First 24 hr race: New Bike; Power Meter; Both; Neither?

Background: ahead of a hilly 24 hour race at the Nürburgring in July, my first, the N+1 demon is suggesting I get a new bike. This would save 3.5kgs over my current bike—confession: I could lose 3.5kg and likely not drop so much as a watt— and be somewhat more aero, as well as (possibly) a touch more comfortable as its full carbon rather than alloy. The new bike would be a demise-of-Wiggle bargain rather than something I really need; however the old bike is 12 years old and the carbon forks could just possibly be nearing end of life. Given the speeds at the race (>100km/h for the faster riders once per lap) this is a minor worry.

Not getting a new bike would be a sneaky way of justifying buying a power meter. I’m new to serious training but have become addicted to watts having bought a smart trainer. The thought of making long Z2 outdoor rides more productive (I train on heart rate outdoors at the moment) , as well as enabling outdoor, power-based intervals, is tempting but I think the real question is the extent to which it will help me in the race. Will it help me not to go too hard early on and will that help be worth the psychological damage inflicted later by watching my power fall off a cliff as my heart rate soars?

What would you do?

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Can you afford it? I think after 12 years, getting a new bike is not unreasonable. Especially if you’re going to get a lot of use out of it - which sounds like you will do, with a 24h race!

A new bike will mean you can upgrade to modern brakes, gears etc, which will also make repairs a bit easier a few years down the line.

As it’s pretty likely the Wiggle bikes will be without customer support/returns etc soon, I’d make extra sure the size and geometry will fit you.

Regarding a power meter - same again, if you an afford it, why not?


This is a hard one :rofl: My first thought was get the power meter, because it’ll be a great tool for pacing/training outside. If you go this route, I’d recommend a pedal based system like Assiomas so you can transfer them to another bike down the road.

On the other hand, if you’re going to be on your bike for 24 hours you’ll want to be comfortable and saving a bit of weight never hurt. After riding for 8 or 12 or 16 hours…you’ll likely be pacing off RPE because it’ll be hard to hit any power/HR numbers that you could early in the ride :thinking:

If you’re comfortable on your current bike, I’d probably go with the power meter.

You could buy a new bike with integrated power meter…

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Both would be good spends based on your description, but don’t put yourself into (even a small) a financial hole doing it.

From a training point of view the power meter would be more valuable, but it sounds like when it comes to the event itself the bike is going to make a bigger difference (as @FrankTuna says, in a 24hr race a PM is really only useful for restraining yourself in the first hour or two).

Assuming this is a road event then there’s a chance that the new bike can get you:

  • 3.5kg
  • Integrated cabling?
  • Aero tube shaping?
  • Aero or narrower handlebars?
  • Deep section wheels?
  • More comfortable frame
  • Wider tyre clearance? (especially relevant if road surfaces are rough at all)

Depending how outdated your current setup is there could be as much as 5w in each of those on average. Even being conservative I don’t think 15-20w gain is unrealistic if your existing bike is relatively un-modified from new.

Wiggle deals are good but it seems likely that steep discounts on other brands won’t be rare this year either. However, current Wiggle deals are probably the best you’re going to get until end-of-season stuff starts in August and then Black Friday stuff in October/November.

Power meter discounts are going to basically be down to chance between now and the start of the autumn deals - if you’re a shark and do price comparison searches on your preferred model(s) twice a week then you’ll probably catch a random sale on a holiday weekend or something, but unless Favero are about to drop a podless road pedal and clear remaining stock of their current ones then I don’t see there being a meaningful and predictable discount on PMs prior to your event.

I would not worry about carbon forks nearing anything close to “end of life” unless you have had multiple, serious crashes. From a safety standpoint, they are fine and will last for many more years.

As to the question, if you can afford the bike / PM and you’ll enjoy riding it, fire away. No need to rationalize it beyond that, IMO.



It’s a good point. The bike I have is on cable discs; hydro would be a great upgrade

Bang on. I’ve never bought mail order and the process is intimidating. Much poring over geometery charts will go on if I do decide to go ahead.

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My point of view:
-If this is the bike you want, and can afford it, then go for it. If it is a compromise because it’s a good deal, then don’t.
-Power meters are nice. I prefer training outdoors myself. But it won’t help you for this event.
-Since the race is going to be 24 hours, it doesn’t matter what bike you are on. You are riding for 24 hours no matter what. A lighter bike won’t make that easier. You will just get farther in those 24 hours.

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aggreed. In fact, I suspect I may have to move my RPE scale from 0-10 to 0-11…
I also had a look at the thread below which seems to be pretty much of your opinion re PMs

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Absolutely. I’m not going to be remotely competitive as i just don’t have the depth of training history so I’m racing myself.

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Thanks, P13, good to hear.

All except the last one! Current bike is in fact a cross bike so has good tyre clrearance; your other points hold, for sure. Given the nature of the 'ring I’m fairly sure that aero gains will have a bigger influence than weight for the top competitors.

Is this even a question? New bike for sure. It will make you much faster. Physically and psychologically.

That’s a really great insight into how other folks think. I’ve always been the other way: I used to race motorbikes back in the day. I always blamed myself and not the bike even though I was always on machinery that was a couple of seasons (at least) out of date. And if you think bicycles have developed quickly in the last twenty years, race-motorbikes were just as bad in the years that I was racing. My last season my fairly recent 110BHP bike was on the grid against new-season bikes with 140BHP! It makes it super-sweet when you pick up a place, though!

That said, less effort up hills and more speed down them at a 24hr with hardly any flat is an easy sell!

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Having done a 24hr hilly (lumpy) race last year (UK National 24hr TT) - here is my 2-penneth:

  1. If you buy a new bike from Wiggle with them going under, you may have no warranty.
  2. 3.5kg is a lot of bike weight - however there are probably better (more reliable) choices out there, even second hand as loads of people bought expensive bikes, and are now regretting it. If you visit and inspect and ride then you will know how it fits, and you get a better choice which you can get rid of more easily if you make a mistake. Take a friend who is knowledgeable and will be honest with you. Even a 2kg lighter bike would be better.
  3. Bike fit is vital. Get it wrong and you will suffer - badly - over 24hrs.
  4. The way to ride a hilly 24 is to manage your power. Back off on hills and use your weight and aero to catch up down hill (ie coasting and recovering). I was constantly watching my power meter on the hills managing my power and not burning matches. (people of road bikes were out of the saddle passing me upwards - I would then coast past them on the down hill) Basically even in a 12hr the mantra to myself was “take it easy - slow down - coast down hills”. In a 24 this is even more important.
  5. Aim to lose some weight between now and then. You’ll appreciate it on every hill.
  6. Are people really doing 100km/hr!!! Seriously!!! or is that a peak speed?
  7. I suggest power meter pedals is the best way to go - that way you can transfer easily between bikes, with one expense.
  8. If you ride a 24 on heart rate you might get what I had on a 12 - that was HR staying down and not rising as it was at the start of the race. A clear sign I was struggling, despite the power I was giving out. HR Drift upwards is also a big issue.

A couple of suggestions/thoughts:

  1. Have you got a mate who can lend you a lighter bike in the right fit to try? Try a few - chat to some mates, see what they are recommending. You might get an offer… :slight_smile:
  2. Would you be happy with a good second hand one at a similar price to the “end of warranty Wiggle bargain?”
  3. Have you chatted to your local bike shop re the fork you are worried about?

Just my 2 penneth.

Thanks, Phil, tha’s a really helpful post

I’ve written to Wiggle about that today and have yet to hear.

That’s a real concern; some might say it would be pretty unwise to change a known bike that is pretty comfortable (not yet gone beyond ten hours but…) for an unknown but better-on-paper new bike

Absolutely on board with that one. Luckily I’m naturally pretty lazy and I have no illusions about keeping with the bunch—there are 75km and 125 km races starting simultaneously— or being competitive—best in my age group last year did 23 laps (600km and nearly 13,000m) , which is beyond my comprehension, let alone aspiration

Agreed. At the moment I’m concentrating on feeding the training. The steepest bit at the ‘ring is 20% which pushes me beyond FTP at the moment. Would love to bring that hill within FTP. I’m hoping to lose a bit of weight once I finish the current build phase. Mr Friel put the wind up me about eating enough protein, though!

Yep. Incredibly. It’s that kind of track. I used to hit 250km/h at the same spot on the motorbike years ago. Big run up, very good surface and really steep.

Thanks. One to be aware of. Upward drift I was expecting but I didn’t realise failure to get a high enough heart rate was possible outside of being over tired during training.

I haven’t but I think the rational thing here would be to say that by race day it’ll have covered something like a century a week on average over six months of training so if it hasn’t gone by the big day I should be ok.

Just a few things to add

You might think about adapting your gearing to make that hill easier. For the 24 I dropped from 53/39 and 11/25 to 50/34 and 11/30 just so I could manage my power up the hills.

Absolutely right - do this - do this - do this… :+1: :+1: :+1:

As politicians would say, “That is a brave decision, sir!”. Seriously, if you think there is a problem - get it checked out. Fork failure in training (or the event) might get you badly injured and not able to compete.

Finally, if a company is going out of business - its in administration - (and as I heard it, the Signa group’s owner is claiming sole trader insolvency), you won’t find anyone to stand by any warranty. … unless Vitus stand by it Warranty Information – Vitus Bikes but they refer to Wiggle’s page which says nothing about warranties but see that they are operating in administration as stated at the bottom of this page

Your call though…

Effort up hills is entirely down to how much effort you put in, not the bike.

I’m not quite sure I’m reading you correctly; but, just for fun, here are some numbers:

slope (%) 8 12 16
78kg rider + bike @10kmh watts watts watts t(mins)/km @ 200W 8%
8 kg (bike) 215 314 412 6.45
12 kg (bike) 224 328 430 6.73
15 kg (bike) 232 339 445 6.94

So you’re as near to right as makes no odds. Certainly if you compare the differences in bike weight with the additional watts required to get up a given slope it becomes clear that aero is going to be a bigger factor almost everywhere except hill climbs and a stage finish on top of Angliru. Expressed in terms of seconds per km excess weight becomes significant for normal races; but probably not in a ‘long’ 24 hour on a 26 km per lap course. Probably the only time it would count on a long 24 is if the extra weight pushes you through a threshold at your target pace. That said I’m pretty confident that at some point in the small hours if somebody offered to remove even 10 or 15 watts from my workload I’d be very grateful.

I think the point he was making was that the “effort” (i.e. how many watts you are putting out) is the same regardless of the bike. Riding a different bike won’t change how many watts you can generate.

Your time up the hill may vary, but your effort will not.