Monday, January 13, 2014

Cycling: Do more expensive wheels make you go faster?

Cycling: Do more expensive wheels make you go faster?

When its possible to spend huge amounts of cash on wheels, does it make any difference?

When I got my new bike it was supplied with dirt cheap Shimano Alex wheels. I'd already budgeted for better wheels, initially Mavic Krysiums, but when they were not available, Fulcrum Quattros.

Before I fitted the Fulcrums, I'd done 40 rides with no changes to the bike, so how did the first 40 on the Fulcrums compare?

Shimano Alex wheels - $100 (40 rides):
Av moving: 25.84
PWR Av: 168.53
HR Av: 118.75

Fulcrum Quattro wheels - cost $350 (40 rides):
Av moving: 26.24
PWR Av: 169.5
HR Av: 114.7

Average moving speed is up 1.5% from 25.84 to 26.24. Hmmm not much...

Power has gone up a mere .5%.

More interestingly the heart rate to produce that speed and power has gone down from 118.75 to 114.7, a decrease of 3.4%.

Maybe it stems from being a mainly social rider, the speed I ride requires a certain power, and the "benefit" I get is from a lower heart rate.

However.... it means really I get less benefit, so a double edge sword. Its ironic that improving your bike leads to a reduction in its benefit to you.

Time to get a single speed steelie ie a worse bike!

In the meantime, I decided to focus on working hard by trying to keep my heart rate up.

In the last 40 rides (same bike with the Fulcrums):

Av moving speed: 26.82 up 3.8%
Av power: 182.2 up 8.1%
Av heart rate: 120.9 up 1.8%

NB: heart rate from Garmin Edge, moving speed and power from Strava

1 comment:

previouslysilent said...

surely you'd need to alternate between bikes and wheels and do the same route several times over, since you'll be fitter as you exercise?