Which type of bicycle is best for speed?
For any cyclist on the quest for speed, road bikes are the fastest conventional bikes you can find on the market. Road bikes are designed to provide superb aerodynamics and high speeds as compared to other types of bikes.
The average road bike can attain speeds of between 14 and 18mph (23-29km/h) on flat terrain. Alternatively, road bikes can achieve speeds of between 8 and 12 mph (13-19 km/h) on a 5% incline.
Average Speed of a Mountain Bike
Mountain bikes true to their name are designed for off-road riding which means they are best for riding on rough surfaces such as mulched trails, sand, and dirt. Mountain bikes tend to be slower than road bikes given their design with knobby tires intended to make them have a good grip on uneven ground.
However, the knobby and wide tires result in greater rolling resistance resulting in more contact with the surface resulting in greater friction and rolling resistance which means more effort will be needed to propel the bike. The average cyclist on a mountain will usually go at speeds between 10-12 mph.
Still, it is important to note that mountain bike speeds will vary depending on how much offroading is undertaken and these bikes have been known to achieve pretty decent speeds on terrain without too many obstacles.
Average Speed of a Hybrid Bike
As the name suggests the hybrid bike is a combination of the components of a mountain bike and a road bike.
Hybrid bikes tend to have broader tires as compared to road bikes which usually results in greater friction even though this gives them more stability. However, their tires are not as wide or as knobby as mountain bike tires and hence they will be faster than mountain bikes.
As such, hybrid bikes are slower than road bikes but faster than mountain bikes. The average hybrid bike will usually go at speeds of between 12-18 mph.
The good thing about a hybrid bike is that it provides an upright riding position which makes it more comfortable as the strain on the shoulders and back is less. Nonetheless, this makes the bike less aerodynamic as compared to a road bike thus making it slower.
Average Speed of Touring Bikes
Touring bikes are designed to be ridden on long-distance tours and hence they are often used for several days’ rides since they are usually durable and comfortable and are designed to allow for carrying water, food, and other gear.
A closer inspection of these bikes shows that they are not made for speed as they are made of heavier steel for stability and durability but this makes them significantly slower. Combined with sitting upright which increases aerodynamic drag, it is not possible to travel very fast.
Moreover, many people travel on touring bikes with heavy loads which makes it almost impossible to attain high speeds. While speeds may vary, the average touring bike will average between 11 – 15 mph.
Average Speed of Gravel Bikes
Gravel bikes combine wide tires with a road bike design to make it possible to ride an aerodynamic bike on rough terrain. The wide tires usually offer better grip on rough ground which results in better balance.
However, while wider tires provide better balance they also result in greater friction which makes it difficult to gain higher speeds. The upright riding position is also less aerodynamic which increases drag even if it is more comfortable.
An important thing to note though is that these bikes allow for drop bars which can provide a more aerodynamic positioning. Because of these aero design features, most gravel bikes average speeds between 15 – 16 mph when ridden in aerodynamic positions.
How to Cycle Faster and Increase Your Average Speed?
- Strive to Gain Experience
By riding often and regularly you will usually transform into a capable artist who can ride fast and for long distances. The more time spent on the bike the faster the cyclist will be able to build the muscle power and stamina needed to ride for longer and at faster speeds.
- Adopt an Aerodynamic Riding Posture
Riding in an aerodynamic posture will usually provide a significant increase in speed regardless of the bike. You can get into an aerodynamic riding posture by lowering the head between the shoulder blades and bending the elbows. With time as the cyclist gets comfortable with the posture, they will be able to attain significantly faster speeds.
- Ride in Groups
If you are a competitive person ride in groups which will encourage you to go faster. Riding in a peloton as professional cyclists do will usually reduce air resistance making it possible to go faster. Another advantage of riding in groups is that you will also be able to save a lot of energy as you will take turns heading the peloton rather than taking all the air resistance on your own.
Cycling regardless of the type of bike can be an exciting and fun activity even though it is always advisable to select the bike depending on what kind of speeds you are expecting. Apart from the bike speeds your bike can attain you should also take into account other factors including terrain, fitness levels, and the type of bike all of which will determine if you will be able to sustain your desired speeds for extended periods.