and it was more like 95%! Laughs all round! But he's serious and everyone knows it.

Other heated discussion emerged when I said that his 4 hours a night on a stationary bike watching TV for base training is excessive. He responded “Look son, when spring comes around and you try to fine tune your little engine, enjoy listening to it purr. When I get to tuning up my big engine... listen to the tiger roar!”

Anyway, so just how important is the bike you ride???

The floor is open for some heated debate....

Andy

www.jyonnobitime.com/time
 

Sikochi

Maximum Pace
Sep 13, 2010
1,141
43
68
Kochi
#14
but nonetheless, weight is weight. And I'll guarantee that you would personally climb a 10km 9% grade faster on a 7kg bike than a 10kg bike. Dropping those 3000gr requires a fairly hefty cost in technology.QUOTE]

Which is why I always feel that for hill climbs the organisers should set a specific bike weight and then compare your bike weight to the specified weight and either deduct or add on time to your `score` in relation to the course profile. That way it becomes more about the engine and the rider`s ability to maximise the performance they get from that engine rather than the anal retentives who remove rear brakes, bar tape etc...

Negating weight favours the aerodynamics side but you could just ban aero helmets, shoe covers, disc wheels and add on time depending on rim depth but then it starts getting complicated...
 
May 22, 2007
3,564
1,379
143
Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#16
Which is why I always feel that for hill climbs the organisers should set a specific bike weight and then compare your bike weight to the specified weight and either deduct or add on time to your `score` in relation to the course profile.
How about I deduct seconds from my actual time based on how much more I weigh than the first skinny bugger up the hill? Might be in with a chance that way/weigh. Let's see - maybe -1% of overall time per additional kilogram...

This could be the genesis of a new event: The Tokyo Half-Fast Handicap. (Training will be fun!!)
 

Sikochi

Maximum Pace
Sep 13, 2010
1,141
43
68
Kochi
#17
Personal anecdote:

I`ve used 3 different bikes on my commute so far:
Mama-chariot, 3-speed 20kg+ but rolls fine once going
Wife`s Giant Escape
Caad 9

I cross the first main road when the lights change and then hit my next set of lights when crossing the bridge (1/2 mile). There is a very short incline after I cross the road and again before I hit the road by the river (leads to the bridge)
At cruising speed:-
Caad 9 - am there as or before the lights change and have to wait if I get carried away like today.
Giant - there just after lights change, no need to rush
Mama-chariot - can just make it through as the lights go to red but often have to put in a quick sprint
 

Sikochi

Maximum Pace
Sep 13, 2010
1,141
43
68
Kochi
#18
Do you work for the UCI....?! :rolleyes:
I know you are joking, but anyway:-
I am in favour of negating the part the bike makes in the performance and making it more in favour of the rider/engine but the way the UCI do it by stifling innovation I am completely against. It wouldn`t bother me if everyone rode round on updated Lotus frames - as long as everyone has access to one, then they are all equal and have the same benefit. Just pisses me off when the UCI decide that we should all be riding round on the same type of bike as god did (sorry, Eddy Merckx) and that then dictates the type of bike/parts I can buy. I want the best bike I can buy, not the best bike as dictated to me by the UCI, and then don`t start me on the damage they have done to cycling through the blind eye they have turned to doping :mad:
 
#19
When shopping for my current bike the best advice I got was buy the bike you fall in love with. I walked out with my cannondale Six and about $US3000 lighter (including some miscellany and Cakifornia sales tax).
Is this a different ride than my $600 five year old (one year outside neglected) steel bianchi. Absolutely.
Do I climb faster and go farther easier? Absolutely. But then again that's because I'm head over heels in love with my bike. It's because every free day, vacation, clear day, I want to ride. And I do. Part of that is my expensive bike doesn't have old always out-of-tune components and for every bit of fitness I gain, it responds. As for the expense... It currently is working out to about 21yen per kilometer. :bike::D

So I believe it is much more about the engine-- but I, for one, ride more if I love my bike.
 

Wolfman

Speeding Up
Jul 31, 2007
631
18
38
Suginamiku
#20
but the way the UCI do it by stifling innovation I am completely against.
It's an interesting point. The weight limit is in place but there is still a lot of innovation going on, to the point of superfluity considering that many pro-level bikes are having to be built up to conform with the weight restriction. Cycling seems to be an innovation hungry sport, even if it's increasingly marginal where weight is concerned. Such restrictions may also have led to increased innovation in other aspects of bike performance, such as aerodynamics, material dynamics, durability etc. I wonder how long it will continue before something gives.
Regarding frame design, well that's a different point and maybe you have a point there, though I love the diamond shape and the tradition associated with it.