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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know there are $8k plus bikes out there, but I wonder how much faster I would be, or my wife more specifically would be, with the absolute latest in technology vs. what we ride now, with no additional training?


I ask because I'm not really interested in buying a new bike, but I do enjoy modding stuff (tow rig, jeep, etc etc) and I'm getting the bug on my bike. I really don't ride anymore, but my wife is getting into triathlons and has completed 4 of them now. My bike is a Trek 1100 and fits both her and I about the same. I am 6'1, she is 5'11 and she is averaging around 16.5mph on 16 mile courses. She will continue to work harder to be a stronger engine, but in the mean time, I wonder what I can buy (for fun, for looks, for performance) to upgrade our bike.

The Trek 1100 is an early '90s bike and so far I have added some front aero bars and yesterday picked up a set (f & r) of new Bontrager Race Lite wheels. I was looking at a carbon seat post and a carbon front fork, are there any benefits for me to do these upgrades, or is that just waisting money? Prices seem to be like $100 for the post and $140'ish for the fork.

Also, she is just using standard pedals, would going with clip-ins be the number one priority? Are the $50 shimanos ok, or is it worth it to go with a $100 to $150 set of pedals?

The overall goal is to get her from 16mph to 18mph. If she can do 18mph consistantly with our current bike, she will always be in the top 5 in her triathlon age group (30 to 34) based on the results of the last few races.
 

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I think going to clip-less pedals was probably the cheapest, best performance upgrade I've made, on any of my bikes. As far as the type of pedal, it's like asking a car enthusiast what kind of oil they use. We all like ours they best :) I think I'll be in the minority but I like good ole SPD's. They're mostly used by the mountain bike crowd, but that's where I learned to use clip-less and that's what I'm comfortable with. Whichever type you decide on, the performance gain will be worth it.

Oh, and welcome to TwoSpoke!
 

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Position.

Being as aero as possible will increase her average speed more then any other changes you can make through purchases. Try to find advice at your local bike shops to really dial in her position. Carbon seat posts and forks do more to improve comfort then anything else. Clipless pedals can make improvements in efficiency. Speedplay pedals are a good choice because they are amongst the easiest to clip into. I myself would do triathlons if I didn't hate running and if I weren't afraid of fish.
 

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Clipless pedals are a great upgrade as you can push and pull. Like Poolie, I'm a fan of SPDs due to the dual sided entry (sounds dirty, right?) which doesn't require you to flip the pedal to clip in. I've found a lot less shoes (road/tri) are compatible with the good old 2 hole system; most favor the 3 hole (my goodness!) system utilized by Look. That being said, I have seen road and MTB shoes compatible with both systems.

Speedplay is an entirely different entity, a proprietary 4 hole system, that, IMHO is incredibly maintenance intensive and finicky. When it works, its wonderful, when it doesn't, I'm sure your wife would find new and creative strings of 4 letter words to use. The 4 hole system can be used with 3 hole shoes, there are adapter plates made for that purpose. Your choice of 4 hole shoes is pretty limited compared to the above 2 systems, and from what I've seen, are pricier.

With clipless pedals (and dare I say aerobars), fit is super important, especially with the pedals. You really don't want any injuries resulting, you know?

Wheels that have a true aero advantage, from the studies I've read, are negligible without an incredibly powerful rider over a decent distance. I'd look more at clipless pedals than anything else.

There's a ton of studies done on the aero efficiency of a traditional upright cyclist and the findings are incredible: where to place race numbers, routing cables, etc. I do not have any links at hand, but if you are proficient in your google-fu, they'll turn up.

Check out Princeton U's study and Alan Lim... Mind blowing.
 

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I would say that the benefits of a good stiff sole of a road shoe (along with the above mentioned clipless pedals) will help deliver more power in each pedal stroke as well. If she is riding in running shoes she may be losing power as the soles flex and she is pedaling more with her toes than with her legs...not sure how much more though.
 

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Intervals, that's the way to get faster and it only costs you a little burning muscles! If you're going to spend money, wheels are probably the best way to go.
 

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I agree that pedals can help you put some more power to the back wheel, an aero position can buy you a bit less resistance, and wheels will help you accelerate more quickly. None of those will improve the motor.

If you want to see real gains, invest your money wisely in two places. First, sports nutrition - whether that means buying a book, or paying a nutritionist. Second, doing the same with a coach or trainer. As mentioned, intervals will make you leaner and faster. I promise.
 

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+1! A structured plan is tough to beat!
 

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Hack and Integrate have it on this one. Nothing has changed since last year except I'm following a structured plan of my on devising (after doing a ton of reading over the winter).

Intervals, recovery etc. Much healthier eating. I've dropped 23 lbs 8 weeks and managed to drop two faster than I riders last night (and one of them had zipp 303s).

I still stand by that clipless pedals help, especially up hill.
 

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kneedrachen said:
I'll expand a bit more:

After dropping some weight and increasing power, my VM/h went from 503 at a max to 605 regularly: less weight/more efficient engine=better climbing ability.
Outstanding, congrats!
 

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A road bike seems to be quicker than a MTB. I notice that the carbon bikes are also quicker in some ways but really I suppose its not really the bike that makes it quicker, its the biker. I mean the carbon and all that probably just does its part in making the bike easier to ride quicker than others.

I think my body is made for cycling as I have a very strong lower body. I can get my MTB bike really fast and keep it really fast without getting that worn out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The wife is training pretty hard now, riding 4+ times per week. She rides in our neighborhood for street training and does the stationary at the gym for the longer rides. She is pretty consistant around 100rpms both street and on the stationary. Tough to do too much more with all of the swimming and running added in. Next up is clips and pedals.


New wheels and tires are on!



 

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Intervals is the only way; and actually if you have hills nearby concentrate on going up and and down repeatedly, and when you go up the hills you hammer as hard as you can and rest coming down. After about a couple of weeks of hammering as hard as you can increase your gear by one...in other words put it into a harder gear and repeat the hills. After a couple of weeks move the gear to the next and repeat. If you live on flat ground find a frwy overpass hill and just repeatedly attack it by going up then down then make a U-turn and the bottom and go back up. The first time you do this try going up 3 times and over the course of 2 weeks increase it to 5 then change the gear and go up 3 times increasing to 5 over a 2 week period. You'll be surprised what hill climbing work out can do.

eddy merckx said that was his secret.
 

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Intervals is the only way; and actually if you have hills nearby concentrate on going up and and down repeatedly,

eddy merckx said that was his secret.
Oh but they hurt :) Falls in the no pain no gain category. I ride ok but get blown away on the hills and have started to focus on this painful task :eek:
 
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