Cycling Bike Differences

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21 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous

I want to understand why when I ride with a biker of similar skill level looks on his road bike he rides
much more effortlessly (faster) than me on my hybrid.

Both bikes have Triples and I know his is a high end Trek and of course a lighter bike since the frame os carbon.I am sure the gears are different but how much different?

Also, why is the lightness of the bike such a difference versus the riders weight.

Rob

Anonymous's picture
[email protected] (not verified)
The tires

On the flats the weight matters little (aside from inertial issues when getting rolling) but his tires probably are smoother and at a higher pressure than yours

Anonymous's picture
Steven (not verified)
The Wheels

More than the smaller tire contact patch is the size of the wheels and weight of the wheels.

Hybrids (and mountain bikes) have smaller wheels than road bikes. Some newer hybrids have more 'road style' wheels for this reason.

The old saying is an ounce on the wheel is worth a pound on the frame.

I actually had the opportunity to A-B this when trying out two identical tandems, one set up with a mountain bike setup and one with a road setup. The main difference being the wheels.

The wheels make a big difference.

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)
The myth that won't die

"""The old saying is an ounce on the wheel is worth a pound on the frame.""

The old saying is BS. Weight is weight. The effect of rotational inertia in bicycling is so far down in the noise as to be neglibile for any reasonable road wheel.

By the way, you're mixing up your ""old sayings.""

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but an ounce on the wheel is only worth 2 ounces on the frame (according to legend).

""Chainwheel"""

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
Thank You

"And the effect of aerodynamic wheels is not ""huge,"" it is rather quite marginal. A set of deep v rim wheels will save about 15 watts over conventional 32 spoke wheels -- at 30 mph, riding solo. Riding in a paceline greatly diminishes this small benefit.

PS What is huge is taking pounds off you. Ask Armstrong or Indurain..."

Anonymous's picture
Joao (not verified)

As MS already mentioned, his tires have a lot less friction than yours. Since his bike is a higher-end one, I'm willing to bet that his wheel bearings, chain, rear derailer, bottom bracket, and pedals, all have a lot less friction than yours. There's also a little thing called aerodynamics. At 20 mph, close to 90% of your effort goes towards battling wind friction. So any little aerodynamic advantage counts. And a road bike plus the road biker's sitting position are a lot more aerodynamic than a hybrid.

Anonymous's picture
Rob (not verified)

Thanks alot, I forgot the tire friction.

Well now I just have to buy Road bike and kick his ass.

Anonymous's picture
Joao (not verified)

Errrr... You should be concentrating on the 90% part, not on one of the many contributing factors that add up to the remaining 10%.

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)
Road vs. Hybrid

"""I'm willing to bet that his wheel bearings, chain, rear derailer, bottom bracket, and pedals, all have a lot less friction than yours.""

These will have almost zero effect on speed.

""At 20 mph, close to 90% of your effort goes towards battling wind friction.""

Wind resistance is the major factor affecting speed once you get above about 16 mph. A low road bike position will allow you to ride considerably faster than an upright hybrid position.

""Chainwheel"""

Anonymous's picture
Joao (not verified)

">> ""I'm willing to bet that his wheel bearings, chain, rear
>> derailer, bottom bracket, and pedals, all have a lot less
>> friction than yours.""
>
> These will have almost zero effect on speed.

It's actually more than many people realize. Drivetrain efficiency is one problem recumbent designers must deal with quite a lot. The addition of one little idler wheel on your chain for example will make the bike feel a lot heavier to pedal. Any little bit of additional friction makes quite a noticeable difference."

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)
Please elaborate

"""The addition of one little idler wheel on your chain for example will make the bike feel a lot heavier to pedal. Any little bit of additional friction makes quite a noticeable difference.""

Please quantify your statement. If a rider is generating 150 watts of power, how many watts do you estimate will be dissipated in ""one little idler wheel?""

If the idler wheel isn't getting hot to the touch, it can't be dissipating any significant power. Lost energy has to go somewhere.

""Chaimwheel"""

Anonymous's picture
Joao (not verified)

"I don't know the number of watts, but its a difference that you can feel. My recumbent for example came with two little idler wheels on the chain. these are the same idlers that are on any rear derailer. I used to ride like that, until one day I took it off on the advise of a friend who races those bikes. The difference was quite noticeable. The bike felt a lot easier and smoother to pedal. So now I ride without it.

Also on record-braking HPV streamliners there was always the problem of how to route the chain with the least number of idlers as possible. Those bikes have very low seats, and some of them even had the drive side of the chain going over the rider's shoulder so it wouldn't need all those idlers to run it under the seat. Then some designers started building the bikes with front-wheel drive in order to minimize the overall drivetrain friction. Now all the top streamliners run that way.
"

Anonymous's picture
Alexander (not verified)
Recumbants

When I race recumbant bikes, I feel really funny!

Anonymous's picture
April (not verified)

Recumbents are a great deal more aerodynamic than upright bikes. So drivetrain friction probably make up a great deal larger percentage of drag compare with the bikes we're familiar.

As to 'hot to the touch', I think it'll need to be a lot more friction loss for you to feel it. After all, it's being 'air cool' very efficiently while the bike is moving, i.e. the dissipated energy is going ... to warm up the air.

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)
Conservation of energy

"""As to 'hot to the touch', I think it'll need to be a lot more friction loss for you to feel it. After all, it's being 'air cool' very efficiently while the bike is moving, i.e. the dissipated energy is going ... to warm up the air.""

The bike could be placed on an indoor trainer to minimize the air cooling. It would only take a couple of watts of dissipated power to make the idler wheel warm up. But I don't think it's going to happen. I'll try this next time I'm on my trainer (November?).

""Chainwheel"""

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
Watts are Watts

"""Recumbents are a great deal more aerodynamic than upright bikes. So drivetrain friction probably make up a great deal larger percentage of drag compare with the bikes we're familiar.""

You go faster, not use less power; therefore, the drive train loss percentage loss does not change, other than for the additional chain routing compared to a road bike.
"

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
The Real Factor

While the above are considerations, the real reason you are slower on our hybrid is that you are riding in an more upright, less aerodynamic position.

Anonymous's picture
Rob (not verified)

Just a comment on my own abilities as I see tire friction and aerodynamics.

In the end we both rode the 60 plus miles to Mt Kisco, of course he led, but my climbing based on ability is when I lead. I can feel the friction if you call it that when I pedal with my slighly treded tires. That said I
accept the fact that dynamics plays into this discussion as a major force, but it looks as it looks to me that it has alot to do with the poor use of the pedaling stroke on a hybrid.

In any case I have been educated and appreciate it.
Now I must buy that Road bike, cause I need to kick butt.

Rob

Anonymous's picture
jeff (not verified)

next in line after the aerodynamic factors, and well behind, would be the weight of the wheels, since your energy has to push them around, their weight is more important than overall weight.
jeff

Anonymous's picture
fendergal (not verified)

"Nobody has addressed the biggest issue: fitness. You say this other dude has a ""similar skill level,"" but nothing about fitness. Even a small difference in fitness will allow somebody to ride at a half-mile per hour faster than you. Also, having a more efficient riding style helps. Minimize upper body movement. Strengthen your core. Practice a fluid pedal stroke. Don't mash gears.

How to get better? Get a road bike if you want, but keep riding.

It's the engine, not the aparatus.
"

Anonymous's picture
Rob (not verified)

Good point.

Lets just say I have a V8 engine, his is more like a V6.
After riding with him again today both on hybrids, I am the faster.

This lends me to beleive that the Wheel size, type and pressure are the major force.

Anonymous's picture
April (not verified)
TIRES!!!

All the factor has been pointed out: tire, aero dynammic, drive-train efficiency, skill and power. The first 3 can be addressed by buying a new bike and the last two not.

But you've determined, by riding similar bikes, that the rider part is fine. Then the issue is the first 3. While most road bikers naturally focus on aero-dynamics, which usually a road bike would allow. Any mountain biker who ever own more than one bike knows tires make just as big a difference. The rolling efficiency of different tires are HUGE!

I have both road bikes and mtn bikes. I've experimented with putting slick, high-pressure tires on the mountain bike. The result were AMAZING!!!

I'm not saying you shouldn't buy that road bike. The difference is significant enough that a road bike is well worth the money for riding on the road. But if your hybrid's tires are fat and have knobs, there might be a quick and cheap fix that would allow you to kick his butt TOMORROW, namely a pair of narrow, slick, high-pressure tires!

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