Average speeds

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by Waqas Bin Zafar, Aug 26, 2019.

  1. Waqas Bin Zafar

    Waqas Bin Zafar New Member

    Aug 24, 2019
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    I am sure this has been asked numerous times. I have bought a Chinese budget road bike and it has been serving me OK. Was just curious what difference can I expect such as speed and ease of ride from a premium grade bike. I have heard that a budget bike has got open ball bearing system vs sealed bearings in a premium grade bike which makes a difference in speed. I am referring to crank, front and rear wheel bearings. Any guidance would be great. Thanks...

  2. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

    Sep 16, 2003
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    There's a saying about "the law of diminishing returns". In this case meaning that as you progress, each fraction of improvement will cost more and more to achieve.
    And of course the quote, I think from Greg Lemond."it doesn't get any easier, you just go faster".
    The difference in top and average speed a rider can expect to gain from going from a properly fitted and fully functioning mid-range bike to a properly fitted and fully functioning top-end bike is small, single-digit percent.
    The difference in ride enjoyment a rider can expect to gain from going from a properly fitted and fully functioning mid-range bike to a properly fitted and fully functioning top-end bike can not be measured.

    In strict mechanical terms an "open" bearing would mean one where you can see straight into the balls and the races.
    I've seen a grand total of ONE such bicycle. Athough I've heard that track bicycles may sometimes be like this as they're generally ridden indoors and don't have to worry much about beearing contamination.
    The huge majority of bikes have - from the perspective of definitions - sealed bearings, one way or another.
    Quite often people use "sealed bearings" when they actually mean "cartridge bearings". Cartridge bearings, the kind used in bicycles are usually sealed, which is why they're used in bicycles.
    Doesn't mean that your average cup & cone bearing is unsealed.
    Unsealed bearings - whether cup & cone or cartridge - are quite impractical for use on a vehicle exposed to weather and contamination. Unless the bearing sits is a housing of sorts to protect it from dirt and water.
    Anyone blaming a loss, or contributing a win to the type of bearings used is not to be trusted. At least not on that statement.

    Only because something is true doesn't guarantee that it's important.
    Bearing drag is only a few percent of overall drag, with air drag being the main contributor. So unless the bearings on your current bike are verging on seizing, switching to bearings with less drag are only saving you a few percent of a few percent. The difference won't rock your world. How you tuck your head at max effort, tire type, tire pressure, will be more important.

    Of these, crank bearings are probably the least important, as they turn the slowest. Then comes the front wheel bearings as they carry the least load. Of the tiny importance it might have, the rear wheel gets priority. it spins faster than the crank, and carries more weight than the front.
    But again, this is all chasing tiny, tiny improvements that may not even be measurable under real-world riding.
  3. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

    Jul 13, 2004
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    In a nutshell, you won't gain anything, only gain you will ever see is if you improve yourself. Look, with all the technology manufactures have poured into bikes, wheels and components, and wasted money doing which you'll see in a bit, all the training, all the supplements, all the diets, whatever else you can think of has only gained us about 2.5 mph gain since 1960!


    Keep in mind this is kilometers not miles per hour but I will convert it to mph, so in 1960 the average speed was hovering around 37 kph or 23 mph, look at the 2013 and the average speed was hovering around 41 kph or 25 1/2 mph. So really are you expecting some sort of major increase by going to a mainline bike? Sorry, it won't happen, but the chart does tell you something important, these modern and expensive bikes aren't worth shit! The other part of the story not told in that graph is that in 1960 the total miles raced was 2,593 in 21 stages, in 2013 it was only 2,115 miles with 21 stages; so that should also tell you the race is actually getting slower despite modern doping, but the organizers, in an attempt to sell more bikes and components, shortened the race to make it appear that it's faster...even though that appearance is only 2 1/2 mph faster. In 1950 the race was even longer at 2,966 miles, I have a good feeling if that race was only 2,115 miles those speeds would have matched the 1960 speeds. Prior to the gap which was WW2 TDF riders had to ride really primitive bikes, they were responsible for all their own repairs, but what made it worse was that almost the entire race was ran on GRAVEL and DIRT! So the road conditions and the fact they only had 2 speed flip flop hubs (meaning they had to stop before a grade, remove the wheel and flipt to the other side to get a better climbing gear than go, get to the top get off again and flip it again to get a faster downhill or level gear) and had to repair their own bikes, accounted for the slower times.

    Did I make my point? Get a new bike if you want one, but don't get it thinking you're going become a screamer of a rider on it, you may be screaming at how fast your money went out of your checking account! I do have some hesitation about riding a generic Chinese made bike, I've seen some pretty disastrous outcomes for those riders, so that alone would motivate me to get a main brand bike. Of all the name brand bikes Specialized from what I've seen and heard have the best quality control, followed by Trek.
    steve likes this.