If starting to get serious in any kind of sport and trying to learn more about it, not for long you will hear about some things that people are rather often trying to show or teach, but are not covered with actual facts and use excuses like ‘ it is just like things should be’. Cycling is no exception and here are some common cycling myths that you will most likely hear:
1. Big Riders, Large Wheels
Especially in mountain biking, where everyone knows that big wheels (29”) can benefit the most, you do not have to be tall to ride on ones. Modern bikes are designed in that way, no matter the frame size, every wheel of specific category, should fit no matter the size. Smaller wheels (26”) provide better climbing, while bigger (29”) better stability and control, so if want to find compromise, you can try using medium (27.5”).
2. Body or Leg Shaving Makes You Faster
Many believe that shaving body parts (legs/arms) will slightly improve performance by making cyclist more aerodynamic. This is actually true since some bicycle manufacturers did research and prove that rider will save in average roughly around 1 min on 40km. That is huge for someone who is taking cycling on professional level, especially tri-athletes and time trial riders, but for competitive amateurs, that gap is of small significance. In other words having more or less hair will not have any impact on your performance and shaving is not necessary unless you feel like doing it. In case of professional cyclists, except small aerodynamic improvement, they also shave their body for preventive measure in other to have better access for treating road rashes and injuries. Some riders will admit having shaved body is better for cleaning, massage and more comfort while wearing cycling kit.
3. Less Rotation Mass
Lighter wheels will, with out of doubt, give less rotational mass, but still will only give you advantage in outbursts of speed, such as sprints and climb attacks. On another hand wheels with a bit more weight are better suited for steady rides and training.
4. Taller The Rider, Longer The Crank
Image Source: Cyclingweekly.co.uk
Having long legs does not mean to have longer crank sets, because they have length variables for different styles of riding and pedaling. Longer cranks provide rider with more power output and energy savings, which is good for climbs and steady ride, while shorter ones have smaller rotational length, which will enable rider to have higher cadence with lower oxygen deficits and slight aerodynamic advantage. If you can’t decide which crank length is more suitable for your style, compromise it with choosing, for example: between 170mm /175 mm, use 172.5mm.
5. Lighter Bicycle As Possible
Although lighter bike will give you more speed, it does not necessary mean that it will be also efficient and practical. Light bikes and their components are made from expensive materials and could have costly maintenance. Besides that, riding one on bad roads will certainly result in defects or even serious damage that requires repair or change (frame/wheel cracks, wire snapping, or wheel bending) and that will only have impact on your wallet. If you are planning to buy such bike at least have slightly heavier wheels with shallow rims and more wires. It will absorb impact from road bumps/cracks more efficiently and reduce chances from defects. In case of thinking to reduce the weight of your current bicycle weight, have on mind that it is equivalent losing 5kg of fat by exercising as spending for 0.5kg weight reduction in bike parts.