I wrote a short article about an issue of Cycling Plus a few weeks ago (you can read it here). This time I will be a little disparaging about their version of “Science”.
In the May 2017 issue they published an article all about how weight affects climbing. Is it more about the bike or the rider? Without reading further I guessed that it was about the rider. In the test two riders were told to ride a hill that they’ve both done many times before. Their Garmin screens were taped over so they couldn’t see the time or their power. They would ride the hill twice, once with a 5kg weighted vest and once with 5kg added to their bike. One rider would do the vest ride first and vice versa.
So far so good, in the name of “Science”. The results came in and the outcome was that more gains could be made with a lighter bike. The article then informs you how to shed some weight off your bike, for example, some carbon wheels.
What issues could I possible have with an article that is both interesting and packed with Science”. Well. The weight of a bike and the weight of a person are not comparable. There is no way that I could reduce the weight of my Scott Addict (here) by 5kg, but if I’m being honest, I probably could lose 5kg myself.
What the test should have done is use 10% of the bike/rider. For example, if my Scott weighs 7.5kg and I weigh 75kg, then to repeat the test accurately, I would add 0.75kg to my bike, and repeat the climb with a 7.5kg weighted vest. I am fairly sure that losing weight from yourself is by far the best option, and a whole lot cheaper.
Caution, cynical finish. Maybe the point of the article is to persuade people to buy expensive wheels, thereby keeping the advertisers happy.