How weight affects your cycling speed

As a cyclist, when you’re looking to improve on your performance, you train harder and ensure that you consume enough nutrients and liquids suitable for your training. But when it comes to increasing your cycling speed, weight becomes a focal point. And, we’re referring to both bodyweight and bike weight here.  

The more weight you carry with you, the slower you’ll be on your ride and the less weight you carry, the more handle you have on acceleration. It’s been known for many years that when you want to perfect the climb, and descend while keeping to an optimal speed, you have to reduce the weight. 

So, which carries the most impact when you compare bike weight vs bodyweight? This is a bit of a complex question, and if you read on below, we’ll explain the importance of power to weight ratio. We’ll also take you through the impact of bodyweight on climbing. And exactly how much does the bike matter in terms of its weight? Read on to find out. We’ll also share our recommendation on where to buy all cycling essentials such as MTB shoes in South Africa.

Is it best to lose bike or bodyweight? 

Bodyweight doesn’t only refer to your weight as a rider, but it also includes the gear and everything you carry with you in your cycle saddle bag. On the other hand, the bike weight is as simple and straightforward as the weight of the bicycle, wheels and its components. 

Carrying excess body weight will affect your performance and speed and so will using a heavy bicycle. For example, if you remove 5 kg extra bodyweight, you’re likely to increase your average speed by 0.41 km per hour. Of course, you can use a bike speed calculator to measure the accuracy of the speed. And considering that a lighter bicycle requires less power output, you’re likely to increase your acceleration ratio on it when compared to a heavier one. Extra weight on the bicycle can add rolling resistance to tires. You can reduce this by having a lighter load on the wheels. In addition, you also need to reduce weight on the rotating components. This will allow you to supply a normal energy output that won’t easily tire you. If you take a test with two cyclists of the same bodyweight, and same fitness levels, with one using a heavier bicycle and the other with a lighter bicycle, you’ll find that the cyclist with a lighter bicycle will objectively arrive first at the finish line. 

With all of that said, your bodyweight is far more important than bike weight as riders outweigh that at any given time. This is why there aren’t many heavyweight cyclists when compared to lighter ones. But there’s no use obsessing over the ideal cycling weight, as it’s more nuanced and depends on various contributing factors such as your gender, your frame, fitness levels, race-level etc. So, the most important thing to do is to invest in a fitness regimen. One that can significantly improve your performance and allow you to effectively take on a flat road, climb a hill and descend. 

Final thoughts 

The power-to-output ratio is a big thing in the cycling world and can often have cyclists obsess over reducing weight. But many cyclists usually aren’t certain which to decrease between body and bike weight. And, as you can see above, you can work out which weight has a bigger impact on your ride and work to increase your cycling speed. At Chris Willemse Cycles, we have power bicycles that will add value to your riding performance and tons of essential lightweight bicycle accessories. Visit our store today to buy yourself a new bicycle or new bicycle frames and any other accessories such as bike helmets