How does fancy equipment actually help your performance?



a1phab3t-1

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Mar 2, 2014
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Okay guys, I know this one's pretty broad, but how do you think the equipment you'll strap on to your bike will actually help your performance?
For example, getting a pair of Zipp 404's, A new lighter or more 'Aero' helmet, or even an upgrade of the handlebars (i.e. a narrower fit). Would there be much reason to justify 'upgrading' any of these, or other forms of the equipment we ride with?
Riding and Racing in B grade in Australia (Especially around the time of the TDU), there's carbon everywhere- But I'd really like you guys' opinion on this one. Bolt-on-bling, or actually worth seriously investing in?
 

RonSwanson

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Jan 6, 2014
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I think a few items can be worth the investment, but I believe that research is needed. Can't believe when people go into a cycling store or order online just randomly without doing some research. Then they buy all this equipment that doesn't fit well together and they end up wasting their money.
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MotownBikeBoy

Well-Known Member
Nov 24, 2012
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Bling has its place - especially for those of us who will never be serious contenders in any race or ride, amateur or beyond - live the fantasy. Same reason middle aged, balding men buy expensive sports cars - gives the ego a boost.

Yes, I buy "bling" - I admit it, I like it, I enjoy it. I have no delusions I am going to ever beat anyone in any event, or even place well up in any pack - in fact, I anticipate being among the worst finishers in my first triathlon in May.

Tech stuff is fun, high-end products can be worth it in terms of quality if they offer an advantage to the cheaper alternative.

Someone serious about pursuing the sport on an amateur or pro level needs to carefully consider what they buy, what they spend, and why they need it.

I don't fall into that category. I'm like Walter White - I do it because it makes me feel alive.
 
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dbackmtg

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Oct 9, 2005
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I tend to get caught up in the buying bling but don't ever end up buying. Cycling magazines start the buy bug up which is why I let my subscriptions run out. I really believe that hard work is the best way to improve.
 

oldbobcat

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Aug 31, 2003
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Originally Posted by dbackmtg
I tend to get caught up in the buying bling but don't ever end up buying. Cycling magazines start the buy bug up which is why I let my subscriptions run out. I really believe that hard work is the best way to improve.
Well put. That's one reason to read Cycle Sport from England for my cycling news. The equipment reviews are so lame you don't care.

Being in the business, I have opportunities to buy a lot of fancy stuff at pretty outrageous prices. You'd be jealous, but even at those prices I can't justify it. And aside from consumables, like tires and chains, I don't need anything. What I do wish I had was more time to ride and be with my family.
 

CAMPYBOB

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Sep 12, 2005
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Quote by OBC:
"What I do wish I had was more time to ride and be with my family."

Now that's well put.

After the last two months, I put a premium on training time...and temperature!

As far as equipment goes, I prefer mid-line stuff to go with my mid-pack abilities.
 

mpre53

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Feb 20, 2013
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Cape Cod, MA, USA
Originally Posted by a1phab3t-1
Okay guys, I know this one's pretty broad, but how do you think the equipment you'll strap on to your bike will actually help your performance?
For example, getting a pair of Zipp 404's, A new lighter or more 'Aero' helmet, or even an upgrade of the handlebars (i.e. a narrower fit). Would there be much reason to justify 'upgrading' any of these, or other forms of the equipment we ride with?
Riding and Racing in B grade in Australia (Especially around the time of the TDU), there's carbon everywhere- But I'd really like you guys' opinion on this one. Bolt-on-bling, or actually worth seriously investing in?
The only improvement I would get from any of those would be the wheels, and it would be so marginal that it wouldn't be worth the money.

If my helmet were 100 gms. lighter, that's less than a 4 oz weight savings. Unless you're riding TTs, IMO aero helmets are just a new and improved way of separating a rider and his money.
 

dabac

Well-Known Member
Sep 16, 2003
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That really depends.
Back when my mtb riding buddies were switching to disc brakes I got hold of some ceramic coated rims, and I was quite happy with that. A big improvement from regular rims, and I got to brag about having lighter stuff than them.

Last two years I've been using a suspension seat post for XC marathons, and I'm quite happy with that too. There hasn't really been much need for a full-sus bike on those courses, but something to take the edge of the bumps at the last quarter of the course has meant faster recovery and less discomfort. If I were to take up touring or randonneuring, I'd probably use a sus post there too.

OTOH, my favourite saddle is a dirt-cheap Velo, reskinned several times. I've tried blingy ones when I've found them on sale a couple of times, but I keep returning to the Velo.

So sometimes bling and (individual) function overlap, and sometimes it doesn't.

Take helmets for instance. They have to fit, first and foremost. If they fit, are inexpensive, and not too garishly colored/patterned, then that's a great buy. But the order of priority is set. If the helmet that fits my more-oval-than-average head happens to be ablingy one, then so be it. I might even ride a tad better in it if it's more comfortable than the usual run of too short and too wide helmets.
 

danfoz

Well-Known Member
Apr 12, 2011
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Originally Posted by a1phab3t-1
Okay guys, I know this one's pretty broad, but how do you think the equipment you'll strap on to your bike will actually help your performance?
For example, getting a pair of Zipp 404's, A new lighter or more 'Aero' helmet, or even an upgrade of the handlebars (i.e. a narrower fit). Would there be much reason to justify 'upgrading' any of these, or other forms of the equipment we ride with?
Riding and Racing in B grade in Australia (Especially around the time of the TDU), there's carbon everywhere- But I'd really like you guys' opinion on this one. Bolt-on-bling, or actually worth seriously investing in?
It won't... much. Aero wheels may save you a minute in a time trial over 40k, is the money worth it? Only you will know. Maybe you want that $5 medal real bad. or if you are a pro you want to earn a contract for the following season.

Or, in a road race where some sucka can ride your wheel to the finish and pop around in the sprint. Maybe a better upgrade would be a lesson on sprinting properly...

As for "narrower" handlebars, is that going to be accompanied with a corresponding surgery to narrow your shoulders? Maybe just get handlebars that correspond appropriately to the width of your shoulders. Handlebars too narrow won't be comfortable and may make the bike more difficult to handle, handlebars too wide will be cumbersome negotiating through a pack of riders and may not be comfortable either. Are comfort and safety worth the upgrade to a set of properly fitting bars? Only you will know.

On a flat course loosing 3lbs will save a rider less than 10 seconds. A rider can gain 10 seconds by changing up a training plan. Every pound a rider tries to drop from the bike under 20 will likely cost $1000. Maybe a better plan is to add a few miles each week and skip a few cupcakes after dinner...

My advice? Wear a tight fitting jersey, make sure your bike fits and is properly maintained, and let your training plan do it's work. Unless you are a pro, then do everything in your power to secure next season's contract.

On the other hand, nothing wrong with spending your hard earned money any damn way you please.
 

CAMPYBOB

Well-Known Member
Sep 12, 2005
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Quote by Dan:
"My advice? Wear a tight fitting jersey..."

I'm seeing at least a 30-second time savings!!!



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jhuskey

Moderator
Oct 6, 2003
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The most important item you left out of the poll. Fit, as in a frame and setup that fits you.

BTW: Bob I love the photo of you.