Half a dozen superlight superbikes, and some lower priced alternatives, from Trek, Focus, Canyon, Merida & more

The Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL6 that we reviewed here on road.cc recently weighed in at just 6.35kg (14lb), well below the UCI’s minimum weight limit for racing of 6.8kg (14.99lb), and that got us thinking about the other super-lightweight road bikes out there. Here are six that barely trouble the scales.

Trek Émonda SLR 9 — £8,500

2018 Trek Emonda SLR 9.jpeg

The Trek Emonda SLR 8 that we reviewed a while ago weighed in at 6.27kg, (13.8lb) but Trek’s Emonda SLR 9 lops almost a pound off that for a claimed 5.88kg (12.96lb). The frame is said to weigh just 690g.

Trek says that the Emonda boasts the most sophisticated tube optimisation of any bike ever, with both the tube shape and the laminate being designed to produce the highest stiffness-to-weight ratio possible.

The Emonda SLR 9 comes built up with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, Bontrager carbon bar and carbpn whels and saddle. 

Of course, that little lot doesn’t come cheap. You’re looking at a price tag of £8,500.

Read more: Your guide to Trek's 2018 road bike range

Trek does offer far cheaper Emondas, though, with carbon-fibre options costing from £1,500 and aluminium complete bikes from £1,000.

Check out our review of the Trek Emonda ALR 6. 

English Cycles V3.1 Tron steel/carbon superlight

​Making a superlight bike with loads of the most advanced space age composites is all very well, but what if you've a soft spot for steel, like Oregon, USA framebuilder Rob English and his customer Irvin? You build this:

Tron_web_001_7766-crop.jpg

​The frame is a marriage of True Temper steel tubes, including an S3 aero down tube, and carbon tubes from Enve. The use of carbon has allowed the weight of the complete bike to tip the scales at a low 5.8kg (13lb).

This build, from a few years ago now, used Shimano Dura-Ace 9070 Di2 shifting. A switch (sorry) to the electronic group du jour, SRAM Red E-Tap, would shave some more grams.

Tron_web_007_7718-crop.jpg

The attention to detail is what's stunning about this bike, as shown by the head tube area, above, which features the top and down tubes welded to a steel super-lug that encloses a carbon fibre tube.

Merida Scultura Superlite Ltd

Back in 2015 Merida unexpectedly grabbed some ultralight bragging rights with the Scultura Superlite Ltd, at just 4.55kg (10.0lb) a serious contender for the title of the lightest production bike ever made. 

Merida Scultura 9000 Ltd.jpg

How did Merida make the Scultura so light? It uses 400 prepreg pieces and alternative fibre materials to make each finished frame, putting the strength (and weight) only where it’s needed for performance. The wall thicknesses are as low as 0.4mm. Merida said the layup process was so complicated that it takes somewhere from 11 to 15 hours to produce each frame. 

The Scultura Superlite Ltd is built up with a SRAM Red 22 groupset while the handlebar, stem, saddle and seatpost all come from German lightweight specialist AX Lightness.

Read our review of the 2016 Merida Scultura 6000

Read our First Ride report on the Merida Scultura Team. 

Merida Scultura 7000-E.jpg

The cheapest Scultura available in the UK is the Scultura 5000 at £1,700, but the most affordable with a lightweight frame (not quite as light as the Scultura Superlite Ltd's) is the £3,600 7000-E (above). 

Canyon Ultimate CF EVO 10.0 Ltd — £11,799

Canyon boasted that the version of the Ultimate CF EVO 10.0 displayed at Eurobike weighed just 4.85kg (10.7lb). The German direct-selling specialist showed this featherweight special at trade shows, and has now made a slightly heavier version available to purchasers with deep pockets. At a claimed 5.8kg it's still .

Ultimate CF Evo 10.0 SL - 1

To achieve that low weight, Canyon says that it has lightened the stock Ultimate frame by using ultra high modulus carbon-fibre in the construction, and integrated a carbon fibre front mech hanger to save a few more grams. That work has produced a 665g frame and a 290g fork.

Ultimate CF Evo 10.0 SL - 5

“The Ultimate’s new seatpost clamp configuration reduces weight by 15g,” says Canyon. “A further 6g saving is made possible thanks to a titanium press screw.”

If you want to get down to these weights, every gram counts.

Ultimate CF Evo 10.0 SL - 2

For its attention-grabbing show bike, Canyon included Lightweight Obermayer wheels with CeramicSpeed bearings, THM Fibula brake calipers and Clavicula SE chainset, a Tune saddle and a SRAM Red 22 groupset. 

ultimate-cf-evo-10-ltd_c1158_v4.jpg

The production version, above, comes with the SRM power meter version of the Clavicula crank, SRAM Red eTap shifting and SRAM Red brakes. The Lightweight wheels and Continental tyres are clinchers; the show bike probably used tubulars to save a few more grams.

ultimate-cf-sl-7_c1134.jpg

The most affordable Ultimate in Canyon’s range is the Ultimate CF SL 7.0 (above) at £1,449. It weighs a claimed 7.6kg.

AX Lightness Vial Evo Ultra

This AX Lightness Vial Evo Ultra show bike weighed an amazing 4.4kg. That’s 9lb 11oz.

AX Lightness Vial Evo Ultra  - 9

 The frame is carbon fibre and weighs as little as 600g – that’s for the Di2 version of the small sized model. The proprietary THM Scapula CT-X fork adds just 265g. The bike uses coated CeramicSpeed bearings. 

The Vial Evo Ultra is fitted with AX Lightness’ own U 24T wheels. Like the frame, these are handmade in Germany. 

Many of the other components are AX Lightness’ own too, including the Europa seatpost, the minimalist Leaf Plus saddle, along with the carbon stem, brakes and bottle cage.

THM provides the cranks while the chainrings are Praxis Works. 

The AX Lightness Vial Evo Ultra has a price tag of €15,000. There’s no UK price set, but that converts to £13,140 at today’s exchange rate. 

That show bike was, as they often are, an exercise in just how light you can make a road bike by throwing money at it. But AX Lightness also offers a slightly less expensive version with SRAM Red E-Tap groupset including wireless shifters. 

ax-lightness-vial-evo-ultra-3.jpg

This incarnation weighs 4.8kg, which is unarguably still impressively light, and costs  €11,899 (£10,420). That's not exactly cheap, but the fact that it costs nearly £3,000 to save another 400g demonstrates just how deep into diminishing returns you are when you get this fanatical about shaving grams.

Focus Izalco Max Disc Red eTap — £5,999

Focus claims that its Izalco Max Disc Red is the world’s lightest production disc-brake road bike. It isn’t anywhere near as light as the rim brake bikes above, but it comes in at 6.8kg (14.99lb). 

2018 Focus Izalco Max Disc RED eTap

Check out our First Ride on the Focus Izalco Max Disc. 

The Izalco Max Disc is built around a 745g frame – just 10g heavier than Focus claims for the regular Izalco Max – and a 320g fork. 

The bike uses Shimano’s Flat Mount open disc brake calliper standard and Focus’s RAT quick-release thru axles at both the front and rear.

The Focus Izalco Max Disc Red eTap, above, with SRAM's wireless electronic shifting is priced at £5,999. If that's a bit spendy for you, the 'budget' model is the Izalco Max Disc Ultegra Di2, a snip at £4,299. Focus doesn’t yet produce a more affordable alternative, although we hope that the brand will offer lower specced options over time.

It’s possible to build the Focus Izalco Max Disc frameset into a lighter bike if you wanted to. Focus showed us a frame decked out with a SRAM Red groupset and finished with some high-end carbon fibre components from the likes of Tune and Schmolke. That bike tipped the scales at just 6kg (13.23lb). 

www.focus-bikes.com

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

42 comments

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Sevenfold [90 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

Aren't these heavy... Extralite - 3.77kg

 

http://weightweenies.starbike.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=142523

 

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Gossa [96 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
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Welsh boy [564 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

The AX Lightness may be a light bike but it is so ugly you would have to poke my eyes out before I could ride it then the added weight of my guide dog would negate the savings.  So, all things considered, not one for me.

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Fish_n_Chips [558 posts] 1 year ago
7 likes

I think most riders would benefit from a diet and reduce their waistlines - me included.

Still some impressive tech.  

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Trekpro [144 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Fish_n_Chips wrote:

I think most riders would benefit from a diet and reduce their waistlines - me included.

 

Naah - read the wind tunnel aero article on here.  The clear conslusion is that a bit of fat tyre is hugely beneficial.

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BehindTheBikesheds [2421 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Given the recent article about weight not being that big a factor this is simply advertorial.

I built a bike up from a 2013/14 KTM frame that was unused and direct from a continental pro team.

All in with Gigantex 38mm plus DA9000, Ultegra chain/cassette/FSA carbon cranks but bearing in mind it's a 59cm (1085g incl headset) it comes in at 6.338kg sans pedals. it cost me £1550, the only non new items were the FSA K-force light cranks, Modolo Kurvissima bars and the wheels which were all mint/barely used.

My Scott CR1 SL in a 61cm with exactly the same kit but with bora one 50mm tubs and a DA cassette is precisely 400g lighter. I could shave another 130g with my medium/low profile tubs and another 100g if I went with some narrower/lighter tubs than the 27/25mm fitted but even with the 50mm bora's that's still 5.9ish for a bloody big frame that costs less than half of the cheapest bike mentioned above (Izalco disc Max ultegra @£4k) with a massively better spec.

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Jimnm [300 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

The question I have is how do these bikes hold up if it's dropped. Are they strong enough to withstand a reasonable spill.

Given the UCI have set the rules about the weight of a bike used in a race at 6.8kgs minimum.

it must be to do with safety surely? 

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rct [89 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Jimnm wrote:

The question I have is how do these bikes hold up if it's dropped. Are they strong enough to withstand a reasonable spill.

Given the UCI have set the rules about the weight of a bike used in a race at 6.8kgs minimum.

it must be to do with safety surely? 

If so then it would be more sensible to focus on individual components and put them through strength / impact / function tests than specify a metric for the complete system.

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AndyJS [6 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

I ride an aluminium road bike, 8.6kg which seems incredibly light to me. It fits perfectly, looks gorgeous, works well and is a joy to ride! I'd love to go 2/3kg lighter but will it make me enjoy the ride more or a better cyclist? 

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kil0ran [1122 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes

The best cure for the lightness bug is to either (a) buy a tourer or (b) find a child and stick a tagalong on your current bike. I'm selling my Merida Cyclocross which I always thought was on the heavy side (9.9kg) but compared to my steel tourer with 2kg of rack and 2kg of pannier it feels like its made of feathers. Similarly the tourer feels light as a feather after taking the nipper out on the tagalong for a ride...

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Nixster [406 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

The real difference between a light bike and a superlight bike is not the 200ish grammes saved on the frame set but in the cost and practicality compromises in the third party kit that's titanium bolted to it. A high street frame like a Supersix evo can be got down to the 5-6kg region but to get lower than that it's sub kilo wheel sets and combined (un padded) carbon saddle and seat posts. So it's a bit rich Canyon or Trek or whoever boasting about the weight of 'their' bikes when really it's THM or Tune or Lightweight that enabled it.

Personally I quite like having a padded saddle I can adjust, I find the ability to walk after riding my bike quite handy!

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gmrza [36 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
Fish_n_Chips wrote:

I think most riders would benefit from a diet and reduce their waistlines - me included.

Still some impressive tech.  

I always laugh when I seen someone on a super-light bike getting dropped up a hill by someone riding something more in the region of 10kg.

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BehindTheBikesheds [2421 posts] 1 year ago
16 likes
gmrza wrote:
Fish_n_Chips wrote:

I think most riders would benefit from a diet and reduce their waistlines - me included.

Still some impressive tech.  

I always laugh when I seen someone on a super-light bike getting dropped up a hill by someone riding something more in the region of 10kg.

Why?

I'm a shade over 100kg, I'd expect to get dropped in a few seconds on any given climb by someone on a 10kg bike that is 25kg lighter. does that mean I'm not entitled to ride a bike that is £xxxx built up with expensive components and is as light as I wanted to build it?

What if we go to the track, how will they fare in a 200m sprint against me, how about if I take said 75kg wafer thin to the gym, should I laugh in their face because they can't get close to pushing the same weights as me, or do I give encouragement so they can reach whatever their goal is?

if they come onto the rugby field and I swat them over like a child do I laugh in their face or do i say well done for making the effort to tackle me? Would I expect them to laugh in my face because they ran around my effort to tackle them because they are quicker?

people like you are so atypical of the newbie cyclist today, full of shit and can't get your head around the fact that if you're on a bike, that's it, end of story, we are equals. Pompous asses poke fun, belittle anyone if they've got the wrong kit, don't have x fashion accessory, take the piss because someone got dropped, it's no wonder club cycling is such a fucking misery for newcomers these days.

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madcarew [814 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Jimnm wrote:

The question I have is how do these bikes hold up if it's dropped. Are they strong enough to withstand a reasonable spill.

Given the UCI have set the rules about the weight of a bike used in a race at 6.8kgs minimum.

it must be to do with safety surely? 

As with many things with the UCI, times have moved on. The rule was introduced on 2 fronts: Safety, back about ?12? years ago when commercially made bikes were at their limit at about 6.5 kg, and ostensibly, it was to help prevent some sort of arms race, where the biggest budgets simply won, and squeezedout the competetiveness of smaller teams. In retrospect they probably should have gone for a salary cap. 

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madcarew [814 posts] 1 year ago
6 likes
AndyJS wrote:

I ride an aluminium road bike, 8.6kg which seems incredibly light to me. It fits perfectly, looks gorgeous, works well and is a joy to ride! I'd love to go 2/3kg lighter but will it make me enjoy the ride more or a better cyclist? 

I suspect it would go even better if it were the right way up  3

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madcarew [814 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Gossa wrote:

I'll just leave this here guys....

http://www.cannondale.com/en/Great%20Britain/Bike/ProductDetail?Id=1fddf...

 

I have the supersix evo, with DA 9800 all over, carbon handlebars etc, and it comes in at 6.55kg with pedals on FFWD 50mm carbon tubs. The frame  is 730g (52cm), so as said elsewhere, most of the weight weeniness on these bikes is in the aftermarket build components rather than the frame. 

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Jimnm [300 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

It makes sense to try to reduce your body weight rather than spending a fortune on these ultra lighter bikes. Fitness is what makes the best cyclists, in my opinion anyway.

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robertchappel [20 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

 

Always try to get correct size of road bike 

Click here to enlarge image

//cdn.mos.bikeradar.imdserve.com/images/news/2016/05/04/hoy_bikefit_onbike-1459875603255-q3651ag1qtuo-1486119906107-ix8eg1itr88s-630-354.jpg)

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FrankH [115 posts] 5 months ago
4 likes

"The Trek Emonda SLR 8 that we reviewed last year..."

Follow the link and you find an article from 2014. If you're going to recycle articles either edit them to make sure they're still accurate or mark them as recycled.

How many of the six lightest road bikes from 2015 are still the lightest in 2018?

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HurdyGurdy [52 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes
Fish_n_Chips wrote:

I think most riders would benefit from a diet and reduce their waistlines - me included.

Still some impressive tech.  

 

Hang on, my bulb shape has been specifically engineered for aerodynamics. You mean i completed misunderstood all of this ?

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HurdyGurdy [52 posts] 5 months ago
4 likes
gmrza wrote:

I always laugh when I seen someone on a super-light bike getting dropped up a hill by someone riding something more in the region of 10kg.

 

True, but us fatties tend to accelerate way faster on the downhill  3 

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SingleSpeed [429 posts] 5 months ago
1 like
HurdyGurdy wrote:

True, but us fatties tend to accelerate way faster on the downhill  3 

 

Are you sure? because me and my bike together come in around 70kg and drop down the hills like a brick in water.

Primary School Physics tells you that all things of all weights drop at the same velocity. (Because gravity has the same force of 9.8 N/kg on everything be it a Tanker or a Toy boat)

However, a 1g Feather will fall slower than a 1g dried pea because of the surface area presented during it's fall...therefore it's safe to say that a fatty on a road bike is not only slower on the uphills but I'm afraid to say that they will also be slower going down.

 

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SingleSpeed [429 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes
Jimnm wrote:

The question I have is how do these bikes hold up if it's dropped. Are they strong enough to withstand a reasonable spill.

 

Which is always hilarious when you see a Rich Cat 3 rock up on a Dogma and Zipps in full Rapha kit only to be taken out by an overzelous rider in the first corner.

These bikes are like 1960's E-type they get ridden maybe a couple of months a year not only you weekly chain gang ride!

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BehindTheBikesheds [2421 posts] 5 months ago
1 like
SingleSpeed wrote:
HurdyGurdy wrote:

True, but us fatties tend to accelerate way faster on the downhill  3 

 

Are you sure? because me and my bike together come in around 70kg and drop down the hills like a brick in water.

Primary School Physics tells you that all things of all weights drop at the same velocity. (Because gravity has the same force of 9.8 N/kg on everything be it a Tanker or a Toy boat)

However, a 1g Feather will fall slower than a 1g dried pea because of the surface area presented during it's fall...therefore it's safe to say that a fatty on a road bike is not only slower on the uphills but I'm afraid to say that they will also be slower going down.

Not totally true is it, loads of reasons why.

 

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hawkinspeter [2515 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes
SingleSpeed wrote:
HurdyGurdy wrote:

True, but us fatties tend to accelerate way faster on the downhill  3 

Are you sure? because me and my bike together come in around 70kg and drop down the hills like a brick in water.

Primary School Physics tells you that all things of all weights drop at the same velocity. (Because gravity has the same force of 9.8 N/kg on everything be it a Tanker or a Toy boat)

However, a 1g Feather will fall slower than a 1g dried pea because of the surface area presented during it's fall...therefore it's safe to say that a fatty on a road bike is not only slower on the uphills but I'm afraid to say that they will also be slower going down.

I think you've got your physics a little bit off. Things only really fall at the same speed in a vaccuum as air resistance comes into play, though if you're dropping things straight down (e.g. Eiffel Tower experiments) then it can be hard to tell the difference.

When coasting down a slope, gravity is the force pulling downwards and is mainly opposed by the air resistance, with the forces becoming equal when you reach terminal velocity (NB. no terminal velocity in a vaccuum as there is no air resistance working against you although it becomes increasingly difficult to pedal in a vaccuum). With riders of different weights, their aerodynamics can be roughly similar, but the force applied by gravity will be greater for the heavier rider. This will result in the heavier rider having a greater terminal velocity.

If you'd like some graphs, there's some at this link: https://penultimates.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/the-physics-of-cycling-ii-or...

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davel [2584 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes
SingleSpeed wrote:
HurdyGurdy wrote:

True, but us fatties tend to accelerate way faster on the downhill  3 

 

Are you sure? because me and my bike together come in around 70kg and drop down the hills like a brick in water.

Primary School Physics tells you that all things of all weights drop at the same velocity. (Because gravity has the same force of 9.8 N/kg on everything be it a Tanker or a Toy boat)

However, a 1g Feather will fall slower than a 1g dried pea because of the surface area presented during it's fall...therefore it's safe to say that a fatty on a road bike is not only slower on the uphills but I'm afraid to say that they will also be slower going down.

 

Following your logic, you kind of disprove your own argument. A 110kg ride /bike combo would fall faster than a 70kg rider/bike combo.

Now if the whippet who spends more time on the bike has better handling skills, that evens the odds.

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SingleSpeed [429 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes
davel wrote:

Following your logic, you kind of disprove your own argument. A 110kg ride /bike combo would fall faster than a 70kg rider/bike combo. Now if the whippet who spends more time on the bike has better handling skills, that evens the odds.

 

No read it again, ALL objects accelerate at the same velocity no matter how much they weigh. Drop a Bowling ball and a tennis ball from a tower they will hit the ground at the same time.

The air resistance is the only factor that can increase their acceleration, a roll of clingfilm will always fall at the same velocity as ten rolls of clingfilm taped together.  however, if you unravelled the the roll of clingfillm and dropped then obviously it would fall at a lower velocity than the on which is shaped like a tube.

Obv's as you say descending is all about bike handling over anything else I was just pointing out the fact that objects with a greater mass do not fall faster than object with a lower mass.

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Rich_cb [797 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

I think you've got your physics a little bit off. Things only really fall at the same speed in a vaccuum as air resistance comes into play, though if you're dropping things straight down (e.g. Eiffel Tower experiments) then it can be hard to tell the difference.

When coasting down a slope, gravity is the force pulling downwards and is mainly opposed by the air resistance, with the forces becoming equal when you reach terminal velocity (NB. no terminal velocity in a vaccuum as there is no air resistance working against you although it becomes increasingly difficult to pedal in a vaccuum). With riders of different weights, their aerodynamics can be roughly similar, but the force applied by gravity will be greater for the heavier rider. This will result in the heavier rider having a greater terminal velocity.

If you'd like some graphs, there's some at this link: https://penultimates.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/the-physics-of-cycling-ii-or...

Much as I appreciated the graphs surely it's a bit of a stretch to assume that the aerodynamics will be so similar?

A slimmer rider will present a smaller frontal surface area and should also achieve a far more effective tuck.

Avatar
hawkinspeter [2515 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes
Rich_cb wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:

I think you've got your physics a little bit off. Things only really fall at the same speed in a vaccuum as air resistance comes into play, though if you're dropping things straight down (e.g. Eiffel Tower experiments) then it can be hard to tell the difference.

When coasting down a slope, gravity is the force pulling downwards and is mainly opposed by the air resistance, with the forces becoming equal when you reach terminal velocity (NB. no terminal velocity in a vaccuum as there is no air resistance working against you although it becomes increasingly difficult to pedal in a vaccuum). With riders of different weights, their aerodynamics can be roughly similar, but the force applied by gravity will be greater for the heavier rider. This will result in the heavier rider having a greater terminal velocity.

If you'd like some graphs, there's some at this link: https://penultimates.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/the-physics-of-cycling-ii-or...

Much as I appreciated the graphs surely it's a bit of a stretch to assume that the aerodynamics will be so similar? A slimmer rider will present a smaller frontal surface area and should also achieve a far more effective tuck.

It's certainly an assumption, but I think the aero differences between riders has so many factors that can influence it that it's a reasonable assumption that riders have similar aerodynamic drag or that the aerodynamics have a much smaller effect than the component of gravity pulling them along.

Does anyone have any comparative aero figures for the plus-size cyclists?

Avatar
davel [2584 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes
SingleSpeed wrote:
davel wrote:

Following your logic, you kind of disprove your own argument. A 110kg ride /bike combo would fall faster than a 70kg rider/bike combo. Now if the whippet who spends more time on the bike has better handling skills, that evens the odds.

 

No read it again, ALL objects accelerate at the same velocity no matter how much they weigh. Drop a Bowling ball and a tennis ball from a tower they will hit the ground at the same time.

Indeed you did, and my attempt at tripping you up via being a smartarse failed due to me not having read your post properly  21

So to continue the debate, we have freefall nailed - but would greater mass have any additional difference either way on a rolly thing, say freewheeling, down a slope? Would guess not but it's beyond my understanding of friction.

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