Anyone who tells you it’s not about the bike has not ridden enough fast bikes. Period. Sure you can’t make up for weak legs with fancy carbon, but fast bikes fly off the shelves and are used by the pro peloton for a reason. The bike 100% makes a difference.
So will buying that $10,000 super bike make you faster? Yes! Well, no. And yes. But no, kind of. To paraphrase my bro Big Jim over at Fit Recovery, a fast bike won’t make you fast, but it’ll make fast easier. That is especially true if that expensive bike is of the sleek and sexy aerodynamic variety!
I’ve been lucky enough to test ride and own some very nice bikes. I set my PR up Box Hill on a top of the range De Rosa a local company lent me to review. It was one hell of a bike. Could I have set that PR on my own bike with a little more “pedal harder” mentality? Of course. The fancy bright pink Dura-Ace equipped De Rosa just made it a little easier.
The difference between a $1000 bike and a $4000 bike is chalk and cheese. Assuming the fit is good, it will absolutely make your ride faster, more enjoyable and more comfortable. Step up from that $4000 bike to a $7000 bike and the difference isn’t so noticeable. Go from a $7000 bike to a $10,000 bike and well, you worked harder at school than I did…
If you’re one of the many out there chasing weight savings, maybe your flash new bike is 1kg lighter. Maybe it’s bang on the UCI weight limit or even below! Your friends will pick it up and go “oooooh aaaaaah so feathery!” But then you still get your ass handed to you at the city limits sign. What?
Dropping 1kg is the same as riding with full bottles vs empty bottles. On anything but a constant leg sapping climb, I sure as hell couldn’t notice the difference! On flat to rolling rides it’s a moot point. Even on solid Cat 3 climb, carrying an extra 1kg never put me behind a rider on a lighter bike.
For the majority of us, an aero bike will give the most gains. Cutting through the wind takes a lot of energy, even at relatively low speeds. Get aero, go faster. Simple. Hammering along at 25mph? An aero bike will slice through easier! Slogging into a headwind? An aero bike will slice through faster! Unless all you do is toil up endlessly steep European mountains, an aero bike will have you winning all round. Plus they just look SO DAMN HOT!
An aero bike will also make you want to ride harder and faster. It’ll probably even make you want to get out and ride even more. Win, win! So yes, a fast bike WILL make you faster. What are you waiting for? ;-)
A note on buying new bikes (and stuff in general): Consumerism. It’s a drag, but it also makes the world go round and it’s why I have a job. Now I would never recommend to anyone to buy a bike if it means you can’t put food on the table. Make sure your priorities are straight. Pay your loans, feed your family, clear your credit cards in full each month. Do all that? Then buy the bike! If you can’t hand over a stack of cash to buy something then you just don’t buy it. A community service announcement brought to you by tempocyclist…