General Question

sebrowns's avatar

What is the influence of weight on speed on a decline?

Asked by sebrowns (157points) July 13th, 2008

i was having a discussion with several cyclist friends of mine the other day concerning how weight effects speed going downhill. does a heavier object travel at a faster speed down a hill?

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3 Answers

ben's avatar

Nope. Galileo proved that in a vacuum, all objects fall at the same rate.

In the real world on a bike, a heavier rider will be less affected by wind resistance, but this is a tiny effect. All sorts of other forces will make more of a difference, like friction, tire size, etc.

But in a “perfect” world, they’d go at the same speed.

sndfreQ's avatar

To add to Ben’s point-if we’re talking about cyclists, then another issue is body mass density-i.e. how much fat/muscle does the cyclist have, and how that affects aerodynamics (fat presumably taking up more volume than muscle).

gailcalled's avatar

Here’s the physics and math for the inclined plane problem.

Caveat lector.

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