Cost effective weight saving - Hurdle rate system - Poor Weenies essential reading.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Idea! Cost effective weight saving - Hurdle rate system - Poor Weenies essential reading.

    Hi.

    In case there were any other riders/racers trying to slim their bikes within spending limits, I thought I would share my geeky accounting style "Hurdle Rate" for deciding what to spend your money on.

    I use a fairly light hardtail with no shocks for racing Expert/Elite XC and solo 12hrs.

    I use a minimum hurdle rate of 4g saved per £ spent (aprx to 2.3, say 2g/$ **) when I can afford to spend anything. This keeps me on the straight and narrow and has led to some creative savings as well as looking to the 'auction site' and at less expensive brands and cost free savings.

    To put this in comparison, my Marin Indian Fire Trail frame weighs in @ 4lb or 1816g* . To knock a pound off by buying a fancy 3lb aluminium frame (which might lack the same strength, i'm about 80kg) could cost me about $600ish new (?). That gives me a pathetic saving rate of (454g/$600) 0.76g/$ = Weak. Wouldn't do it unless my frame broke. Then i'd get onto Ebay and pick up a tatty one without disc-mounts going cheap at around $150. That gives me 3g/$ saving. That meets my hurdle of 2g/$ so if I had that $150 I might do it anyway.

    Here are some examples of my last round of savings.

    Conti Supersonic Tubes (on special) $8.80 each. Saved 75g = 4.3g/$ (you could say it counts double as its rotating weight if you like).
    2nd hand v.lite non disc wheels. $118 and 300g saved = 2.5g/$
    Regular barends swapped for xtx @ only 56g. Saved 55g Cost $22 = 2.5g/$
    Removed star nut and top cap. Saved 30g. Free saving. Tighten stem correctly and preload with something from the hardware shop at home.
    Smica stem. Lucky break on ebay only $7 posted for 110g stem (i'm a reachy guy. No other browsers were?). Saved 50g = 7g/$ NICE. Lucky though.
    A Smica carbon seatpost will cost me $88 new for the 110g saving = Only 1.25g/$. But this does soften up my rigid boneshaker which should be an asset for rough xc and 12hr solos.

    That bit of work mixed with a bit of luck resulted in 620g (1.36lb) saved for $253. (2.45g/$). Fairly pleased with that. I'll be swapping grips for tape next time round which should show up a saving of aprx 60-70g for a $12 spend, aprx 5.4g/$.

    What cheapo savings do you have that you might like to share?

    What are your best and worst weight upgrades based on the g/$ ratio?

    Of course superior function is often worth the extra weight or sub 2g/$ saving. Suspension for example. Or the softening carbon post, lighter tires etc.

    Do you think this system has any merit? Could it keep wild spenders on the straight and narrow? Based on the notion that rolling resistance and rotating weight are so important. I would adjust the required saving to 1g/$ saved for rotating weight and mmmmm... difficult to asign a target value for something like rolling resistance as its hard to measure. However Nino's report on the Nokian NBX lite tire's time saving should mean that the committed could be prepared to spend more than it actually costs for the benefits.

    If you calculate the saving you have made for the $ spent, are you surprised how <1g/$ they are? Do you feel the ends justify the means?

    Just my half witted ramblings.

    Happy trails.

    *Pending someone telling me otherwise as i've not weighed it and that weight was off a web forum).

    **Some products/prices may seem strange as they are all £/$ coversions at a 1.76 exch rate, and some products such as Smica (Post Moderne) may not be as available.

  2. #2
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    Probably the cheapest way to drop weight is to go on a personal diet

  3. #3
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    That joke is getting really old on here, though it's true for some rider. My own 82kg is perfect for racing, and only likely to go up as I gain fitness.

    I also use such a system, g/€ for me though. I am pretty unsesitive to most types of bling, so when I build a bike from scratch, it's likely to be a mix of many different Shimano groups. Some cheap Shimano products just can't be beat without spending like 1€/g, which is silly. Deore V-Brakes and levers, Tiagra road calipers, all work much too well to upgrade for me.

    This forum needs another budget lightweight build contest. No eBaying, just available online, at least to be shipped to the US.
    How light would a hardtail get for $1000 or $1500?
    Motobecane used to have $999 stock bikes that were like 21lb, do those sill exist? We need more weight-conscious brands like that, saving weight in sensible manner.

  4. #4
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    Don't stop buying the exotic gear. V.Important

    Quote Originally Posted by ftp13
    Probably the cheapest way to drop weight is to go on a personal diet
    Quite right for most people I see riding. In fact with the exception of a certain % of fit racers and enthusiasts, a personal diet would be ++ effective.

    I've been lucky enough to win a few races and have narrowly missed out on several podiums. Not once have thought "maybe my bike wasn't light/expensive enough". But every time I don't place I think "how could I have improved my nutrition or training". But nutrition and training take "Real" effort. Not as simple as making more purchases. But....

    With regard to Cloxxki's post - You're right on about the Deore V-brakes. V.cheap and can be set up to work very well. But from a sport and industry standpoint, the more people who buy the expensive, exotic bikes and components, the better, as it helps to move biking forward and provides jobs for real enthusiasts. If we all used Deore V-brakes and used sums to work out whether something was worth buying, the bike industry would be handcuffed. Maybe.

    I'm off to the shed to sand my spokes down a bit.

    Davo

  5. #5
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    Supergo Access frame

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Wave Dave
    Hi.



    To put this in comparison, my Marin Indian Fire Trail frame weighs in @ 4lb or 1816g*
    I just picked up a Supergo Access frame used for $70. They were $130 new, if you can still find them. This is more a US thing. Supergo is (was) a big box store of bike stuff, and the Access frame was a house brand thing.

    The frame in the 18" size weighs in at 1630g.

    I'm assuming you did all the cheap weight weenie tricks already, such as strapping tape for rim strips, light innertubes, foam grips, etc.

  6. #6
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    Nino is correct....Dollars for performance go first to rolling resistance

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Wave Dave

    Do you think this system has any merit? Could it keep wild spenders on the straight and narrow? Based on the notion that rolling resistance and rotating weight are so important. I would adjust the required saving to 1g/$ saved for rotating weight and mmmmm... difficult to asign a target value for something like rolling resistance as its hard to measure. However Nino's report on the Nokian NBX lite tire's time saving should mean that the committed could be prepared to spend more than it actually costs for the benefits.

    If you calculate the saving you have made for the $ spent, are you surprised how <1g/$ they are? Do you feel the ends justify the means.
    Look, what is the end you are trying for? If it is performance than the first issue is gaining the big CHUNKS of performance. It performance means "time" to you then low rolling resistance tires (with minimum required grip) are the number one item to purchase.
    BTW, most lower rolling resistance tires are also at or near the lowest weight for a given grip ability.

    Example. There is a climb near where I ride. I have calculated via analyticcycling.com that a 2.5 pound (1135 gram) drop in weight will result in a 8.44 second lower climb.
    The climb is about 1.4 miles with about 580-590 feet elevation gain.
    The climb, full crazy effort can be done by me in about 10 minutes (600 seconds)
    8.44 seconds drop in time is about 1.4 percent performance increase.

    I can easily drop double, or triple that amount of time using optimal RR tires versus average RR tires. Just take the lower watts from better tires. Figure that as a percentage of your total watts output. You don't have to be exact.....to get a general picture.
    So if you drop 8 watts.....4 per tire........and say you can put out as much as 320 watts up that 1.4 mile climb.....(320 watts is doubtfull for most over 10 minutes but lets use it)
    Still, thats 2.5%..... translate (roughly) into about a 15 second drop in time.
    Almost double what you get from dropping a massive 1135 grams of weight. Cost minimal by comparison.

    Some might say, oh, 15 seconds vs......8.5 seconds isn't that big a deal.......but that 6.5 seconds at the top at medium rate of speed is about a 100 foot lead...
    AND.......guess what, the weight doesn't make much difference on the flats....whereas the RR keeps working all the way.

    So, in conclusion, the very first place to optimize your performance is in the area of rolling resistance of your tires. Goal, best rolling resistance that still offers sufficient grip.
    This is a no brainer for everyone except the math impaired, or those who just get off on downhilling..........(the two groups which are often intermingled)

  7. #7
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    Good RR Knowledge!

    Good report on the RR of tires, Chester. Thanks. You should post that in the tires forum. Non-weight weenies would enjoy the knowledge too.

    My humble bike is currently shod with Nanoraptors for the majority of courses. In my experience they are fast rollers and I think they are in there with the rolling resistance tires. If I weren't already using them I would buy some of these Nokian NBX lites. I've raced a lot and the idea of a decent measureable lead as you suggest is very appealing. You can't get extra distance like that with an aluminium bolt kit!

    Dave

  8. #8
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    I built my sub 18 lbs bike for AUS $3200 parts + $800 in shipping and duties. WIth the exchange rate at the time that was US $2800 total. But my frame was very cheap, second-hand. So long as you've got time to research parts and look for deals - easy to build them light + cheap.

    Your formula is just $ per g saved ratio. Maybe you can make it so that it changes with the weight of your bike (because it's easy to take a bike from 24 to 22 lbs cheap, not so from 20 to 18 lbs)? Then it would actually be a formula, and worth writing about.
    If in doubt - pedal harder!!!

  9. #9
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    Nice bike.

    The general impetus behind my use of the simple ratio was to ensure that I didn't spend more money than I deemed I should on ultralight or overly exotic equipment, that if being very honest with ourselves, makes only the tiniest difference if any, in race/ride performance. The thread was mainly aimed at "poor weenies" as a possible guide.

    For that reason I personally wouldn't gear the ratio to allow for the reducing savings per $. This is purely because I am satified with my bike which weighs in (rigid) at under 22lbs (interestingly the weight you mention as being cheap to reach - it was). The gearing down of such a ratio to allow for the diminishing savings only serves to illustrate the reducing utility per $/£ spent and therefore, in my opinion, the futility of the excersise.

    Some bikers are drawn to spend improportionately large sums on small weight savings. I personally view the pursuit of ultralite bikes as very neccessary to the industry, but essentially hobbyist and offering little reward on a race course. I very rarely see any of these ultralight bikes. Certainly not near the front of any race pack.

    Mmmmmmm....

    Davo
    Last edited by Big Wave Dave; 02-07-2006 at 06:45 AM. Reason: Unhappy with use of the term "ego-wanking". Term removed!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chester
    Look, what is the end you are trying for? If it is performance than the first issue is gaining the big CHUNKS of performance. It performance means "time" to you then low rolling resistance tires (with minimum required grip) are the number one item to purchase.
    BTW, most lower rolling resistance tires are also at or near the lowest weight for a given grip ability.

    Example. There is a climb near where I ride. I have calculated via analyticcycling.com that a 2.5 pound (1135 gram) drop in weight will result in a 8.44 second lower climb.
    The climb is about 1.4 miles with about 580-590 feet elevation gain.
    The climb, full crazy effort can be done by me in about 10 minutes (600 seconds)
    8.44 seconds drop in time is about 1.4 percent performance increase.

    I can easily drop double, or triple that amount of time using optimal RR tires versus average RR tires. Just take the lower watts from better tires. Figure that as a percentage of your total watts output. You don't have to be exact.....to get a general picture.
    So if you drop 8 watts.....4 per tire........and say you can put out as much as 320 watts up that 1.4 mile climb.....(320 watts is doubtfull for most over 10 minutes but lets use it)
    Still, thats 2.5%..... translate (roughly) into about a 15 second drop in time.
    Almost double what you get from dropping a massive 1135 grams of weight. Cost minimal by comparison.

    Some might say, oh, 15 seconds vs......8.5 seconds isn't that big a deal.......but that 6.5 seconds at the top at medium rate of speed is about a 100 foot lead...
    AND.......guess what, the weight doesn't make much difference on the flats....whereas the RR keeps working all the way.

    So, in conclusion, the very first place to optimize your performance is in the area of rolling resistance of your tires. Goal, best rolling resistance that still offers sufficient grip.
    This is a no brainer for everyone except the math impaired, or those who just get off on downhilling..........(the two groups which are often intermingled)

    I'm not much of a weight weenie but that's some of the best info I've ever read on MTBR, well thought out and presented.

    Thank You!!!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chester
    Look, what is the end you are trying for? If it is performance than the first issue is gaining the big CHUNKS of performance. It performance means "time" to you then low rolling resistance tires (with minimum required grip) are the number one item to purchase.
    BTW, most lower rolling resistance tires are also at or near the lowest weight for a given grip ability.

    Example. There is a climb near where I ride. I have calculated via analyticcycling.com that a 2.5 pound (1135 gram) drop in weight will result in a 8.44 second lower climb.
    The climb is about 1.4 miles with about 580-590 feet elevation gain.
    The climb, full crazy effort can be done by me in about 10 minutes (600 seconds)
    8.44 seconds drop in time is about 1.4 percent performance increase.

    I can easily drop double, or triple that amount of time using optimal RR tires versus average RR tires. Just take the lower watts from better tires. Figure that as a percentage of your total watts output. You don't have to be exact.....to get a general picture.
    So if you drop 8 watts.....4 per tire........and say you can put out as much as 320 watts up that 1.4 mile climb.....(320 watts is doubtfull for most over 10 minutes but lets use it)
    Still, thats 2.5%..... translate (roughly) into about a 15 second drop in time.
    Almost double what you get from dropping a massive 1135 grams of weight. Cost minimal by comparison.

    Some might say, oh, 15 seconds vs......8.5 seconds isn't that big a deal.......but that 6.5 seconds at the top at medium rate of speed is about a 100 foot lead...
    AND.......guess what, the weight doesn't make much difference on the flats....whereas the RR keeps working all the way.

    So, in conclusion, the very first place to optimize your performance is in the area of rolling resistance of your tires. Goal, best rolling resistance that still offers sufficient grip.
    This is a no brainer for everyone except the math impaired, or those who just get off on downhilling..........(the two groups which are often intermingled)
    That is a very interesting analysis, but I don't think it is quite that simple. Anytime you use tires with less traction, you will slip more in certain situations. Take that climb you were describing for example. Over the course of that 1.4 miles, I'm sure there are places were the available traction is reduced, and low RR tires would slip, thus wasting your energy. Also, tire pressure makes a huge differerence in the equation as well. Running your tires with more pressure may give you less RR on smooth terrain, but when the trail is bumpy, it is actually slower because of the excessive bouncing. I think there are just too many variables to simplify it like that. But, that is just my opinion!

    Mark

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chester
    Look, what is the end you are trying for? If it is performance than the first issue is gaining the big CHUNKS of performance. It performance means "time" to you then low rolling resistance tires (with minimum required grip) are the number one item to purchase.
    BTW, most lower rolling resistance tires are also at or near the lowest weight for a given grip ability.

    Example. There is a climb near where I ride. I have calculated via analyticcycling.com that a 2.5 pound (1135 gram) drop in weight will result in a 8.44 second lower climb.
    The climb is about 1.4 miles with about 580-590 feet elevation gain.
    The climb, full crazy effort can be done by me in about 10 minutes (600 seconds)
    8.44 seconds drop in time is about 1.4 percent performance increase.

    I can easily drop double, or triple that amount of time using optimal RR tires versus average RR tires. Just take the lower watts from better tires. Figure that as a percentage of your total watts output. You don't have to be exact.....to get a general picture.
    So if you drop 8 watts.....4 per tire........and say you can put out as much as 320 watts up that 1.4 mile climb.....(320 watts is doubtfull for most over 10 minutes but lets use it)
    Still, thats 2.5%..... translate (roughly) into about a 15 second drop in time.
    Almost double what you get from dropping a massive 1135 grams of weight. Cost minimal by comparison.

    Some might say, oh, 15 seconds vs......8.5 seconds isn't that big a deal.......but that 6.5 seconds at the top at medium rate of speed is about a 100 foot lead...
    AND.......guess what, the weight doesn't make much difference on the flats....whereas the RR keeps working all the way.

    So, in conclusion, the very first place to optimize your performance is in the area of rolling resistance of your tires. Goal, best rolling resistance that still offers sufficient grip.
    This is a no brainer for everyone except the math impaired, or those who just get off on downhilling..........(the two groups which are often intermingled)
    Good job Chester. The old book "Bicycle Science" published by MIT hit on a similiar note. The biggest gains of all - even beyond RR - are in aerodynamics ~ reducing drag, if memory serves. If you can find comfortable positions to lower air drag on your body while on the bike, you will increase your speed and reduce your output.

    In other words, think twice about the riser bars, wider handle bars, and upright position. Sure you might descend better but it might not necessarily gain you anything.

    On the RR, the MIT book did discuss tire pressure as well, and I seem to remember they recommended 55-60-psi as optimal for tires on dirt roads. Most of the book was based on 28-in. wheels and studies done in the early 1900's.

  13. #13
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    Time savings from reducing rolling resistance.

    I should be working on my dissertation. But i love this stuff.

    I would like to quickly illustrate the rolling resistance (rr) time saving as suggested by Chester, with reference to an earlier post by Nino.

    Chester – “I can easily drop double, or triple that amount of time using optimal RR tires versus average RR tires. Just take the lower watts from better tires. Figure that as a percentage of your total watts output. You don't have to be exact.....to get a general picture.
    So if you drop 8 watts.....4 per tire........and say you can put out as much as 320 watts up that 1.4 mile climb.....(320 watts is doubtfull for most over 10 minutes but lets use it)
    Still, thats 2.5%..... translate (roughly) into about a 15 second drop in time.
    Almost double what you get from dropping a massive 1135 grams of weight. Cost minimal by comparison.”

    To get an hourly saving from above (highly subjective approximation) 15sec x 6 = 1.5 mins.

    Nino - http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...97182#poststop

    “not really giving the answer to what you asked but when i switched from Conti Explorer Supersonics (ca. 450g) to Nokian NBX Lite 2,0 (same weight, ca. 450g) i had MUCH improved overall times on my standard laps. all of a sudden i was 3% faster! that's a full 3 minutes per hour!!!”

    Subsequent correction. “correct - my mistake!
    it's 5% savings = 3 minutes”

    Although Nino reports his possible time saving (3mins) as being twice that of Chester’s (1.5mins), it goes to show that there may well be easily measured time savings to be made with low rr tires.

    Lets contrast those savings with this….

    Chester – “I have calculated via analyticcycling.com that a 2.5 pound (1135 gram) drop in weight will result in a 8.44 second lower climb.The climb is about 1.4 miles with about 580-590 feet elevation gain.The climb, full crazy effort can be done by me in about 10 minutes”

    I’ve just take out my star nut and top cap as a free saving. Lets see what sort of time using these figures I might be looking at….

    8.44sec x (30g saved / 1135g) = 0.22 secs. X 6 (to get an hour figure) = 1.3secs.

    It didn’t take me long to take out and it was free so I’m pleased. However if that cost me $$$ to save I’d be gutted. That’s 1% of the low rr tyre time saving.

    Disclaimer. I am a geek. I am very bored and my dissertation is preventing me riding. All figures are highly subjective and unsupported with the exception on Nino’s anecdotal report.

    Just a bit of fun. We all know that you can easilly lose any time saved by slipping out in a corner because your low rr tire has no grip etc.

  14. #14
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    Well I agree with most of what you state, especially about getting aero

    Quote Originally Posted by Timo
    Good job Chester. The old book "Bicycle Science" published by MIT hit on a similiar note. The biggest gains of all - even beyond RR - are in aerodynamics ~ reducing drag, if memory serves. If you can find comfortable positions to lower air drag on your body while on the bike, you will increase your speed and reduce your output.
    In other words, think twice about the riser bars, wider handle bars, and upright position. Sure you might descend better but it might not necessarily gain you anything.
    I think you have it exactly correct. Aerodynamics is the largest and most underrated topic on mtbr.com forums. And I think you are probably correct in indentifying the hidden theft of power, watts, via wind resistance as being even more important than rolling resistance.
    I'd say the order of importance (once you have gotten to the "average" bike) would be

    #1. Aerodynamics
    #2. Rolling resistance (assuming you have "adequate" grip)
    #3. Weight

    Of course the depth of discussion is in exactly the reverse order.
    I think this is because it is easier to measure, buy and discuss products dealing with weight.
    So I focus more on Rolling Resistance with much discussion and resistance to the concept..........ie..all the talk about losing grip, pressure too high, etc. etc....Even though I always say "the best rolling resistance tire with ---adequate grip---"
    I also focus on Rolling Resistance because it is something you can discuss with some data, like from the German magazines, and formulas.........and also by comparing it to weight via places like analyticcycling.com... IN other words, it gives one some basis on which to discuss data in a similar fashion like weight.

    Aerodynamics is even harder to discuss with detailed data, because almost no one can measure their Aerodynamics unless you've got a wind tunnel handy.
    Thus it is kind of forgotten and everyone acts like its not really important in mtn biking.
    I disagree and feel its almost certainly more important than weight or rolling resistance, unless you are riding a totally heavy bike with terrible tires.

    On road bikes, at approximately 12 km/h rolling and air resistance have equivalent magnitude. At higher velocities air resistance dominates quite strongly.
    On mtn bikes the equivalent resistance begins above that (7.2 mph) 12 km/h.
    See the following sites....neither of which is great or very accurate regarding details you can easily translate into mtn biking, but still give some look at the concept.

    http://damonrinard.com/aero/formulas.htm

    http://www.kreuzotter.de/english/espeed.htm

    http://www.analyticcycling.com/ForcesSpeed_Page.html

    On that last site, the calculator allows you to reduce the frontal area as you might by being more aero in position and clothing. For example by reducing your profile by about 10% you can increase your speed/performance by about 2.2% . Now, that would be at about 14.2 mph, but during a cross country race there is a period of time spent at such speeds wherein you are not concerned about the danger of crashing. So by being a bit more aero, you could certainly pick up time if you concentrate on it.
    Again, this site is not set up for this type of calculation but it would seem to indicate such savings.
    Lots of time during a cross country loop is spent at a fair speed, but yet not in such conditions where greater speed is dangerous. In those conditions, better aero is very important IF.........IF.....lower time is your aim.

    Quote Originally Posted by Timo
    On the RR, the MIT book did discuss tire pressure as well, and I seem to remember they recommended 55-60-psi as optimal for tires on dirt roads. Most of the book was based on 28-in. wheels and studies done in the early 1900's.
    Early 1900's................yeow!! Can't comment on that but I'd have to say, I'd never go that high to gain better RR. Perhaps as high as 45 psi depending on conditions and weight of rider.

  15. #15
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    Look at this thread from Sept 2003...regarding robot rider data

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Wave Dave
    I should be working on my dissertation. But i love this stuff.

    I would like to quickly illustrate the rolling resistance (rr) time saving as suggested by Chester, with reference to an earlier post by Nino.


    Nino - http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...97182#poststop

    “not really giving the answer to what you asked but when i switched from Conti Explorer Supersonics (ca. 450g) to Nokian NBX Lite 2,0 (same weight, ca. 450g) i had MUCH improved overall times on my standard laps. all of a sudden i was 3% faster! that's a full 3 minutes per hour!!!”

    Subsequent correction. “correct - my mistake!
    it's 5% savings = 3 minutes”

    Although Nino reports his possible time saving (3mins) as being twice that of Chester’s (1.5mins), it goes to show that there may well be easily measured time savings to be made with low rr tires.

    Disclaimer. I am a geek. I am very bored and my dissertation is preventing me riding. All figures are highly subjective and unsupported with the exception on Nino’s anecdotal report.

    Just a bit of fun. We all know that you can easilly lose any time saved by slipping out in a corner because your low rr tire has no grip etc.
    Look at a old post of mine regarding switching out 1 regular tire with 1 Nokian NBX 2.0
    There is a whole thread that follows...

    http://archive.mtbr.com/16/0EFCA827.php

    Being the data type, you should enjoy the stats

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