Re: [CR] Merckx hour record bike(s)

Example: Racing

Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2005 13:06:00 -0800 (PST)
From: Jerome & Elizabeth Moos <>
Subject: Re: [CR] Merckx hour record bike(s)
To: Jan Heine <>,,
In-Reply-To: <a052106b0bf9806515722@[]>

I agree with Jan. Other than perhaps the weight of rims and tires (and I'm not even so sure about that), the weight of the bike at constant speed should be of relatively little importance. The superlight parts might help a bit in first coming to speed and perhaps in increasing speed again after falling off by a KPH or two, but if the lighter weight resulted in more flex, energy would be wasted on each and every lap, and such a superlight bike might even be slower. For an hour attempt, I'd think the first priority would be a bike which let the rider maintain the most aerodynamic position campatible with efficient pedaling. Next priority would be to minimize flex in frame and components. Light weight should be at best a distant third as a design criterion.


Jerry Moos Big Spring, TX

Jan Heine <> wrote:

>Jan Heine wrote:
>> Note that later hour record bikes, especially Rominger's, were
>> considerably heavier - with no apparent ill effects on the time
>> achieved.
>Who could say? So are you saying that extra weight doesn't matter?
>Lighter weight is a bad thing?
>Was Rominger's new record the result of riding a heavier bike?
>Please explain...
>Chuck Schmidt
>South Pasadena, Southern California

I believe that Merckx would have gone as fast in the hour on a heavier Colnago as on his superlight one. I believe that Rominger would not have gone any faster on a superlight Colnago than he did on his relatively heavy one. It appears that either Mr. Colnago changed his opinion on the usefulness of light weight in an hour record attempt - after all, he made very different bikes for each - or that he did not give Rominger as much support as he did Merckx.

I suspect - and this is pure speculation - that Colnago (and perhaps Merckx) knew all along that a superlight bike would not make a huge difference, but this was a great way of putting Colnago's skills (and Campagnolos upcoming superlight parts) into the spotlight. The hour record bike is a great achievement from a craftsmanship perspective, and whether it was necessary to achieve the record or not does not detract from that.

However, if you believe that a lightweight bike would have allowed Merckx to accelerate faster to his final speed - and considering that it took him two laps to get to that very high speed, this could be an important factor - then I am willing to accept that. -- Jan Heine, Seattle Editor/Publisher Vintage Bicycle Quarterly c/o Il Vecchio Bicycles 140 Lakeside Ave, Ste. C Seattle WA 98122