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Why is my better bike slower?

Old 06-23-21, 09:07 AM
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halehankock
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Why is my better bike slower?

Hey all, I've been riding a 2014 Specialized Roubaix Expert SL4 (Originally $3800) now for 7 years. Recently I had to take it in for a tune and they'll have it for awhile, so I started riding my older, 2010 Trek 2.1 Alpha ($1200). Initially it felt like I was quicker on the Trek, until last night I pushed for a PR around a nearby lake trail and beat my record by 37 seconds. All things considered, I am riding much faster on my old, cheaper Trek with cheaper frame, components, etc. Both bikes are stock.

I'm a lighter guy at 135 pounds, so I'm wondering if the heavier frame helps me carry faster?

Any thoughts? Now I'm thinking about selling my Specialized because of this.

Thanks!
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Old 06-23-21, 09:18 AM
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I wouldn't sell the Specialized. Everyone needs a backup bike when the primary goes into the shop. Maybe your PR is because you got into better shape. Try your PR route on the Specialized pushing as hard as you did on the Trek before you come to any definite conclusions about which bike is faster.
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Old 06-23-21, 09:19 AM
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When you get your Roubaix back add some weight to it and see what happens. 135 Pounds v/s 135 Kilos on a down hill run, sure, we know who would win... Maybe?

Originally Posted by halehankock View Post
...I'm thinking about selling my Specialized...
Sell one bike to buy another one or two... Yep... That's the ticket...
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Old 06-23-21, 09:26 AM
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halehankock
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Originally Posted by roadie77 View Post
I wouldn't sell the Specialized. Everyone needs a backup bike when the primary goes into the shop. Maybe your PR is because you got into better shape. Try your PR route on the Specialized pushing as hard as you did on the Trek before you come to any definite conclusions about which bike is faster.
Good advice! I felt like when i have pushed for a PR with the Specialized a number of times, I actually worked harder those times, just 3-4 weeks ago than I did with the Trek and was much slower.

Also, I got my Specialized fitted to me in 2019 so I would hope I'm in the optimal position for handlebars, seat, pedals, etc. The trek has me in a slightly more upright position which i'd imagine isn't in my favor either.
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Old 06-23-21, 09:27 AM
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Haha, isn't that how it works!?
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Old 06-23-21, 09:37 AM
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Question - is the fit the same on these bikes? Have you checked?

Many years ago, I made a huge improvement in sustained climbing power simply by going to a lot longer stem that allowed my torso to expand. Improved breathing, reduced anaerobic pain and made hard hills a joy. COmpare your two bikes. You may have stumbled on "your" fit.
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Old 06-23-21, 09:42 AM
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Actually, I do think my trek's stem is longer and that would make sense based on what you explained. I feel like with my Specialized, I'm in a more aggressive position all the time. Whereas my Trek, it's a pretty comfortable cruising position when you're not on the lower drop bars, but when I did go to the bottom on Trek, I felt like I was leaning down more.
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Old 06-23-21, 10:37 AM
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Bike fit will change for a myriad of reasons.
Maybe a tune-up fit is called for.

BTW is 37 seconds really a significant change?
Ambient temp can change my same bike, same route times by 30% or more.
And that's without considering headwind, or the fact I seem to faster in the mornings.

Which is faster a RED bike or a BLUE bike....... It depends on which one you think is faster!

Barry


BTW: it's a trick question... I know YELLOW bikes are faster!
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Old 06-23-21, 10:37 AM
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So what else might be different about them? Gear ratios in particular. Might be the position of you on one bike allows you better power transfer.

From one time to the next I may or may not be able to match a previous personal best on any segment. And many times, I can best or match a segment time after having 4 to 10 days off the bike as opposed to what I can do when riding regularly.

Also realize the bike you might do well on for a short ride might not be the bike you do well on for a long ride.
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Old 06-23-21, 10:37 AM
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the other bike is always faster. unless one is red, red is always fasterer.
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Old 06-23-21, 10:44 AM
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As someone said above, my first guess is that the fit is different. Specifically, I wonder if the handlebars are lower on the old bike. Mostly because this is what has slowed me down when I moved to a new bike.

If you have a drywall t-square, that's a good start on checking that the fit is the same
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Old 06-23-21, 10:50 AM
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Besides the fit differences, what are the component differences between the two bikes? Tires? Frame geometry? Gearing?

It sounds like the segment is a loop? If so and there is no net elevation change, weight really doesn't matter. Yes, heavier can benefit in some places, but it hurts in others and this will tend to balance out on a loop.
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Old 06-23-21, 10:52 AM
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I've done the lake trail 48 times over the past 3 years and I have a tendency to push it fairly hard nearly every time. So a 37 second improvement over a short time, even this year seems like quite a bit. I really beat myself up going for a PR just maybe 3 weeks prior on my Specialized and while I got the PR that time, I just shattered it easily with my Trek. Nearly same wind direction and speed those days too.
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Old 06-23-21, 11:39 AM
  #14  
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So what are the component differences between them - groupset, gearing, tire type & size...?
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Old 06-23-21, 01:08 PM
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One ride is nothing but outlier data. You need to do twelve rides on each bike doing the same exact ride. Throw out the lowest six and then average the highest six of each bike.
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Old 06-23-21, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Caliper View Post

It sounds like the segment is a loop? If so and there is no net elevation change, weight really doesn't matter. Yes, heavier can benefit in some places, but it hurts in others and this will tend to balance out on a loop.
Its not an equal trade-off. You lose a lot more time on the climbs than you gain on the descents with more weight. So really depends how flat or hilly the loop is.

What you can say is that more bike weight definitely doesnt make you quicker unless it is entirely downhill.
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Old 06-23-21, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by halehankock View Post

I'm a lighter guy at 135 pounds, so I'm wondering if the heavier frame helps me carry faster?
Only on a one way downhill segment.
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Old 06-23-21, 02:52 PM
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Differences in tire Crr can easily explain the observation.
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Old 06-23-21, 02:57 PM
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What does your power data look like for these rides?
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Old 06-23-21, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Barry2 View Post
BTW is 37 seconds really a significant change?
Ambient temp can change my same bike, same route times by 30% or more.
Do you mean 3%?

How can ambient temperature change a route time by 30%? The only thing I can think of would be if it gets so cold a wet surface freezes or so hot tires melt.
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Old 06-23-21, 04:52 PM
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- More aerodynamic position
- Clothing choices
- Bike fit giving more power
- Rolling resistance of the tyres being used
- Ambient temp and wind conditions
- Fitness and fatigue

There's a LOT of variables that come into play here.


Originally Posted by UCantTouchThis View Post
Blue bikes are faster! Oh wait, both my bikes were blues when I did this test.
Well in that case, paint one of your bikes red and repeat the test!

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Old 06-23-21, 05:00 PM
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I guess BF has finally answered the age old question of who makes the faster bike: Trek or Specialized. Now I’m waiting for the Cannondale test.
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Old 06-23-21, 05:18 PM
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Same bike, two consecutive days. Both days trying to push as hard as I felt I could that day. Same 25 mile route.

Day 1: 1:30:31
Day 2: 1:23:56

Sometimes it's the motor.
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Old 06-23-21, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by MattTheHat View Post
Do you mean 3%?
How can ambient temperature change a route time by 30%? The only thing I can think of would be if it gets so cold a wet surface freezes or so hot tires melt.
LOL only 3%, I wish it was only 3%

I run a power meter on the bike... I'm NOT guessing !

For every Watt your body places into the bike as power, your body wastes 3.2 Watts as heat. We are not a very efficient engine.
This heat must be cooled or we overheat.
We are AIR cooled and once the ambient rises, the cooling effect drops.
The body will reduce the power output rather than overheat, and the time on the route goes up.

So, ambient temp very much controls your ability to output power and your speed.
This doesn't take into consideration dehydration, which just makes matters worse.

Barry

BTW I'm in California, last week it hit 107F / 41.7C
Body Temp = 98.6F / 37C.
Can you imagine the "cooling" effect of air that is 8F / 5C hotter than you are!

Last edited by Barry2; 06-23-21 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 06-23-21, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by halehankock View Post
Hey all, I've been riding a 2014 Specialized Roubaix Expert SL4 (Originally $3800) now for 7 years. Recently I had to take it in for a tune and they'll have it for awhile, so I started riding my older, 2010 Trek 2.1 Alpha ($1200). Initially it felt like I was quicker on the Trek, until last night I pushed for a PR around a nearby lake trail and beat my record by 37 seconds. All things considered, I am riding much faster on my old, cheaper Trek with cheaper frame, components, etc. Both bikes are stock.

I'm a lighter guy at 135 pounds, so I'm wondering if the heavier frame helps me carry faster?

Any thoughts? Now I'm thinking about selling my Specialized because of this.

Thanks!
There are always variables involved. Too many for me to make sense of. Is the gearing the same on the bikes?
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