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Frame material is NOT a major factor. A carbon fibre bike is not inherently faster than an aluminum or steel one. It may be a little lighter (but may not), and that may make it a bit faster is some situations (e.g., climbing), but it isn't necessarily faster in most settings.
 

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If you have an round tubing steel frame, and you are thinking that a new aero frame will enhance your performance, the performance enhancement gained from a new Cervelo carbon soloist, isn't near the performance gained from getting a good cycling coach. I know there's not a lot of "Bling Bling" in a training schedule, but you will gain the most. Steve Hed is a good guy to talk to about frame performance. He's been there done that. While there is performance to be gained from a light aero frame, it's not what the industry would have you believe. They would have you believe you won't be able to compete without it.
 

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Is pork lo-mein faster than shrimp lo-mein?
(I had Chinese food for lunch)
Light bikes weigh less than heavy ones.
All bike sit still until they are ridden
some fast people ride heavy bikes
some slow people ride heavy bikes
it's the same with light ones
If you find a bike you like, you should ride it.
 

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GTDave said:
Is pork lo-mein faster than shrimp lo-mein?
(I had Chinese food for lunch)
Light bikes weigh less than heavy ones.
All bike sit still until they are ridden
some fast people ride heavy bikes
some slow people ride heavy bikes
it's the same with light ones
If you find a bike you like, you should ride it.
Sounds like you got a lot of fortune cookies with that lunch.

Moo shu pork is faster, but not always in a good way.

BTW, I'm pretty sure Muay's original "statement" above is a quote from something I posted in a "what makes fast" thread. If you're trying to get me to flip-flop, Muay, I'm not taking the bait like some senile politician. I say firmly: "no comment."
 

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Muaythaibike said:
Frame material is NOT a major factor. A carbon fibre bike is not inherently faster than an aluminum or steel one. It may be a little lighter (but may not), and that may make it a bit faster is some situations (e.g., climbing), but it isn't necessarily faster in most settings.
The only way to measure the speed of a frame by itself is to drop it off a really tall object- then follow this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminal_velocity
to do the math.

I would guess that if you dropped an old schwinn varsity frame and a new trek madone frame, the varsity would hit the ground first.

Thus, the schwinn varsity is faster.
 

· Failboat Captian
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Who really gives a [email protected] if you're .1mph faster? No one can tell. But that new Prince will make everyone "OOhhh" and "Aahhh", and that's all that really matters, right? It's how fast you look, not how fast you are.

Plus, spending $10k on a new bike keeps the industry afloat. Do it, man! And while you're at it, buy a new Slipstream kit and a Lounge kit.
 

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buck-50 said:
The only way to measure the speed of a frame by itself is to drop it off a really tall object- then follow this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminal_velocity
to do the math.

I would guess that if you dropped an old schwinn varsity frame and a new trek madone frame, the varsity would hit the ground first.

Thus, the schwinn varsity is faster.
Post of the year! This pretty much sums it up. :)

Texbike
 

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buck-50 said:
The only way to measure the speed of a frame by itself is to drop it off a really tall object- then follow this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminal_velocity
to do the math.

I would guess that if you dropped an old schwinn varsity frame and a new trek madone frame, the varsity would hit the ground first.

Thus, the schwinn varsity is faster.
But if you shoot it out of a bike cannon using the same amount of propulsive materiel, which will go faster? The Schwinn will sustain momentum longer once it reaches top velocity, but the madone should reach a higher initial speed because of less mass to propel. And thats not even factoring in a more aero frame like a cervelo. At 300 mph these little differences would really have an impact.
 

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tferris said:
But if you shoot it out of a bike cannon using the same amount of propulsive materiel, which will go faster? The Schwinn will sustain momentum longer once it reaches top velocity, but the madone should reach a higher initial speed because of less mass to propel. And thats not even factoring in a more aero frame like a cervelo. At 300 mph these little differences would really have an impact.
And in a vacuum, they'd both fall at the same speed, indicating that the best place to race bikes would be on the moon.
 

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Not to give a serious reply but.... haha Heres my 2 cents, carbon bikes feel like they have no soul when youre riding them. Its like playing drums with aluminum sticks, easton can gripe all day long about how theyre better but the truth is that they dont feel right. With that said steel and titanium feel great but at a pretty high price. Aluminum is fast but its due to the rigidity not the weight, aluminum can be harsh though. So i guess what im saying is that if you have major bucks than a high end steel or ti frame would be awesome, if youre on the pro tour and get a free carbon bike than why not ride it. Personally I ride an aluminum Scott with carbon seatstays.... not sure if they work buts its really comfy for me and pretty darn fast. Once again, just my 2 cents.
 

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One commented that she likes the steel frame because the ride is smoother. If the heavy steel frame offered smoother ride AND faster speed, where is the carbon bikes' advantage? Bling. Nah... lighter bikes waste less energy. However, heavier bike+rider will go downhill faster because that combo will overcome the air resistance better than the lighter bike+rider combo.
 

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JohnnyTooBad said:
Who really gives a [email protected] if you're .1mph faster? No one can tell. But that new Prince will make everyone "OOhhh" and "Aahhh", and that's all that really matters, right? It's how fast you look, not how fast you are.

Plus, spending $10k on a new bike keeps the industry afloat. Do it, man! And while you're at it, buy a new Slipstream kit and a Lounge kit.
1mph is worth it. after one hour you will be 1 mile behind.
 

· eminence grease
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Let's take it one part at a time.

Frame material is NOT a major factor. True in that all the commonly used materials are capable of being built into a good bike.

A carbon fibre bike is not inherently faster than an aluminum or steel one. Comparing four bikes, aluminum, steel, titanium and CF leaning against a tree, this is true. Bikes have no inherent or innate abilities, riders do.

It may be a little lighter (but may not), True, a CF bike can be lighter or heavier.

and that may make it a bit faster is some situations In general, a lighter bike will make you faster. If you do the calculations, and if all variables are controlled at the same value (drag, weight, frame properties, wind, elevation, temperature, air density, rider, rider's nutrition, rider's condition on the day of the tests, components, others), and weight is the only variable, then yes, it will take less energy to get you from point A to point B which might mean that if you have more energy to give then that extra energy will translate into more speed. Now whether this increase in speed is actually detectable, and whether it makes any difference in your day to day life, is up for debate.

but it isn't necessarily faster in most settings True. See previous answer.
 

· Steaming piles of opinion
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There you go, being right. But it misses the larger point, which you (terry) should have been especially tuned into:

All of these sorts of questions are based in the perceived need to justify a purchase of an expensive bicycle. As applied to adults, bicycles are luxury items. It is impossible to justify the purchase of anything that can't be had at the local Wal-Mart or Dick's. By any measure that can be had, our bikes are not 'worth it.'

Buy it anyway. Time spent on the road is not deducted from your life. Just because they aren't worth it, doesn't mean that they aren't immeasureably valuable to our souls.
 

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I remember reading a review of several bikes in an MTB magazine a few years back. They took the bikes, and an equal number of riders, out on the trails for a workout; the riders rotating through the bikes so each rider had a shot at each bike. I'll always remember the final lines of the article - simple wisdom yet ageless: "Even on the worst bike, our fastest rider was still our fastest rider, and even on the best bike, our slowest rider was still our slowest rider."
 
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