What improves the efficiency of a bicycle?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Neil, Jun 6, 2003.

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  1. Neil

    Neil Guest

    I currently ride a mountain bike and I am just over 60 years old and have only been riding a bike
    for the last 2 years. I am interested in moving to a hybrid bike as I am finding that it is getting
    more difficult to increase the distance that I ride in one session. Last month I did a 90 km ride
    and about 20 km of this ride was in a fairly hilly area. My aim is to do a 100 km ride and perhaps
    later go to the 100 miles. I would like to know what things improve the efficiency of a bike and
    which of these has the greatest bearing on improving the efficiency. For example I realise that
    weight of bike, position of the cyclist when riding, tyre width, wheel diameter, etc all affect the
    efficiency. What would have the greatest influence on the efficiency and in approximate order of
    importance. Perhaps someone could direct me to an article on the web that would answer this
    question. Neil
     
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  2. neil-<< What would have the greatest influence on the efficiency and in approximate order of
    importance .

    Bike fit is first, the others a pretty distant second.

    Peter Chisholm Vecchio's Bicicletteria 1833 Pearl St. Boulder, CO, 80302
    (303)440-3535 http://www.vecchios.com "Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"
     
  3. Neil: Unless body flexibility is a problem, why not a "road" bike instead of a hibrid. I'm 66 and
    have road bikes and mountain bikes.

    As you start increasing your speed, Drag is a big factor and you are in a more aerodynamic position
    on a road bike. The hybrid has a more upright position.

    charlie On Fri, 6 Jun 2003 21:47:13 +1000, "Neil" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I currently ride a mountain bike and I am just over 60 years old and have only been riding a bike
    >for the last 2 years. I am interested in moving to a hybrid bike as I am finding that it is getting
    >more difficult to increase the distance that I ride in one session.
    Member Help Community Leader
     
  4. Ronald

    Ronald Guest

    > Perhaps someone could direct me to an article on the web that would answer this question.

    http://www.analyticcycling.com/ has some good info on this

    "Neil" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I currently ride a mountain bike and I am just over 60 years old and have only been riding a bike
    > for the last 2 years. I am interested in moving to
    a
    > hybrid bike as I am finding that it is getting more difficult to increase the distance that I ride
    > in one session. Last month I did a 90 km ride and about 20 km of this ride was in a fairly hilly
    > area. My aim is to do a
    100
    > km ride and perhaps later go to the 100 miles. I would like to know what things improve the
    > efficiency of a bike and which of these has the
    greatest
    > bearing on improving the efficiency. For example I realise that weight of bike, position of the
    > cyclist when riding, tyre width, wheel diameter, etc all affect the efficiency. What would have
    > the greatest influence on the efficiency and in approximate
    order
    > of importance. Perhaps someone could direct me to an article on the web
    that
    > would answer this question. Neil
    >
     
  5. Ajames54

    Ajames54 Guest

    On 06 Jun 2003 12:07:45 GMT, [email protected] (Qui si parla Campagnolo) wrote:

    >neil-<< What would have the greatest influence on the efficiency and in approximate order of
    >importance .
    >
    >Bike fit is first, the others a pretty distant second.
    >
    >
    >Peter Chisholm Vecchio's Bicicletteria 1833 Pearl St. Boulder, CO, 80302
    >(303)440-3535 http://www.vecchios.com "Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"

    after fit ...

    High(er) pressure "slick" tyres.. -Tioga City Slickers -Specialized Fat Boy -Continental Goliath
    -Ritchy Tom Slick

    Toe clips or Clipless pedals (but be careful of knee strain)

    In my opinion (zero actual evidence) Hybrid bikes have always seemed less efficient than
    Mountain bikes..
     
  6. Mike S.

    Mike S. Guest

    > Neil: Unless body flexibility is a problem, why not a "road" bike instead of a hibrid. I'm 66 and
    > have road bikes and mountain bikes.
    >
    > As you start increasing your speed, Drag is a big factor and you are in a more aerodynamic
    > position on a road bike. The hybrid has a more upright position.
    >
    > charlie

    For longer rides, having the multiple positions of a road bike is much better than the one (two with
    bar ends) position of a hybrid.

    Mike
     
  7. Ron Hardin

    Ron Hardin Guest

    Wind resistance (the more stooped over the better, but the more unpleasant), and tires (the thinner
    and harder and more expensive the better, but the more flats).

    Weight doesn't matter much.

    However, good pacing lets you do infinite distance on any bike. A fat-tire upright bike takes
    longer, is all.

    The workout you get doesn't depend on efficiency at all but you might like going faster and farther
    at the same rate of work.

    If it's _time on the bike_ that does you in, that is, comfort, that's another matter. Get a saddle
    that fits you right and make sure it's the right distance from the pedals; experiment. A longer seat
    post might help if the frame is too small otherwise.
    --
    Ron Hardin [email protected]

    On the internet, nobody knows you're a jerk.
     
  8. In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...

    >I currently ride a mountain bike and I am just over 60 years old and have only been riding a bike
    >for the last 2 years. I am interested in moving to a hybrid bike as I am finding that it is getting
    >more difficult to increase the distance that I ride in one session. Last month I did a 90 km ride
    >and about 20 km of this ride was in a fairly hilly area. My aim is to do a 100 km ride and perhaps
    >later go to the 100 miles. I would like to know what things improve the efficiency of a bike and
    >which of these has the greatest bearing on improving the efficiency. For example I realise that
    >weight of bike, position of the cyclist when riding, tyre width, wheel diameter, etc all affect the
    >efficiency. What would have the greatest influence on the efficiency and in approximate order of
    >importance. Perhaps someone could direct me to an article on the web that would answer this
    >question.

    The first thing to do is to switch wide knobby tires to skinny slick tires. Keep in mind that when
    you switch tires, you might end up with an uncomfortable ride since you will have to pump up the
    skinny tires to a much higher pressures than you did with the knobby tires. After the tires I would
    look at my position on the bike. A lower position on the bike will be more efficient, assuming you
    can get comfortable in the new position.
    -----------------
    Alex __O _-\<,_ (_)/ (_)
     
  9. Mike S. <[email protected]> schreef in berichtnieuws [email protected]
    >
    > > Neil: Unless body flexibility is a problem, why not a "road" bike instead of a hibrid. I'm 66
    > > and have road bikes and mountain bikes.
    > >
    > > As you start increasing your speed, Drag is a big factor and you are in a more aerodynamic
    > > position on a road bike. The hybrid has a more upright position.
    > >
    > > charlie
    >
    > For longer rides, having the multiple positions of a road bike is much better than the one (two
    > with bar ends) position of a hybrid.

    Modern road bikes come with brake/shifter handles often more than E 100,- more expensive than their
    flat-bar counterparts. This gives the customer a brake lever(s)he's not used to and might not like.
    If the customer never uses the drops, because (s)he does not want to bend so deep, the number of
    positions of positions on a drop bar are just as limited as on a flat bar, and even more limited
    than on a multiposition handlebar, which has nice foam grip as a standard bonus. A drop bar also
    forces a person to put the hands close to the rotating point in an upright position, which makes
    steering more difficult, especially if you're used to the wide handlebar of a mountainbike. Also,
    not everyone likes having to bend forward in a descent; a flat bar increases drag and makes coasting
    feel safer, or just plain safer period.

    It bothers me that while 'bike fit' is always mentioned as the most important factor in choosing a
    bike, few people consider handlebar fit to be anything beyond the width of a drop bar. Sometimes, a
    flat handlebar is the best solution, in spite of the fact that it does not give the most aerodynamic
    position. A multiposition handlebar also gives a lot of variation, without having to bend forward. A
    road bike is not 'better' than a hybrid or 'fittness bike'.

    Jonathan.
     
  10. The best way to squeeze the most efficiency out of a bike is to be sure it fits the rider as best as
    possible. There are many sources that tell how to do this (I have a basic guide on my site), But the
    best way is hands on with a good LBS that knows how.

    Next is aerodynamics. Any where from 60-80 percent of the energy you put into the pedals is spent
    pushing air out of the way. This is the main reason for the dropped bars, Less effort required to go
    the same speed.

    Making sure the bike is in top running condition is third. If something isn't working correctly, it
    could sap energy from the rider's efforts.

    May you have the wind at your back. And a really low gear for the hills! Chris

    Chris'Z Corner "The Website for the Common Bicyclist": http://www.geocities.com/czcorner
     
  11. g19glock1

    g19glock1 New Member

    Joined:
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    Neil, I am 52 been riding for a couple of years like you. Could easily get to 50 miles but durring that time my hands would go to sleep, (I was riding a Giant Cross Trainer), my butt ached, felt like I had a cob up it, my knees hurt, and while I loved biking and endured the discomfort, was not happ with my situation.

    I decided that I had to do something drastically different if I was to keep riding with the regularity that I wanted to. I ride approximately 20 to 50 miles per day, whenever the weather permits. I started looking at my options and finally settled the issue with a recumbent. NO MORE PAIN OR DISCOMFORT WHATEVER.

    You should take a gander at the recumbent thread in this forum. You will be suprised. I don't know why I resisted so long. I did my first century ride two weeks ago, 109 miles, 5 hours and 40 minutes riding time, 6 hours and 10 minutes elapsed time. I got off the bike feeling refreshed, yet still got a great workout.

    I chose a RANS bike: www.rans.com

    Anyway, just thought you might like to hear a different viewpoint.

    A Mighty Happy Rider Now!:D
     
  12. x

    x Guest

    RE/
    >when riding, tyre width, wheel diameter, etc all affect the efficiency. What would have the
    >greatest influence on the efficiency and in approximate order

    I've found about a 20% diff between fat tires (WTB Mutano Raptors at 40-45 psi) and narow slicks
    (1.25", 90 psi). It's not very precise, but it's the same bike, just different tires riding a
    (really boring...) long paves straightaway an noting my maximum sustainable crusing speed. This is
    over maybe a half-dozen trials of each for 20 miles at a time.

    I can't put a number on it, but for road riding, my hardtail definately goes faster longer with the
    same energy. Probably true for off-road too, but for me the pounding outweighs it.

    Bottom line, I'd put money on the hardtail with 90 psi slicks being a good 25% more efficient than
    my full sus w/the fat tires.
    -----------------------
    PeteCresswell
     
  13. Paul Kopit

    Paul Kopit Guest

    On Fri, 6 Jun 2003 21:47:13 +1000, "Neil" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I currently ride a mountain bike and I am just over 60 years old and have only been riding a bike
    >for the last 2 years. I am interested in moving to a hybrid bike as I am finding that it is getting
    >more difficult to increase the distance that I ride in one session.

    A bicycle is a pretty efficient device and the weight of it is not a limiting factor in going far
    unless the package, including the rider is heavy. You just need to get tires that roll well. Getting
    up to a 700c tire with a width of 700x25 or 700x28 should be fine. I assume that you are turned off
    by turned down bars. If you aren't getting a road bicycle or touring model is also a good choice.
    Forget the distance and enjoy your riding time. Sixty years old is not much. I do my my distance
    rides on a regular road bike <http://www.caltriplecrown.com/Fame.htm#PK
     
  14. Billcotton

    Billcotton Guest

    You asked about improving the efficiency of a bicycle, I agree with most poster that said that road
    bicycle with drop handlebar, narrow tires and a proper fit is the most efficiency. I also feel that
    the body and muscle development is important, and takes time. I have rode a touring bicycle for 35
    years, last year I acquired a road bicycle also. The weight is about half 21 vs. 40 pounds I still
    use the touring bicycle with rain gear, and spare parts on my long trips. On the touring bicycle I
    celebrated my 69th birthday by riding 227 miles in 22 hours, from Philadelphia PA to Cape May NJ.
    http://www.billcotton.com/ Last year I celebrated my 70th birthday by riding 340 miles in 40 hours.
    much of it in rain. Next week, for my 71st birthday, I will extend the route to 400 miles in 40
    hours, by riding west from Philadelphia and meet the BicyclePA "L" route, ride it south to the
    Delaware state line and the Delaware Bicycle Route 1 and Follow Bicycle Route 1 to Ocean highway to
    Ocean City Maryland. Cues are on my web pages. I have done four 100 miles century this year, alone
    at my pace, 11 to 12 miles per hour, from 2000 to 7000 feet of elevation gain. When I ride at my
    pace, I can go for ever and not get tired, I rode a hilly 50 miles 13 to 15 mph level with our club
    earlier this season and I was sore for a while. "Neil" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I currently ride a mountain bike and I am just over 60 years old and have only been riding a bike
    > for the last 2 years. I am interested in moving to
    a
    > hybrid bike as I am finding that it is getting more difficult to increase the distance that I ride
    > in one session. Last month I did a 90 km ride and about 20 km of this ride was in a fairly hilly
    > area. My aim is to do a
    100
    > km ride and perhaps later go to the 100 miles. I would like to know what things improve the
    > efficiency of a bike and which of these has the
    greatest
    > bearing on improving the efficiency. For example I realise that weight of bike, position of the
    > cyclist when riding, tyre width, wheel diameter, etc all affect the efficiency. What would have
    > the greatest influence on the efficiency and in approximate
    order
    > of importance. Perhaps someone could direct me to an article on the web
    that
    > would answer this question. Neil
    --
    // Bill Cotton: Latitude N40° 03.756' W75° 06.192' / / Phone 215 663-8363 Data 215 663-8364 //
    [email protected] [email protected] // [email protected] [email protected] //
    www.billcotton.com
     
  15. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "Neil" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I currently ride a mountain bike and I am just over 60 years old and have only been riding a bike
    > for the last 2 years.

    why mention age, what do you think that has to do with it?

    > I am interested in moving to a hybrid bike as I am finding that it is getting more difficult to
    > increase the distance that I ride in one session.

    A new bike isn't the solution, more riding is.

    > Last month I did a 90 km ride and about 20 km of this ride was in a fairly hilly area. My aim is
    > to do a 100 km ride and perhaps later go to the 100 miles.

    > I would like to know what things improve the efficiency of a bike and which of these has the
    > greatest bearing on improving the efficiency.

    Aerodynamic drag, tire losses, drivetrain losses.

    Aerodynamic drag losses go up as the cube of speed, so they dominate when you go fast. Tire losses
    go up with speed directly, so which loss dominates is a matter of how fast you're going and how
    lossy your tires are. Usually, it's aerodynamics, by far.

    Tire losses are proportional to the thickness, amount, and degree of bending in a tire. This is
    determined by tread, tube, and sidewall thickness, width, and inflation pressure.

    Drivetrain losses are pretty fixed, but small, dirty/rusty/worn chains can increase them.

    http://www.faqs.org/faqs/bicycles-faq/part1/preamble.html

    http://www.analyticcycling.com/
     
  16. x

    x Guest

    RE/
    >why mention age, what do you think that has to do with it?

    Sixty is just a fond memory for me. Thinking back on my riding when I was in my twenties and
    thirties, I'd say that age has a significant role.

    The body gets stiffer (everywhere but...) and aero positioning that made sense at an earlier age
    doesn't make so much sense anymore.

    There's more, but I'll leave it at that....
    -----------------------
    PeteCresswell
     
  17. Ron Hardin

    Ron Hardin Guest

    Peter Cole wrote:
    > Aerodynamic drag losses go up as the cube of speed, so they dominate when you go fast. Tire losses
    > go up with speed directly, so which loss dominates is a matter of how fast you're going and how
    > lossy your tires are. Usually, it's aerodynamics, by far.
    >
    > Tire losses are proportional to the thickness, amount, and degree of bending in a tire. This is
    > determined by tread, tube, and sidewall thickness, width, and inflation pressure.
    >
    > Drivetrain losses are pretty fixed, but small, dirty/rusty/worn chains can increase them.

    Aerodynamic losses go as the square of the speed; tire losses are independent of speed. _power_
    multiplies in additional factor of speed, but for a fixed distance power doesn't matter, only total
    work, which just multiplies by the distance (force times distance equals work).

    Your additional factor of ``speed'' comes from division by the time for the trip, not from an
    actual speed, so to speak. Work for the trip divided by time for the trip equals average power
    for the trip.

    A loss is in additional work, not additional power.
    --
    Ron Hardin [email protected]

    On the internet, nobody knows you're a jerk.
     
  18. Ron Hardin

    Ron Hardin Guest

    Ron Hardin wrote:
    > tire losses are independent of speed. _power_ multiplies in additional factor of speed,

    One amusing consequence of tire losses increasing directly with speed would be that above a certain
    speed, you could go faster by locking up wheel with the brakes and skidding. It sounds like a safety
    violation here.
    --
    Ron Hardin [email protected]

    On the internet, nobody knows you're a jerk.
     
  19. Jim Quinn

    Jim Quinn Guest

    "Jonathan v.d. Sluis" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Mike S. <[email protected]> schreef in berichtnieuws [email protected]

    > Modern road bikes come with brake/shifter handles often more than E 100,- more expensive than
    > their flat-bar counterparts. This gives the customer a brake lever(s)he's not used to and might
    > not like. If the customer never uses the drops, because (s)he does not want to bend so deep, the
    > number of positions of positions on a drop bar are just as limited as on a flat bar, and even more
    > limited than on a multiposition handlebar, which has nice
    foam
    > grip as a standard bonus. A drop bar also forces a person to put the hands close to the rotating
    > point in an upright position, which makes steering more difficult, especially if you're used to
    > the wide handlebar of a mountainbike. Also, not everyone likes having to bend forward in a
    descent;
    > a flat bar increases drag and makes coasting feel safer, or just plain
    safer
    > period.
    >
    > It bothers me that while 'bike fit' is always mentioned as the most important factor in choosing a
    > bike, few people consider handlebar fit to
    be
    > anything beyond the width of a drop bar. Sometimes, a flat handlebar is
    the
    > best solution, in spite of the fact that it does not give the most aerodynamic position. A
    > multiposition handlebar also gives a lot of variation, without having to bend forward. A road bike
    > is not 'better'
    than
    > a hybrid or 'fittness bike'.
    >
    > Jonathan.
    >
    Jonathan you must be on drugs to come up with this BS. I own six bikes from a road bicycle to a
    mountain bicycle and everything in between. There is simply no compairing a road bike to a mountain
    bike in efficiency. To use a car analogy a road bike is like driving a Ferrari and a mountain bike
    is like driving a four wheel drive truck. Road bikes are designed for traveling long distances
    quickly while mountain bikes are designed for off road use. People that ride mountain bikes on the
    road aren't using the best tool for the job. I can easily travel 2 to 3 mph faster on a road bike
    than on a mountain bike.

    You could fit a road bike with a straight handle bar but once again why would you want to. The
    straight bar means that you are going to be catching a lot more air when riding and is not any more
    confortable than drop bars once you get used to them. Most road races are 60 miles long or more with
    the pros doing 120 miles or longer. Contrast this with mountain bike races and I think you start to
    wonder why some people think road bikes are uncomfortabe compared to mountain bikes.
     
  20. Bfd

    Bfd Guest

    I think Jonathan's problem is one of fitting. First, he complaints about "having to bend forward" to
    use a drop bar. Well, If his bars are too low, he will bend forward. What it sounds like is Jonathan
    needs to *raise* his handlebars to get a more comfortable position.

    As for flat bars being better than *multiposition* bars, it sounds as if Jonathan does ride very
    far. If he rode say 50+mile rides, he would know the superiority of having *multiposition* -
    allows you to move your hands around. Flat bars keep your hands in one position, not very good on
    long rides.

    I recommend Jonathan read the following:

    http://www.rivbike.com/html/101_dropbars.html http://www.rivbike.com/html/rr_comfposition.html
    http://www.rivbike.com/html/bikes_framesize.html http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm and
    finally: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frames/

    "Jim Quinn" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Jonathan v.d. Sluis" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > Mike S. <[email protected]> schreef in berichtnieuws [email protected]
    >
    > > Modern road bikes come with brake/shifter handles often more than E
    100,-
    > > more expensive than their flat-bar counterparts. This gives the customer
    a
    > > brake lever(s)he's not used to and might not like. If the customer never uses the drops, because
    > > (s)he does not want to bend so deep, the number
    of
    > > positions of positions on a drop bar are just as limited as on a flat
    bar,
    > > and even more limited than on a multiposition handlebar, which has nice
    > foam
    > > grip as a standard bonus. A drop bar also forces a person to put the
    hands
    > > close to the rotating point in an upright position, which makes steering more difficult,
    > > especially if you're used to the wide handlebar of a mountainbike. Also, not everyone likes
    > > having to bend forward in a
    > descent;
    > > a flat bar increases drag and makes coasting feel safer, or just plain
    > safer
    > > period.
    > >
    > > It bothers me that while 'bike fit' is always mentioned as the most important factor in choosing
    > > a bike, few people consider handlebar fit
    to
    > be
    > > anything beyond the width of a drop bar. Sometimes, a flat handlebar is
    > the
    > > best solution, in spite of the fact that it does not give the most aerodynamic position. A
    > > multiposition handlebar also gives a lot of variation, without having to bend forward. A road
    > > bike is not 'better'
    > than
    > > a hybrid or 'fittness bike'.
    > >
    > > Jonathan.
    > >
    > Jonathan you must be on drugs to come up with this BS. I own six bikes
    from
    > a road bicycle to a mountain bicycle and everything in between. There is simply no compairing a
    > road bike to a mountain bike in efficiency. To use
    a
    > car analogy a road bike is like driving a Ferrari and a mountain bike is like driving a four wheel
    > drive truck. Road bikes are designed for traveling long distances quickly while mountain bikes are
    > designed for off road use. People that ride mountain bikes on the road aren't using the
    best
    > tool for the job. I can easily travel 2 to 3 mph faster on a road bike
    than
    > on a mountain bike.
    >
    > You could fit a road bike with a straight handle bar but once again why would you want to. The
    > straight bar means that you are going to be
    catching
    > a lot more air when riding and is not any more confortable than drop bars once you get used to
    > them. Most road races are 60 miles long or more with the pros doing 120 miles or longer. Contrast
    > this with mountain bike
    races
    > and I think you start to wonder why some people think road bikes are uncomfortabe compared to
    > mountain bikes.
     
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