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Are heavy riders at a disadvantage on a climb compared to lighter riders or is it equal as long as power to weight is equal? In the past the top climbers were small people, but now bigger riders can climb as well as the smaller ones.
 

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steel515 said:
Are heavy riders at a disadvantage on a climb compared to lighter riders or is it equal as long as power to weight is equal? In the past the top climbers were small people, but now bigger riders can climb as well as the smaller ones.
Yes, well... the current trend of "big" riders keeping up with "small" climbers started back in the early 90's (Chiapucci, Indurain, Riis, Eros f*ing Poli?!...) about when EPO moved out of the medical world into sports... but I am sure that training and equal power-to-weight ratios are behind this development....

I didn't want to be a cynic!

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Philippe
 

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philippec said:
Eros f*ing Poli?!...
What in the world are you talking about? If you mean the Ventoux stage, give me enough of a lead and even I can win any climb. Other than that, Poli was renowned for driving the autobus.
 

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I've run into a few bigger guys that can climb. They are more rare though. Often these guys are more impressive on the flats. Fast all around riders.
Most big guys don't fare too well in the climbs though...
 

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steel515 said:
Are heavy riders at a disadvantage on a climb compared to lighter riders or is it equal as long as power to weight is equal? In the past the top climbers were small people, but now bigger riders can climb as well as the smaller ones.
With the exception of a small disadvantage for larger frontal area, if the power:weight ratio is the same, climbing speed will be the same. For accelerations, things may be different in terms of instantaneous power, but at steady speed, it's all about the ratio.
 

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Kerry Irons said:
if the power:weight ratio is the same, climbing speed will be the same.
That's a pretty tall order right there, isn't it? I mean, the additional muscle development needed to have the same power/weight ratio seems as though it would produce even more of a weight penalty than simply being lighter in weight, with a "near" same level of power/pound.

What it is I am saying, and not eloquently, is that the law of gravity simply makes it more compromising adding musclular density to produce the same power/weight ratio as someone who is 5'8", 145.

I am 6', 200lb, and climbing is taking a toll on my knees. it's killing me these days. I subscribe to the definition of "predestined weight", ie, through our normal metabolism and activity, we "settle" at a weight, and nearly have to learn to live with it.

Seems like I've been sitting just above or just below 200 since about 1999. And really, I've never weighed less than 185 my whole life. never weighed more than 215, never less than 185.
 

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Power:weight may be the same but the pull of gravity back down the steep slope is going to affect the big boys more. We all have a certain body type build that we have to come to terms with. For me it is a suffer-fest on the flats and downhills when the 180lb+ riders hammer and I just sit on their wheels and endure. Once the road points upwards, then I think its beneficial to be 5'10" and 140 lbs, with the steeper and longer climbs even easier to gap the big'uns.
 

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You guys are confused!

QUOTE=ashpelham]if the power:weight ratio is the same, climbing speed will be the same.

That's a pretty tall order right there, isn't it? I mean, the additional muscle development needed to have the same power/weight ratio seems as though it would produce even more of a weight penalty than simply being lighter in weight, with a "near" same level of power/pound.[/QUOTE]

The OP's original question was "is it equal as long as power to weight is equal?" That is the basis for the answer. Yes, it is uncommon for a big person to have the same power:weight ratio as a small person, but that was not the question.


capt_phun said:
Power:weight may be the same but the pull of gravity back down the steep slope is going to affect the big boys more.
No, because the power is used to overcome gravity. If you have the same power:weight ratio, it doesn't make any difference if you weigh 90 lbs or 290 lbs, you'll go up the hill at the same speed (ignoring small aero and frictional differences due to the higher weight). Think of the force required to overcome gravity as the power required: if the big guy weighs 3x as much but has 3x as much power, then the speed will be the same. F = ma. Acceleration due to gravity ("a") remains the same if mass ("m") triples, and force ("F") triples too.
 
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