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Body weight and cycling.


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I was wondering if anyone had an opinion on whether weight has anything to do with cycling speed,

 

meaning, is there an optimal weight (accompanied by possessing optimum strength for that weight) for one's riding speed?

 

Or, in theory, if someone was 100 pounds but the strongest 100 pound person possible, would they be able to match someone who was 150 pounds, and the strongest 150 pound person ever in speed?

 

Did that make sense?

Edited by slackar
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Good questions. It's funny, I see bikers I know lighten their bike by 1 lb here, 1/2 lb there, and yet they themselves are 20 lbs overweight .

 

I think, generally, the lighter one is, the faster one can move that weight -- to a point. That point is where the person becomes lighter, but in the process also becomes weaker. So it's that power-to-weight ratio thang.

 

For me personally, I am about 6' 2" and normally weigh anywhere from 188 to 192. I experimented a little while ago with going down to the low 180's, and found it made no difference - I suspect that I got a little weaker in losing that weight. So I leveled back up to what I think is my optimum weight of about 190.

 

I think through better training, I could probably increase my strength AND lose a bit of weight, but I barely have enough free time to do all the biking I enjoy doing, so adding in that kind of training would decrease the fun factor, which I'm not willing to do. Maybe you are?

 

I'm curious to see others' opinions on this as I'm certainly no expert...

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I am sure there is a magically weight to strength ratio in biking.

 

I found some info on Lance

 

During the 1999 Tour de France Lance weighed 158 pounds and he stands five feet ten inches, or seventy inches. The BMI formula is the multiplication of weight in pounds by 705. This is then divided by height in inches then once again by height.

 

So the math is: 705 X 158 = 11,1390 divided by 70 = 1,591.3 divided by 70 = 22.7BMI

 

I am going to bet the optimum ratio occurs somewhere right around the 22-25BMI point. At least for racing like the tour. When you get into things like downhill or aggressive cross country mountain biking I bet the BMI ratio point is higher.

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The lighter person would kill the heavier person. Weight is exponentially detrimental. Being light is why other than Lance Armstrong the best climbers in the world are rarely over 140lbs...some are in the low 120s. Also a heavy person(say me at 200lbs) will get a little faster if I lose 5 lbs but someone that is 135lbs will get considerably faster. As for me I'd rather lose 20lbs of muscle and 30lbs worth of squat max than gain 20lbs of muscle and 50-60lbs of squat max.

 

On a velodrome weight isn't that important(unless your doing points races where you speed up and slow down over and over again) but in road cycling the only pro Tour riders over 200lbs are 6'5 and taller(some 6'5 guys are only 160lbs). It is also not so important in Time Trials but not many people can get away with only doing time trials.

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I was wondering if anyone had an opinion on whether weight has anything to do with cycling speed,

 

meaning, is there an optimal weight (accompanied by possessing optimum strength for that weight) for one's riding speed?

 

Or, in theory, if someone was 100 pounds but the strongest 100 pound person possible, would they be able to match someone who was 150 pounds, and the strongest 150 pound person ever in speed?

 

Did that make sense?

Arguably the most important thing to consider in cycling is power-to-weight ratio. What specific terrain or event are you referring to? There are so many factors to consider, and it also depends on the type of event one is doing.

 

Are you asking "should I be lighter because it will make me faster?" Perhaps. But certainly not always. There are other factors, too. A power lifter, though, likely won't have the repetitive power motion that a cyclist who climbs hills will have, so the extra "strength" won't help. Even cyclists have strengths in different disciplines based on their genetics, muscle fiber development, and how they choose to train their bodies (e.g. sprinting, time trialing, climbing) that very few can do equally well (pro riders Lance Armstrong and Alejandro Valverde are too recent exceptions that I can think of).

 

There are a lot of factors and I think your question is too general to answer accurately.

 

Are you trying to decide what type of body type you should have as a cyclist? If so, can you be more specific with what you are after?

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well, the only 'obvious' advantage for a 'overweight' cyclist that i know, is that the weight of the bike ( and other things ) itself isn't going to be a thing to worry so much.. comparing to a skinny little guy having to ride the same bike..

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