Money Can Make a Difference

author : sportfactory
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Bike upgrades to gain speed: better wheelsets, a tri-bike, road bike with aerobars, even getting rid of those love handles before getting that lighter bike.

"It is the rider not the bike that determines speed correct?"

 

For the most part this is a true statement, but equipment can make a considerable difference in overall cycling performance. Cycling is a rare exception in wheeled sports. The technology and hardware that the pros use is generally available to the public and relative to motor sports, cheap. The latest “Ferrari” of bicycles with top shelf components can be had for around 6k. State-of-the-art power meters, heart rate monitors, cycle computers, analysis software and monitoring devices can also be purchased retail, and an expert coach can be hired to put it all together for you.

Of course “cheap” is very relative and it is important to spend your money where it will give you the most bang for the buck. If you are looking to upgrade your bicycle your money will be best spent on replacing moving components first, starting with your wheel set. A lighter, more aerodynamic wheel set reduces rolling resistance. Switching to a lighter crank set or a compact crank as need be, and selecting a cassette appropriate to your power output is another way to achieve greater economy.

Most of your resistance while riding comes from the air around you. Addressing aerodynamics will make the most significant improvement in road speed. If you are competing in multi sport events on a traditional road bike, switching to a tri or time trial bike may add several miles per hour to your average speed once you are acclimated to the new position. Even bolting on aerobars to your road bike will help, although it is important to get professionally fitted in both cases.

A drop in bike weight definitely helps, especially when climbing, but if you are carrying around a few extra pounds of ballast it will be far cheaper to address your eating habits over your bike weight. Shaving a few grams on the latest carbon fiber stem will have almost zero impact on overall speed.

The latest GPS heart rate monitors and power meters are amazing tools, but only if you utilize their capabilities. A $300 heart rate monitor that is uploadable and measures speed, cadence, altitude, etc., has no real value if you simply use it to monitor your heart rate. These tools are becoming increasingly complex and you should plan on spending the time learning their functions and how to apply these tools to your training program. This is money very well spent

Unfortunately you can not buy your way to speed. Fitness and the means of achieving fitness will always come first and that is going to require knowledge, hard work, and discipline. But the equipment you use can make a significant difference in your training and racing, and it is important to consider all aspects of improving performance to reach your true potential.

 



Matt Russ has coached and trained elite athletes from around the country and internationally for over ten years. He currently holds expert licenses from USA Triathlon, USA Cycling, and is a licensed USA Track and Field Coach. Matt is head coach and owner of The Sport Factory, and works with athletes of all levels full time. He is a free lance author and his articles are regularly featured in a variety of magazines and websites. Visit www.thesportfactory.com for more information or email him at coachmatt@thesportfactory.com

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date: March 6, 2007

sportfactory

Matt Russ has coached and trained elite athletes from around the country and internationally for over ten years. He currently holds expert licenses from USA Triathlon, USA Cycling, and is a licensed USA Track and Field Coach. Matt is head coach and owner of The Sport Factory, and works with athletes of all levels full time. He is a free lance author and his articles are regularly featured in a variety of magazines and websites.

avatarsportfactory

Matt Russ has coached and trained elite athletes from around the country and internationally for over ten years. He currently holds expert licenses from USA Triathlon, USA Cycling, and is a licensed USA Track and Field Coach. Matt is head coach and owner of The Sport Factory, and works with athletes of all levels full time. He is a free lance author and his articles are regularly featured in a variety of magazines and websites.

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