RickH wrote:I know some folk like to dismiss Jan Heine but his tests are explained and it would be easy to repeat them & show the errors in them or disprove them. So far I've not found anyone who has!
I'll take some issue with that. I have a lot of time for Jan, he's an nice guy and is trying to do something laudable. Unfortunately his work is pseudo-science at best and there are serious concerns about his methodology, statistical manipulation and lack of peer review.
1 - Jan's work has all the trappings of scientific articles, references and all that, but when you check almost all references are to previous articles that he published.
2 - He self publishes his own studies; this does not make them wrong de rigeur, but it is textbook signs of bad science. No one has checked his results before he publishes.
3 - If his results were good enough to publish, why has he not submitted them to an actual academic journal (e.g. the ihpva)
4 - He does not publish his raw data and it is not made available as his work is not peer reviewed. While I understand that many readers will just want the headline this is an issue if you want to be certain of his findings. For example his rolldown tests showing that wider tyres are faster - he does not try to state the errors on his measurements, but then claims that the differences are statistically significant. Unfortunately with reaction times of (typically) 0.2 seconds and making basic assumptions that the rolldown will not match exactly the same path each time (especially on the rough terrain he is aiming to test) his results cannot show the significance he claims.
I don't need to test to show divergent results from Heine, that's not how science works. The way science works is that you gather data and suggest a theory, if someone points out that your theory is not supported by your data you then need to collect more data to show that it is.
Fundamentally the reason why this is still a debate is that there are so many other factors that come into it that you would need an extraordinary amount of data over an extended period of time with a large number of riders. Maybe when we are all on strava with powermeters we could do some sort of world-wide data pool...
Whilst not disagreeing with most of your observations about the Heine "methodology" I must mention that you have the science = theory from facts thing back to front. In practice, scientists have theories (which are called, when the rest of us have them, "an attractive idea") followed by an exercise that attempts to find facts that prove the theory. The theories are often generated from the cultural matrix of the scientists, who will seek to confirm some related theories they like and/or disprove some related theories they don't like. Ditto "the facts".
Of course, it doesn't stop there (at least with proper scientists) as they also seek facts that disprove the theory. Just one of the latter is enough to do so. Mind, they still don't give up but instead amend the theory to accommodate the recalcitrant fact. Some of the more rascally ones redefine the facts so they fit. Yes, they do.
"Hoi, hoi", you may declaim. "Facts we come across suggest the theories"! Alas, the facts are in essence human perceptions of whatever reality is (already a limited and skewed set, then)... but only a little bit, as most of their definition is culturally generated by the various conceptions, categories, taxonomies and other schemas of things already extant in the language (including the mathematical language); not to mention the influence of already extant theories.....
Still, there is a scientific method and, when rigorously applied, it can result in a proven theory that is able to make predictions about what will occur when various pertinent facts coalesce. Of course, the predictions are often just approximate. Even Newton had to allow those Einsteinien divergences from his clockwork universe.
Anyroadup, scientific theories, like other cultural artefacts, can and do change over history. Even the methodologies change, although many scientists don't like that notion at all! No, they don't - a catechism or even a dogma is loved by all fellows enmeshed in cultural institutions and organisations.
As to Mr Heine - at the very least his suggestions are interesting and sometimes do seem to accord with personal experience. Just today I noticed that my 75psi 28mm shod wheels carried me downhill on the rough back roads somewhat faster than those lads on 105psi 23mms. But maybe it's just my fine aerodynamic crouch. Or my disinclination to wear the brake blocks & rims when a bit of extra lean (on more grippy 28mms) will suffice.