How Much Does Weight Effect Mountain Biking?

How Much Does Weight Effect Mountain Biking?


– So I’ve always been a fairly skinny guy, and I used to be super dedicated to my training when I raced full time, but when I go and ride with friends some of them are larger,
and it always looks to me that they’re working much harder. Yes they might not have as
much time to train as I do, but just how much
difference does weight make to how hard you have to work? So today I’m gonna try
and put it to the test, to see if the bigger riders actually do have to work harder and how much. I’m on my cross country bike, I’ve got my heart rate monitor on. I’ve also got a power meter, so I can see exactly how hard I’m working, and I’m gonna ride a cross country loop. So split it into two,
the first bit is a climb. A bit undulating, single
track up and down. But getting to the top of the hill, I’m presuming that’s gonna be harder. And then going down a
long, undulating descent, On a cross country loop again. It is the extra weight that’s gonna give me more momentum,
but how much harder am I gonna have to work going downhill? Let’s put it to the test. (up tempo music) Okay, it’s time for test one,
just at my normal weight. I’m gonna go pretty hard. Try and ride at my FTP, so about 270 watts going through the power cranks, and about 170 BPMs heart rate. That’s something that I know I can sustain for about an hour, so it’s a good, fast pace, but I can do it twice, definitely. Right time to go, this
is gonna be hard work. (exciting up tempo music) It’s a steep little climb. (gasps) Averaging about 400 watts
now for about a minute. So I’m up to 175 BPM, my
max heart rate is 185. Now turning on to a long
flat drag around a fire road, and then the final bit, a
punch climb up to the top. (exciting up tempo music) Right test one done, time
for some refreshments. Oof the cake was good, too good maybe? I feel pretty full. Test two, I feel very heavy. It’s crazy how much
difference it feels like. I feels way more than 15 kilograms. I think my poor little
carbon cross country bike is gonna take a battering. As are my heart and lungs,
so let’s get ready to go. Let’s do it. (up tempo rock music) It already feels like I’m having to get in an easier gear than I did last time, to try and drag my arse up these hills. My heart rate feels like
it’s going already. (gasps) (up tempo rock music) Right so that’s the tests done. Time to ditch my bulletproof vest. I don’t think I need that anymore. Back to the shed for the data. Right so I have some results. I did the test yesterday and my legs are feeling pretty tired to be honest. Let’s look at the times, let’s
start off with the climbing. So I was two minutes,
eleven seconds slower with the heavy weight, which
I guess is to be expected. But I actually think things
start to get interesting when I start to look at my
power and my heart rate. My power actually dropped,
so with the heavy weight I put out 13 watts less average. My maximum power was almost 100 watts less with the heavier weight and therefore my normalized power was
also six watts lower. That is sort of the
opposite to what I expected. I thought with the heavier weight on, I thought my heart rate would
probably stay about the same, but my max power, all
my powers would go up, because I’m having to power
that weight a bit harder. But actually the power’s dropped, and my heart rate went up. My average heart rate went up to 163BPM, from 159BPM without the weights. Heart rate maximum is up
to 176BPM with the weights. That’s 95% of my max, so I was
obviously working super hard. My calories burnt 311, compared
to 265 without the weight. So you definitely have
to work a lot harder, and it’s a lot slower with those weights. Things get super interesting when you start to look at the max powers. So what I could put out for
three seconds or five minutes. I am gonna do a geek
version of this video, so I’ll go way more into
numbers on that but, my max powers are much higher
with the heavy weight on. My max power for three seconds was 657, compared to 548 without the weights. So they’re all a lot higher, until it comes to the
five minute max power, and that was a lot lower, so I just couldn’t sustain the power, which I guess gives you those results. On the way up I worked
harder and I was much slower with the weights as expected. On the way down, now
things get much closer. A sort of similar story,
so I worked harder. My heart rate was higher,
just a little bit. My power was quite a way down. My max power was 123 watts
lower with the weights on. However, the times were much closer. I got within eight seconds with the weights on on that descent. It’s quite a long flowing descent, with some flatter rolling
sections with rollers, so you could pump up and over
and I felt with the weight I was absolutely motoring
along on those bits. Just that extra momentum meant that I could really keep my speed going. However, getting the bike up to speed was much harder work and I
think that shows the power. I just couldn’t put the power down to get the bike up to speed however, once I was up to speed
the bike motored on. So like I say, only
eight seconds difference in the times on the way down. In conclusion, yes I worked
harder and I was slower, but only marginally on the descent. Did I have to change my riding? I definitely hurt more with
the weight on for the descent. My hands were killing me, my
back was starting to kill me. I didn’t feel like I got any rest, even on the descent where
I try and stand stiff on a cross country bike,
to try and recover a bit. I felt like I was doing a big
squat with all that weight. So it was tiring and that’s probably why my average heart rate, even
on the descent was higher, and I definitely spent much
more time in the Granny Ring. I don’t think I spent any
time without the weights, so I felt like I was really grinding away the gears to get up those climbs. Is this a realistic test? Well with heavier, active
riders they kinda scale up, so the muscle will deal with
the weight a bit better. This test was a bit more like I’ve sat around for six months, drunk too much beer, ate to much cake, and then I’ve got back on a bike, so I guess it is kinda realistic. Really the biggest conclusion
for me is that things… Like I’m saying I’m working
harder, I’m a bit slower, but really it’s the climbing
where I’m two minutes slower. Going up the hill, that’s where the weight really works against you. I’ve done a geek version
of this video as well, so click up there for that one. Where I get much more
detailed about the numbers, but also I talk about potentially, how much faster you can get
by losing a bit of weight. Click that now for Olly Beckinsale, putting me through my paces and trying to get me trained up for an en-duro race. Hit that Sub button and
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