What makes a good bike? The answer may vary from one person to another, but one of the most important things is speed. This is what separates high-performing bikes from the inferior ones.
When buying a bike, it is crucial to look at the weight, components, and construction, among others that will impact its speed. However, there are also a few tweaks that you can make in your current bike, so you don’t have to buy a new one. If you want to know how to make a bike faster, keep on reading and learn from the insights we’ll be sharing in this short guide.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Affects the Speed of a Bike?
- 2 A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Make a Bike Faster
- 3 Other Things You Can Do to Bike Faster
- 4 What is the Average Cycling Speed?
What Affects the Speed of a Bike?
Before we talk about some tips on how to make bicycle faster, let’s first discuss about what affects speed in the first place. Why are some bikes fast and others are slow? This section briefly looks at some of the possible culprits you need to know about.
The weight of the bike and the rider will have a huge influence on the on-road performance, especially speed. Logically, the heavier the rider and the bike is, the slower the speed will be. You can perform several customizations in your bike to replace the heavy components to achieve an exceptional performance without compromising weight. Some riders also consider losing weight to make them propel the bike faster. Although, losing weight alone is useless if you do not improve your strength, which brings us to our next point.
If you want to pedal faster, then you will need to work on your strength. Even if you have the best bike in the world, it will demonstrate an inferior performance if you lack the necessary strength. The more force you exert when pedaling, the faster the bike goes. That said, in our recommendations in this article on how to make a bike go faster, we’ll also be talking about some of the best exercises that you can do to build your strength.
When you are cycling, there are four types of resistance that will have an impact on your speed.
The first is air resistance, which refers to the energy that you are losing when pushing air out of the way. The second is the rolling resistance, which is the energy you are losing because of the friction between the tires and the ground. The third is the gravitational resistance, which is affected by the weight. Lastly, mechanical resistance also affects the speed, which happens when metal components rub.
A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Make a Bike Faster
Make your bike faster with the tips and tricks we’ll be talking about below.
1. Clean the Bike
All things equal, the cleaner your bike is, the faster it will be. It will not only look good on the road, but it will also demonstrate better performance. Over time, your bike accumulates dirt and dust. They will cling on the tightest spaces of the bike. In turn, it can make it slower.
To clean a bike to make it go faster, take note of the steps listed below.
- Find an open area with a flat surface where you can easily move around and clean your bike.
- Once the bike is in position, start cleaning the drivetrain. A chain cleaning device is good to have to make chain cleaning a lot easier. Otherwise, you will need to do it manually using a degreaser and a brush.
- Once you are done with the drivetrain, wipe the brakes. Use a degreaser and clean the rotor. Pay attention to the tiny spaces that can be easy to miss.
- Rinse and apply detergent. Focus on the parts with heavy dirt, such as mud. Use a brush to get rid of those that are hard to remove. Dry the bike.
- Once it is dry, lubricate. A lot of bikes are slow because their components are not moving smoothly. When there is more friction than necessary, speed is not just compromised, but it also affects wear. Use the right lubricant to keep the bike in its peak condition.
- Inspect the different parts of the bike as well. Pay attention to any component that might need a replacement. Change the damaged parts to maintain the bike’s peak performance.
2. Inflate the Tires
If you are looking for the best solutions on how to make bikes faster, one of the most promising is adjusting the tire pressure. The right bike pressure can make a lot of difference. It is a must for a faster and more efficient bike.
Especially when you are using a bike on a paved surface, a higher pressure means that it will roll fast and smooth. When your bike is under-inflated, there is more rolling resistance. This way, you will need to exert more effort to maintain the same speed as you would when the tires have the right air pressure. Nonetheless, this does not mean that a higher pressure is always better. When the pressure is more than what is necessary, the grip decreases on harsher terrains. More than being slower, your safety can also be an issue.
The right air pressure depends on the bike that you have. The best thing to do is to check the sidewall and inflate the tires based on the recommendations from the manufacturer. For road bikes, the right air pressure is usually 80 to 130 psi. For mountain bikes, on the other hand, it can be 30 to 50 psi.
3. Lower the Handlebar
To improve bike efficiency and speed, you need to adjust several components, and that will include the handlebar. Going faster requires improving aerodynamics, so you will need to customize the position of the handlebar. To make your body position more dynamic, a simple solution includes lowering the handlebar.
If you see professional cyclists when they are racing, one thing you will notice is that they have their heads down and elbow in. It reduces the frontal area of the rider to improve speed. In return, you can move through air with minimal resistance.
Nonetheless, while it is important to lower your handlebars, avoid overdoing it. Otherwise, you will be uncomfortable and inefficient. Not to mention, you will most likely complain of back pain after your ride.
4. Change Your Pedal
Among the components that you will need to customize for making a bike faster, the pedals are some of the most important. If your bike has flat pedals, consider changing them to clipless pedals. They will improve your stroke and make pedaling more consistent. When you have more power, you can travel longer distances, effectively improving your cycling speed.
One of the best things about using clipless pedals is that they help keep your feet in a stable position. With better foot security, you can improve balance and apply more pressure on the pedal in every stroke.
Using clipless pedals is not enough. You should also work to change its tension. Look for the tension spring, which is the part that holds the cleat to your shoe. Adjust accordingly so that the cleat is firm. This will allow a smoother pedaling action while retaining efficiency in every stroke, which will positively impact your speed.
5. Work on Your Position and Technique
In our recommendations above regarding how to make your bike faster, we are focused on the bike itself, including the adjustments and customizations you can make. However, it’s not just all about the bike. It is also about the rider. That said, below are some of the most important things to do.
Be More Aero
Aerodynamics will improve your speed. As mentioned earlier, one of the best ways to do this is to lower your handlebar. You can also do this by tucking in your elbows in such a way that they are in front of the knees. It also helps to bend your elbows and lower your torso, which will make your back flat. Lowering your head is also a good technique. With these things, you can save up to 15% of your power output and you can ride faster.
Practice Bike Handling
While there is a lot to work on when it comes to technique, one of the most important is bike handling. Do not hit the brakes unless necessary as this can slow the bike down. As you improve bike handling, you can go up and down quicker while also improving biking efficiency.
Other Things You Can Do to Bike Faster
Aside from our earlier recommendation on how to make bicycle faster, this section shares other tips. These things will focus on the rider and not the bike.
Watch Your Diet
The heavier you are, the slower the ride will be. If you want to bike faster, there are two important things that you can do – get stronger or lose weight. Regardless, you will need proper nutrition, so watch what you eat. Load up on the healthy stuff and this will greatly improve your cycling performance. Lean meats and vegetables are some of the must-haves in your diet.
Work on Your Strength
As mentioned, aside from losing weight, increasing strength is another promising solution to bike faster. This is possible by working out. Look for the right exercises, especially those that will help build your arms, legs, and core. The fitter you are, the easier it will be to pedal and go faster. This is especially the case if you are going uphill. If your body cannot handle the demands of the terrain, then you will be inevitably slower.
Wear the Right Clothing
It is important that you stay safe and sound, but you also need to be wary of what you wear. For instance, you should choose a lightweight and comfortable helmet without compromising its functionality. Your clothes should be breathable and lightweight as well. The heavier your clothes and accessories are, the slower your bike will be.
Ride with Others
At times, you need competition to get you going. You are probably too slow because you have no one else to compare your speed to. Meanwhile, when you are riding with a group, you will be pressured to pedal faster to keep up with the other people. This is good motivation while also making the ride more fun.
Listen to Music
This is one of the simplest ways by which you can increase your speed. Do not just listen to any music. It is best to listen to something that will pump you during your ride. To go faster, you will need more energy, and you might just get that by listening too upbeat music that will keep you going.
What is the Average Cycling Speed?
For most people, measuring speed is subjective. There are no exact figures that can be used for determining your biking skills. Logically, beginners are always slower compared to those with experience. It is important to measure your speed to gauge your performance, and this will be your starting point to make bike faster.
If you are a beginner, chances are, your speed will range from 10 to 14 mph on the road. You will be typically slower on a more rugged terrain. Endurance athletes, on the other hand, can pedal at an average speed of 15 to 18 mph. Meanwhile, the average speed of professionals is 25 to 28 mph.
More than your bike, your body determines your speed. Some of the most important factors include your age, weight, cardiovascular health, and fitness level. The fitter you are, the faster you will be when riding a bike.
Now that you are done reading this quick guide, we hope that you learned a thing or two about how to make a bike faster. You can do it by making several adjustments on the bike, including the handlebar and pedal. Keeping it clean and well-lubricated is also essential. Most importantly, it’s not just about the bike. It is also crucial that you work on your strength, endurance, and technique to make the bike faster.