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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I weigh about 218 pounds and am 6'2". I ride a 30 pound bike due to monetary constraints. In competitions which I have engaged in, I've sadly finished either last or next to last, even in Clydesdale categories.

It is incomprehensible to me how I finish last becuase I do put alot of training miles in during the week.

My question is, would I more quickly start to improve my finish time in races by spending the cash and buying a 23 pounds carbon bike? Or would I start to improve my finish time in races by losing 30 pounds or so? We sort of had this discussion over at that Arizona forum and some people said that a lighter bike makes a bigger difference while others said that losing weight would make a bigger difference.

Wondering what the forum consensus is on the issue. I think it would be worth it to spend more cash on a bike, if I knew it would lead to some decent finishes and higher bike self-esteem. :thumbsup:
 

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It's a typo right? 118 lbs and 6'2" and you want to lose 30lbs?

I don't race but I did lose 65 lbs in a big hurry a couple of years back. Because the weight loss was so rapid it was easy to tell what a difference it made in my speed and climbing ability. Even in a very weakened condition from chemo & radiation I was riding better than I had previously. Same bike.
 

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I've lost nearly 30 lbs in the past two years, and it makes a huge difference, expecially on climbs. Cheaper than buying a 23 lb bike. But if you can afford the bike, and you are overweight...why wouldn't you do both?
 

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Dead weight is dead weight for the most part IMO. A lot of a big persons extra bulk can be muscle, but extra muscle in the wrong places is still dead weight on a bicycle. You can get instant gratification by dropping 4k to lose 7 pounds, or do it the hard (and cheap) way. The hard and cheap way is the one that will help you to the podium because it will involve good nutrition and training to achieve, a lighter bike won't do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've lost nearly 30 lbs in the past two years, and it makes a huge difference, expecially on climbs. Cheaper than buying a 23 lb bike. But if you can afford the bike, and you are overweight...why wouldn't you do both?
I would do both if both will help. But, if a lighter bike would help but losing weight would not or vice versa, I don't want to waste my time and effort on ineffective methods. I think it has something to do with physics, something I am not a specialist in obviously....but, someone at the Arizona forum was saying that riding a lighter bike made much more difference in speed than losing weight. Maybe a lighter bike is just easier to accerlate regardless of rider weight.
 

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I weigh about 118 pounds and am 6'2". Or would I start to improve my finish time in races by losing 30 pounds or so? :thumbsup:
At 6'2", dropping your weight down to 88lbs isn't going to help. I would suggest a resistance training program with a nutritionist specialist to get your weight up. ;)

I'm a clyde. 6'5" and 240. I've got good endurance, and about mid to late season can keep up with most high average XC'ers. I don't think I'll EVER be able to hang with the 120lb-140lb whippets pumping 20lb rides. It's something that I've grown to accept.

When I was a teen, I weighed in at 174 at 6' 5". I was a miler in track, and played tennis for hours on end. When i hit college I felt self conscious about being so skinny. I then embarked on a body-building campaign for 15 years. Put on 60lbs of muscle. Stayed away from any form of sustained cardio. When I hit 45 years old I realized there was more to life than looking good on the beach, and got back into sustained cardio centric sports. Man what a wake-up call!

The point to this little anecdote is that now that my body-type is more mesomorph and less ectomorph, I'm unable to hang with the top level fly-weights. That's cool with me. I just hang back and enjoy the ride! Finishing first is cool, but I also have to be realistic! (or hang with out-of-shape friends!) :p

Forgot to add: When I started back into biking, I bought a nice 25lb Epic. As my skills progressed I moved to more AM riding. I bought a 30lb E29, and haven't even noticed any appreciable difference in my efficiency. I'm going to sell the Epic.

I would see if you can demo a super light HT and see what you think. I'm sure initially you will revel in the light'ness of the ride, but will soon realize its/your limitations when you want to go down. Bottom line: Get two bikes! :)
 

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I would do both if both will help. But, if a lighter bike would help but losing weight would not or vice versa, I don't want to waste my time and effort on ineffective methods.
How on earth would losing body weight not help? Have you ever seen any big pro xc riders? A lighter bike will help, a little, but a leaner and fitter body will make the biggest difference by far.
 

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Also- "losing 30 pounds or so" seems a like a pretty lofty goal. Even if you only lose 5 pounds it will still trump the lighter bike because of the fitness you have gained while doing it. Its not so much the weight loss as it is getting "mtb strong". I've seen a lot of strong big guys on the road and trails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Also- "losing 30 pounds or so" seems a like a pretty lofty goal. Even if you only lose 5 pounds it will still trump the lighter bike because of the fitness you have gained while doing it. Its not so much the weight loss as it is getting "mtb strong". I've seen a lot of strong big guys on the road and trails.
So, all the folks that buy the $10,000 Specialized S-works Epic would be better spending their money buying a $50/month gym membership at 24 hour fitness?
 

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I let my self get up to 244 last year. I am down to 210 again. I am crushing my PRs left and right. Obviously the climbing is easier, but the downhills are a lot faster too. Not my flat out straight speed, but my ability to corner. Echo what JB Weld said, my stronger riding is not just due to the weight loss and the physics of hauling less weight up hills and around corners, but also the increase to my conditioning by eating better and training harder.

Whoever said dropping 5lbs from your bike > dropping 30lbs of body weight is on crack. Bikes are not fast or slow. The riders are.
 

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So, all the folks that buy the $10,000 Specialized S-works Epic would be better spending their money buying a $50/month gym membership at 24 hour fitness?
No, they would be better off spending quality training time (not money) on a mountain bike, at least they would if improving mountain bike racing results was their goal.

I'm not arguing whether or not a $10,000 race bike would make you faster- it would, but only marginally so compared to quality training time in the saddle.
 

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Miguel Indurain, (perhaps the largest successful TDF champion ever), was 6 ft 2 and weighed 176 lbs.

Also, I remember listening to a stage winner last year (or the year before) on one of the mountain climbs. The guy weighed like...130 lbs. He was talking about how losing 5 lbs prior to the start of the Tour that year helped his climbing. He said something like "it's amazing how little food you can get by on," or words to that effect.

Now if a little flyweight professional cyclist thinks losing 5 lbs of body weight helped him race his bicycle, how much do you think those of us here could lose? And what kind of performance increase would we see as a result?

Most of the successful endurance athletes are really really thin. To the point of emaciation.

So sure a 23 lb carbon fiber bike would help a guy ride faster. If you can afford one, go for it. I sure would. But not all of us can afford one. We CAN afford to cut back on the carbs though.
 

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I think it is a mix of bike and rider that improves races.
Lose as much weight as you can no matter if you are trying to or not (a lighter you WILL lighten the package)
But if your bike is heavy, try to lighten that up as well. You don't need to spend a fortune on a carbon frame, but as long as you ride an alloy bike, there are some things you can buy to lighten it up. Those include: Fork, Wheels, and going 1x10 are some nice ways to lose weight.
For your weight you won't want to risk breaking a carbon seatpost or handlebar, so stay away from those, but as you lighten up, you can change those to carbon fibre.
 

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Moving up the rankings in any physical sport is a simple 3 step program with diminishing returns from step to step:

1 - Get fitter.
2 - Get more technically skilled.
3 - Get better equipment.

You won't get the full benefit of step 2 without step 1 and you definitely won't see the full benefit of step 3 without step 1 & 2.
 

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Yup, improve the person before improving the equipment. Pretty much applies to all the stuff I've done, MTB, snowboard, autocross. After you've lost the 30lbs, get the 23lb bike and you'll really fly!
No shame in being a big guy, key thing is to enjoy it. I've known and ridden with a bunch of cylde class riders and they were great. Yeah they couldn't keep up with the flyweights on the climbs. But they could motor on the flats. There was more than a few times they'd pull me along on the flats after a long ride and I was beat and getting hammered by the wind.
 

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Both will make a massive difference.

I am 6' and 180 lbs but had a corporate job with travel perks (unlimited expense account) and well, when we traveled (which was very often) we took advantage and I got up to around 225.

I was kind of in denial, and when I started not fitting my clothes anymore it was a real wakeup call, and I lost 50 lbs pretty quickly.

In any case, my experience is that there is probably an rider - bike weight formula you could come up with, but I would say it's around 5:1 or so.... losing 5 lbs from your body has near the same effect as losing 1 lb from your bike.

Again, losing 30 lbs and taking 6 lbs off your bike will both make a massive difference.

But in the end, competitive bicycling has a lot to do with genetics. Some of us will never be near the top no matter how skinny and how expensive our bikes are.
 

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Now I am motivated again to drop 20 lbs again. Tx OP. I bought a carbon bike, found a great deal on it. Initially riding was awesome on ot. Let myself go a little bit and fell right back to my old times.

As mentioned earlier do both but the biggest difference comes from losing the body weight.
 

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Try a Singlespeed. Your bike will be much lighter and you'll shed lbs off and increase your conditioning pretty quickly. I'm 46, 6'2, 220 and it works for me.
 
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