Cheap Bike Vs. Super Bike | What’s The Difference?

Cheap Bike Vs. Super Bike | What’s The Difference?

– How much difference
does spending money make to the performance of your bike? – Well, we’re going to find out in “Cheap Bike vs. Super Bike”. – Ding, ding! – Two bikes at the opposite
ends of the spectrum. Firstly is this, Canyon’s Aeroad bike. Lightweight, carbon fibre,
moulded into aerodynamic shapes, but not at the expense of comfort. And on board, We have Shimano’s latest
and greatest R9170 groupset. And that means electronic
shifting and hydraulic brakes. And also we have Shimano C40 wheels, so low weight and aero too. – Yeah. And then, we’ve
got this a Raleigh, which we bought on eBay, for 90 pounds. To be fair to it, it is
actually an awful lot of bike for the money, but how much of
a handicap is it going to be? You know what mate? I actually think it’s all right. Apart from the bar tape, that’s not white, but the rest of its all right. – Yeah. It’s pretty
much spot on this side. Round number one. – It’s simple on this one, climbing. Man and machines, against this. Which is actually a particularly
uncomfortable climb. Just shy of 2 km long, an
average gradient of 11%, which I always think is weird because most of it feels
like its above 20%. It’s a tough one. Ah, I’ll just grab that
one for now shall I? – No, no, no, no, this
is mine after all Si, so I’m going to have first dibs on this. For the first ascent, if that’s okay? It’s all right mate. – Yeah, it’s all right,
’cause you will be tired then when you will be riding this one. And that one will feel better. Okay, that’s fine mate, if you want to do it that way ’round. It’s your call. – [Matt] Oh, and have we mentioned, we’re going flat out? Now the major difference
between these two bikes when climbing, it their weight. The Super Bike is a lean and mean 7.3kg, with a Wahoo Elemnt attached. Remarkable, when you take into
consideration that it’s an Aero bike, with disc brakes. And our cheap bike, is a
rather weighty 11.95kg, a difference of over 50%. – All right, Si you go first, I’m going to give you a minute. – Okay. – But I’m not overly hopeful to catch you. You know what to do? – Yeah, alright, wish me luck. Off we go! – Look at that! Poetry in motion. – Beep, beep, beep, boop! The first time, whoa hoa! – Aaahhh, I hate that climb!
I absolutely hate that climb. To be fair though, I do like this bike. That felt cool! Most importantly of all up
there, big range of gears. I ended up using my lowest,
which is 34 at the front, and 30 at the back. So we’ll see how it goes on the other one, with racier gears. He loves it doesn’t he? He loves it! – Well, that’s my first
proper hill climb for a long, long, time but I
didn’t even need to think about the bike, it worked a dream, it’s just me that’s a little bit lacking, but I certainly emptied the tank, went a bit steady early on,
but when that steep bit, pitched up I just had to give
it everything just to get up. – Yeah, you can see how hard I went mate, ’cause I got a patch of
snot on my leg warmer, that I cant’ get off. – I got a little bit on my sleeve as well. – Yeah, British hill climbs eh? – [Si] Run number two then,
after a quick bike swap. As well as the weight, there’s
also the issue of the gears, pedalling doesn’t feel
particularly different. It has to be said. Even cheaper gears are
remarkably efficient. As a design, chains and
sprockets are fantastic. Just as long as you keep them clean. Which as you know, I do
mention from time to time. The gear range of the two
bikes is broadly similar. Even if our Super Bike has
22 and our Cheap Bike has 16. And although the Canyon is
an out and out race bike, the new Shimano DURA-ACE
has allowed us to fit an 11 to 30 cassette, which
is just as well, up here. – Okay, run number two,
I’m looking forward to this actually, weirdly enough. – Super Bike time for
you, Cheap Bike for me. – Go on Si, give it all you got mate. – Oh, will do mate. Off you go. Look at that, sweet as a nut. – Wah hoo! Yeah! Oh my goodness me that feels good! Like stiff, responsive, I’m
intrigued to know the results. But, purely based on perception, this is another world I’m afraid. – Here we go, cheap bike time! First time. Well, here we go, run number two, and the bike doesn’t
feel too much different. Feel the weight a bit, positions a bit different. But even the cheaper gears
are remarkably efficient and that was design,
the chain and the cogs, well it’s just great, especially
if you keep them clean. As not all of us presenters do. – Whoa. I hate to say it, but that was, that was like night and day. That was very different. Although, less so in the
steep there actually. The biggest difference
was when getting out of the seat and accelerating. And I managed to stick it in
the big ring over the top. Which you see at times. Well to paraphrase, three
time Tour de France Champion Greg LeMond, it doesn’t hurt
any less, you just go faster. The question is, how much faster? And the answer is actually
quite a lot wasn’t it? Nearly a minute, for both Matt and myself. Which corresponds to just
about 10% time difference. – Yeah, what about the feeling? ‘Cause that’s pretty important too. Well for me, obviously,
this bike, the Canyon, the Super Bike, did feel faster. Far more responsive and I must admit, I spent a lot more time out of the saddle, I felt the power was
transmitted far better. This bike, I felt more
comfortable sitting down and applying the power in a
slightly different way. It just felt generally, a
little bit more sluggish. – [Si] Round number two, with the climbing out of the way for today,
we’ve got a simple, but very important test. Braking. – These Shimano hydraulic
breaks are the absolute bomb, when it comes to performance. They’ve got all the power you need, but with added modulation. Meaning, you can use that
power to stop, far quicker, rather than skidding down the road. And the tyres? Well they’re gold standard as well. Continental Competition, 25 mil, tubulars. – [Matt] It’s a pretty
simple test, riding at 40kmph, downhill, and then trying to stop as quickly as possible. – Woof, the weight distribution,
that was impressive. – Thanks mate. – That’s all right, went well. 5.4, well 5 and a half,
5.4 so 5 metres 40, 5.40. – So the markers been laid down, how is our cheap bike gonna fare? Well, on the positive side,
the cables are super smooth. Loads of life left in the pads, and I have spent time setting them up. However, you’ll see if
I squish on the lever, there’s quite a lot of flex
actually in the calliper itself, meaning that you can lose a bit of power, and you’re going to lose modulation. And, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion, that these pads are really hard compound. Meaning that they’re going
to last a super long time. But, they’re not actually going to slow us down very quickly. Still, I’m going to give it a good go. – Ooph. – Just keep that bike steady please, Si. – Sorry Matt, sorry. – Thanks Mate. – 10 Bang on, 10.5. – 10.5, so we have 5… – 10.5 metres – So we have 5.4 and 10.5, ahhh… – Yeah so, roughly stopped at
double the stopping distance. Wow Si, the results are in. And I can tell you, there’s
nearly 100% difference in the stopping distances
of the two bikes. I mean, let’s be fair. The Raleigh, it stopped safe enough – Yeah, yeah. – But the stopping power of the Canyon is mightily impressive. – Yeah. There was a
significant difference. Admittedly, this is
quite a controlled test, so there’s not going to
be that many occasions where you’d be doing an
emergency stop in real life. Well, hopefully not anyway. But you’ve go to wonder, haven’t you? That if that difference over
the course of the whole ride, even just coming up to
junctions and on descents, and things, you’d have
thought that would have quite a big effect, wouldn’t you? Or will it? – Challenge number three. Descending. Now armed with our braking knowledge, just how are these
bikes going to stack up? Will the added confidence of
better braking make us faster? Will the improved
aerodynamics help as well? – Yeah. It’s going to
be interesting isn’t it? Now you know that we don’t
exactly have any Alpine descents on our doorstop, but this one is pretty good. 3 km long, an average gradient of 5%. All right, stop laughing at the back. It’s the best we’ve got okay? We’re not going to go flat
out because it’s open roads and we are of course getting
old, but nevertheless, I think we should see how we get on. – But significantly, I get to
go on the Super Bike again. See you in a bit Si, hee hee. Okay, Super Bike run, downhill. Here we go, oh no! I’m not clipped in! – Okay, here we go. A descent I know well. On a bike I’m not very familiar with. Poor brakes, but let’s give it a nudge. – 25 seconds. – I cannot believe that. Literally. – Well, lets have a little
look at this bike though, aerodynamics have got to play a big part. – Yeah. Yeah. – Okay, on that descent. There’s no… And there was a bit of a
headwind on the descent. But, disc brakes. So much power, they give
me so much confidence going into those corners. I could brake, relatively
late compared to using normal calliper brakes. And even in these wet conditions as well. So, yeah, aerodynamics and these wonderful, powerful brakes too. – Yeah. I still can’t believe 25 seconds. There were a couple points
where I, I ran out of gears so I just free wheeled. – And I did pedal. I’ve
got bigger gears than you. We need to add that into the mix as well. – Yeah, yeah, you do. But….25 seconds! I was not expecting that mate. I was not expecting that. That’s right. It’s another brutally simple test. Ride 10 km as fast as we possibly can. Now so far, the differences
between these two bikes have been significant, but
not, I think, insurmountable. But I just have a hunch
that maybe the Super Bike, is just going to land the
killer blow on this one. – Although, you’ve got a 1.5 watt saving, on your Elemnt Bolt there. – Yep, that’s not to be sniffed at. Pulled 1.5 watts back. – It could be closer than we think. Why do I have a hunch that this is going to be a big one then? Well, firstly, it’s going
to be the longest challenge so the gaps are likely to be larger. But aerodynamics are incredibly
important in cycling. Much more so than bike weight. In almost all instances in fact, except for really steep climbs. The rider admittedly makes up the largest component of total aerodynamic drag. And I can actually get
into a really good position on the Cheap Bike, so that’s not something you have to pay for at all. My clothing is also the
same, super aero in fact. However, the difference
in the bike is still hugely significant. The shallow wheels and 32 spokes,
cause a lot of turbulence. The round tubes too, punch
a hole through the air and it doesn’t smooth air
flow around it at all. – Beep, beep, boop. You missed a beep! That was only four! – Oh, sorry! – Anyway, he’s off! – Okay, here we go.
Beep, beep, beep, boop. First time again. – I’ll tell you what… – You look like you went deep. The funny thing about all of this, is actually the thing
that bothered me the most. Let it out mate, let it out. The thing that bothered me the most, was I couldn’t get the right gear. ‘Cause it’s only 8 speed. I know it sounds stupid,
but I was either pedalling too slowly or too fast. And like, it’s not a
biggie, but it does wear on you mind a little bit when you… Full of gas? – Yeah, but… I went pretty much flat out there mate. That one, but there’s no… The bike, I didn’t really
have to think about the bike. The gear ratios are fine. Bottom of the block, just felt
good, and it felt, I’m not particularly quick these
days, but this bike is pretty quick and it felt
like it was doing the job, so. – So mate, can I have a
go please? I’m desperate. – All right. – [Matt] If the Cheap
Bike shallow wheels and numerous spokes cause a stack of drag. What’s the secret of the Shimano C40’s? Well, there are fewer spokes, just 16 and 21 on front and back. But the main reduction in
drag, stems from the rims. Deep sections are made out
of carbon fibre to allow for the specific wind sheeting shape. The rim is 28 mm wide,
so that there’s minimal disturbance of air as it transitions from the tyre to the rim. And the shape of the rim
itself is called toroidal, that means its aerodynamic on both the so-called leading edge but then also on the trailing edge, so as the air meets the second side of the wheel. – You ready mate? – Go for it mate! – Okay. – Beep, beep, beep, boop.
He’s in again, first time. – Time trial is horrible it? – It is isn’t it. But at least it was over
quicker on this one. I don’t actually know exactly
what the time difference was. But just looking at the Wahoo, it looked like, it was between
about 3 and 5 km per hour difference at all times. Which is massive isn’t it? Let’s face it. – Yeah. I didn’t have a
problem with the gears, I just tended to hoof the big one around, around that dodgy corner, that was, it just took me awhile
to get this one going. From the turn, and from out of those bends we have to slow down, that’s
a little bit sluggish, but once you got dialled into position, it was a quick as it could go, but clearly not as beautifully sculpted and
shaped as the Canyon, but… – So, you’re not going to
talk about my legs then? – Oh no, they are pretty,
beautifully sculpted… – Yeah thanks. – Yeah, but no, pretty
good work horse this. – It is, yeah, I mean… Like, I don’t know about
you but I think my average is about 40 km per hour. – That’s still pretty
respectable in a 19 pound bike. – Yep. that turned into quite
tough day didn’t it? – It certainly did. – Right. Results then, unsurprisingly perhaps, we’ve just seen a clean sweep of victories for our Super Bike. It climbed faster, it braked
faster, it descended faster and it time trialled faster. Which though do you think
was the biggest area of improvement in percentage terms? – It was actually the braking. So in just a handful of seconds, and in just a few short
metres the Shimano hydraulic disc brakes out perform the
regular calliper brakes, by a rather whopping 100%. That’s not just a significant
increase in percentage, but from a performance perspective, that could actually save your life, or at least get you out of
a very difficult situation out on the road. – Do you need to spend
loads of money though? To get great braking performance? I don’t think you do. In fact I strongly suspect that a bike with Shimano Sora callipers
on would close the gap to those DURA-ACE hydraulic
discs quite significantly. So actually if you do
have cheaper callipers, then spending a little bit to replace them could well be a really,
really intelligent upgrade. – Absolutely. So Si, what is next? Aerodynamics, well both
descending and timed trial the performances were
pretty illuminating but, for me, the descending did catch me a little bit by surprise. – Yeah, there was a 15%
difference on average, between the Super Bike and the Cheap Bike. Now, on the descent, of
course, as we’ve just seen, the brakes will have been
responsible for a chunk of that time, but down
to the aerodynamics have an effect and certainly in
the time trial they did. – The bad news I’m afraid
though, is that aero wheels and aero frames don’t come cheap. So in this instance, the Cheap Bike was at a
real distinct disadvantage. Although, in it’s defence, if
it’s speed that your craving, on that bike, don’t do TT’s. – No exactly, if you
want to race, then race bunch events instead like a road race. Because if you’ve got some shrewd tactics and some strong legs. Then the disadvantage of
riding an un-aerodynamic bike will be lessend really significantly when you’re riding in a peloton. So work on your body position, maybe even tail your
cycling kit, if need be, and you will be able to fly. – So what about the climbing then? So in that short rather
brutally, steep climb that we did our tests on. The difference between the
two bikes was around 10%. So it just shows that over 4.5 kg, makes a massive difference. – Yeah, it does and it’s also
worth saying, isn’t it, that those two bikes felt like
completely different animals. Like chalk and cheese. And so you can really see
why people get obsessed about lightweight. If you like steep climbs. It does make a difference. You know what mate? If we’re being completely honest, I genuinely was hoping that the difference between these two bikes
wasn’t going to be quite so significant. But the fact is, the Super
Bike is in a different league. It’s just faster, period. – True, so what should
we look at next then. Well how much do you think
it’s going to cost to start to really narrow that gap? 500 euros? – $1,000.00? – $2,000.00 pounds? Yeah. – Before we do get on to that though. I think there is one
last important point that we should address, and that
is that our Cheap Bike, is still a great little bike, isn’t it? It takes two fundamental points. Firstly, it’s safe to ride and secondly, being a road bike, it’s just great fun. – Yeah, it was a lot of fun to ride. So you shouldn’t get
disheartened about this at all, if you have a cheaper, entry level bike. It shouldn’t always be about the bike. – Yeah, that’s absolutely right. We are all part of the same
tribe no matter what we ride. So, on that note, do make
sure you subscribe to GCN. We’re all part of the same tribe. To do so, just click on the globe, it’s completely free. – Now for another, sort
of science-y video about how important weight is,
how about clicking, just down here when me and
Dan did that very test in Andorra. – Yeah, wearing your fat rucksacks. – It was fat rucksacks. – Yeah, or to see a little bit more about Matt’s Super Bike, and in
particular his Shimano, DURA-ACE 9170, groupset,
click just down there. – And don’t forget to like and share.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. Maybe I am the only one to get the point of this video. I have ridden bikes and rollerbladed as my main source of transportation for over thirty years. I rode mid-range to super. As a messenger, my super didn't last long but was amazing in speed and ease. The ones I built with bargain high-end parts (when I could get them) were the best. This video was more about the fun of checking out new ideas and wasn't really a commentary about which was better. I will never own a thousand dollar bike as that I am saving for a windfoil, but mine are workable machines and I am even selling my motorcycles because there is no workout involved. I will be sixty next year and have no intentions of going slower. I can find used light components on line and I can always trim a pound or two here and there. Thanks Guys. You are great.

  2. They never said how much that super bike cost, and they looked quite gross with 20 pairs of socks stuffed down front of their shorts ?

  3. It all depends want you want the bike for as well, if you want to ride out with a competive road bike group then you might need a superbike, if you want a daily ride and a run out on your own for fitness then most bikes would be sufficient

  4. I don't understand… do you want health or performance…to proove yourself you re the best? u..110 miles instea of of 90 less, you want to travel more?

  5. I would have loved to have seen this on a realistic "cheap" bike. An entry level road racing bike is about £500-£1000. Totally depends on if you are going to be racing or trying to be King of Strava lol

  6. Great fun! Best part was the bang-for-buck discussion of upgrades: brakes are the way to go. Waiting for them to do a cheap car vs. expensive car comparison. Somehow I expect that the performance gap between Raleigh and Cannon will be a tad closer than the gap between Mazda MX5 and Bugatti Veyron.

  7. I have heard of Raleigh & even owned a couple back in the day .Never heard of the make of that plastic looking overpriced crock .Unless your getting sponsored to ride in the Tour de France why would you be bothered .The Raleigh is more rugged the frame & wheels will be stronger & the parts cheaper to buy for your average rider & you can always upgrade as parts wear .The dearer bike doesn’t even look nice ,the frame looks plastic & out of shape Looking at them I would think the Raleigh was the more expensive .I would stick with a trusted & respected name Raleigh every time ,they aren’t cheap bikes they are just realistically priced ,for real world cyclists !

  8. The comparisons are wrong: there are time and biker effects that are not ruled out by the experiment. They should have done it differently to really test the difference between bikes.

  9. Kind of pointless test.

    If you are racing you will buy the better bike.

    But for most people who just want to go out and cycle, will buy the cheaper one.

    I spent 600 on my bike and 300 upgrading it.

  10. Sorry, I just cannot trust the Cheap Bike. Its fork could snap when braking and therefore it is possibly lethal.

  11. My first bike is $75 and when I buy my second bike for $500 man what a difference. My advice is buy cheap bike for your first bike so you can appreciate a better bike.

  12. Honestly the most surprising number in this video is the price of the cheap bike -that is half of what I have ever seen for a 'reasonable' street bike. The second most surprising number is the weight of the cheap bike. The only bike I have ever owned that weighed more was my childhood cast iron Schwinn.

    My thought is that an upgrade of the frame to aluminum would drop over a kilo, and a front disk would put stopping power and control inline with top notch bikes.

    And honestly, I don't have a race bike (just touring) because I never saw one under $600 so this video is inspiring me to add one!

  13. Good grief. I was looking for bike maintenance videos and came across this. Is this what those nerds are riding down the middle of the service road, blocking traffic? Bikes that cost as much as a car? IT'S A BIKE. I'll never understand racing.

  14. Why not make all bikes the same, same weight, same brand, same accesories then race, it will be a competition of who is tough, not what kind of bike

  15. How bout making lil upgrade to the cheap bike? Change the gear set and brake disc? How will it fare? Do that episode please.

  16. Squats, leg presses, and a bottle of testosterone or dbol if you are so inclined, and that would be way cheaper and more effective than getting the more expensive bike.

  17. My dream is too have a road bike but sadly i dont have money to buy it😭 I am getting jealous sometimes to my classmates because they all have a road bike then i dont have🙁😔😭

  18. A stronger guy in a cheap bike is still gonna beat you because it's a personal training issue not a bike difference. Tires are the only factor between bikes, knowing what tires to use for the road course.

  19. At the speeds you are doing on the hill climb, wind resistance isnt really a factor. A 5mph headwind would have far more effect tha any bike aerodynamics. Even on the fast runs the majority of the wind resistance is caused by the rider, not the bike.

  20. Can you guys do a vid to see if you can beat an average out of shape middle aged white guy using an electric bike but you in shape super cyclist use your bad ass multi thousand dollar bikes? Thanks.

  21. I tried to buy my friends trek madone, he literally said dont waste your money, just lose 10 pounds and keep your bike. unless your elite why the fuck would you pay 1000 to lose 10? dont gotta be very smart to realize this. most hobbyists spend big money to get an edge, thinking it will take them to some new level. When theyre not pros and just need to focus on practice. bikes, guitars, ski's, keyboards, running shoes, etc

  22. If someone offered you LOL even $100 to prove the cheap bike were faster .. Bingo it would be. Regarding "wind resistance" .. maybe think about the BIG Parachutes in comparison riding the bikes, the bikes make nearly 0% (0.01%) aerodynamic difference compared to you!

  23. Bought a cheap bike 1st..A Raleigh actually(Not cheap for me back then though,in secondary school)..Years later managed to save enough for a better bike.Still.. used my 1st bike for training&daily rides.Used the better bike for racing. 😉

  24. 0:18 0:18 0:18 0:18 0:18 0:18 0:18 0:18 0:18 0:18 0:18 0:18 0:18 0:18 0:18 0:18 0:18 0:18 0:18 0:18

  25. It would be interesting to see if people ever could win races with five speed bikes. Back in their day, they never used to have seven speed or eighteen speed. They had limited options of one speed, three speeds, five speeds, and ten speeds. That was before the time of twelve speed, fourteen speed, and twenty-one speed.

    Also, spending over $1,000 for ONE bike seems like wasting money. I have managed to get a hold of a Genesis V2100, with three chain rings and seven cogs, for $150. Save $1,000 and you could litterally buy-out six of those AND pay the sales tax. So far, I have these tooth counts on my cogs: 28, 24, 22, 20, 18, 16, and 14. I might upgrade to nine cogs by adding one with 26 teeth and one with only 12, maybe.

  26. I used to know a guy (Todd Montalbo) in Alaska who would crush the competition riding a 60s road bike with cotter pin cranks. He was primarily a cross country skier so he didn’t bother spending anything on his bike. I was a mountain racer and we couldn’t get away with cheap and old off road; but on the road it’s the motor that’s most important.

  27. I am suspecting that a heavier rider would notice less of an impact; since the % of the total overall weight they need to pull is not that much difference.
    For example

    if you have a 150 pound rider:

    Super bike is about 15 lbs, total overall weight is 165 lb
    Heavier bike is 25 lbs- total overall weight of 175.
    The difference between the 2 is approximately 10/ 170 so about 6 %

    If you have a 250 lb rider:
    Super bike is 15 lb so total overal weight is 265
    heavier bike is 25 lbs so total overall weight is 275
    The difference in bike weight accounts for just around 2% of the total overall moving mass.

  28. 40km per hour average is pretty high; especially if you were using that as an average for an extended number of miles + going up and down hill

  29. Stopping distance what a joke. The Canyon was braking way before it should've.
    Regardless of the power of disc brakes, the contact patch to road, would be the same if the same tyres are used and, biggest factor.

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