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Need suggestions to make my wife faster

Old 11-01-19, 06:02 PM
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RoMad
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Need suggestions to make my wife faster

My wife had been riding an aluminum Litespeed Capella with Real Design Wheelset (1440 grams), and 9 speed Ultegra for a number of years. Not long ago one of her rear spokes pulled through the rim. We took it to a bike shop and the mechanic fixed the spoke but told her she need to find another set of rims as hers were worn out.
instead of investing in another light Wheelset she found a barely used 2017 Trek carbon Domane with 105 11 speed on Craigslist. She test rode it and said it rode nice and she liked it.
The trouble started when we began riding our normal route. We don’t have cycle computers on our bikes but she could quickly tell now we’re riding slower. Her new bike has Bontrager T/R wheels. A fellow rider recommended Vuelta Corsa rims to make it a little faster.
Any suggestions?
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Old 11-01-19, 06:34 PM
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Better idea would be to get her fit for the bike. Obviously something different between how she sits on the Trek is causing a loss of power, it’s not likely the wheels or anything mechanical.
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Old 11-01-19, 08:51 PM
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pedal harder seriously
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Old 11-01-19, 09:01 PM
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Put cycle computers on the bicycles to find out for sure.

Make sure the bicycle is set up correctly.
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Old 11-01-19, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by RoMad View Post
My wife had been riding an aluminum Litespeed Capella with Real Design Wheelset (1440 grams), and 9 speed Ultegra for a number of years. Not long ago one of her rear spokes pulled through the rim. We took it to a bike shop and the mechanic fixed the spoke but told her she need to find another set of rims as hers were worn out.
instead of investing in another light Wheelset she found a barely used 2017 Trek carbon Domane with 105 11 speed on Craigslist. She test rode it and said it rode nice and she liked it.
The trouble started when we began riding our normal route. We don’t have cycle computers on our bikes but she could quickly tell now we’re riding slower. Her new bike has Bontrager T/R wheels. A fellow rider recommended Vuelta Corsa rims to make it a little faster.
Any suggestions?
Get her a ebike
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Old 11-01-19, 09:08 PM
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Down load the free version of Strava to your phones. That will track enough info to get an idea of overall performance.
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Old 11-01-19, 09:20 PM
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Slow down.
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Old 11-02-19, 05:11 AM
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I didn’t put this in the original post. We ride the same ride almost daily and it is 11 miles to the turn around. When we feel good and hurry it takes 44 minutes on the Litespeed. On the Trek it takes 48. Not a big difference but it is noticeable.
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Old 11-02-19, 05:27 AM
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More specific training to increase fitness.

If there's one thing I hear from cyclists more than anything else, it's "how can I buy myself into being faster?". If "fast" means anything to a cyclist, they're going to have to suffer, or at the very least be uncomfortable during specific sessions. Fitness, especially high levels of it is one of the last few fair things on earth. You can't buy it and no one can give it to you. You have to go out and earn it while fighting the natural human tenancy to take it easy and be comfortable.

If someone wants "fast" and isn't good with the work it takes to get it; it's time for goal re-adjustment.
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Old 11-02-19, 05:31 AM
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it obviously ain't the hills. could be bike fit. could be diet, stress or "life forces." personally? i think it's litespeed vs trek. maybe the litespeed was her "soul bike."
vive la difference. i'd recommend drafting uncomfortably closely behind wearing a clown mask but i don't think that's a (generally)
viable long term solution. let the lady set the pace she wants. how about mixing up the usual route? if it doesn't work, it's another post/thread...

Last edited by ooga-booga; 11-02-19 at 05:37 AM.
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Old 11-02-19, 05:55 AM
  #11  
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I have a Domane. Looking at a picture of the Capella, the Domane is a more relaxed frame...doesn't make it slower, just different. I spent some time with mine to get fit where I wanted it. I'd start there were I you. I also wonder if the crank length is different between the bikes which may cause her to adjust cadence a bit...I don't want to start an in depth discussion on it as there are already many...just to say my Domane had longer cranks then my previous bike, not an issue, but a change. I don't have any good ideas about wheels, mine had Vision carbons and I've stuck with them. (My Domane only made me feel faster, as my SOG did not appreciably change as many have observed, and y'all are faster than me.) It is a comfortable endurance bike, where I focus my efforts.
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Old 11-02-19, 05:57 AM
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Most of you are missing my point. Telling me she needs to train more, you can’t buy fast, etc. If some bikes weren’t faster than others we would all be still riding steel Schwinns. She rides the same route, the same fitness, and she is going slower on one bike than the other. The Trek is definitely slower than the Litespeed.
My question really boils down to “how can I mechanically make the Trek a little faster”?
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Old 11-02-19, 06:09 AM
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If you still have the old bike, get a picture of her from the side in riding position on both and see if there is an obvious difference that may be affecting her mechanical efficiency. Also note her position vs wind resistance...the Domane is probably making her sit up higher (one of the reasons I chose it, but a price is paid in increased sail area).
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Old 11-02-19, 06:12 AM
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Btw, when you find something, I'll be interested to hear it and see if I can apply it to myself (and my bike). Happy hunting!
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Old 11-02-19, 06:43 AM
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Most of you are missing my point. Telling me she needs to train more, you can’t buy fast, etc. If some bikes weren’t faster than others we would all be still riding steel Schwinns. She rides the same route, the same fitness, and she is going slower on one bike than the other. The Trek is definitely slower than the Litespeed.
My question really boils down to “how can I mechanically make the Trek a little faster”?
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Old 11-02-19, 07:57 AM
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Sounds like some minor fit and component issues.

I have two road bikes and try to set them up as closely as possible, but the frames are slightly different sizes and designs, so the best I can do is approximate the fit. I *feel* slightly slower on the 25 lb steel bike, but in actual practice my average speed over 20-50 miles is pretty much the same as the -20 lb carbon fiber bike. The main difference is on climbs where the carbon bike feels quicker even when it isn't. It mostly means I'm conserving energy overall. I tend to average 16.6 mph over 20-50 miles on the steel bike, and 17 mph on the carbon bike. There's some consistent difference, but not much.

I thought a set of semi-aero wheels might offer significant improvement, but it hasn't. Original both bikes had very similar old school low profile rims, 32 round spokes each, same or similar Continental tires. Recently I tried the carbon bike with a Bontrager Race Lite Aero wheelset -- 30mm profile rims, 16 flat bladed aero spokes per wheel, less weight -- and *thought* they were faster. But in checking Strava segments over time, I can't demonstrate the wheels are any faster. They feel stiffer, as if energy transfer is more efficient. But that hasn't translated to significant differences in times and speeds over distance.

Where I *have* found significant differences is chasing marginal gains throughout the bike: chains and lubes (wax seems faster, but demands more attention); replacing the original rear derailleur pulley wheels with sealed bearing pulleys (Tacx, only around $15 a set for the black plastic Delrin wheels); chromed SunRace freewheels instead of the original Suntour and Shimano. These all reduced felt drivetrain resistance -- I can also feel it pedaling by hand with the bikes on a workstand or trainer.

I've swapped the steel bike from 52/42 chainrings to 50/39 or /38, depending on the wheelset and freewheel or cassette I'm using (usually 13-25 or 13-28, depending on the terrain). Keeping in the sweet spot helps my efficiency and overall speed.

The other bike has Biopace 52/42, and even after several months I'm still not quite persuaded. I had to change my pedaling style to make them work. But I'm still not feeling or seeing much advantage, and occasionally they feel a little sluggish, as if the oblong rings were introducing a bit more drivetrain friction or variation. Only way I'll know for sure is to replace them with chainrings and crank arms matching the other bike.

Speaking of which, does your wife's "new" bike have the same crank arm length? Minor variations matter to some folks. Other folks say they don't notice any difference between 170, 172.5 and 175. Some swear by 165 or shorter.

Saddle and position too. More little things that add up to measurable differences, especially over distance. My two road bikes have different saddles (130mm wide solid Selle Italia on the carbon bike, 140mm Bontrager Ajna with pressure relief cutout on the steel bike) and I can feel it when I'm riding. Takes awhile to adapt if I've been riding one for weeks without using the other.

Again, not huge differences between the two. But measurable via Strava analysis over time and many rides to reduce the effects of wind, weather, and how I feel subjectively.
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Old 11-02-19, 08:24 AM
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What size tires and pressure where you running on both bikes?
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Old 11-02-19, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Rollfast View Post
Slow down.
Our streets are paved with onions...the drivers aren't tarping
I second this idea. Also, I learned a new word.
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Old 11-02-19, 09:20 AM
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Wind resistance! Posters above nailed it for you.

So the the question is, "Can she ride in a more aero position?" Or, can the bike be made more comfortably aero?

Also, some days we are just more rested and put out a greater effort without increased strain.
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Old 11-02-19, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by RoMad View Post
Most of you are missing my point. Telling me she needs to train more, you can’t buy fast, etc. If some bikes weren’t faster than others we would all be still riding steel Schwinns. She rides the same route, the same fitness, and she is going slower on one bike than the other. The Trek is definitely slower than the Litespeed.
My question really boils down to “how can I mechanically make the Trek a little faster”?
Tell her to bend her arms more. The bike/wheels have a relatively small effect on overall drag. The dominant factor is your body. The only two reasons for going slower are less power and/or more drag. If she's not uncomfortable and putting out less power then the most likely explanation is her position is more upright on the Trek. If she cares about going faster have her try riding in the drops and see if that helps. It might not if she isn't comfortable riding lower.

New wheels aren't going to help.
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Old 11-02-19, 09:39 AM
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How much of a layoff between the old bike and the new bike? A speed drop of 8% is as likely a fitness/conditioning issue as anything else.

My wife's average speed on rides hovered around 15.5mph for the previous two years or so, but then her opportunities to ride dropped significantly (she probably won't make 500 miles this year) and her speed dropped to the low 14s.
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Old 11-02-19, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by RoMad View Post
Most of you are missing my point. Telling me she needs to train more, you can’t buy fast, etc. If some bikes weren’t faster than others we would all be still riding steel Schwinns. She rides the same route, the same fitness, and she is going slower on one bike than the other. The Trek is definitely slower than the Litespeed.
My question really boils down to “how can I mechanically make the Trek a little faster”?
Here ‘ya go

https://www.competitivecyclist.com/z...NhdDEwMDA2OA==
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Old 11-02-19, 10:23 AM
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I bought my wife an e assist bike. She had been injured and had not rode a bike for a year. I'm hoping it allows us to ride together again.
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Old 11-02-19, 10:43 AM
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Possibly not as aero and or shifting efficiency/gearing.
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Old 11-02-19, 10:53 AM
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I agree with most above. There's nothing mechanical that is going to make such a large performance difference. In a flat area like Florida it comes down to fitness, bike fit and tires (width, pressure and suppleness - i.e. skinnier, higher pressures and stiffer tires are slower).
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