Should I Buy A Carbon Or Aluminium Bike? Ask GCN Anything About Cycling

Should I Buy A Carbon Or Aluminium Bike? Ask GCN Anything About Cycling


(instrumental hip-hop music) – It’s a brand new year. However, we are going to continue answering your cycling questions every Friday here on Ask GCN Anything. And, if you’ve just decided
to get into cycling, please don’t be embarrassed by your questions. We’ve all been in the same position at some point, and they really can’t
be too simple for us. In fact, it’s quite pretty
better for us, isn’t it? If they’re quite simple.
– Yeah, the simpler, the better really. Yeah, but to leave your questions, you can do so in the comments section below this video. Or on most social media platforms, using the hashtag #TORQUEBACK. So, without further ado, we have this question from regular contributor/commenter, Michael McDermott, who asks, Hello again! I was wondering how best to use/interpret the
ride data from my Garmin in order to track
improvement and progress. What do coaches look at? Hashtag #torqueback. Well, that is a really
good question, Michael! Because there’s so many
data fields to look at. It can actually be a little bit confusing after you ride to know exactly what you kind of need. But, fortunately, there
is software out there, such as TrainingPeaks, which allows you to make
that kind of process as complicated or as simple as you want. Yeah, as you said, things have got ever more complicated, in terms of the amount of data fields that you can look at and analyse post-ride. You can look at things like average speed, but that’s always a bit of a red herring– – Hmm. – Because that’s always affected by so many different factors when you’re out on the open road. And, the same to some degree goes for heart rate as well. And, that is why we have always recommended using a powermeter if you’re really serious about tracking your training improvements. And, it is those improvements
over a period of time that you want to look at as much as trying to really analyse each individual ride. So, if you have got a power metre, and your aim is to improve your sprint, for example. You want to see that over time your power overshoots your age of less than 30 seconds is improving. If it’s short climbs
you want to improve at, maybe one to five minutes in duration, see that graph going upwards. And, if you want to improve
your general fitness or time trailing or
climbing over mountains, it’s your longer term power that you want to see improving, so anything over 30 minutes in duration. Now, there are some slightly
more complicated things, as Matt said, that you can look at, like your power to heart rate relationship over time, but also during rides as well. And, things like normalised power– – Yeah. – Is really great tool for analysing rides, which
weren’t too consistent, so interval training or sporties, like races, for example. And, actually, we’ve gone into quite some detail about five metrics we think you should analyse on your rides and over the course of time in training in this next video. – Yeah, which you can look at here. (wind turbulence) – So, to give you a real world example, if you went out for one hour and held a steady 200 watts throughout, your average power and
your normalised power would be 200 watts. On the other hand, if you do the first one the first 20 minutes at 100 watts, the second 20 at 200, and the third 20 at 300, your average would still be 200 watts, but your normalised power would be 240. Much more representative of the fact that you don’t quite do in the last 20 minutes. – The next question comes in from Adam Farrelly, who says, Hi GCN, I’m a 15-year-old cyclist. What kind of bike should I buy, an aluminium or a carbon? – Good question, Adam. And, we do get asked
this a lot, especially from younger riders. And, as a 15-year-old, especially these days, you might actually find that a lot of your contemporaries, a lot of your peers, are actually riding around
racing on carbon bikes. But, here at GCN, we think collective that there is going to
be no detriment at all to starting out on an aluminium bike at that age. And, actually I think it’s quite a healthy ethos
to have as a youngster, to actually earn your equipment as you get better– – Definitely, yeah. – And more determined to ride your bike. And, as you get better on entry-level sort of equipment, you might get the benefits then of sponsors coming on board and helping you finance equipment, and your parents as well! And, I remember racing first on a second-hand frame, second-hand entry-level equipment. And, once I started to get results, and my parents could see that
I had the desire to race, that’s when they started to buy me middle-ranged equipment– Yeah. – And they were never top-end. – And you know what? There is something very
satisfying about beating somebody who’s got all of the
top-end equipment already– – Definitely! – Matt’s
definitely right earning it really is the key. In fact, there are some very big European amateur cities
where the management still insists on not giving their riders the top-end groups that even though the team probably could afford to give it to them because they think that should be reserved when you finally make
it over the threshold to professional level. Now, in terms of the actual differences between carbon and aluminium, we did a test on two bikes from Trek to see what differences we could find, and that’s all coming up in this next video. (wind turbulence) – Now, you are spending a lot of your hard-earned money here. So, what’s the actual difference? Well, in this case, it’s between about 800 to 1000 dollars or about 700 pounds. And, that is for an
identically-inspected bike, remember. The difference in price is due to the fact that carbon manufacturer is
much more labor-intensive and also more expensive. Generally, though, I would imagine that when you walk into
your local bike shop, you’ll be looking at two different bikes of similar prices. And, so in that case, your carbon frame one is likely to have componentry of, at least, one or two levels below that of its aluminium counterpart. So, aluminum’s going to be a little bit heavier and also you’ll probably have a lower grade of carbon fibre that you might otherwise want. We haven’t done that in this case though, because we want to be
able to directly compare how these two different materials ride. – Thirdly, we have this other question. We don’t normally do three, but as it’s the New Year, we’re giving you cheeky extra video. We have this question
from Kristjan Posavec, who asked, What can I do that I could ride 160 kilometres faster. A lot of people ask that question– – Yeah, we all want to
get faster, don’t we. And, there are a lot of things that you can look into to improve your average speed out on a road, and no matter what the distance really. First and foremost, is always in getting fitter basically, and improving your power
over a certain duration But, there’s a whole host of other things that you can look into at the same time. – Yeah, they’re certainly are. I think fundamentally getting more air out will certainly increase your average speed with the same power. Losing a little bit of weight will certainly see you go faster, and be far more efficient up on long drags and climbs, of course. And, also it’s definitely worth working on your technical stuff. – Right. – So, cornering and ascending, all of those things will help improve your average speed. In fact, last year, we made a video on this very subject, weirdly entitled, How to
Improve Your Average Speed– – Aww! – Take a look at this! We’re going to do our first ride on the hidden motor one. – Anyway, let’s have a look. (wind turbulence) – While aerodynamics won’t
save you much on the climbs, it’ll save you a huge amount on flat and downhill sections. And, quite often, you won’t need to change anything at all on the bike. Yeah, so research has shown that simply bending your elbows at about 90 degrees like this, so that your back is nice and flat, with your head slightly lower, and out of the wind, can give you a 14% power saving versus your standard
position upright like this. So, think about your position all the time when you’re out riding on the bike. If you’re not used to this position, just practise it for
shorter periods at a time. – You know what’s coming next? It’s the filling of this show! It’s the rapid fire round! – Yeah. – Cheese and Pickle. – Shall we try and do it quickly in 2017? – Yeah. – So, let’s start off with a question from Swedish House Fifa, Has any GCN presenter raced on the track? Si said no. Tom Last, no. Me, no. – Yes, won in track league in 1988, and Herne Hill as well. – Right. Next question, Dazza Lew, Saddle bag or bottle cage storage? This is a controversial one! (breathing out) The people underneath that comment quoted rule number 29, which stipulates something
about no saddle bags; (laughing) however, you’ll see loads of pros out training with a saddle bag. It’s just so convenient. And, actually, I like saddlebags. Alright, and I don’t think
they look bad at all! – We’re fortunate to
have a couple of bikes and on the bikes with two bottle cages, I have my kit in a cut-off bottle and not under the saddle. And, in my bikes with
a single bottle cage, I have it under the saddle, so I did both. – Well, it’s because we don’t
ride as far as we used to– Do we? – Yeah, that’s
what we said not as far. – So, normal, I would have liked to have two bottles in at all times. – Next up, we got this question from Gregor Durkov, who asks, Can you tell what I can do before races to lower my stress levels because when the race starts, I always have to take a dump (laughing) and I can’t help myself (laughing). It’s been a problem for the last season. I can tell you one thing, Gregor, you my friend are not alone. – No, I think more you
have to be (laughing)– – (laughing) it’s a great question. – More prepared for the dump thing– – Yeah. – Because it’s kind of inevitable. – Yeah. – Pros in their buses behind the blacked-out windows will be constantly going
to and from the toilet– – They will. – On their team buses before the start of a race. It basically shows that you’re motivated enough for the race. – Yep. And, you’ve actually
got more to worry about, if you don’t need the toilet. – One handy tip though! If you’re going to a sportive or to a race, because of the amount of
people in the same position, always, always, always,
carry some spare toilet roll with you. Top tip! – Good advice, Stephens. Nick Bottfield says, Why do cycling teams
change name with sponsors? It’s like Arsenal being called Team O2, then Fly Emirates FC! Hashtag #torqueback. Very good point, Nick! – Agree, too. – And, it would be nice if teams did always have the same names. The problem in cycling is the funding, it comes
100% from the sponsors, though ticket sales. At the moment, no money from TV rights either. – Revenue. – So, it means that the team is always named after the sponsor because there’s no other money there. – Yeah. – Like normal. – The only actual
infrastructure of a cycling team is almost the equipment really and the management a lot of the time. And, they are relatively
transient compared to the business model in
football, for example. Last question is from Dalthi o’troithigh. Sorry, if we’ve got that wrong. We probably have. – Definitely have. – Another good question. Hello, what should you do if you get chased by a farmer’s dog when out for a cycle– – You got chased by a dog late last year, didn’t you? – I did. – Locally. – I did locally, yeah– Or did you attack it (bleep) – Hey mate, right then, I’m off to see mummy. – What? – Cheerio. – Are you serious, mate? (dog barking) Is that… that is wild! (bleep) – Back in the olden days, I used to get the pump off my frame, which was like this long. And, obviously fight the dog off. – I don’t think I ever
really hurt the dog– – Oh my, I can’t wait for– But, I used to threaten– – The coming of this! But these days, with a mini pump it’s about as much use as a
chocolate fireguard, isn’t it? So, it’s basically shouting at the top of your voice. And, you’d been on clip on one foot and then gently kicking at the dog. (laughing) – Alright, well– (laughing) I would personally just
try and up my speed, an hope that I’ve got more speed– – Oh yeah, sprinting off! – Than a dog. Rather than trying to hurt the animal. It’s good if you do
know a dodgy local dog, it’s a good idea if you
can do some sprint training to ride where the dog is. When it starts attacking you, that’s when you start your interval. (barking) – And, our final question for the first Ask GCN Anything 2017, comes from Steve Lee, who asks, Guys, why is it power metres are so expensive, yet my home trainer has a power metre and all sorts of other stuff and only cost me 300 pounds. – Good question, – Well, to answer your question, Steve. There’s quite a lot of technology, which goes into on the bike powermeters. There’s a myth that there’re not quite as much technology that goes into your average Smart Phone, but they are not produced on any way the same scale or volume as a Smart Phone. Hence, why they’re not able to bring the price down quite as much. Although, they are coming down in price gradually over the years! And, my guess is that your home trainer, which costs you 300 pounds is probably guestimating your power, as opposed to giving
you an accurate number through the current resistance combined with the speed at which you are riding. Now, there are smart trainers, which do give you a very accurate power measurement using
other accelerometers or strain gauges, but you are going to have to spend a bit more than 300 pounds
to get one of those. – You certainly are. And, actually, we’ve got a
video on this very subject, how to Get Stuff for Indoor Training ad What Equipment Do You Need? (Upbeat dance music) – This is
the easiest and cheapest way of riding indoors. Generally, called a Turbo Trainer, this one is a bit of a classic. And, it works by raising your
back wheel off the ground, and resistance to the pullout to the back wheel just down here by this fan and flywheel, meaning you can go as hard as you can, as fast as you can within the comfort of your own home. Now, the faster the back wheel goes, the greater the resistance. – Now, we do feel that we should menton
at this point actually, a lot of people worry that they’re going to be
damaging the frame of that bike by using a Turbo Trainer, particularly, a delicate carbon frame, except that you won’t. That’s actually not true. We spoke to a number of manufacturers and they all said, that if you set up your Turbo correctly, then your bike frame is going to be fine. – Thanks as ever for all of your questions, we
love reading through. Please do keep them coming in the comments section
below this video, of course, and using the hashtag #TORQUEBACK on social media. Now, we’ve got some more
videos coming up for you in just a few moment’s time. But, before you go to them, please make sure that you do subscribe to our channel, the Global Cycling Network. If you haven’t done so already, by clicking on the Globe. Then, once you have done that, please watch this next video. It is Seven Tips for Young Cyclists. – And, referring back to our
point about track riding, how about clicking on this video here, GCN Does the Olympic Velodrome
with Sir Chris Hoy! – Oh, yeah, we have been
on the track. – I know. I have raced on the track! I know, yeah. Well, kind of raced–
– I lost. – And, don’t forget to
like and share as well.