?Height of rider/bike in relation to speed?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Bigbananabike, Oct 3, 2006.

  1. Bigbananabike

    Bigbananabike Member

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    Hi.
    This will be something to depress me:eek:
    I'm tall - '6 "1(184cm) with long legs and my racing bike is a 60cm framed beast.
    My friend is about '5 "7, shorter legs and his bike is a 49cm framed toy!

    He's been training for a 160 kilometre organised ride coming up. This will be his first organised ride/race ever. At the begining of this year he got back into cycling - he rides(unless the weather is really bad) to and from work every weekday(19kms there and 19kms back). Lately he's started riding on one day a weekend too to build up to the 160(at present he's done a couple of hilly 120kms rides).
    He may be small but he's reasonably strong with it.

    I've been training/racing for years(on and off). I've been training about 4/5 days of the week(50 - 70km rides) and racing similar distances.
    He's 4 years younger than I am too!

    He tells me his average speeds and they're faster(maybe 1 or 2 kms) than mine for similar distances and similar courses(we live close to each other).

    He's got the riding consistency(almost every weekday) over me, but I'm pretty consistent too. I've generally been doing the higher mileage and have the racing experience over him too. He's strong but I've got reasonable go up hills.

    He realises that his speed is good on the flats as he keeps up a good cadence and catches other riders.

    Could our different heights/bike sizes be a big variable in the equation?
    What do you think?
    Is there somewhere I can look to find out?
     
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  2. vadiver

    vadiver New Member

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    There will be some difference due to your size and bike. But this would be arguably negligable.

    Weight will probably be a bigger factor.

    It is possible your friend is just a better cyclist (physilogically) than you. In the course of my athletic life, I have been on both sides of the equation. I have also seen it in all aspects of sport. Some people are just better than others.
     
  3. bobbyOCR

    bobbyOCR New Member

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    Generally a taller person will have a higher power output but a larger weight. The shorter person may have the same power:weight ratio but lower power output.

    You may have a lower power:weight ratio but a higher power output. If this is the case, you should be better in a time trial on the flat, whereas he will pick up big time in the hills.

    Another explanation is equipment, he may have a better set of wheels, or a stiffer bike.

    Another scenario is he is mentally stronger and can push himself harder for longer than you. And, as mentioned, he may have the natural talent to pick up a bike and get good very quickly.

    Ah yes. He would be able to get much more aero on a smaller frame, and this would contribute in a huge way in a headwind.
     
  4. PartisanRanger

    PartisanRanger New Member

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    This is kinda related so I thought I'd bring it up. I'm 6'5" and 179 lbs. so I'm heavier and larger than most riders. However, I'm just average on the flats but can climb as well or better than some of those smaller riders who can pull a faster flat avg speed than me. Is there anything that could justify this or am I just imagining things?
     
  5. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Cycling performance has almost nothing to do with gear, even at the top, professional level. Performance differences come down to miles under your tires, the way you train, your own physical characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses, your mental strengths and weaknesses, your motivation(s)......and so on.

    The only really big effect that equipment can have an effect is in aerodynamics, and even then, the differences are more subtle than people would expect. The best example would have to be LeMond's win over Fignon in the Tour ending time trial in Paris. And in that case, Fignon did absolutely nothing aero, while LeMond did everything possible aero. That is an extreme case. Even in that case, the difference wasn't totally aero: LeMond was a better time trialer. He also appeared to be more motivated.
     
  6. Bro Deal

    Bro Deal New Member

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    Maybe you are just past it, over the hill, haven't got it anymore. :p Maybe he rides more intensely than you do. Maybe he naturally has a higher VO2Max than you do. Maybe you just suck.

    There is no way we can tell you why a friend of yours is faster than you are. The only thing I noticed is that you seem to be relying on average speeds as related by your friend. How about some first hand data? Why don't you ride with him and see if his average speeds are bullshit (they often--maybe even usually--are) and how intensely he trains compared to you.
     
  7. Rhubarb

    Rhubarb New Member

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    Agreed. Get him out for a ride - get him on a climb and punish his arse. You will soon see where you stand. :)
     
  8. Bigbananabike

    Bigbananabike Member

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    ==========================================================
    Yeah but;
    1/ I'm not wanting to be competitive with him per se and
    2/I race on Saturdays when he does his long rides
     
  9. Bro Deal

    Bro Deal New Member

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    My guess would be that if you are racing on Saturday while he is riding solo and his other training is commuting ~12 miles each way then you could probably smoke him in a competitive situation.

    Never, ever believe someone's tales of their average speed.
     
  10. Rhubarb

    Rhubarb New Member

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    What was that saying...... "Hills don't lie"? Or was it "You can't cheat hills"?

    Something like that...... :D
     
  11. vadiver

    vadiver New Member

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    Good point. He/you may also have the wrong tire size on his computer to get the difference.

    I posted the fastes speed to date on my TT route two days after a mountain ride. I was really impressed until I remembered I changed wheels. The difference between the two sets of wheels/tires changes my speed by about .6 MPH in 53x14.
     
  12. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    As Bro Deal says, forget the average speed comparison. Go out and ride with your friend and see who's strongest where. Big guys should have more power output (for flat cruising speeds), but little guys often have the better power-to-weight ratio (for hills).

    If you're roughly in equal shape, my guess is he'll kick your butt on the hills, but struggle to stay with you on the flats. If that's the case, you'll need some smart pacing strategy when riding to stay with him. IE, let him get ahead on the long climbs, then reel him back in on the descent and flat ground.

    Finally, if he is a faster rider than you, so what? It's pretty obvious to most of us that ride in groups that there are huge differences in genetic ability. You can still go to events together, catch up at rest stops or at the finish line, and have a great time.
     
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