Weight weenies vs watt weenies...

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.

Moderator: robbosmans

ichobi
Posts: 1425
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:30 pm

by ichobi

I think the kind of comparison we make here can be a bit silly at times.

If we compare an aero frame vs an aero frame, the difference would be miniscule.
If we compare 'all things being equal' except the frame or the wheels (take your pick), or the tires - the differences will also look tiny.

The kind of test that ends up quite meaningful is the kind of GCN test, I have come to this conclusion recently. They dont comapre part vs part, they compare thematically different bike and what kind of difference in watts/ speed you can get. (Like retro bike vs modern aero bike, or the other one that's quite good - a pro tour vintage TT bike vs modern aero road bike).

I was also so focused on comparing parts vs parts, like most of us here we probably have almost all the gears we need so our focus is in contemplating the swap of certain parts and hope to justify that it yields some benefit for us. In truth, it won't be much.

But if you stack the gain, compared to the lets say middle level bike / price. The gain can be felt. Whether that 5 or 20 watts gain is worth it (both time / money / effort) is for an individual to judge. For me, I like having a fast bike so I go ham on some of the builds.

For example, I used to run a Tarmac SL6 ultralight rim brake. A pretty decent frame but not designed to be all out aero.

- I used one piece bar stem combo in aero shape
- Mid depth wheels
- Light oil instead of lubes on all rolling parts
- S-Works turbo cotton tires with latex tube (reaching almost TT level RR).
- Good fitting clothe, good position.
- Well routed, in line with the frame cables.

Riding with fast group at 42kph ++ I can hold speed pretty well. I can't do this comfortably with my mid range alu bike with box section wheels and slow tires. There are some 10-15 watts differences or more.

I think this is worth it. It feels good. It rides fast. Definitely not zero to hero, but pretty damn fast.

If i swap out everything on the sl6 to an alloy bike i am sure i will have most of the benefit of the sl6 build but that kind of change is for what? But this is exactly the change most of us here do. We are all here with heavily invested and researched gears so unless you stack some serious changes together at one go, which is highly unlikely to be possible, you wont see much. This is the kind of lens and point of view we use in these comparisons. Thats why we nullify claims, marketings and consider them not worth it because we are already quite stacked in terms of performance upgrade. It will take a generational upgrade to be meaningful anymore for the WW demography given the design restriction from the uci we have right now.
Last edited by ichobi on Sat Aug 13, 2022 2:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

by Weenie


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tarmackev
Posts: 671
Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2011 9:59 pm

by tarmackev

If there was a like button to the post above I'd hit it. :thumbup: :beerchug:

ichobi
Posts: 1425
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:30 pm

by ichobi

If I can go on tangent a bit, there are some data i want to show.

Context: I run a local (Thai) road cycling website / fanpage. It's pretty sizable, the largest in the country. I have around 50k visitors per month on the site and right now 65k followers on the fanpage with very high engagement. Each of our post reaches well beyond 15-20k readers. We also do mostly long form article not some flashy or meme type content. Due to the kind of content we make, it attracts mostly enthusiast / serious riders.

I recently made a survey for the audience's current bike (what they own) and the result may surprise you.

The sample size is around 800ish. Each one submitted the photos and spec of their bike and I spent days to create a massive table so I can visualize some values.

Don't be too critical about the visualization, I just made a quick one up from the table but you will get some general ideas. There are some redundant/ null data.

Here are some conclusions relevant to this discussion

1. 77% of the surveyed audience still ride bike with rim brake
2. 65% still ride bike with mehanical shifting
3. Most still ride tires at 25mm or narrower
4. When pruning through bike model / year - most still ride bikes about 2 generation behind. Think Tarmac SL5/6 (it's two generation because there is a Venge, then an SL7 beofre them).
5. The average value of most bike in the samples are around 3000-4000 USD all things considered. I didnt ask if they buy second hand or how they source their equipment, but they end up around this price.
6. Top of the line 10-15K usd bikes are VERY rare (think S-Works SL7 with decked out 12 speed groupset and 3500 +++ USD wheels), as they should be. Think just 2-5% of the surveyed bikes

Limitations
- Only Thai demographic, so only representative here and even then it doesn't represent much. But at least this is more than one anecdotal evidence.
CleanShot 2565-08-13 at 20.34.22.jpg
275290607_996347831292005_3885222772564319348_n.jpg
275374439_996706611256127_5127556242716699854_n.jpg
CleanShot 2565-08-13 at 20.40.59.jpg
group.jpg

What can we discuss from this data?

1. Most riders in this survey is about 2-3 generations behind from the latest / greatest 2022 bikes / gears. These are people who join local clubs, race ocassionally, watch the majority of UCI road races. Check up on all the latest gears/ trainings. Well educated with mostly minumum undergraduate degree and are in their late 20s - early 50s. (I did a behavioural survey before, separated to the bike).
2. If they do full stack upgrade (frame, cockpit, tires, wheels ) I think the difference in perceived speed (aero / rr) will be somewhat noticeable given the data point we have for the latest stuff, altho not significant given their bikes are mostly still racing-tier model. If they do partial upgrade, they won't see much. Groupset is a wash - it doesnt affect aero, just mostly weight and nice to have functions (wireless/ Di2)
3. Unless the bike in question is very heavy, or very old, the perceived 'wow factor' going from their bike to the best bike in the market right now, won't be much.
4. From all the test data we have, even 2-3 generation apart, the performance gap is not big when compared products of the same category, although noticeable in some area relatively speaking. (both gain and lost). You REALLY need to stack the performance and do your research for each parts to see a big accumulavtive gain.

What you get is nice (or not) to have feature - think wider tires support, integrated cable, disc brake, compatibility with newer wheels / tires / groupset i.e. future proof. Probably more weight. All very subjective and hotly debated.

However, what you can see here is that a.) not everyone ride top of the line 15k bike. b.) they dont upgrade as often as we like to think. WW is not representattive of any rider demography since this is arguably the most well educated in terms of bike parts and performance forum in the world.

calv1n
Posts: 109
Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:27 am

by calv1n

ichobi wrote:I think the kind of comparison we make here can be a bit silly at times.

If we compare an aero frame vs an aero frame, the difference would be miniscule.
If we compare 'all things being equal' except the frame or the wheels (take your pick), or the tires - the differences will also look tiny.

The kind of test that ends up quite meaningful is the kind of GCN test, I have come to this conclusion recently. They dont comapre part vs part, they compare thematically different bike and what kind of difference in watts/ speed you can get. (Like retro bike vs modern aero bike, or the other one that's quite good - a pro tour vintage TT bike vs modern aero road bike).

I was also so focused on comparing parts vs parts, like most of us here we probably have almost all the gears we need so our focus is in contemplating the swap of certain parts and hope to justify that it yields some benefit for us. In truth, it won't be much.

But if you stack the gain, compared to the lets say middle level bike / price. The gain can be felt. Whether that 5 or 20 watts gain is worth it (both time / money / effort) is for an individual to judge. For me, I like having a fast bike so I go ham on some of the builds.

For example, I used to run a Tarmac SL6 ultralight rim brake. A pretty decent frame but not designed to be all out aero.

- I used one piece bar stem combo in aero shape
- Mid depth wheels
- Light oil instead of lubes on all rolling parts
- S-Works turbo cotton tires with latex tube (reaching almost TT level RR).
- Good fitting clothe, good position.
- Well routed, in line with the frame cables.

Riding with fast group at 42kph ++ I can hold speed pretty well. I can't do this comfortably with my mid range alu bike with box section wheels and slow tires. There are some 10-15 watts differences or more.

I think this is worth it. It feels good. It rides fast. Definitely not zero to hero, but pretty damn fast.

If i swap out everything on the sl6 to an alloy bike i am sure i will have most of the benefit of the sl6 build but that kind of change is for what? But this is exactly the change most of us here do. We are all here with heavily invested and researched gears so unless you stack some serious changes together at one go, which is highly unlikely to be possible, you wont see much. This is the kind of lens and point of view we use in these comparisons. Thats why we nullify claims, marketings and consider them not worth it because we are already quite stacked in terms of performance upgrade. It will take a generational upgrade to be meaningful anymore for the WW demography given the design restriction from the uci we have right now.
I tend to agree.
I have a 2016 Supersix (50mm bora ones) and a 2019 s works Venge (64mm clx / slx whatever they are). Both bikes were on GP5000s, same pressure, set up to same geometry. I cycled the same flat loop (about 1/2 mile) for 10 mins on each bike (about 30 mins apart, so conditions were as good as identical), both at 300w, wearing same clothing, HR and RPE matched. I covered 4.06miles on both bikes.
I was fairly disappointed having just bought the Venge Image
I still use it for any PR efforts on anything under 5% though.

spdntrxi
Posts: 4974
Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2013 6:11 pm

by spdntrxi

^ I'm guessing ~24mph not enough difference. Need to bump that mph up.
2019 BMC TM01R
2002 Moots Compact-SL
2019 Parlee Z0XD
2020 Parlee TTiR

V3Rs
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2022 10:54 pm

by V3Rs

The last bunch of posts are all anecdotal stories- actually quite usless. It would be like a weight weenie believing that something weighs a certain amount instead of using a scale.

I am baffled as to why the same empirical methodology is not being used by ALL of the posters here. The GCN article is the only useful information in these 6 pages of froth....

spdntrxi
Posts: 4974
Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2013 6:11 pm

by spdntrxi

everything is somewhat anecdotal ....

between my Moots (with club cut jersey) vs BMC (w/race cut jersey) same shoes, helmet, bibs. I see 15-20 watts. Emphasis on "I" I have Enve aerobars on my moots but that's about it. They are also 38mm vs 40mm aerobars on the BMC. Aeropod+ confirmed and looking at live cda and other metrics and plenty of crit miles looks at power and RPE. Believe what you wanna believe because it's going to be different for everyone is the point.
2019 BMC TM01R
2002 Moots Compact-SL
2019 Parlee Z0XD
2020 Parlee TTiR

V3Rs
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2022 10:54 pm

by V3Rs

junk science...

calv1n
Posts: 109
Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:27 am

by calv1n

V3Rs wrote:The last bunch of posts are all anecdotal stories- actually quite usless. It would be like a weight weenie believing that something weighs a certain amount instead of using a scale.

I am baffled as to why the same empirical methodology is not being used by ALL of the posters here. The GCN article is the only useful information in these 6 pages of froth....
Haha I enjoyed contributing to your thread Image

spdntrxi
Posts: 4974
Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2013 6:11 pm

by spdntrxi

V3Rs wrote:
Sat Aug 13, 2022 7:28 pm
junk science...


I think it's time to do you own work op.
2019 BMC TM01R
2002 Moots Compact-SL
2019 Parlee Z0XD
2020 Parlee TTiR

blaugrana
Posts: 395
Joined: Wed May 24, 2017 9:49 pm

by blaugrana

V3Rs wrote:
Sat Aug 13, 2022 7:28 pm
junk science...
Probably, yes. There many reasons, but another one that is rarely discussed is that ideally bikes should be tested with a pretty large variety of riders and on different sizes to see if the results are significant and repeatable. You would definitely still be able to measure the improvements from bad bikes to state of the art aero bikes, but probably not the 0.5 watt "upgrades" that are commonly publicized (but never reporting the error of the method, confidence intervals, or anything of the sort).

V3Rs
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2022 10:54 pm

by V3Rs

I really just wanted to know what if any the OVERALL improvement could be. Stunning that the GNC test points its fingers at clothing more than equipment and the way the clothing is worn... It seems that from an equipment side, it's pretty marginal and can't be used to explain a purchase... Seems a bit more like a placebo effect...

spdntrxi
Posts: 4974
Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2013 6:11 pm

by spdntrxi

why is that surprising since the rider makes up the bulk of the aero penalty and of course clothing fit and materials are huge.
2019 BMC TM01R
2002 Moots Compact-SL
2019 Parlee Z0XD
2020 Parlee TTiR

ichobi
Posts: 1425
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:30 pm

by ichobi

.

spdntrxi
Posts: 4974
Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2013 6:11 pm

by spdntrxi

ichobi wrote:
Sun Aug 14, 2022 4:14 am
.
you are too nice
2019 BMC TM01R
2002 Moots Compact-SL
2019 Parlee Z0XD
2020 Parlee TTiR

by Weenie


Visit starbike.com Online Retailer for HighEnd cycling components
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