Weight Weenies

My bike weighs about 6 kilos. It is no waify little thing either, with it having a 61cm frame and and three stories of seatpost. It has beefy tubes, a stiff bottom bracket and steerer, and deep section wheels which are laced 3x in the back and 2x in front. This bike has never made me go faster; only going faster has made me go faster.

Gianni rode Haleakala in the 80’s on a heavy steel frame with a 42T chainring and a 23T cog in the back. He rode it wearing a cuttoff sleeveless t-shirt; an offense which, had I known when we started this site, I would have put him on probation for. Then he did it again several years later on a titanium, campa-equipped steed with a compact and wearing proper kit. He rode it in about the same time, also proving that you go as fast as you want, not as fast as your bike is.

Gianni Bugno (different Gianni but possibly the source of inspiration for Keeper Gianni’s name), won back-to-back l’Alpe d’Huez stages on a 24-pound steel Moser, beating lighter carbon TVT’s to the punch both times.

Riding light bikes is fun, but they won’t make you go any faster. Pushing harder on the pedals does.

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127 Replies to “Weight Weenies”

  1. @Beers

    @wilburrox

    @Jay

    I have always contended that it is not the bike, but rather the engine (as in rider) that is the most important component.  I could ride on the most aerodynamic and lightweight TT bike with the most aerodynamic positioning possible, yet someone like Cancellara would kick my ass while riding a Schwinn Varsity.  It comes down to how much power you can put to the pedals.

    Nice article.  For the record: I am no weight weenie, I go for durable.

    Question: Would Ultegra be considered more durable than Dura-Ace ? And 105 even more durable still ?

    Tiagra, heavy punched steel, a bit of drilling but all the cogs are splined right to the middle rather than milled out and riveted onto a cage, no alloy to speak of, heavy and cheap as fuck.

    But why would you ride it. The profiles and teeth patterns are probably at greater tolerances than all the others put together, so your shifting etc is probably going to suffer. The higher spec cassettes have alloy cogs to make weight, which is obviously going to hurt longevity compared to steel.

    I ride lower level on my training bike as it is not a problem to change regularly. Can get chain, cassette and chainrings for the price of a dura ace cassette, and my butt doesn’t clench everytime I ride gravel or it starts raining.

    I’m looking at switching to an 11-28 soon rather than the 11-25 that came on The Redback (jumped from 34 to 36 up front), when there’s only a 60g gram difference in going Ultegra & I can get 3 for the price of 1 DA, you can bet your arse I’m choosing Ultegra.

    Side note, apparently the all alu Ultegra is actually quieter than the Ti infused DA as an added benefit.

  2. @Mikael Liddy

    @Beers

    @wilburrox

    @Jay

    I have always contended that it is not the bike, but rather the engine (as in rider) that is the most important component.  I could ride on the most aerodynamic and lightweight TT bike with the most aerodynamic positioning possible, yet someone like Cancellara would kick my ass while riding a Schwinn Varsity.  It comes down to how much power you can put to the pedals.

    Nice article.  For the record: I am no weight weenie, I go for durable.

    Question: Would Ultegra be considered more durable than Dura-Ace ? And 105 even more durable still ?

    Tiagra, heavy punched steel, a bit of drilling but all the cogs are splined right to the middle rather than milled out and riveted onto a cage, no alloy to speak of, heavy and cheap as fuck.

    But why would you ride it. The profiles and teeth patterns are probably at greater tolerances than all the others put together, so your shifting etc is probably going to suffer. The higher spec cassettes have alloy cogs to make weight, which is obviously going to hurt longevity compared to steel.

    I ride lower level on my training bike as it is not a problem to change regularly. Can get chain, cassette and chainrings for the price of a dura ace cassette, and my butt doesn’t clench everytime I ride gravel or it starts raining.

    I’m looking at switching to an 11-28 soon rather than the 11-25 that came on The Redback (jumped from 34 to 36 up front), when there’s only a 60g gram difference in going Ultegra & I can get 3 for the price of 1 DA, you can bet your arse I’m choosing Ultegra.

    Side note, apparently the all alu Ultegra is actually quieter than the Ti infused DA as an added benefit.

    I am all for the less expensive, more durable cassette that weighs 30 grams more.  Especially in Campagnolo, I just looked and a Chorus cassette seems to cost more than DA!  But an all steel cog Chorus cassette lasts a very long time if you keep your chain clean and replace it at appropriate intervals.

    BTW I am pretty sure Ultegra is all steel cogs too.  I can’t imagine an Alu cog lasting for more than a nanosecond.

  3. @Nate

    could well be the case, when it comes to research, I’m a student of the Strackian school of thought.

    Regarding style, it may have been something to do with the name similarities, but Mig has been my idol from very early days…

  4. @Mikael Liddy

    I’m not sure what Lance thought about Rule #15 but in those days (1993-ish) he had to wear black shorts. If the team kit had registered with the UCI with coloured shorts or short panels that was fine, but a rider couldn’t wear different shorts from the rest of his team so he was stuck with Motorola black shorts.

    It was only when Cipo started accepting the UCI fines for wearing different coloured shorts in the Tour a couple of years later that things started to change, with the UCI caving in to custom kits for tour category leaders/World/National Champions eventually.

  5. @frank

    @ChrisO

    @Daccordi Rider

    ChrisO, I didn’t take that from Fronks article, just calling bullshit on a couple of responses. I thought Frank meant it doesn’t matter what you ride, you get better by hurting yourself. That’s the fun of some of his articles, we can misinterpret them any way we like. People frequently misunderestimate Frank…

    Well there’s not much misinterpreting this:

    Riding light bikes is fun, but they won’t make you go any faster. Pushing harder on the pedals does

    which is quite simply wrong. The same effort on a lighter bike WILL make you go faster. Pushing harder will make you go more faster.

    But that would be letting facts get in the way of the story.

    Apparently there is misinterpreting it; the bike is not what makes the bike go, fucktard. Pushing on the pedals does; the bike does not have a motor (we hope). I never said you’d go the same speed on a light and heavy bike.

    A light bike, or aero bike, or light wheels, or aero wheels, or better tires, or sleeker kit etc will all make it possible to go faster. But they won’t actually make you go faster.

    Your guns and the level of suffering you wish to inflict on them is limited by your brain.  I’m sure there are many things that can effect your relative level of suffering, but it just might be that in certain cases you push harder for longer on the steel bike rather than on the lightweight plastic bike.  If you go into it with the mentality of ‘this thing is slower, there I will push harder,’ then you might just go faster.  And maybe no matter how hard you tell your brain to suffer on the lighter bike, it just won’t go to the same limits.

    I watched the Marinoni Movie back in April.  Giuseppe Marinoni broke the… “Senior’s” (74-79) Hour Record in 2012 on the same bike frame he had built in the early 80s for Jocelyn Lovell.  He raced on that bike not because it was the lightest or the fastest, but because it gave him the mental fortitude to push harder.

  6. @HigherGround

    @frank

    @michel02

    gert jan theunisse had a training wheel filled with lead, for training purposes needless to say…it worked! (-:

    Fucking GJT was such a legend!

    Why was his saddle taped up like that?  Some sort of modification for saddle sores?

    On a Dutch website I read that indeed he had a saddle sore when this pic was taken. But did not say what the tape was supposed to help. Apparently he had some blisters on his feet as well?

    He does look differently now by the way:

  7. @wilburrox

    @Jay

    I have always contended that it is not the bike, but rather the engine (as in rider) that is the most important component.  I could ride on the most aerodynamic and lightweight TT bike with the most aerodynamic positioning possible, yet someone like Cancellara would kick my ass while riding a Schwinn Varsity.  It comes down to how much power you can put to the pedals.

    Nice article.  For the record: I am no weight weenie, I go for durable.

    Question: Would Ultegra be considered more durable than Dura-Ace ? And 105 even more durable still ?

    I don’t know the answer to that question, although I would speculate that there is some sort of reverse progression.  In the everyday world Dura-Ace would most likely be as abused as Ultegra or 105, but those groups, particularly 105 are directed towards cyclists that can’t or won’t go all in in the most expensive stuff.  Weight savings come with some sort of sacrifice regardless of the material used.  My instinct tells me that the top end stuff is higher maintenance and most of us don’t have the advantage of having our bikes overhauled completely by professional mechanics on a regular basis.

    This is just an observation.  I have no science to bolster my theory.

  8. @Jay

    @wilburrox

    @Jay

    I have always contended that it is not the bike, but rather the engine (as in rider) that is the most important component.  I could ride on the most aerodynamic and lightweight TT bike with the most aerodynamic positioning possible, yet someone like Cancellara would kick my ass while riding a Schwinn Varsity.  It comes down to how much power you can put to the pedals.

    Nice article.  For the record: I am no weight weenie, I go for durable.

    Question: Would Ultegra be considered more durable than Dura-Ace ? And 105 even more durable still ?

    I don’t know the answer to that question, although I would speculate that there is some sort of reverse progression.  In the everyday world Dura-Ace would most likely be as abused as Ultegra or 105, but those groups, particularly 105 are directed towards cyclists that can’t or won’t go all in in the most expensive stuff.  Weight savings come with some sort of sacrifice regardless of the material used.  My instinct tells me that the top end stuff is higher maintenance and most of us don’t have the advantage of having our bikes overhauled completely by professional mechanics on a regular basis.

    This is just an observation.  I have no science to bolster my theory.

    I guess the cheaper and heavier materials used, would wear better? I run DA @ 13500km pa, I change the chain @ 3500km, I haven’t had to change cassette or chainrings yet, is that good or bad durability?

  9. @HigherGround

    @frank

    @michel02

    gert jan theunisse had a training wheel filled with lead, for training purposes needless to say…it worked! (-:

    Fucking GJT was such a legend!

    Why was his saddle taped up like that?  Some sort of modification for saddle sores?

    I’m guessing it was a first attempt at grippy tape, but who knows. Maybe he was channeling Eddy Van Halen?

  10. I believe the correct term for my jersey of choice on that ride was “wife-beater”. I too was working the Gert headband and Gert wristband. Big sweaty bastard. 1985. Frank might have been right about the 42 on the front. It looks big. He was also right about what a shit climber I’ve always been.

  11. @Cary

    i don’t believe Bugno’s Moser was 24lbs.

    0

    Yeah – my 1978 Gios Brooklyn comes in at 21 lbs.  Interestingly my 1995 Pinarello Sestriere with modern 11 Sp Athena Gruppo also comes in at 21 lbs.  Though The Butler (1967 mid range Claud Butler) does come in at 24 lbs.

  12. @Cary

    i don’t believe Bugno’s Moser was 24lbs.

    0

    Indeed.  My 1978 Brooklyn Gios comes in at 21 lbs.  Interestingly my 1995 Pinarello Sestriere with modern 11 Sp Athena Gruppo is also 21 lbs.  The Butler (1967 mid range Claud Butler) does come in at 24 lbs.

  13. That didn’t work. “Quote” is not capturing the previous comment. This is what I was referring to:

    REPLY | QUOTE | #17 @frank // Jun 25 2015
    PROFILEMESSAGE
    @Barracuda

    @piwakawaka

    @RVester

    Do you have a source that Gianni Bugno’s TdF-ridden steel Moser weighed 10.8 kgs?

    @frank‘s source for all his ‘facts’ is being Dutch.

    The guy who owns my LBS has a great line “I can make it lighter but I can’t make it any faster”.

    Source ? Who the hell uses credible information to back up facts ?

    That’s absurd

    The day we start to cite sources or in any other way become credible is the day I shut this place down.

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