What, in cycling, is overrated?

I think you tripped over yourself with this, where perhaps you meant “it can bring A few improvements…”–no? And if not, there’s really nothing to prove.

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I can’t say the entire TdF because it’d be hard to face myself regarding something that damn near dominates 3 weeks of my life and call it overrated. But, what I can say that very rarely lives up to the hype are TdF mountain stages. So much pre-stage promotion on Eurosport and cycling websites that ends up with a lot wheel following and a 500m uphill sprint.


I spent over 10 years in the bike industry, mostly doing product development. Never once sat in a meeting where we discussed making up hype or marketing to sell people stuff they didn’t want. Nor was I ever told what products I needed to spec / develop.

Not once.

This myth of “marketing gimmicks” and the like in order to sell product is a lazy take and boring.


I am not reading it has been made-up out of nowhere (he mentions the benefits), rather we are being presented wider tires as an absolute solution that has no negative effects and that everyone needs (but newer super-wide rim would recover some of the aero drag we added) that “oversimplification” is indeed overrated… I am not seeing real reasons to go for 28+mm tires when you ride on good roads despite what my LBS and Trek representative push me to buy…

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Personally, I think a lot comes from the discrepancy between what product development envisions and states and the message the marketing department makes out of it. The latter being what the public hears, with some loud-yelling hype-selling marketing voices drowning the more subtle ones. (This is also something that can be seen in other industries, as marketing often thinks they need to portray a product as the next best thing since sliced bread in order to stand out and make a sale.)

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I don’t think @Because_Mechanics mentioned the main benefits of wider tires, but he did rightfully point to a rather stupid presentation of wider tires as beneficial in a very narrow scenario, where only rolling resistance and comfort are considered. But if you only consider these two, there’s not a lot to gain and the argument really falls flat.

I don’t want to start a lengthy discussion on benefits and downsides of wider tires here, but there should be a honorary mention of why they really may be cool:

  • better and safer cornering, especially on but not limited to rough or bumpy surfaces
  • a much improved riding experience off road (where a lot of roadies are heading these days), especially on sandy, muddy, loose gravel surfaces.
  • tubeless setups are working better with lower pressures. If you ride off road a lot (or have flint even on your roads), this and point two somehow play together - if you stay on good tarmac, there’s probably less to gain.

Interesting. I’ve never heard that view before. Could you explain why or point me in the right direction to find out why?


My view is that I need all the help I can get, and I’m a long long long way from the pointy end.

There are lots of people who can smash it for 5 minutes, then rest; not many can drill it at a consistently high pace for 45-90 minutes. Physiologically it develops your engine in a way not much else does, IMO; mentally, it makes you a hell of a lot tougher.

It’s crucial for time trialling, for controlling the peleton in road races, for sustaining a breakway, and on a semi-competitive group ride, being able to ride at 90% for 75-90 minutes doesn’t half grind people down.

To take just one simple example, look at Matt Hayman’s training for Paris Roubaix; it’s basically 3 long sweetspot intervals with lots of 30s VO2 max bursts without any recovery after them. It’s how most flat-ish races and fast group rides (as well as CX races) actually work (sort of).

I’m not saying VO2 max doesn’t matter (it does), and everything has its time and place, but for most of the year I’d be thinking about 20-90 minute intervals at 88-102% FTP and lots of easy miles as the best way to get faster.

4 classics:

  1. warm up properly, then ride for 20 minutes at 85-88% FTP. After 20 minutes, up that a touch to 88-90, then after that, turn up the dial again to 90-92. There are no breaks in the hour. It should be a challenging but very achievable session.
  2. The good old 2x20. 3 minute rest between them. You should be able to ride both segments just above FTP.
  3. My favourite: 7.5 minutes at 85%, 30s at 150%, repeat X 8 (no breaks - straight back on the power after the bursts).
  4. All the 8s: 88 minutes at 88%. This is all about the mental toughness. Great turbo session if you fancy smashing yourself :slight_smile:

Link, please….especially the part where we are being told every one “needs” it.

Thanks I’ll try a couple of those when I’m suitably recovered from Xmas.

And yet… they do precisely that.


That’s what radial tires did for cars back in the day: better handling, better speed, better ride. Not the same physical dynamics, or course.

Maybe the impact of rolling resistance on speed is over rated? Or the amount of real world rolling resistance improvement from wider tires is somewhat over rated?

When speed matters most, like big time TTs, it’s still 22mm (tubular) tires or 23mm clinchers. But those courses are always on good pavement.

I feel all the numbers and measurements and working out at XX% in XX zone for XX minutes, and all that is over rated for riders that don’t actually ride much. If a beginning Cat 4/5 racer that only rides 5,000km/year and has issues holding to the main group in races, starts asking about zones and intervals and power etc., is it better to indulge them or to tell them it doesn’t matter and to not think about it until they ride more? Lots more, with faster riders, until they can at least hold to the main pack… then we can start talking about starting some basic strength and speed training.

As well, all the number and zones and stuff are still over rated I think until the rider can ride on feel. They have to know by feel what riding on their bubble/limit is. Discovering that isn’t a power meter thing.


For me its Tubeless road tires. I tried out a pair of GP5000s tubeless, and it took myself and 2 mechanics to mount the tire. I road them for a year, and the next year I switched back to Gp5000 with tubes. I can’t say I noticed a difference.


Totally agree! After 13 months on tubeless I went back to tubes. I run latex tubes in my tubeless tires and don’t notice any down sides, only upsides for going back to tubes in my road bike. It got super annoying trying to deal with high pressure tubeless with sealant.

But I do run sealant and tubeless on my gravel and MTB.


Best fitness plan advice I saw, was directed to a poster who went on a forum similar to this, and explained their (rather low) fitness level, and was told “Write a workout that sounds hard to you, then do it. Repeat.”


This is a unique situation where the riders are fast enough that aero grossly overwhelms rolling resistance. If you’re riding 30+mph for an hour, rolling resistance uses a negligible amount of power compared to the amount used in overcoming aerodynamic resistance, so in that case it’s far more important to optimize your ride for reducing aero losses… and more narrow is always more aero.


Both matter….but I agree that for the most part, the best answer is to simply ride more. I also think that too often we assume that people “need” structure. For some (many?) riders, riding and riding more is enough.

Consistency and volume are the most critical training components.