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- How much difference
does spending money make

to the performance of your bike?
- Well, we're going to find out in
"Cheap Bike vs. Super Bike".
- Ding, ding!
- Two bikes at the opposite
ends of the spectrum.

Firstly is this, Canyon's Aeroad bike.
Lightweight, carbon fibre,
moulded into aerodynamic

shapes, but not at the expense of comfort.
And on board,
We have Shimano's latest
and greatest R9170 groupset.

And that means electronic
shifting and hydraulic brakes.

And also we have Shimano C40 wheels,
so low weight and aero too.
- Yeah. And then, we've
got this a Raleigh,

which we bought on eBay, for 90 pounds.
To be fair to it, it is
actually an awful lot of bike

for the money, but how much of
a handicap is it going to be?

You know what mate?
I actually think it's all right.
Apart from the bar tape, that's not white,
but the rest of its all right.
- Yeah. It's pretty
much spot on this side.

Round number one.
- It's simple on this one, climbing.
Man and machines, against this.
Which is actually a particularly
uncomfortable climb.

Just shy of 2 km long, an
average gradient of 11%,

which I always think is weird
because most of it feels
like its above 20%.

It's a tough one.
Ah, I'll just grab that
one for now shall I?

- No, no, no, no, this
is mine after all Si,

so I'm going to have first dibs on this.
For the first ascent, if that's okay?
It's all right mate.
- Yeah, it's all right,
'cause you will be tired

then when you will be riding this one.
And that one will feel better.
Okay, that's fine mate,
if you want to do it that way 'round.
It's your call.
- [Matt] Oh, and have we mentioned,
we're going flat out?
Now the major difference
between these two bikes

when climbing, it their weight.
The Super Bike is a lean and mean 7.3kg,
with a Wahoo Elemnt attached.
Remarkable, when you take into
consideration that it's an

Aero bike, with disc brakes.
And our cheap bike, is a
rather weighty 11.95kg,

a difference of over 50%.
- All right, Si you go first,
I'm going to give you a minute.
- Okay.
- But I'm not overly hopeful to catch you.
You know what to do?
- Yeah, alright, wish me luck.
Off we go!
- Look at that! Poetry in motion.
- Beep, beep, beep, boop!
The first time, whoa hoa!
- Aaahhh, I hate that climb!
I absolutely hate that climb.

To be fair though, I do like this bike.
That felt cool!
Most importantly of all up
there, big range of gears.

I ended up using my lowest,
which is 34 at the front,

and 30 at the back.
So we'll see how it goes on the other one,
with racier gears.
He loves it doesn't he? He loves it!
- Well, that's my first
proper hill climb for a

long, long, time but I
didn't even need to think

about the bike, it worked a dream,
it's just me that's a little bit lacking,
but I certainly emptied the tank,
went a bit steady early on,
but when that steep bit,

pitched up I just had to give
it everything just to get up.

- Yeah, you can see how hard I went mate,
'cause I got a patch of
snot on my leg warmer,

that I cant' get off.
- I got a little bit on my sleeve as well.
- Yeah, British hill climbs eh?
- [Si] Run number two then,
after a quick bike swap.

As well as the weight, there's
also the issue of the gears,

pedalling doesn't feel
particularly different.

It has to be said.
Even cheaper gears are
remarkably efficient.

As a design, chains and
sprockets are fantastic.

Just as long as you keep them clean.
Which as you know, I do
mention from time to time.

The gear range of the two
bikes is broadly similar.

Even if our Super Bike has
22 and our Cheap Bike has 16.

And although the Canyon is
an out and out race bike,

the new Shimano DURA-ACE
has allowed us to fit

an 11 to 30 cassette, which
is just as well, up here.

- Okay, run number two,
I'm looking forward

to this actually, weirdly enough.
- Super Bike time for
you, Cheap Bike for me.

- Go on Si, give it all you got mate.
- Oh, will do mate. Off you go.
Look at that, sweet as a nut.
- Wah hoo! Yeah!
Oh my goodness me that feels good!
Like stiff, responsive, I'm
intrigued to know the results.

But, purely based on perception,
this is another world I'm afraid.
- Here we go, cheap bike time!
First time.
Well, here we go, run number two,
and the bike doesn't
feel too much different.

Feel the weight a bit,
positions a bit different.
But even the cheaper gears
are remarkably efficient

and that was design,
the chain and the cogs,

well it's just great, especially
if you keep them clean.

As not all of us presenters do.
- Whoa.
I hate to say it, but that was,
that was like night and day.
That was very different.
Although, less so in the
steep there actually.

The biggest difference
was when getting out of

the seat and accelerating.
And I managed to stick it in
the big ring over the top.

Which you see at times.
Well to paraphrase, three
time Tour de France Champion

Greg LeMond, it doesn't hurt
any less, you just go faster.

The question is, how much faster?
And the answer is actually
quite a lot wasn't it?

Nearly a minute, for both Matt and myself.
Which corresponds to just
about 10% time difference.

- Yeah, what about the feeling?
'Cause that's pretty important too.
Well for me, obviously,
this bike, the Canyon,

the Super Bike, did feel faster.
Far more responsive and I must admit,
I spent a lot more time out of the saddle,
I felt the power was
transmitted far better.

This bike, I felt more
comfortable sitting down and

applying the power in a
slightly different way.

It just felt generally, a
little bit more sluggish.

- [Si] Round number two, with the climbing
out of the way for today,
we've got a simple,

but very important test. Braking.
- These Shimano hydraulic
breaks are the absolute

bomb, when it comes to performance.
They've got all the power you need,
but with added modulation.
Meaning, you can use that
power to stop, far quicker,

rather than skidding down the road.
And the tyres?
Well they're gold standard as well.
Continental Competition, 25 mil, tubulars.
- [Matt] It's a pretty
simple test, riding at

40kmph, downhill, and then trying to stop
as quickly as possible.
- Woof, the weight distribution,
that was impressive.

- Thanks mate.
- That's all right, went well.
5.4, well 5 and a half,
5.4 so 5 metres 40, 5.40.

- So the markers been laid down,
how is our cheap bike gonna fare?
Well, on the positive side,
the cables are super smooth.

Loads of life left in the pads,
and I have spent time setting them up.
However, you'll see if
I squish on the lever,

there's quite a lot of flex
actually in the calliper itself,

meaning that you can lose a bit of power,
and you're going to lose modulation.
And, I've got a sneaking suspicion,
that these pads are really hard compound.
Meaning that they're going
to last a super long time.

But, they're not actually going
to slow us down very quickly.
Still, I'm going to give it a good go.
- Ooph.
- Just keep that bike steady please, Si.
- Sorry Matt, sorry.
- Thanks Mate.
- 10 Bang on, 10.5.
- 10.5, so we have 5...
- 10.5 metres
- So we have 5.4 and 10.5, ahhh...
- Yeah so, roughly stopped at
double the stopping distance.

Wow Si, the results are in.
And I can tell you, there's
nearly 100% difference

in the stopping distances
of the two bikes.

I mean, let's be fair.
The Raleigh, it stopped safe enough
- Yeah, yeah.
- But the stopping power of the Canyon
is mightily impressive.
- Yeah. There was a
significant difference.

Admittedly, this is
quite a controlled test,

so there's not going to
be that many occasions

where you'd be doing an
emergency stop in real life.

Well, hopefully not anyway.
But you've go to wonder, haven't you?
That if that difference over
the course of the whole ride,

even just coming up to
junctions and on descents,

and things, you'd have
thought that would have

quite a big effect, wouldn't you?
Or will it?
- Challenge number three. Descending.
Now armed with our braking knowledge,
just how are these
bikes going to stack up?

Will the added confidence of
better braking make us faster?

Will the improved
aerodynamics help as well?

- Yeah. It's going to
be interesting isn't it?

Now you know that we don't
exactly have any Alpine

descents on our doorstop,
but this one is pretty good.
3 km long, an average gradient of 5%.
All right, stop laughing at the back.
It's the best we've got okay?
We're not going to go flat
out because it's open roads

and we are of course getting
old, but nevertheless,

I think we should see how we get on.
- But significantly, I get to
go on the Super Bike again.

See you in a bit Si, hee hee.
Okay, Super Bike run, downhill.
Here we go, oh no! I'm not clipped in!
- Okay, here we go. A descent I know well.
On a bike I'm not very familiar with.
Poor brakes, but let's give it a nudge.
- 25 seconds.
- I cannot believe that. Literally.
- Well, lets have a little
look at this bike though,

aerodynamics have got to play a big part.
- Yeah. Yeah.
- Okay, on that descent. There's no...
And there was a bit of a
headwind on the descent.

But, disc brakes.
So much power, they give
me so much confidence

going into those corners.
I could brake, relatively
late compared to using

normal calliper brakes.
And even in these wet conditions as well.
So, yeah, aerodynamics and these
wonderful, powerful brakes too.
- Yeah. I still can't believe 25 seconds.
There were a couple points
where I, I ran out of gears

so I just free wheeled.
- And I did pedal. I've
got bigger gears than you.

We need to add that into the mix as well.
- Yeah, yeah, you do. But....25 seconds!
I was not expecting that mate.
I was not expecting that.
That's right.
It's another brutally simple test.
Ride 10 km as fast as we possibly can.
Now so far, the differences
between these two bikes

have been significant, but
not, I think, insurmountable.

But I just have a hunch
that maybe the Super Bike,

is just going to land the
killer blow on this one.

- Although, you've got a 1.5 watt saving,
on your Elemnt Bolt there.
- Yep, that's not to be sniffed at.
Pulled 1.5 watts back.
- It could be closer than we think.
Why do I have a hunch that this is going
to be a big one then?
Well, firstly, it's going
to be the longest challenge

so the gaps are likely to be larger.
But aerodynamics are incredibly
important in cycling.

Much more so than bike weight.
In almost all instances in fact,
except for really steep climbs.
The rider admittedly makes up the largest
component of total aerodynamic drag.
And I can actually get
into a really good position

on the Cheap Bike, so that's not something
you have to pay for at all.
My clothing is also the
same, super aero in fact.

However, the difference
in the bike is still

hugely significant.
The shallow wheels and 32 spokes,
cause a lot of turbulence.

The round tubes too, punch
a hole through the air

and it doesn't smooth air
flow around it at all.

- Beep, beep, boop.
You missed a beep! That was only four!
- Oh, sorry!
- Anyway, he's off!
- Okay, here we go.
Beep, beep, beep, boop.

First time again.
- I'll tell you what...
- You look like you went deep.
The funny thing about all of this,
is actually the thing
that bothered me the most.

Let it out mate, let it out.
The thing that bothered me the most,
was I couldn't get the right gear.
'Cause it's only 8 speed.
I know it sounds stupid,
but I was either pedalling

too slowly or too fast.
And like, it's not a
biggie, but it does wear

on you mind a little bit when you...
Full of gas?
- Yeah, but...
I went pretty much flat out there mate.
That one, but there's no...
The bike, I didn't really
have to think about the bike.

The gear ratios are fine.
Bottom of the block, just felt
good, and it felt, I'm not

particularly quick these
days, but this bike

is pretty quick and it felt
like it was doing the job, so.

- So mate, can I have a
go please? I'm desperate.

- All right.
- [Matt] If the Cheap
Bike shallow wheels and

numerous spokes cause a stack of drag.
What's the secret of the Shimano C40's?
Well, there are fewer spokes,
just 16 and 21 on front and back.
But the main reduction in
drag, stems from the rims.

Deep sections are made out
of carbon fibre to allow

for the specific wind sheeting shape.
The rim is 28 mm wide,
so that there's minimal

disturbance of air as it transitions
from the tyre to the rim.
And the shape of the rim
itself is called toroidal,

that means its aerodynamic on both
the so-called leading edge but then also
on the trailing edge, so as the air meets
the second side of the wheel.
- You ready mate?
- Go for it mate!
- Okay.
- Beep, beep, beep, boop.
He's in again, first time.

- Time trial is horrible it?
- It is isn't it.
But at least it was over
quicker on this one.

I don't actually know exactly
what the time difference was.

But just looking at the Wahoo,
it looked like, it was between
about 3 and 5 km per hour

difference at all times.
Which is massive isn't it?
Let's face it.
- Yeah. I didn't have a
problem with the gears,

I just tended to hoof the big one around,
around that dodgy corner, that was,
it just took me awhile
to get this one going.

From the turn, and from out of those bends
we have to slow down, that's
a little bit sluggish,

but once you got dialled into position,
it was a quick as it could go, but clearly
not as beautifully sculpted and
shaped as the Canyon, but...

- So, you're not going to
talk about my legs then?

- Oh no, they are pretty,
beautifully sculpted...

- Yeah thanks.
- Yeah, but no, pretty
good work horse this.

- It is, yeah, I mean...
Like, I don't know about
you but I think my average

is about 40 km per hour.
- That's still pretty
respectable in a 19 pound bike.

- Yep.
that turned into quite
tough day didn't it?

- It certainly did.
- Right.
Results then, unsurprisingly perhaps,
we've just seen a clean sweep
of victories for our Super Bike.
It climbed faster, it braked
faster, it descended faster

and it time trialled faster.
Which though do you think
was the biggest area of

improvement in percentage terms?
- It was actually the braking.
So in just a handful of seconds,
and in just a few short
metres the Shimano hydraulic

disc brakes out perform the
regular calliper brakes,

by a rather whopping 100%.
That's not just a significant
increase in percentage,

but from a performance perspective,
that could actually save your life,
or at least get you out of
a very difficult situation

out on the road.
- Do you need to spend
loads of money though?

To get great braking performance?
I don't think you do.
In fact I strongly suspect that a bike
with Shimano Sora callipers
on would close the gap

to those DURA-ACE hydraulic
discs quite significantly.

So actually if you do
have cheaper callipers,

then spending a little bit to replace them
could well be a really,
really intelligent upgrade.

- Absolutely. So Si, what is next?
Aerodynamics, well both
descending and timed trial

the performances were
pretty illuminating but,

for me, the descending did catch me
a little bit by surprise.
- Yeah, there was a 15%
difference on average,

between the Super Bike and the Cheap Bike.
Now, on the descent, of
course, as we've just seen,

the brakes will have been
responsible for a chunk

of that time, but down
to the aerodynamics have

an effect and certainly in
the time trial they did.

- The bad news I'm afraid
though, is that aero wheels

and aero frames don't come cheap.
So in this instance,
the Cheap Bike was at a
real distinct disadvantage.

Although, in it's defence, if
it's speed that your craving,

on that bike, don't do TT's.
- No exactly, if you
want to race, then race

bunch events instead like a road race.
Because if you've got some shrewd tactics
and some strong legs.
Then the disadvantage of
riding an un-aerodynamic bike

will be lessend really significantly
when you're riding in a peloton.
So work on your body position,
maybe even tail your
cycling kit, if need be,

and you will be able to fly.
- So what about the climbing then?
So in that short rather
brutally, steep climb

that we did our tests on.
The difference between the
two bikes was around 10%.

So it just shows that over 4.5 kg,
makes a massive difference.
- Yeah, it does and it's also
worth saying, isn't it, that

those two bikes felt like
completely different animals.

Like chalk and cheese.
And so you can really see
why people get obsessed

about lightweight.
If you like steep climbs.
It does make a difference.
You know what mate?
If we're being completely honest,
I genuinely was hoping that the difference
between these two bikes
wasn't going to be quite

so significant.
But the fact is, the Super
Bike is in a different league.

It's just faster, period.
- True, so what should
we look at next then.

Well how much do you think
it's going to cost to

start to really narrow that gap?
500 euros?
- $1,000.00?
- $2,000.00 pounds?
- Before we do get on to that though.
I think there is one
last important point that

we should address, and that
is that our Cheap Bike,

is still a great little bike, isn't it?
It takes two fundamental points.
Firstly, it's safe to ride and secondly,
being a road bike, it's just great fun.
- Yeah, it was a lot of fun to ride.
So you shouldn't get
disheartened about this at all,

if you have a cheaper, entry level bike.
It shouldn't always be about the bike.
- Yeah, that's absolutely right.
We are all part of the same
tribe no matter what we ride.

So, on that note, do make
sure you subscribe to GCN.

We're all part of the same tribe.
To do so, just click on the globe,
it's completely free.
- Now for another, sort
of science-y video about

how important weight is,
how about clicking, just

down here when me and
Dan did that very test

in Andorra.
- Yeah, wearing your fat rucksacks.
- It was fat rucksacks.
- Yeah, or to see a little bit more about
Matt's Super Bike, and in
particular his Shimano,

DURA-ACE 9170, groupset,
click just down there.

- And don't forget to like and share.
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Cheap Bike Vs. Super Bike | What's The Difference?

1620 Folder Collection
Kelly Chen published on August 17, 2018
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