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You are correct that the weight of the shoes cancel out each other for the rotation part. For an extreme example of the same effect, check out Falkirk Wheel, which lifts 250 tons of water and boat using same amount of water as counterweight. The shoes are not usually centered on pedals, but the axle is under the ball of foot. If hypothetical heavy shoe has ...


This largely depends on rider goals and finances. Your example clearly highlights the advantage of a light bike (although aero is probably equally important). If Joe and Billy are racing, and they are exactly the same, we can assume Billy is going to win. If Joe can afford it, and wants to stay competitive with Billy, it will likely be worth it for him. ...


The physics model of cycling power and speed has been validated in the real world. Two examples are this and this. The model embedded in's online calculator is based on these two papers. Whether the amount of difference calculated by the validated models is worth it to Joe and Billy is a question that can't be answered by the physics.

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