How much difference does a good bike make?



J

Jim

Guest
Hi,

the bike I use at the moment is an old Peugeot, pale green effort with
Reynolds 531 tubing, and is probably at least 20 years old. I use it mainly
for commuting to work - generally that's a 45 mile round trip twice a week,
from Middlewich to Chester and back...

It has mudguards, and a pannier rack, and a big far pannier with tools,
coats, pump, etc. in it. It's not really very light at all when the pannier
is loaded on.

In the summer, when I was in shape (for me) I was averaging about 16 to 17
mph on the 22ish mile trip to work, and the same back. At the moment, with
cold legs, my average has dropped to about 14 or 15 mph.

My bike is really out of date, still has the old screw-thread freewheel, old
fashioned frame mounted gear changers, side-pull old brakes, clunky
handlebars etc. I've been really into cycling since about 1989, and have
always used pretty basic bikes.

I'd really be intruiged to see how much of a difference to my average speeds
it'd make to use a really decent, light, modern bike.

Does anyone have any experience of whether moving to a better bike can make
much of an impact on performance?

Thanks!

Jim
--------------
http://jimpix.co.uk/words/cycling.asp
If you have any more suggestions about what's so good about cycling, feel
free to contact me via the site to improve this article...
 
R

Rob Morley

Guest
In article <[email protected]>
Jim <[email protected]> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> the bike I use at the moment is an old Peugeot, pale green effort with
> Reynolds 531 tubing, and is probably at least 20 years old. I use it mainly
> for commuting to work - generally that's a 45 mile round trip twice a week,
> from Middlewich to Chester and back...
>
> It has mudguards, and a pannier rack, and a big far pannier with tools,
> coats, pump, etc. in it. It's not really very light at all when the pannier
> is loaded on.
>
> In the summer, when I was in shape (for me) I was averaging about 16 to 17
> mph on the 22ish mile trip to work, and the same back. At the moment, with
> cold legs, my average has dropped to about 14 or 15 mph.
>
> My bike is really out of date, still has the old screw-thread freewheel, old
> fashioned frame mounted gear changers, side-pull old brakes, clunky
> handlebars etc. I've been really into cycling since about 1989, and have
> always used pretty basic bikes.
>
> I'd really be intruiged to see how much of a difference to my average speeds
> it'd make to use a really decent, light, modern bike.
>
> Does anyone have any experience of whether moving to a better bike can make
> much of an impact on performance?
>

Get some good thermal tights. Fit decent tyres and keep them pumped up
hard. Don't wear clothes that flap in the breeze. Use a seat pack or
rack bag rather than panniers. I reckon this will make at least as much
difference as spending loads on a new bike - it doesn't sound as if
there's anything wrong with the one you have as a hack/commuter.
 
J

Jim

Guest
> Get some good thermal tights. Fit decent tyres and keep them pumped up
> hard. Don't wear clothes that flap in the breeze. Use a seat pack or
> rack bag rather than panniers. I reckon this will make at least as much
> difference as spending loads on a new bike - it doesn't sound as if
> there's anything wrong with the one you have as a hack/commuter.


Thanks Rob. Maybe I will go for the tights. I often find cycling at this
time of year that my top-half gets really hot, and to compensate I pull up
my leggings to just below my knees to try to cool down. I wear a pair of
cycling shorts, with a pair of ron-hill bikesters over them. But maybe my
thighs still aren't warm enough despite that.

Problem with the luggage issue is that if I ride to work, I need to take
trousers and a shirt, a tool kit, puncture stuff, spare inner tube, mini
pump, spare batteries in case my lights conk out. Maybe I can rationalise,
and cut down on the weight.

Thanks again

Jim
 
R

Rob Morley

Guest
In article <[email protected]>
Jim <[email protected]> wrote:
> > Get some good thermal tights. Fit decent tyres and keep them pumped up
> > hard. Don't wear clothes that flap in the breeze. Use a seat pack or
> > rack bag rather than panniers. I reckon this will make at least as much
> > difference as spending loads on a new bike - it doesn't sound as if
> > there's anything wrong with the one you have as a hack/commuter.

>
> Thanks Rob. Maybe I will go for the tights. I often find cycling at this
> time of year that my top-half gets really hot, and to compensate I pull up
> my leggings to just below my knees to try to cool down. I wear a pair of
> cycling shorts, with a pair of ron-hill bikesters over them. But maybe my
> thighs still aren't warm enough despite that.
>

I tend to overheat really easily, but like to keep my legs toasty
because of dodgy knees - I found a chest protector (synthetic chamois
bib type thing) useful because it keeps the chill off your chest but
lets you wear a light jersey so you still lose plenty of heat through
your back.
 
S

Steve Watkin

Guest
I suspect that you don't NEED to get a new bike, because it really won't
make any significant difference to your travel times.
But you may well WANT a new bike and although it won't make any difference
to the journey time it can do wonders for the morale!!

SW
 
D

Duncan Smith

Guest
This topic was raised at the cafe stop on last weeks club run. The
guys thought not all that much - a good carbon frameset maybe worth a
minute on an hours time trial. The senior members are keen to point
out that the times they set back in 60s would still qualify them in
good sted amongst today's riders.

I used to have an old Raleigh that was 531 and seemed pretty light to
me. My current old duffer is 501 and that weighs about the same as a
small tank.

Good thing about the old bikes is that they just keep going - a
re-spray every 10-15 years or so. It seems to me that it's accepted
that expensive bikes are more often replaced. I haven't had my
aluminium frameset long, but am told that 5 years may be all it will
last. You can bend a steel frame back - no such luck if you have a bad
off with a carbon frame.

Other good thing about old bikes is they tend to have acres of
clearance around the crown for fenders and wide tyres. I can only
squeeze 28mm width tyres on my new bike during the winter (doesn't look
like it leaves enough room for fender either) - but the old will take
32 - 35 no problem.

That said, weight is everything, and mod-cons like STI shifters are
nice to have. Just make sure you have the clearance for the fenders
and panniers. Plenty of road bikes do, a decent cross-bike might also
be worth considering?

Regards,

Duncan.

On Nov 25, 3:35 pm, "Jim" <[email protected]> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> the bike I use at the moment is an old Peugeot, pale green effort with
> Reynolds 531 tubing, and is probably at least 20 years old. I use it mainly
> for commuting to work - generally that's a 45 mile round trip twice a week,
> from Middlewich to Chester and back...
>
> It has mudguards, and a pannier rack, and a big far pannier with tools,
> coats, pump, etc. in it. It's not really very light at all when the pannier
> is loaded on.
>
> In the summer, when I was in shape (for me) I was averaging about 16 to 17
> mph on the 22ish mile trip to work, and the same back. At the moment, with
> cold legs, my average has dropped to about 14 or 15 mph.
>
> My bike is really out of date, still has the old screw-thread freewheel, old
> fashioned frame mounted gear changers, side-pull old brakes, clunky
> handlebars etc. I've been really into cycling since about 1989, and have
> always used pretty basic bikes.
>
> I'd really be intruiged to see how much of a difference to my average speeds
> it'd make to use a really decent, light, modern bike.
>
> Does anyone have any experience of whether moving to a better bike can make
> much of an impact on performance?
>
> Thanks!
>
> Jim
> --------------http://jimpix.co.uk/words/cycling.asp
> If you have any more suggestions about what's so good about cycling, feel
> free to contact me via the site to improve this article...
 
J

Jim

Guest
Thanks - sounds like getting a better bike won't really improve performance
that much.

I should've known it really - I remember reading a couple of summers back
about a cycle club doing a fun time trial by getting its members to do the
10 mile TT on a Raleigh Grifter, and those people could still completely
demolish any time I could do on my bike...
 
On Sat, 25 Nov 2006 15:56:00 -0000, "Jim"
<[email protected]> wrote:

>> Get some good thermal tights. Fit decent tyres and keep them pumped up
>> hard. Don't wear clothes that flap in the breeze. Use a seat pack or
>> rack bag rather than panniers. I reckon this will make at least as much
>> difference as spending loads on a new bike - it doesn't sound as if
>> there's anything wrong with the one you have as a hack/commuter.

>
>Thanks Rob. Maybe I will go for the tights. I often find cycling at this
>time of year that my top-half gets really hot, and to compensate I pull up
>my leggings to just below my knees to try to cool down. I wear a pair of
>cycling shorts, with a pair of ron-hill bikesters over them. But maybe my
>thighs still aren't warm enough despite that.
>
>Problem with the luggage issue is that if I ride to work, I need to take
>trousers and a shirt, a tool kit, puncture stuff, spare inner tube, mini
>pump, spare batteries in case my lights conk out. Maybe I can rationalise,
>and cut down on the weight.


Just drive to work one day a week, or every ten days and take one small
airline bag size suitcase with five to ten days worth of clothing.

Try keeping a toolkit, spare inner tube and batteries at work and not carry
those every ride. It's unlikely that you'd have a problem that you couldn't
just tolerate until you get to work or home if it happens on the way home.
If you're riding in the dark you should have a back up light on your bike
anyway.

Keep the puncture stuff and patch kit with you. Bring a cell phone and for
mechanical emergencies you can take a cab, putting the bike in the trunk.
Seriously, unless you frequently get bad punctures on that route, it's
pretty safe to ride 20 miles with very few supplies.



>Thanks again
>
>Jim
>
 
N

Nick Kew

Guest
On Sat, 25 Nov 2006 15:35:14 -0000
"Jim" <[email protected]spammers-central.spam> wrote:

> Hi,
>
> the bike I use at the moment is an old Peugeot, pale green effort with
> Reynolds 531 tubing, and is probably at least 20 years old. I use it
> mainly for commuting to work - generally that's a 45 mile round trip
> twice a week, from Middlewich to Chester and back...


I bought a Peugeot tourer when I was in Germany in 1985[1]. It proved
to be a very nice bike, and is the one I've done the majority of my
touring on, from CTC club rides to cyclecamping across Europe.
Alas it is no more. But if yours is similar to that, you already
have a decent bike.

A training/racing bike may induce you to go faster, due to the
different geometry, and things like tyres and no-mudguards will
have a marginal effect. I wouldn't want to sacrifice the ability
to carry a pannier myself, but YMMV.

[1] I went out there intending to bring my bike over once I'd found
somewhere to live. The company employing me at the time had said
my place of work was easily accessible on the U-bahn. But when
I arrived, I found the U-bahn station to be under construction,
with an opening date about a year later, so I needed a new bike
in a hurry!

--
Nick Kew

Application Development with Apache - the Apache Modules Book
http://www.apachetutor.org/
 
M

mr p

Guest
Jim wrote:
> Hi,
>
> the bike I use at the moment is an old Peugeot, pale green effort with
> Reynolds 531 tubing,


I found a mountain bike that had been dumped in a bush, that has 531
tubing and seems reasonably light compated to my Ally. one.. although
it doesn't have suspension.. the carbon forks on my felt bike give a
lovely comfortable ride though. Just think of how much money you're
saving on petrol anyway, and look at what you get for you money these
day, I wish I could cycle to work !

Simon
 
S

Simon Brooke

Guest
in message <[email protected]>, Jim
('[email protected]') wrote:

> Hi,
>
> the bike I use at the moment is an old Peugeot, pale green effort with
> Reynolds 531 tubing, and is probably at least 20 years old. I use it
> mainly for commuting to work - generally that's a 45 mile round trip
> twice a week, from Middlewich to Chester and back...
>
> It has mudguards, and a pannier rack, and a big far pannier with tools,
> coats, pump, etc. in it. It's not really very light at all when the
> pannier is loaded on.
>
> In the summer, when I was in shape (for me) I was averaging about 16 to
> 17 mph on the 22ish mile trip to work, and the same back. At the moment,
> with cold legs, my average has dropped to about 14 or 15 mph.
>
> My bike is really out of date, still has the old screw-thread freewheel,
> old fashioned frame mounted gear changers, side-pull old brakes, clunky
> handlebars etc. I've been really into cycling since about 1989, and have
> always used pretty basic bikes.
>
> I'd really be intruiged to see how much of a difference to my average
> speeds it'd make to use a really decent, light, modern bike.


OK, I really love my carbon fibre Dolan with it's ultra light wheels and
state-of-the-art transmission, but I'm going to say... not a lot.

If you stripped all the extraneous junk off your bike, a 531 frame probably
weighs in around 2 - 2.5 Kg, as opposed to 1.3Kg for mine. Your wheels are
probably a little heavier, your chainset probably a little heavier; the
rest, probably much the same. My Dolan weighs about 8.5Kg; yours probably
doesn't weigh more than llKg. Now, OK, I'm the first person to say that
it's good to get weight off a bike, and it is, particularly in hilly
country. But 2.5Kg is not a lot in the general scheme of things. Your
bearings are probably as good as mine (and if they aren't, you could
certainly upgrade them to as good as mine); providing your chain and rear
mech are clean, your transmission is as efficient as mine.

There would be a difference, but except in hilly country I'd honestly be
surprised if it was as much as 1%.

Brakes are better now; gear changers are better now. Frames are lighter,
and carbon fibre is lovely material. But a good twenty-year-old bike is
still a good bike.

As an aside I this year upgraded my fifteen-year-old Raleigh to modern kit;
it still weighs 11Kg and it isn't nearly as nice as my Dolan - but then it
wasn't a great bike to start with, and, being a steel bike, it's likely to
outlast the Dolan. It isn't desperately hard to upgrade an old bike, and
if I had a decent 531S frame I'd definitely upgrade it.

--
[email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

;; I'd rather live in sybar-space
 
R

Rob Morley

Guest
In article <[email protected]>
Jim <[email protected]> wrote:
> Thanks - sounds like getting a better bike won't really improve performance
> that much.
>
> I should've known it really - I remember reading a couple of summers back
> about a cycle club doing a fun time trial by getting its members to do the
> 10 mile TT on a Raleigh Grifter, and those people could still completely
> demolish any time I could do on my bike...
>
>

That I find harder to believe - any bike with half-decent tyres that
fits you will do a reasonable job, but a Grifter?
 
R

Rob Morley

Guest
In article <[email protected]>
<[email protected]> wrote:
<snip>
> Try keeping a toolkit, spare inner tube and batteries at work and not carry
> those every ride. It's unlikely that you'd have a problem that you couldn't
> just tolerate until you get to work or home if it happens on the way home.
> If you're riding in the dark you should have a back up light on your bike
> anyway.
>
> Keep the puncture stuff and patch kit with you. Bring a cell phone and for
> mechanical emergencies you can take a cab, putting the bike in the trunk.
> Seriously, unless you frequently get bad punctures on that route, it's
> pretty safe to ride 20 miles with very few supplies.
>
>

A spare tube is for emergencies, not a puncture kit - would you rather
change a tube or patch a puncture when it's cold, dark and wet, you're
stuck at the side of a busy road and you have to be somewhere in fifteen
minutes?
 
R

Rob Morley

Guest
In article <[email protected]>
mr p <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> Jim wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > the bike I use at the moment is an old Peugeot, pale green effort with
> > Reynolds 531 tubing,

>
> I found a mountain bike that had been dumped in a bush, that has 531
> tubing and seems reasonably light compated to my Ally. one


Don't you think the owner would like it back?
 
P

Pete Biggs

Guest
Jim wrote:
> Thanks - sounds like getting a better bike won't really improve
> performance that much.


It will improve performance (and enjoyment) quite a lot, but only if you
carry less weight in luggage as well, then your average speeds will increase
by 2mph.

You can still carry plenty of items for emergencies, but get a small light
version of each item.

~PB
 
M

mr p

Guest
Rob Morley wrote:
> In article <[email protected]>
> mr p <[email protected]> wrote:
> >
> > Jim wrote:
> > > Hi,
> > >
> > > the bike I use at the moment is an old Peugeot, pale green effort with
> > > Reynolds 531 tubing,

> >
> > I found a mountain bike that had been dumped in a bush, that has 531
> > tubing and seems reasonably light compated to my Ally. one

>
> Don't you think the owner would like it back?


possibly...
 
M

Mark Thompson

Guest
>> Keep the puncture stuff and patch kit with you <snippity>

> A spare tube is for emergencies, not a puncture kit - would you rather
> change a tube or patch a puncture when it's cold, dark and wet, you're
> stuck at the side of a busy road and you have to be somewhere in
> fifteen minutes?


Tho you forgot to point out: Take both!
 
M

Mark Thompson

Guest
> I'd really be intruiged to see how much of a difference to my average
> speeds it'd make to use a really decent, light, modern bike.
>
> Does anyone have any experience of whether moving to a better bike can
> make much of an impact on performance?


STIs are nice with a capital N, tho the difference is more one of better
control when changing gear, easier gear changes, quicker gear changes etc.
The effect on journey times is miniscule. Add in clipless pedals and you
really notice the difference in acceleration thobut - you can really put
the power down and always be in the optimum gear.
 
T

Tony Raven

Guest
Mark Thompson wrote on 26/11/2006 13:30 +0100:
>
> STIs are nice with a capital N, tho the difference is more one of better
> control when changing gear, easier gear changes, quicker gear changes etc.
> The effect on journey times is miniscule.


I would disagree. On my bikes with STI I change gear a lot more to keep
the optimum cadence whereas on the ones with downtube shifters I tend to
change when I have to rather than when I would like to. Hill climbing
is a good example where I will snick down through the gears sequentially
as I start the climb with STI whereas with down tube shifters I will
tend to put it straight into the likely climbing gear from the
beginning. The latter is definitely a slower climb.


--
Tony

"Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using
his intelligence; he is just using his memory."
- Leonardo da Vinci
 
D

DavidR

Guest
"Jim" <[email protected]> wrote
>
> Does anyone have any experience of whether moving to a better bike can
> make
> much of an impact on performance?


Only that my ally bike won't *let* me go slowly. That is one characteristic
of a thoroughbred. But at top whack I can't actually push it along any
faster than a 501 bike.