Are bicycles really faster than ‘traditional’ bikes?
What is the real difference in watts and seconds?
Every time a new bike is introduced, the companies demonstrate wind tunnel tests and announce (fairly significant) improvements in terms of performance.
But how important are these improvements In real life? Is it also useful for “amateur cycling speeds” and not as pros or is it all marketing?
To understand this, we ran a test on the Misano racetrack, trying to make it as objective as possible…
For the test we used New Madone SLR and the Emonda SLRThis is Trek’s most classic aero bike and race bike, both in a size 56.
If you want to know more about the properties of the two frameworks, we refer you to the specific contents that you find at the bottom of this article.
The settings weren’t identical, because our goal wasn’t just to measure tire performance, but to measure two types of bikes in the ideal setup: more “flat” for the bike, more “climb” or in any versatile pod for the classic one.
The most significant difference in economics of testing is relatively wheels and tyres.
Trek Madone 2023 is equipped with:
– gruppo Sram Red eTap AXS (48-35 x 10-33)
– Bontrager RSL 51 wheels (profile height 51 mm, inner channel 23 mm)
– Bontrager R4 700 x 25 tube-mounted tires
– 42 cm c/c Madone integrated carbon handlebar (39 cm g/c at controls)
Trek Emonda is equipped with:
– Shimano Dura Ace Di2 12v groupsets (52-36 x 11-34)
– Shimano Dura Ace C36 wheels (profile height 36mm, inner channel 21mm)
– Pirelli P Zero TLR 700 x 28 tires with 30ml of liquid
– manubrio Pro Vibe Carbon da 42 cm c / c
The difference in weight between the two bikes is approx 600 grams.
7.7 kg for the Madone and 7.1 kg for the Emonda, both including Favero Assioma Duo pedals.
To go beyond the sensations and data announced by the companies, we conducted a beta test indoors From the Marco Simoncelli Circuit in Misano Adriatico. Obviously with the help of a power meter.
The goal was to do a quick ride with each bike and measure travel time. same wattage medium and The same setup in the saddle.
In short, let’s see, all things being equal, which is the fastest bike and how much.
We don’t claim that the test has scientific value, as it is done outdoors and not in a lab, but we tried Make it as objective as possiblefocusing on improving all controllable aspects:
- The same clothes, the same helmet;
- same energy meter Faveiro Assioma Duorecalibrated after being transferred between the two bikes;
- Maintain a non-maximal average power, because it can be more easily replicated and controlled than an “all-out” effort. The average wattage was 215 Wsustainable value for a good segment of long-term enthusiasts;
- The same position on the bike, with the hands resting on the controls;
- Similar weather conditions, as both cycles were done within a few minutes, enough time to change bikes. The choice of racetrack also ensures us better control over other variables, avoiding potential shortcomings due to traffic and differences in terms of road surface.
Aero bike vs race bike: results
The Strava clip taken for reference is the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli: 4.16 km with an increase of only 8 meters in height. Perfect asphalt recently renovated
Exactly both rounds 215 watts midi.
Below you will find a summary of the results.
The best performance was achieved with Madone, the other with Emonda. Let’s talk about a little less than 10″ and 4.2 km. Not few!
For those who don’t trust Strava’s data, let’s say we also made a file Manual chronometer detectionWhich gave the same results.
Aerobike vs. Racing Bike: Conclusions
The difference between a bicycle and a “traditional” race bike is real.
10 seconds at 4.2 km at a speed of about 35 km per hour, which will certainly increase with increasing speed.
A large amount For the pro, but also for the advanced cyclist with an interest in performance. Little things for those who ride for fun and peace.
It depends on your point of view…
It is clear that the test refers exclusively to speed on the flat and does not take into account the weight delta and comfort over long distances.
The more difficult the courses, the more this advantage diminishes to turn in Emonda’s favour.
The choice is yours based on your physical characteristics and needs…