Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bike Weight and Upgrades

I am generally not a weight weenie, but I am going to make some modifications to my tri bike over the winter that may bring the weight down a little bit, but decided to weigh it the way I had it set up for Tri-Star 111 and for IMWI.  Other than just the bike I had:
  • an aero-bottle on the front handlebars
  • 2 large water bottles in the rear X-Lab Tail Wing (not the light weight carbon one either)
  • one large bottle on the down tube
  • one regular size bottle on the seat tube
  • repair kit with tube, multi-tool, Co2 inflater with 3 Co2's
  • Bento Box with one heavy almond butter and jam sandwich in it
Here's my super-scientific method for weighing the bike:  I filled the bottles and put them on the bike.  Then I got something that weighs about as much as the sandwich and stuffed it in the Bento Box. Probably a little light...  Then I hopped on the scale and measured my own weight 3 times.  Then I remained on the scale lifted the bike up, noted the weight, set it down and repeated.  With the bike in hand I weighed 31 lbs more.  THAT MEANS MY BIKE WAS 31 lbs when I took off for the 62 mile Tri-Star bike section and the 112 mile hilly IMWI course.  It lightened up during the ride as I was drinking the bottles then tossing the empties in the drop zones, but still.  31 lbs....?!?!?

Vuelta XRP Team SL
I am making some mods to my bike for a couple reasons...   First off when I bought the bike over the 2007/2008 winter to race in 2008, I went for the lowest end bike that got me the most for the price. I didn't care about brand.  I ended up with the Quintana Roo KILO (their lowest model at the time--still might be).  It came as a package deal with several extra's to set you up for tri racing. Right when I got the bike I put some new wheels on it (Vuelta XRP Team SL) as it came with some stock wheels good for training, but not very good for racing. I sold off the stock wheels which helped with the cost of the Vuelta's.  I figured I'd race it for a couple years and if I like the 'tri thing' I'd upgrade.  Well, upgrading is FREAKIN EXPENSIVE so I decided to replace parts, but upgrade the part being replaced.  In 2009 I scored some carbon Vision handlebars from a friend who even installed them too (thanks Joe).  In 2010 I replaced the crappy cranks that the bike came with as the chain rings were on their last leg and it would have cost more to replace one ring than it was to replace the whole crank--and I got a sweet Ultegra set on eBay.  I put them on a few days before the Waseca Sprint--my chain shifted off when I when to go from the little ring just 15 seconds or so after leaving T1.  It didn't affect my bike split (brag alert: I still had the top bike split), but did it affect the overall????    In 2011, this past August, I replace the crappy stock brakes with Shimano Ultegra's that I picked up on eBay (some guy bought brakes, but then realized he need long reach ones so he had to sell'em off).  I finally discovered what its like to slow down when I lightly squeeze the brakes  : )     BTW- Had I not had them I would have probably crashed out on one of the descents in IMWI.  Finally, I know its still 2011, but my replacement part/upgrade for 2012 are the wheels and saddle. Maybe its just me, but I feel like my saddle has been flexing more than usual.  I ride right off the tip so all my weight is right there and it felt really flexible in the last few rides. Can the rails fatigue?  This change isn't to to wanting a new one, but I'm looking at it as a necessity--like replacing a tube with a slow leak.  I got a Selle Italia T1 saddle (photo above).  Finally, after four years of racing on the Vuelta wheels its time for a change. They are still solid and very true , but the cassette loosened up a couple times this year and it caused some nicks/gouges in the some of the splines.  I still raced with them in the Douglas TT's, TriStar, and IMWI, so they're fine, but for how long?  So for the new wheels--they not really new, but new to me. I snagged some HED 3's on, you guessed it, eBay.  


Brian said...

Your friend the smart ass here.....but have you also incorporated your own potential weight loss? Go hold a 5-lb bag of sugar, then think about pedaling with that much less weight!

Have a great Xmas, Mario.

rideonpurpose said...

Losing 5 lb without losing any power=hard

Losing 5 from your bike might be easy...

Think I saw you walking on my commute the other day Mario. Good luck with the upgrades. I'm trying to find a TT bike at all right now.

Mario said...

Thanks guys--I agree with both of you and there are a lot of factors to consider as well. Even psychological ones...

Losing body weight is a better way to lighten up the whole bike+body package than shaving bike weight down. However, a low end bike with heavy components doesn't help anyone. When it comes to replacing parts and going with something lighter in the process can't hurt. It also depends where the weight is on the bike.

Losing power while losing weight also depends on where on your body that weight is lost. If you have a little extra around your waist and you lose that, probably not going to lose power. If you are very lean already, then you lose weight and you notice your hips and quads got smaller, your power is probably not going to get any faster and your power will drop. For my weight-to-height ratio, I could probably afford to lose 5 lbs or so without losing power.

Brian said...

And I could stand to lose about 12 lbs right now. At any rate, the goal to drop weight would be fat related and not muscle. And when you are 50, that fat seems to settle in around the gut. Gut cruncher time for me. Of course, the current injury ain't helping any. At least I can still swim.