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  1. #1
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    Bike + Extra weight = FAST ?

    Has anyone ever tried adding weight to your bike or hydration during off months. Say to the tune of three to five pounds. It's rumored that Tinker Juarez uses extra weight during off season base rides. Any opinions ? Thanks

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by flowride
    Has anyone ever tried adding weight to your bike or hydration during off months. Say to the tune of three to five pounds. It's rumored that Tinker Juarez uses extra weight during off season base rides. Any opinions ? Thanks

    Heavier wheels, maybe.

  3. #3
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    In my racing days I'd fill 2 water bottles with sand and then water. I'd also set my rear der limit to keep me out of the biggest cog.
    Then I'd go climb the steepest 2 mi climb we have around here 6-8 times.
    I'm sure it helped some.....

    I can't see that small of a weight really making a difference.
    I say just ride and do your thing. If you really want to get stronger legs over the winter, hit the weight room.
    Just MO.

  4. #4
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    is there really a difference between adding weight to your bike to put more stress on your system (so that it adapts and gets stronger)....or just going faster overall to put more stress on your system?

    i don't think so. in the end its all just transferring power to the pedals. going faster requires more watts at the same weight. adding weight requires more watts to maintain the same speed. its the same thing. maybe mentally it would make you feel faster once you take the weight off...but imho that novelty would wear off after a couple rides.

    particularly when the difference is ~5lbs, which isn't much. that's like 2.5 liters of water, or less than the difference of starting a ~50 mile ride with a full camelback, and ending the ride with an empty one.

  5. #5
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    I'm going to throw in what I think. I appreciate any helpful criticism. Point me out if I am wrong in any way.

    Lets use a typical 3 mile climb to your favorite single track. I will be using myself as an example. Rider weight is 135 pounds. During the entire climb, the rider averages 200 watts and a speed of 11 miles per hour. Now if weight is added to the rider, but the amount of wattage out put is the same, (200 watts), the speed at which rider is moving at will be less than 11 miles per hour. This where gearing comes into play. Rider is putting out 200 watts, but using different gearing than before. Keep in mind that effort is still the same.

    Now if the rider wanted to maintain the speed of 11 miles per hour, then the rider would have to increase the amount of watts being produced. Simply producing the same amount of watts before (200watts) would have little benefit as the rider's effort would be the same with or without the added weight. So if the rider tried to match the original speed (11mph), the amount of watts produced would be higher than 200 watts as more energy is required to move the rider and the additional weight at that speed.

    So despite adding the weight, while riding you may feel like you are exerting the same amount of effort as you were exerting before the additional weight, but because of gearing, you simply go into an easier gear. Effort will be the same, but rate of speed will decrease. So the idea I would guess would be to match your original speed, and not go based off of effort.

    Now if you were hauling 50-100 pounds in a Bob trailer up hill, you definitely would get a work out as the sheer amount watts you have to produce to is just necessary to keep you rolling forward.

    This why single speeds or 1x9 setups are awesome during the winter because you are using a different gear. It why typical single speed rides have faster ride times, simply cause you have to stay on top of gear or else you have to walk up hill. Law of the single speed. Think about it, what would be harder, riding with extra weight or 1x9 (35t chain ring up front)?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeStrong
    So if the rider tried to match the original speed (11mph), the amount of watts produced would be higher than 200 watts as more energy is required to move the rider and the additional weight at that speed.
    Or to accomplish the same thing someone could just ride their normal setup without adding extra weight, but cover it in less elapsed time. Either way it's It's not rocket science - just 2 different ways of creating higher effort input on rides when you want to work harder. However, only one retains the benefit of familiarity and specificity of the race day configuration, plus promotes becoming more accustomed to higher speeds.

  7. #7
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    How about bigger front chainrings?

    I run 24/34 on my 26" bike & 24/36 on my 650B (both 2x9, obviously).

    The 24/36 combined with the 27.5 wheel is much harder to spin than the 26" bike. I'm leaving it for the winter then will probably change the 36 to 34 in the spring unless I get a lot stronger and can spin the taller gear, which would rock.
    Last edited by jeffw-13; 12-18-2009 at 06:21 AM.

  8. #8
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    I just ride another bike in the winter, it's heavier, only has a 42T chainring, slower rolling tires, and at -20C, the brake seals don't bring the pads back in as much so they drag a lot!

    It's also crapier, so I don't ruin my good bikes in the snow and calcium. That's the primary reason I use it.

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  9. #9
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    Training weight absolutely works....add studs in winter, carry all the tools, equipment etc..carry extra food and water...

  10. #10
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    OP's idea might work in group rides though. You'll all be going at the same speed, but it's you who will be making the greatest effort.

  11. #11
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    This comes up every year, and I have only encountered 1 situtation where I thought it made sense. Some guy posted last year, that he lived in a rolling hillly area and all the hills were pretty short. He wanted to get in 3 min intervals without breaking them up (by descending to the next hill) so he would add weight and ride the hill at similar intensity...therefore it would take longer and he could get his 3 min effort in.
    That's the only time it's made sense to me.

    My winter setup is heavier, but because I'm using my bombproof parts that will stand up to the snow, mag chloride, mud, etc. It adds 2 lbs, which really doesn't make much difference.
    Free will is an illusion, people will always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

  12. #12
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    I would argue that lighter is better. If you need more work, pedal harder. By using a light and fast bike, you will keep your handling skills tuned (by riding faster), be better trained to maintain momentum at higher speeds, and be training on a machine that is quite similar to the one you plan to be slaying the race track with. Specificity!

    Thats just for the sake of a counter arguement. My training bike is the same geometry, but with a little more stout wheels and tires, and a softer seat

  13. #13
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    I train with a 20 pound weight vest on the road, and sometimes in the woods although it makes bike handling kind of difficult. I use it most in the training rides leading up to a race, especially the last one. That way when I hit the starting line its like losing 20 pounds, and I can ride way faster, and burn way less. Maybe its just mental, but it seems to help me
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  14. #14
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    extra weight?
    yeah...how much does a 12-pack weigh
    (obviously I'm not race training )
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  15. #15
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    I like using my heavier MTB bike to get road miles during the winter because:

    -Since I go slower at any given effort level, I stay warmer. Less wind chill.
    -The bigger tires are safer, for ice patches and such
    -Saves the wear and tear on my good equipment

    And as a side effect
    -don't have to ride so far to the get the same work (KJ's) in


    Once the roads clear and the weather's warmer, I go back to the 15 pound road bike (I race mostly crits.........specificity principle). If I want more load, I just increase the pedal RPM, torque (i.e. higher gear), or both.

    Buying equipment to strictly get more resistance (by adding weight or rolling resistance), is a waste of money.............unless it is related to one of the above primary reasons.......IMO.



    Also, if I brought an MTB to a road group ride......I'll be off the back in about 5 minutes. It all depends who you ride with. ( I usually ride with much younger Roadie Cat 3's).
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  16. #16
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    Correct me if I am wrong, but if you put forth the same effort on both bikes (heavier and lighter), would the only difference result in different speeds?

    Seems like you get the same benefit from the training if you put out the same effort when riding the heavier bike, you get the same workout, but at a slower pace.

    If that rationale is sound, when riding the heavier bike you would get the most out of the workout by trying to match the normal speed of the lighter bike......which normally should require more effort.

    or you could just push yourself on the lighter bike..??

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Destin
    I train with a 20 pound weight vest on the road, and sometimes in the woods although it makes bike handling kind of difficult. I use it most in the training rides leading up to a race, especially the last one. That way when I hit the starting line its like losing 20 pounds, and I can ride way faster, and burn way less. Maybe its just mental, but it seems to help me
    Why not just ride faster when out training?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamtylerdurden
    Correct me if I am wrong, but if you put forth the same effort on both bikes (heavier and lighter), would the only difference result in different speeds?

    Seems like you get the same benefit from the training if you put out the same effort when riding the heavier bike, you get the same workout, but at a slower pace.

    If that rationale is sound, when riding the heavier bike you would get the most out of the workout by trying to match the normal speed of the lighter bike......which normally should require more effort.

    or you could just push yourself on the lighter bike..??
    It's really that simple. Aside from the entirely valid special circumstance reasons described by some posters, such as wanting to have same effort but go slower to lessen wind chill, etc.

  19. #19
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    A few really strong road guys I know run a heavy set of wheels with bigger heavier tires in the winter. Works well since you don't have to worry about damaging the wheels or tires with potholes or bad pavement through the winter months.

    For mountain bike group rides you'll work harder to stay with a fast group if you add some extra resistance. Pick up a set of heavy tires and just keep the rest of the set up the same. Low budget change since you can pick up some heavy steel bead tires cheap - the burlier the better as you'll get extra resistance out of an aggressive tread. Plus it's fun to ride some big burly tires and aim for the rough stuff. You just might improve your handling skills over the winter too.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by sthrnfat
    For mountain bike group rides you'll work harder to stay with a fast group if you add some extra resistance.
    I think under the circumstances above adding weight "may" have some merit. Also riding SS with added weight using your normal gearing for a given trail could possibly be of some benefit. I just stay seated on my SS and grind out the hills to give my legs a good workout.

    For just riding/training on a geared bike I would just get in the big chainring or use harder than "normal" gearing. Adding weight and shifting to easier gears would accomplish nothing IMO.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gotta Know
    Why not just ride faster when out training?
    I get that alot. When riding with the vest I try to keep my avg. speed the same as when I ride without it. The vest also helps to strengthen my core. Im not the type to wear a HRM or keep track of my training rides so i cant pull out numbers to prove anything. My theory is that when my heart comes out of my chest ive overdone it. I also believe that if I dont puke during a race im not pushing hard enough..and as soon as I puke im good to go =] Now back to the point... All I know is that it seems like come race day I go way faster putting out the same effort as I did with the weight vest, and I like that feeling
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamtylerdurden
    Correct me if I am wrong, but if you put forth the same effort on both bikes (heavier and lighter), would the only difference result in different speeds?

    Seems like you get the same benefit from the training if you put out the same effort when riding the heavier bike, you get the same workout, but at a slower pace.

    If that rationale is sound, when riding the heavier bike you would get the most out of the workout by trying to match the normal speed of the lighter bike......which normally should require more effort.

    or you could just push yourself on the lighter bike..??

    Correct. LT is LT. You just generate more speed with a lighter bike(at a given effort), or less speed with a heavier bike(or slower rolling wheels/tires, whatever).

    This is why I most always use a cross bike for the road in these parts. We have endless fire service roads, or roads that almost always eventually turn to dirt road. In the meantime, a cross bike rides better(bigger volumn tires)...goes anywhere...usually has more comfy ergos(then say my TCR)...and in my case, even has disc brakes. The ONLY thing I give up with a given effort, is speed. So for a given loop, its just takes somewhat longer.
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  23. #23
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    Thanks for all the input. But, I have one more question.Some posters have mentioned that a few pounds doesn't make any difference or that adding weight does nothing for you. If that's the case why are racers so obsessed with shaving pounds&grams from their bikes. Let's say you've been racing a bike with a weight of 26pds and then switch to a bike that weighs in the neighborhood of 22pds. I'm assuming it would make a world of difference in endurance, speed,handling,etc. I can't imagine any racer adding 3 to 5 pds. to their bike & then saying afterward he/she didn't feel the extra weight during the race. What do you think? Thanks again for the feedback.

  24. #24
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    Why?

    Because for training purposes, the weight of the bike has no bearing on what YOU are doing. YOU are only capable of so much work, for a certain amount of time. Your body doesn't know the difference between 300w on a 10kg bike, and 300w on a 12kg bike. Watts are watts. Simple as that.

    During a race, however, you want to maximize speed for a given amount of work. So, you strip your bike down, and wear the lightest clothing/helmet/whatever. A 75kg system travels faster uphill than an 80kg system, provided the same amount of power.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by flowride
    What do you think? Thanks again for the feedback.
    In the nicest spirit of the holiday season, and in in all seriousness, what I think is that you should slowly and carefully read the replies already given until you understand the relationship between speed, weight, and (rider) power. If you understand how those 3 variables are linked, and also where they are independent of one another, then you can answer your own question, and any similar variant. Here's a few helpers;

    - Power in from the rider essentially determines the amount of training load, independent of speed or weight.
    - Less weight, same power = higher speed, same training load
    - Higher power, same weight = higher speed, higher training load
    - Higher weight, same power = lower speed, same training load
    - Higher weight, same speed =higher power required, higher training load.

    Flip these variables around any way you want. In summary, you can achieve a higher training load by adding more weight and going the same speed, or by keeping the same weight and going faster. Both require higher higher power input from the rider, meaning more training load. Some people will advocate the specificity of learning to ride at higher speed, on the same setup as race day, while others will purport that there is some benefit to fatigure created in other muscles and systems by adding more weight.

    As Le Duke already stated, on race day for highest speed you want to maximize power in, and minimize weight (without material compromises in bike functionality or durability).

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Circlip
    In the nicest spirit of the holiday season, and in in all seriousness, what I think is that you should slowly and carefully read the replies already given until you understand the relationship between speed, weight, and (rider) power. If you understand how those 3 variables are linked, and also where they are independent of one another, then you can answer your own question, and any similar variant. Here's a few helpers;

    - Power in from the rider essentially determines the amount of training load, independent of speed or weight.
    - Less weight, same power = higher speed, same training load
    - Higher power, same weight = higher speed, higher training load
    - Higher weight, same power = lower speed, same training load
    - Higher weight, same speed =higher power required, higher training load.

    Flip these variables around any way you want. In summary, you can achieve a higher training load by adding more weight and going the same speed, or by keeping the same weight and going faster. Both require higher higher power input from the rider, meaning more training load. Some people will advocate the specificity of learning to ride at higher speed, on the same setup as race day, while others will purport that there is some benefit to fatigure created in other muscles and systems by adding more weight.

    As Le Duke already stated, on race day for highest speed you want to maximize power in, and minimize weight (without material compromises in bike functionality or durability).

    +1.
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  27. #27
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    I know some one that adds weight to his bike for some training rides,and i have mentioned that watts is watts,,BUT, if your riding witha group and no one else is putting extra weight on their bikes,you're keeping up with people that are probabely riding to their limit,in a big enough group someones always having a good day and you're chasing them with extra weight in your waterbottle,it could work. From a physics point of view a 400 watt average is the same regardless of what you're moving,average cadence should be slower with the heavier weight.a little more anaerobic..

  28. #28
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    Group rides when "training" just gives 1 more variable to the equation. If everyone is faster than you, then great, you will probably push yourself a little more during the ride. If slower, yes something would have to change to get the most out of the ride.

    Guess if everyone is slower in the group, and you wanted a more physical work out you could pick an easier gear and spin at a higher cadence and work on cardio.....or grab bigger gears than normal and work on leg strength. But this probably wouldnt help too much with working on flow or momentum.

  29. #29
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    In a group ride, the strongest rider gets to train in intervals, blast up the hills or down a certain section of trails, then wait at trail intersections. On road rides the strong guys can pull more on the flats,win the hills,use a heavier bike,and use powercranks,or all of the above.

  30. #30
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    The key here is intensity. We deal with this in the weight room all the time. If I am squatting 50% of my 1 rep max at 100% intensity verses 95% of my max at 100% intensity they only real difference is the speed at which the weight is moving. With this said how can one be sure that they are lifting 50% of their one rep max at 100% intensity? Compare this to lifting 95% of my 1 rep max which forces me to give that intensity or I will fail. In weight lifting we vary the weight and speed through progression because it has been shown increasing strength. In cycling you have gearing they can increase or decrease the amount of force required to move up a hill. If what holds true in the weight room also applies on the trail then one could do hills at an easier gear pedaling very fast and then over time progressively move to tougher gears to ensure max effort.

    Just a thought.
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  31. #31
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    I haven't done this on my mtb, but have done it on my road bike. I suggest you try it on your mtb, though. Not for the training benefit, but because it will open your eyes to the relative irrelevance of extra weight on the bike. If your bike fits well and handles well, you will not notice an extra 4 or 5 pounds on your bike unless it's right under the saddle or someplace it drastically affects CoG. The closer to the BB the weight is, the less you'll notice it. What you'll really learn is that worrying about shaving a pound or two off your bike is not really all that necessary. There are so many things that are more important.

  32. #32
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    +1 i wonder how many deaf weight weenie ears this will reach? keep drilling holes in you deraileur pulleys.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by herbn
    +1 i wonder how many deaf weight weenie ears this will reach? keep drilling holes in you deraileur pulleys.
    I'd mentioned above that I haven't tried extra weight on my mtb, but I do have a real world example. I used to own a Superfly. It didn't feel quite right, the geometry just didn't work for me. Before selling it, I bought a Pivot 429. 6 pounds heavier! Yikes. wrong... I found that I could clean certain climbs on the 429 that I couldn't on the Superfly, plus I was waaaay faster on anything remotely rough on the 429, too. I did a few comparison tests before selling the Superfly, and found that over a 10 mile loop near my house (one that included three pretty nice, long climbs and three relatively smooth descents that did not require FS) I was over 2 minutes faster on the 429.

    The point: if everything is right, a few extra pounds won't hurt. If something is wrong, you can't make a bike light enough to make up for it.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by herbn
    +1 i wonder how many deaf weight weenie ears this will reach? keep drilling holes in you deraileur pulleys.
    As the new World Champion rode an (estimated) 17 or 18lb hardtail, and is a known WW, I think many people will continue to do so.

    Similarly, everything else considered equal, a 17lb bike will go uphill faster than a 20lb bike. And you can definitely build a bike to that weight without sacrificing durability these days.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke
    As the new World Champion rode an (estimated) 17 or 18lb hardtail, and is a known WW, I think many people will continue to do so.

    Similarly, everything else considered equal, a 17lb bike will go uphill faster than a 20lb bike. And you can definitely build a bike to that weight without sacrificing durability these days.
    The problems with "everything else considered equal" is that it's never really equal.

  36. #36
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    Its simple science, that if you train harder than your races, it will make them seem much easier. just as weight training, or endurance training. If you train with more weight, or you do more repetitions/ longer runs or rides - It will increase endurance for racing

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildkyle90
    Its simple science, that if you train harder than your races, it will make them seem much easier. just as weight training, or endurance training. If you train with more weight, or you do more repetitions/ longer runs or rides - It will increase endurance for racing
    Simple??? too funny.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by scooter2468
    Simple??? too funny.
    Haha well follow the procedure and its simple, but what happens with your body if thats what your getting at is not that simple.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildkyle90
    Its simple science, that if you train harder than your races, it will make them seem much easier. just as weight training, or endurance training. If you train with more weight, or you do more repetitions/ longer runs or rides - It will increase endurance for racing
    If you truly believe what you just wrote, the education system in this country has failed you.

    Everyone else, write to your local congressman immediately.

  40. #40
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    Adding resistance is probably ok, but if you are just going to use a easier gear, whats the point. I could see how it might be benneficial if you used the same gear (ss) and your goal was to build some power and you had limited hills. Where I live I have limited hills but need to build power, so I just removed my granny gear, which forces myself to put out more watts/power and go faster.

  41. #41
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    Adding resistance is probably ok, but if you are just going to use a easier gear, whats the point. I could see how it might be benneficial if you used the same gear (ss) and your goal was to build some power and you had limited hills. Where I live I have limited hills but need to build power, so I just removed my granny gear, which forces myself to put out more watts/power and go faster.

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