Let me explain. It’s a racing bike* It’s built from very lightweight steel, alloy or carbon fibre and is extremely stiff – through the middle, down the frame – so there’s no flex. On bikes that are not designed to go very fast, there is always flex, on all but the strongest of mountain bikes. This means that when you push down on the pedals with great force, as you must if you want the bike to leap forward, some of that force is absorbed in the flex of the frame. With a racing bike, the downward force becomes forward motion, with immediate and near undiminished effect; the lightweight frame offering minimal drag, and the overall design streamlined to that purpose. Design and function: for speed, to race and be faster than other bikes. Thing is that the other man has the same – and him, and him – they all do. This means that Armstrong was right and it’s not about the bike. With a level field, you are free of the bike to battle with body, heart and wit… But the price of that battle is the bike.
*in case you’re interested, the frameset pictured is the Cervelo R5CA. It weighs the same as 1.5 cans of baked beans. The price? £7499.